The Best Things to Do in Clarksville Tennessee for Everyone

Last Updated: April 1, 2024

Just one hour northwest of Nashville is the charming town of Clarksville, Tennessee. Talk about a smaller southern city that packs a powerful punch! Occasionally, I come across cities that fly under the radar and wonder how they’ve been kept a secret for so long. Clarksville is one of those towns that I categorize as a sleeper hit. I think of it often and I can’t wait to visit again. So, here are the best things to do in Clarksville for everyone!

Thank you to Visit Clarksville for hosting me. As always, all opinions and recommendations are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

colorful iron bridge over a river against a nighttime sky in Clarksville Tennessee

Things to Do in Clarksville Tennessee

Dynamic. That is probably the word I would use to describe Clarksville. I couldn’t get over the variety of activities the city offers for families, romantic getaways, or even weekend girls’ trips. Whether you’re artsy, a foodie, a history buff, need a kiddie park or enjoy craft beverages, there are all those things to do in Clarksville, Tennessee. And much, much more!

Clarksville Greenway

Clarksville Greenway slab info plaque at start of the paved trail lined with trees

The city has done an incredible job turning an abandoned railway into the Clarksville Greenway. This approximately 9-mile paved trail is part of the Rails to Trails initiative. Running along the Red River, the views are gorgeous, wildlife is abundant, and the foliage is beautiful, especially in fall and spring.

Clarksville Greenway paved trail lined with green grass and early spring budding trees on a rainy day
Clarksville Greenway paved trail lined with green grass and budding trees on a rainy day

Biking or walking the trail is a fantastic way to exercise, unwind, or catch up on great conversation!

closeup of wooded trees and a deer peeking out from one thick tree

Look closely. Do you see her?

You might even see wildlife!

TIP: Parking is most plentiful at the Heritage Park access point. Restrooms are available, and the Greenway also welcomes leashed pets.

Customs House Museum

night shot of the Customs House Museum lit up with a bright purple roof in Clarksville Tennessee

Moms, museum enthusiasts, history buffs, architecture lovers, and everyone else…listen up! The Customs House Museum is quite fascinating and THE perfect place to learn all about Clarksville. In addition, the architecture and the way it lights up at night are bonuses and make for stunning photography.

Customs House Museum exhibit showing how water enters and exits residential houses
Customs House Museum exhibit explaining how electricity reaches residential housing
Customs House Museum exhibit explaining the architecture of the Customs House
Customs House Museum exhibit showing how food gets from farm to table

For kids, two unique features particularly stand out. The first takes a child through learning how a community is formed. Think…where does our water come from? How do we construct a building and equip it with electricity? How do we get our food from farm to table? All of these things are shown and explained at a child’s learning level and are even quite interesting for adults.

Customs House Museum Bubble Cave with its orange walls and floors and light aqua water/bubble tanks

I have a confession to make. My inner kid truly came out at the Customs House, and the Bubble Cave (the second unique feature) mesmerized me. How much fun are all these bubbles? Well…they may or may not have had to make me leave this room…🤷🏻‍♀️😇

Austin Peay State University

panoramic shot of the yellow, red, white, and orange Austin Peay State University mural in Clarksville Tennessee

No visit to Clarksville is complete without seeing Austin Peay State University. I’m betting you either haven’t heard of it or had no idea where it was until right now. Am I on point? Well, now you know!

APSU features options of a major university yet presents them with a small, college-town feel. Named for the former governor of Tennessee, Austin Peay, the school offers 125 undergraduate and 50 graduate fields of study!

Dunbar Cave State Park

entrance to Dunbar Cave surrounded by grass, moss, and many trees in Clarksville Tennessee

One of the more fascinating parts of Clarksville is Dunbar Cave State Park. Dating back to prehistoric times, the 144-acre park features 14th-century Mississippian Native American cave art.

pointing out the Mississippian Native American cave art exposed by red light in Dunbar Cave State Park in Clarksville Tennessee
closeup of Mississippian Native American cave art exposed by red light in Dunbar Cave in Clarksville

On a tour of this impressive site, I was fascinated to see the ancient drawings and hear the guide explain all they have learned about the people through these drawings. While no one knows what the drawings themselves mean, they are protected and, today, are sacred to indigenous people in the area.

grand, elaborate stalagmite and stalactite formations in Dunbar Cave in Clarksville Tennessee

Dunbar Cave features impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The photos don’t do it justice as lighting is by flashlight only. At one point, we turned all flashlights off to experience what it is like to be in complete darkness!

cute, tiny brown salamander with black spots against the gray, wet cave ground in Dunbar Cave
a small frog inside Dunbar Cave in Clarksville Tennessee

Watch where you step. I almost died when I realized how close I came to stepping on both these cuties!

