What to Do in Clarksville, TN
Updated: Jul 26, 2019
Note: This post contains links to several business's websites, but please be aware that this post is not sponsored or partnered in any way. These are just a few places I recommend from my own experiences and think you may enjoy as well, should you find yourself in the Clarksville area!
Kyle and I were stationed at Fort Campbell Army base for about 3 years, and as we chose to live off-post, we spent some of our time exploring the surrounding area.
Clarksville isn’t a destination by any means, but if you’re like us and you find yourself living in the area with nothing to do, this might be a helpful compilation of interesting places to go and things to do.
The Cumberland River.
Like many towns, Clarksville was established due to its proximity to water; in the case of Clarksville, this was the Cumberland River. (Fun fact: The town of Clarksville used to be a part of North Carolina, before Tennessee became the 16th state.) Most of you know that Kyle and I are Michigan people, so you can imagine that coming from the Great Lakes to the muddy, tepid Cumberland River was a bit of a letdown. However, when you live 1500 miles away from home, you take what you can get. The Cumberland River is quite pretty in the early morning, especially in early spring and late summer when you get the mist rising off the water. There’s a nice (albeit short) walking trail along the river in close proximity to the Downtown area (by the name of McGregor Park River Walk), and this is where the city hosts the Clarksville River Fest each year. (It’s also where Kyle and I, and literally half the town, walked to catch Pokémon during the summer of 2016.) Liberty Park is also located on the Cumberland, just down the road from McGregor River Walk. More on the River Fest and Liberty Park to come.
Clarksville River Fest.
Dates vary, but generally this festival is three days long and takes place at the end of the first week in September. On the McGregor Park River Walkway, this art and music festival features lots of different booths for perusing, food, and live music (it is only an hour away from Music City, after all), all right on the Cumberland River. What’s also great about it is that it’s family-friendly, so you could totally bring the kids.
Liberty Park & Clarksville Marina.
This park has a lot going for it: it’s right on the Cumberland River, of course, for the boat launch and marina, but there’s also a recreational fishing pond – so if you’re a boating or fishing family, this could be a place to start! There are wooden walkways around the fishing pond as well, where you can get up close to the array of turtles, dragonflies, geese, ducks, and fish that make the pond their home. Here is a link to the park’s website for rules and their full offerings, which include a playground, walking trail, dog park, sports fields, and pavilions! The park also has one of those rent-a-bike vending machine things, which I think are great.
Clarksville Downtown Farmer’s Market.
Saturdays 8am-1pm, late June to late October. Located in Clarksville’s historic downtown district, the Clarksville Downtown Market is a must-visit. Kyle and I loved walking around the market to see what fresh, seasonal fruits or veg we could find – but that’s not all they have. There are probably a good thirty-plus stalls zigzagging through three levels of the parking area it's set up on. There are stalls featuring grass-fed meats, candles and soaps, local art and jewelry, baked goods and homemade jams and preserves, honey, wood creations, and even homemade popsicles, cotton candy, and ice cream! The Market features a kids’ booth (pictured above) and plenty of food trucks, and once we even saw a small petting zoo with a variety of goats and small farm animals. Musicians perform throughout the market’s footprint, and when the musicians take a break there’s still almost always some kind of music playing.
If you get bored, take a walk up the street toward the Cumberland River, and you’ll see a magnificent walking bridge overlooking the streets and the river. In the opposite direction lie various boutique clothing shops, as well as several restaurants that we love (Yada Yada Yada Deli for fresh gelato and ice cream; Blackhorse Pub & Brewery for THE BEST pizza and craft brews – if you’re into that), an art gallery, and the Roxy Regional Theater.
Austin Peay State University.
I realize that this is a college, but it’s on the list because I think it’s pretty to look at, and we went there a couple times during the summer months to use their pool, which is open to the public for a fee of $5 per person. It’s a really nice pool with substantial shallow and deep ends, and a nice set of lap lanes. APSU also hosts many musical events during the course of the school year, although Kyle and I haven’t ever attended any. Clarksville’s close proximity to the college is of course ideal if you would like to work on a degree while living in Clarksville.
I wish we would’ve known about the Greenway sooner, but I’m happy we found it eventually. The Greenway is really a lovely part of Clarksville. It’s a 6-mile PAVED walking trail in the woods behind a residential part of the town. The greatest part of this trail is that it is in the woods – meaning you get to walk in the shade for most of the trail. And for those of you who have suffered through a Tennessee or mid-Deep-South summer, you know how valuable shade can be when it’s already 90 degrees and the humidity makes it feel like 104. Here are some of my favorite elements of the Greenway:
Signposts about the walkway’s geology
Benches and swinging benches along the walkway
Bike friendly! Red bikes are available for rent at the trail head via one of those automated bike vending machine things. Love them.
SUPER CUTE exercise-themed park for aforementioned kids (or Mom & Dad or adults in general – Kyle and I loved messing around on the faux-elliptical and faux-lat-pull machines.)
A bridge (pictured above) that is so beautiful during the fall or really any month of the year, and great for photo-ops.
Quiet. It’s hard to go from living a quiet small-town life to listening to city noises in the suburbs, and the Greenway is a great way to escape the city and the road noise for a while.
Views of the trees, fields, and ramshackle old barns in said fields, as well as a view of the river if you walk the trail southward, away from the parking lot.
Dunbar Cave State Park.
Another place to go if you’d like to get some forest-bathing in. This trail is even quieter than The Greenway – there are parts where you can’t hear any traffic noise. Dunbar Cave State Park is right off the midsection of Wilma Rudolph Boulevard (Wilma Rudolph is like, the main drag, if you’re not familiar with the town – the actual business portion of the road starts just before Exit 4 and continues North-South ALLLLL the way down to the Cumberland River.), and it’s located right next to a golf course. The Park has a lake with plenty of geese and turtles and fish, the cave itself (I seem to remember hearing that there were “cave tours” but Kyle and I never toured this cave; it seemed like it would’ve been quite a short tour), and two versions of the same trail – short or long. The trails are not paved, although there are several wooden bridges in areas where shallow ravines make the terrain difficult. It’s not the most spectacular wilderness park or trail system I’ve ever been to, but it’s a haven if you’d like to get some mild hiking in or just need to get away from the city sounds. Also, BONUS! This park is usually not very busy. Both times I’ve been there, there have only been around a dozen people spread out over the length of the trail – very private.
Miss Lucille’s Antique Market.
Open Mon-Sat 9a-6p and Sun 11a-5p. Antiques are in these days, so if you love antiques and you’ve got nothing to do in Clarksville, make your way down to Miss Lucille’s. It’s so cute and clean! They have their own natural-foods café and coffee shop, and they sell kettle corn in addition to all their beautiful antiques and handmade items. This market is set up so that individual sellers get their own booth/stall to feature their items in, and according to their website , they feature more than 200 vendors! Some sell true antiques, while others focus on homemade goods or renovated furniture. There is also a vast section of the building featuring almost exclusively Magnolia furniture. (Yes, THE Magnolia from Chip & Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. Like you need me to tell you.) Truly, this is a great spot to shop for Christmas or birthday gifts with a little more sentimental value than your average mall fare. It took us probably 2-3 hours to walk through it the first time we went there.
This is just a small compilation of the many things you can do in this town – smaller still because I only included the places I’ve been to personally! If you want to look a bit further out, check out my post on Day Trips from Clarksville, in which I talk about a few of my other favorite places (that aren’t all in Nashville!) around Tennessee.
Do you live in Clarksville or the surrounding areas, or have you visited? What are your favorite local haunts?