Find a variety of socially distanced activities for the whole family in northern Tennessee.
From biking to breweries, there is plenty to do in Clarksville this fall. (Photo: Visit Clarksville)
After spending so much time at home this spring and summer, many people are craving a fall getaway. But finding the right destination — one that is safe with social distancing, mask wearing and disinfecting — isn’t always easy.
Smaller-sized cities like Clarksville, Tennessee, are the perfect option. Clarksville, with its gorgeous fall colors, moderate temperatures and plenty to do, offers something for everyone.
Clarksville is Tennessee’s fifth-largest city — big enough to experience nightlife and culture, but small and quaint enough to take in the area’s natural beauty. And a variety of outdoor attractions, as well as businesses that are doing their part to make the city a safe destination, mean Clarksville is the perfect place to visit during the pandemic.
Ready to get away? Here are six great reasons to visit Clarksville.
Hiking, biking and recreation
Clarksville bursts with fall color every fall — and one of the best ways to see it is by hiking, biking and visiting parks throughout the city.
The 9-mile-long Clarksville Greenway, a converted railroad, is perfect for walking, running, biking or skating. The trail takes visitors along creek and river views, fields, bluffs and hills. Rotary Park, which has an ADA-accessible playground, is perfect for families — and the park’s disc golf course is a favorite for people of all ages.
For those who prefer a faster-paced experience, the family-friendly North Ford Street Mountain Bike Trail provides exhilarating hills, jumps and tight switchbacks. People who want to experience everything from restaurants, a playground and public art should take a stroll along the Cumberland RiverWalk, which connects directly to downtown via the Upland Trail. And history buffs should consider driving along the African American Legacy Trail, which includes 22 historic sites and points of interest such as the Mount Olive Cemetery and the Wilma Rudolph exhibit at the Customs House Museum.
An important location during the Civil War, Clarksville is steeped in history with battlefields, cemeteries and memorials that can be found throughout the city.
Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center is located on a bluff 200 feet above where the Red and Cumberland rivers come together. During the Civil War, the fort housed Confederate troops who defended the river approach to Clarksville. Captured by Union forces, the fort became a place of refuge for runaway and freed slaves. Today, the fort and interpretive center offer a wide variety of events and exhibits.
Other historic sites include the Battle of Riggins Hill, the site of a major Civil War battle in the Clarksville area; and the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, originally built in the late 19th century as a federal post office to accommodate the high volume of mail that resulted from the area’s tobacco business.
Microbrews, mead and more
Clarksville is home to seven craft breweries, a winery, distillery and meadery — and lots of outdoor seating.
Favorite fall microbrews include Tennessee Valley Brewing Co.’s Bastogne Brown, a pecan nut brown with a hint of vanilla, and the Star Spangled Brewing Co.’s Oatmeal Cream Stout. For a sip of moonshine, try Old Glory Distilling Co.’s Cinnamon Roll Smooth Shine, and for a glass of mead, enjoy Trazo Meadery’s Orange Blossom.
For those who prefer wine, Beachaven Vineyards and Winery — Tennessee’s oldest single-family owned winery — offers wine tastings and tours throughout the year (currently by appointment only).
Tobacco farms and pumpkin patches
In the mid-19th century, Clarksville was one of the wealthiest cities in the country because of its tobacco farms. Today, tobacco is still grown, harvested and cured throughout the area — and the fields are an easy drive from the city.
Dark fired tobacco — produced in only eight counties in Tennessee — is a staple in the Clarksville area, and during each harvesting season, people can see the smoke rising from barns as it is fired.
While you’re driving, stop by an orchard or pumpkin patch. There are many in the area including Patterson Place Farm and Boyd’s Farm.
Restaurants and retail
Many people prefer outdoor seating at restaurants these days, and Clarksville’s mild fall weather offers plenty of al fresco dining — with lots of traditional Southern fare.
One spot is Strawberry Alley Ale Works, which is located in historic downtown Clarksville. It boasts 5,000 square feet of airy open space — ideal for socially distanced get-togethers with friends. For those interested in indoor dining, head to the Clarksville Country Club and try Pbody’s. The sprawling restaurant has an impressive menu and lots of room to spread out between tables. In addition, its staff follows strict safety and health guidelines to ensure all customers have a pleasant and clean experience.
For shopping, Clarksville’s downtown is open for business — with plenty of social distancing. Two must-see boutiques include The Mill, a handmade craft store with more than 100 local vendors, and Miss Lucille’s Marketplace, a large and eclectic space with more than 200 local vendors and an in-store cafe.
Clarksville has a lot of natural beauty — and Dunbar Cave State Park is one of the city’s most popular natural wonders.
The prehistoric site offers American cave art that dates back to the 14th century. Guided seasonal cave tours, hiking trails, wildlife and a visitor center make Dunbar Cave State Park a must-see.
To learn more about fall getaways to Clarksville, or to download the free Visit Clarksville app to create, save and share your custom itinerary, visit visitclarksvilletn.com.
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