TIP: Wear a jacket inside the cave. It stays fairly cool year-round.

Street Art

colorful mural with a geometric hand and the words "Downtown Clarksville Tennessee" to the left of balloons that spell out Clarksville in different colors

Note: Unfortunately, this particular mural is no longer present as it was temporary for a special event.

One of my favorite things to see when traveling? Street art or murals! Clarksville has an impressive amount of them relative to its size.

red train mural painted on a light beige brick background with the title of "last train to clarksville"

Photo courtesy of Visit Clarksville

This “Last Train to Clarksville” is one of the newer murals on the block. Find it next to 136 Commerce Street!

"Clarksville's Starry Nights" mural with blue swirls, yellow stars and moon and two iconic Clarksville buildings

The artists’ talent never ceases to amaze me, and there’s usually an interesting backstory and meaning to how each one came into existence. More on this later on…

Beachaven Vineyards and Winery

Heather from Trimm Travels in a pink rain jacket standing in front of a colorful Beachaven Vineyards and Winery sign.

For a fun day trip any time of year, consider visiting Beachaven Vineyards and Winery. This family-owned winery has been around for over 35 years. However, the family has made award-winning wines using Tennessee fruit for over 50 years!

I was particularly impressed with the different options Beachaven offers for an authentic experience. Whether you wish to have a single tasting, try an entire flight, or do both with a behind-the-scenes tour, they cover it all!

closeup of a wine glass engraved with Beachaven Vineyards logo and a half empty peach bottle of wine beside it
closeup of Heather from Trimm Travels tasting wine at Beachaven Vineyards and Winery
closeup of three people holding wine glasses up together in a cheers formation at Beachaven

We had the opportunity to try a few different wines and I surprised myself. Only one year prior, I took a wine-tasting trip to Napa where I started to appreciate wine for the first time. Although still quite green, I felt I knew a little more about what I was doing and about the tasting process. Therefore, I was able to appreciate Beachaven wines all the more!

TIP: Prices for all flights and tastings are VERY affordable. I highly recommend the flight which comes out slightly cheaper and features larger samples.

NOTE: Prices at the time of article publishing and subject to change.

multiple, tall, silver winery tanks at Beachaven Vineyards and Winery
holding up a wine glass with the Beachaven logo holding white wine against the blurred background of the winery tanks

We also toured the winery, learned the Beachaven process, and got an up-close look at ALL the things!

sign with "champagne cellar" hanging underneath a staircase leading up as you go down to the cellar at Beachaven in Clarksville Tennessee
multiple bins of countless full, unlabeled bottles of red wine lined up in creative patterns
closeup of countless full, unlabeled red wine bottles

On weekends from April to October, try Music on the Lawn and enjoy live music and food trucks. The rest of the year features happy hours and other seasonal events.

TIP: If you don’t have time to jet out to the main location, Beachaven recently opened Beachaven Downtown, a tasting room located on the corner across the street from The Roxy!

Downtown Commons

The Downtown Commons is an area for Clarksville residents to gather and features historical markers, public art installations, and the Tennessee Discovery Trail. The space hosts various events throughout the year and encourages a relaxed atmosphere.

night shot of Downtown Commons in Clarksville Tennessee with blue lights, round art installations against a church

Clarksville’s Downtown Commons quickly became a top favorite of mine, especially at night. I thoroughly loved the lighting and the installations. Together with the backdrop of the church, it just made for cool, nighttime photography!

closeup of spherical, cast-iron sculpture lit up with blue lights in Clarksville Tennessee's Downtown Commons

This was perhaps one of my favorite photos I took during my time in Clarksville. This is Window to the World, located in Downtown Commons. It is an eight-foot cast-iron sculpture designed to mimic the windows of the First Presbyterian Church across the street. Isn’t it gorgeous at night?

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Public Art Installations

iron statue of a man sitting on an aqua bench with the spring blossoming trees and orange building in the background in Clarksville

Back to street art. If you haven’t already noticed, Clarksville holds art very close to its heart. In turn, Clarksville stays close to my heart. Nothing speaks to me louder than a city that shows its love for art. Whether that’s sculptures, street art, or water features, Clarksville has it!

colorful, geometric open hand mural with "Downtown Clarksville Tennessee" carved above it

TIP: Clarksville is a city I would travel to for its public art alone. Be sure to complete the Public Art challenge, one of the impressive 18 Clarksville challenge trails!

Historic Collinsville

pioneer times kitchen table set with two reenactment actors in costume standing around it

Clarksville, Tennessee has so many unique activities and Historic Collinsville is another highlight. Wind back time to the 1800s and experience an authentic “hands-on” approach to how settlers lived. This was the desire and creative vision of JoAnn and Glenn Weakley.

In 1974, the Weakleys embarked on the adventure of authentically restoring log cabins and outhouses to preserve memories and life experiences of how ancestors lived. Today, Historic Collinsville is owned by Montgomery County Government and operated by Visit Clarksville.

Plan your visit and enjoy guided tours by historical interpreters. See Mr. Glen’s impressive arrowhead collection that he found onsite and Mrs. JoAnn’s extensive quilt collection. Their attention to detail truly brought the entire vision to reality and is one of the many things to do in Clarksville Tennessee that shouldn’t be missed!

holding up a small jar with silver lid of homemade butter against green grass backdrop
closeup of open jar of homemade butter on a wooden table

TIP: Have you ever made butter? I hadn’t and it made a lasting impression on me! If I could recommend ONE thing at Historic Collinsville, it would be to add on butter making for only $1 more!

River City Clay

closeup of two male hands spinning a tall bowl on a pottery wheel

Yet another art form proudly exhibited in Clarksville, a visit to River City Clay is a must! Born out of the pandemic to combine their common interests, Ken Shipley, a former APSU art professor, and his wife, Melody, opened River City Clay in downtown Clarksville.

Mr. Ken Shipley from River City Clay standing with arms crossed surrounded by pottery-making paraphernalia in his studio

Internationally recognized potters, the couple has a combined 80 years of experience! We met Mr. Ken and watched him expertly (and seemingly effortlessly) make masterpieces right before us. He patiently answered all of our questions and had a gentle yet intriguing manner reflecting his former art professor status. I could have listened to him for hours!

Interested in trying your hand at pottery? Take a single nighttime workshop. Interested in learning pottery? Sign up for an 8-week course. All skill levels are welcome!

TIP: If you can’t do a workshop or class, you can purchase one of their many masterpieces to take home for decor!

Old Glory Distilling Company

red letters spelling out "Old Glory Distilling Co" on top of a brown and white brick building against a blue post-storm sky in Clarskville Tennessee

With each activity in this post, I find myself saying, “This was a favorite”. I have lots of them which is a tribute to Clarksville and indicative of just how much fun I truly had! Obviously, our night at Old Glory Distilling Company will always stand out in my mind.

view of the front of the brown brick Old Glory Distilling Co building with parking lot in front against a cloudy, rainy, stormy sky

Why? Because. Because this small-batch Tennessee bourbon distillery kept the surprises coming all night long. Not just a distillery, Old Glory also functions as an event space and has a restaurant and silo park. We got the opportunity to attend a private party in the event space and it was nothing short of spectacular!

But, more on that in a moment.

distillery barrel with different types of alcohol labels filled with the different types of corn used to make them

First, tour Old Glory Distilling Company and see how it makes its bourbon, whiskey, gin, vodka, and moonshine! Born and raised in Clarksville, Matt (how he likes to be addressed) started the company when he was just 22 years old. He is quick to say that this isn’t his distillery but Clarksville’s distillery as he wanted to create something the city would be proud of.

While I can’t speak for the citizens of Clarksville (since I am not one), I hope (and think) they would say he nailed it. I certainly think so and it’s a spectacular activity to add to any Clarksville itinerary!

TIP: Conducted daily tours can be booked online. All participants must wear closed-toe shoes. Also, those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

looking across a room with several couches, chairs, tables, and small stage at The Venue at Old Glory Distilling Co

After the tour, we attended an event that night. We enjoyed handcrafted cocktails with in-house spirits, a giant, multi-table buffet, and live music for entertainment.

short cocktail glass with a yellow-ish cocktail and red layer on the bottom, cherry floating on top and black cocktail straw sitting on brown table corner
short cocktail glass with orange-yellow-brown liquid, foamy top and dried peach slice along with a black cocktail straw on a brown table corner

I had the Pineapple Rum Punch from the craft cocktail menu and the Peach Bourbon Tea from the Signature Cocktails menu. They were both fantastic but my favorite was the Pineapple Rum Punch. Equally as delectable was the over-the-top impressive buffet!

red sign with "Reception" that goes on to list the night's schedule and entertainment with The Venue in the background

While we were dining, drinking, and mingling, the entertainment began. I had previously seen who it was on the program and was super excited.

Former lead singer of Lonestar, Richie McDonald, sang all of the hits he made with the band which just happen to be some of my favorite songs appearing regularly on my playlists!

Richie MacDonald, formerly of Lonestar, on stage playing keyboard and singing one of his hit songs in Clarksville Tennessee

Upon conclusion of his set, I was “amazed” (if you’re a fan you’ll see what I did there 😉) to meet Mr. McDonald! He is as nice as he is talented!

Miss Lucille’s Marketplace

teal, distressed barn doors leading into a booth with southern furniture and products and open beams at Miss Lucille's Marketplace in Clarksville Tennessee

Stop by Miss Lucille’s Marketplace to get your shopping on. This self-proclaimed “eclectic marketplace with over 52,000 square feet of space” is where you want to look for local artisan crafts and quirky, one-of-a-kind items to bring back!

Miss Lucille’s is an antique mall featuring a café, coffee shop, and oh-so-many booths full of some of the coolest unique items I’ve ever seen!

closeup of a booth with cotton at the top and southern made goods at Miss Lucille's Marketplace
closeup of green-gray buffet chest featuring a gold square fringe pillow, a lamp, and a silver plant holder at Miss Lucille's Marketplace
closeupof a circular red woven basket with a small wooden sign sitting inside that said "Mind Your Own Buscuits and Life Will Be Gravy" in it at Miss Lucille's Marketplace

TIP: Perfect for mother/daughter outings, girl’s day outs, bachelorette parties, and family outings to exhaust the kids…🙃

Fort Defiance

Replica of Fort Defiance back during the Civil War era with ships in the river flying American flags

Continuing with the history in Clarksville, Fort Defiance is a Civil War Park and Interpretive Center. Located where the Red and Cumberland Rivers come together, the site was used during the Civil War to set up a fort to detect and defend the river access to Clarksville.

Native Americans were the original inhabitants and white settlers arrived in the late 18th century. The Union captured the fort and occupied it for the remainder of the war. The well-preserved Fort Defiance was donated to the City of Clarksville in 1982, and in 2008, construction began on the 1,500-square-foot Interpretive Center.

overhead shot of Fort Defiance replica from Civil War era times

Today, visitors can view exhibits and learn more about the fort and its role in the Civil War!

Wade Bourne Nature Center

Outside of Wade Bourne Nature Center with brown dirt in front, trees in back against a clear, blue sky in Clarksville Tennessee
Heather from Trimm Travels in a spider man pose on a web net on the outdoor playground at Wade Bourne Nature Center in Clarksville Tennessee

I visited Wade Bourne Nature Center right before I sadly had to depart Clarksville. The photo above should say it all. As you can see, I had a horrible time! 😂 Seriously, the Center is for kids AND kids at heart!

back side view of the Wade Bourne Nature Center with green grass, sidewalk, and outdoor wrap around deck against a blue sky

Clarksville native, Wade Bourne, was an avid outdoorsman. His love for hunting, fishing, and all things nature-oriented were brought to life in the Center bearing his namesake. The Wade Bourne Nature Center promotes conservation and nature education and encourages “embracing life outdoors”.

inside of the kids' area at Wade Bourne Nature Center with green carpet for grass, animals skins, red mushroom table, and a tree on the wall

TIP: This is a great one for the kiddos rain or shine. The nature discovery area is a one-of-a-kind area that teaches children about the world around them!

