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by Lauren Means | photos courtesy of Brian Stansberry/Creative Commons

The heat of the summer is finally here. While the temperatures quickly rise, we found a few ways to keep you from overheating. As always, adhere to any safety and social distancing guidelines set forth so that everyone can have an enjoyable experience.

Check Out Breathtaking Waterfalls

Tennessee is home to 800+ waterfalls according to tnlandforms.us, so you’re sure to find one close to you to explore this summer. When you’re hiking these falls, be sure to wear sturdy, weather-appropriate shoes and adhere to all signage and warnings. You should also be sure to check out the forecast before your hike but remember conditions can change at a moment’s notice.

BURGESS FALLS STATE PARK AND NATURAL AREA
Located about 12 miles south of Cookeville in Sparta, Tennessee, Burgess Falls State Park is positioned on the Falling Water River. It’s home to four waterfalls that cascade down from over 250 feet in elevation. CLICK HERE

FALL CREEK FALLS/CANE CREEK FALLS
In Spencer, Tennessee, you’ll find Fall Creek Falls State Park which is one of Tennessee’s largest and most visited state parks. Fall Creek Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States at 256 feet. The park is home to other waterfalls including Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls, and Cane Creek Cascades. CLICK HERE

MACHINE FALLS
A hidden gem tucked away in Tullahoma, Tennessee is in Short Springs Recreational Area. Machine Falls drops more than 60 feet and is nearly equal in length across. While you make the descent down the trail, you can see black Chattanooga shale at mid-slope. This formation separates the Central Basin from the Highland Rim. CLICK HERE

Dive Into a Waterpark

USACE photo by Leon Roberts/creative commons

Tennessee has many water parks to choose from and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy a day on the water.

NASHVILLE SHORES
A wave pool, multiple water slides, a lazy river, a beautiful beach, and more! There’s something for everyone at Nashville Shores. Located on Percy Priest Lake, Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort is only 10 miles from downtown Nashville. More than just a waterpark, it has zip lines and ropes course, RV sites with full hook-ups, jet-ski and pontoon boat rentals and more. CLICK HERE

DOLLYWOOD’S SPLASH COUNTRY
Dollywood’s Splash Country is 35-acres of water park fun located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It offers a variety of water attractions that are fun for the whole family. If water slides aren’t your speed, I would recommend floating down the relaxing 1,500-foot lazy river featuring a cascading 200-foot waterfall that will refresh you as you pass under. CLICK HERE

Step Inside a Cave

Rock Quarry Cave | Brent Moore/Creative Commons

There are numerous caves you can tour across Tennessee and these caves stay cool year-round, usually around 60 degrees — not a bad way to beat the heat. While you can find many traditional caves to explore, we’ve highlighted two that are a little different.

ROCK QUARRY CAVE – ERIN, TENNESSEE
Hidden behind a grocery store in Erin, Tennessee, you’ll find a cavern carved as part of an old limestone quarry. You can go inside and view its massive vaulted ceiling. There’s a pool of water in the cave that continues outside the cave, where it flows into a large pond. You might find a few ducks to feed and there are a few benches scattered around to sit and take in the sights.

BELL WITCH CAVE – ADAMS, TENNESSEE
Anyone who’s spent even a little time in Middle Tennessee has at least heard of the Bell Witch. There’s a story I wasn’t too familiar with about the time the Bell Witch actually saved a child. According to legend, a group of children playing on the farm discovered a 500-foot-long karst cave. During their exploration of the dark cavern, one of the children became stuck in a hole. The child called out for help and the Bell Witch answered “I’ll get him out!” Reportedly, after pulling the child out of the hole, the witch gave the children a quick lesson on safely exploring caves and disappeared again.

Party on a Rooftop Lounge

Now that some restaurants and lounges have opened back up after the COVID-19 quarantine period, you might be able to spend a little time at a rooftop lounge. In recent years, these spaces have become the hotspot for downtown nightlife.

UP
UP is a rooftop lounge perched atop the Fairfield by Marriott in the Gulch and it’s where you’ll find all the ingredients for a memorable outing. From charcuterie boards and burgers to craft beers, wine, and cocktails, you can enjoy rooftop patio seating with the clearest view of the downtown skyline while enjoying your favorite bites. CLICK HERE

L27
Sitting 27 floors high above Nashville’s bustling downtown, L27 is the place to unwind, sip and savor. From light bites to cocktails, you can find the perfect plate to enjoy while taking in the views of downtown. CLICK HERE