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Best Things to Do in Clarksville, TN

Best Things to Do in Clarksville, TN

Clarksville is a city at the confluence of the Red and Cumberland Rivers, and currently the fifth-largest city in the state of Tennessee. Located less than an hour north-west of Nashville, Clarksville was known for Tobacco trade in the early years, and home to Acme Boots, the world’s largest cowboy boot maker from the 1940s-80s. Clarksville has changed since those days, and today is a growing city with impressive art, culture, and historical offerings. Here are the best things to do in Clarksville, TN, that I enjoyed.

god-bless-clarksville-mural

Beachaven Vineyards & Winery

Beachaven Vineyards & Winery isn’t a wine bar that sprung up after the popularity over the past couple of years. This deeply-rooted Clarksville winery has been producing award-winning wines since. The tasting room and property is gorgeous, and if you are like us, you will want to take your wine flight outside to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

beachaven-winery-and-tasting-room

The wines my husband and I chose to share were Barrelhead Red and Tempo, a soft red blend, (his), 101st/Melody and Harmony for me. The 101st/Melody is a Gewurtraminer wine flavored with tropical fruits. It was very enjoyable and an easy drinking wine, but Harmony, a riesling with black cherry and limited seasonal release, was excellent.

beachaven-award-winning-wines-and-owner

Shopping

If you are in need of sprucing up your wardrobe or just need a good rainy day activity, you can shop for hours at Governor’s Square Mall. Belk is the anchor department store. On Wilma Rudolph Blvd, you will find just about anything ever needed. When in Tennessee, a pair of boots is almost a necessity, and those can easily be found. 

shopping-in-clarksville-tn

An Impressive Food and Beverage Scene

You’ll find delicious and trendy eateries in Clarksville, both sit-down and fast-food, plus a distillery (Old Glory) and seven craft breweries. That’s huge for a city this size. Breweries include King’s Bluff, Clarksville Brewery, Blackhorse Pub & Brewery (closed due to fire, but reopening soon), Gladiator, Strawberry Alley Ale Works, and Star Spangled Brewing Company.

strawberry-alley-ale-beer-and-fish-tacos

For a complete restaurant guide to Clarksville, check out this post.

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Austin Peay University

Situated on 200 acres, the university has approximately 10,000 students and is situated on 200 acres. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Historical Offerings

About twenty minutes outside of town is the Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement, a look at 19th-century (1830-1870) plantation life through 16 restored log homes and structures that transform 40 rural acres. A few of my favorites, especially to photograph were the blacksmith shop, tobacco barn, and cobbler’s shop.

historic-collinsville-1850s-house

Surprising, the main houses are filled with period antiques, which was quite surprising to me since the doors were open to the elements. The settlement is open May through October, but there are seasonal events for Easter.

Pick up a guide sheet from the Visitor Center check-in and use the QR reader to learn about each property. This is as tech-savvy as it gets!

historic-collinsville-pioneer-building

Customs House Museum and Cultural Center

Clarksville’s incredible history is housed in a unique building with both permanent and temporary exhibits. Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is 56,000 square-feet to get lost in, learn about the city and its history, or bring the kids to enjoy the hands-on offerings and Bubble Cave.

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One thing you won’t want to miss at the Customs House Museum is the massive train display. I also thoroughly enjoyed the precious porcelain pieces in the Lucy Dunwody Boehm collection. Other points of interest are the McGregor’s Market, lego wall, and puppet shows.

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glass-collection-inside-customs-house-museum

Dunbar Cave State Park

I had heard of Dunbar Cave State Park for thirty years and never really understood it until I visited the Customs House Museum and watched a film about it. I won’t share the whole story with you, but know that this 144 acre park is an amazing place to discover.

Years ago, a popular hotel was on the property but burned down in the 1950s. Roy Acuff, a county music legend, purchased it and turned it into a venue for music festivals and shows. Big names like Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman were often the entertainers.

Today, Dunbar Cave State Park is a wonderful place to walk, hike, jog, or take a seasonal cave tour. Tours run from May through early to mid September. Wear a jacket as the temperatures are a constant 58-degrees. Closed toe shoes are required and a flashlight is recommended.

Fun Fact: This is the only place you can tour a cave in Tennessee.

Historic and Beautiful Buildings

Downtown Clarksville is dotted with amazing historical and beautiful buildings. You will want to bring your camera and wander the streets by foot to see the best of them. The history wall is really beautiful, with a stunning contemporary sculpture.

clarksville-history-wall

A few other noteworthy sculpture are the Children’s Fountain at Strawberry Alley, The Day After between Second and Commerce Streets, and Frank Sutton (Sgt. Carter from Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.) on Franklin Street.

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downtown-clarksville-statues-and-fountain

The Montgomery County Courthouse, from the 1800s but remodeled and restored after the 1999 tornado, and is another building of beauty. I also like to seek out murals and the Starry Night and God Bless Clarksville were my faves.

clarksville-tennesee-courthouse

Roxy Regional Theatre

The Roxy Regional Theatre is an iconic movie house that has the classic marquee neon sign that has been photographed in downtown Clarksville for years. Providing live professional theatre and musicals, the theatre is affordable, comfortable, and has impressive shows to choose from. I took in a performance of All Shook Up and it was sensational! The entertainers had us all singing and dancing in our chairs.

all-shook-up-cast-the-roxy

Parks

I was pretty shocked to find two state parks and 30 local parks in Clarksville. Some were perfect for picnicking or riding bikes, while others had qr readers on the different trees to plant identification. You’ll even find a splash pad and water sports at a few of them. The most famous of the parks, Fort Defiance Civil War Park, has weaponry for viewing and an interpretive center. The Clarksville Marina is another pretty park to go for a walk and enjoy nature.

clarksville-marina

I thoroughly enjoyed the Liberty Park Trails, with a huge selection of trees that are marked clearly for identification and education, such as gingko and common bald cypress. Trails here range from .67 (Wetlands Stroll Route) of a mile to 3.21 (Liberty Rim Extensive Route) for the longest one.

liberty-park-trails-trees-and-ducks

Where to Stay in Clarksville

Chain hotels run the gamut from Best Western Plus, Country Inn & Suites, and Hilton Garden Inn to Towneplace Suites and Tru by Hilton. We have stayed at them all over the years coming to see family, friends, and attend funerals.

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On this particular visit, we parked our RV at the adorable Clarksville RV Park and Campground at exit 1. The campground has over 50 spots for RVing, tent camping, and cabin rentals. There is a dog park, playground, a really nice pool and pavilion, plus a huge fire pit and conversation area with rustic furniture and swings.

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