Tanglewood House

two story white house with dark brown shutters and door, a stone side out front that reads "The Tanglewood House" along with a black iron water fountain against a blue sky in Clarksville Tennessee

While the Tanglewood House isn’t open to public visits, it is available for weddings and events. The venue continues to carry out the vision of Adolf and Phila Hach, which is a “gathering space for life’s most important moments.”

Mrs. Hach was a flight attendant and became a chef. She created the first in-flight catering menu, and flew with many US presidents!

Since 1964, the Tanglewood House has hosted parties, weddings, and other events. They have sizeable indoor and outdoor spaces perfect for a range of guests. The House even offers all-inclusive packages for micro-weddings!

brown wooden dresser with two brown barrels on either side featuring white papercraft pumpkins, three prints of a giant fork, spoon, and knife and a "Sweet Tea" sign hanging above at The Tanglewood House
a silver baking tray lined with parchment paper with 7 circles of raw biscuits cut and ready to be baked
elegant round table display with tables set with black cloth napkins and a 5-piece bluegrass band playing in the background at The Tanglewood House

We ate incredible food, tried our hand at biscuit making, and enjoyed some good old-fashioned bluegrass music!

TIP: The Mad Herbalist is right next door and you can have lunch (Thursday-Sunday, 11a-3p) and see some of Tanglewood’s grounds nearby.

Where to Stay in Clarksville

overhead view of a spacious, king bed hotel room at Holiday Inn Clarksville Northeast

We stayed at this fairly new Holiday Inn on the northeast side of Clarksville. If I’m being honest, it had been a long time since I had stayed at a Holiday Inn so while it was new, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I was pleasantly surprised. The rooms are quite spacious, have nice amenities and touches, and an impressive shower. Bonus is that it’s right down the street from Old Glory Distilling Company! 🙌🏼

Where to Eat in Clarksville

red cocktail with a lemon slice and black cocktail straw sitting on a dark brown table with a yellow and brown lighted bar in the background

Whew, I have a very long list! Clarksville is most definitely a foodie destination. I wrote this separate post to highlight the best of Clarksville eats and treats!

Map It!

Pin It!

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Pinterest graphic of a colorful, geometric open hand mural with overlay of post title "Things to Do in Clarksville Tennessee"
Pinterest graphic with iron statue of man sitting on aqua bench with green grass, canon, and spring blooming trees with overlay of post title "Things to Do in Clarksville Tennesse"

See? I told you this small, southern town really is a powerhouse on the sly! Definitely one of the South’s best-kept secrets. Wouldn’t you agree? Hopefully, this inspires you to visit Clarksville Tennessee, and when you do, I want to know about it!

Have you already beaten me to the punch? If you have visited Clarksville, please drop your best tips and recommendations below. Not only does it help out other travelers but I always learn too. Win-win for everyone!

‘Til next time…

Trimm Travels,

Heather

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10 Comments

    1. Hi Sonia-The public art installations are PLENTIFUL in Clarksville and absolutely amazing on so many aspects. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  1. I had never heard of this city but it definitely looks like it’s worth a visit! Love any winery with music and food trucks!

    1. Hi Kristin-It definitely is the best-kept secret ever, that is no joke! Highly recommend trying it out. Great side trip (or even day trip) from Nashville! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  2. Wow, it feels like you have been there for a week! It looks like a place with a lot of things to do.
    I love how the artistic expression continues leaving marks on the walls – from caves to modern-day streets.
    However, I do need to ask – I understand the attraction of that Champagne Cellar, but please say more about those other bubbles you had fun with – in the museum cave! Are those two tubs filled with soap? Is it a place to blow bubbles? If yes, I can totally understand how immersive that can be!

    1. Hi Ivan-I’m pretty sure I did enough to cover over a week maybe two! LOL! The champagne cellar was in a different location than the bubble cave but yes the tubs are full and there were all kinds of contraptions to make different shaped bubbles. Thanks for pointing that out and thanks for reading! 🙂

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