Balling on a Budget? Don’t Let that Stop You!
Four Free and Fun Activities in Tennessee
This state is filled with adventurous outdoorspeople, and while everyone always wants to do something epic like go rafting, sometimes the budget can’t accommodate that! We know this, so we compiled a short list of our favorite free activities in Tennessee.
Hiking: Thunder Rock Trail
There are hundreds of trails in Tennessee, but this one is one of our favorites! Drive to Thunder Rock Campground and park your car there. You’ll hike through the campground to the cul-de-sac at the end where the single-track trail starts. The trail starts out with some pretty steep switchbacks but then flattens out and is more manageable for most of the way.
At the end, you can either turn around and hike back or take the forestry road back to the trailhead for a loop. You can also take the forestry road down to the Thunder Rock Express bike trail for some additional mileage and climbing. Suited for all ages young and old.
Beautiful Views: Boyd Gap Overlook
This is an overlook in the Cherokee National Forest in eastern Tennessee. It is right off Hwy 64 near the Ocoee River. The overlook sits back from the highway a bit and the signage on the highway is limited. You can see the Ocoee river below and mountains on each side of you.
From the parking lot you have access to hiking and mountain biking trails. There is also an information board with a map of the area. Suited for anyone who loves nature and gorgeous views. This is a great location to take family pictures!
For History Buffs: Nancy Ward’s Gravesite
If you’re interested in Cherokee and Early American history, you need to see this. Nancy Ward is considered by some as the Pocahontas of the Cherokee for her efforts to protect European settlers from hostile Cherokee forces. For that she is known as Beloved Woman, a title reserved for the most honored women in Cherokee society. Ward is buried alongside Long Fellow and Five Killer, who I believe were her two sons. The site is touching, and visitors should visit it with an attitude of respect.
A Long Drive: Chilhowee Lake to Wears Valley
Located in the great Smokey Mountains, this drive is an excellent and beautiful drive seeing the Smokies at its best. The best time to visit of course is in the fall with all the colors of the trees turning their beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow.