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Clarksville, Tennessee is an utterly charming small town just north of Nashville. As we travel each year from Florida to Michigan, it made the perfect stop at the halfway point of our trip. This year we stayed in Clarksville and explored the town. We found it full of history, culture, delicious dining, and active nature. Check out these things to do in Clarksville and enjoy a beautiful new town to explore.
Visit Clarksville invited us as press to explore the city. All opinions are my own.
About Clarksville, Tennessee
Located along a hook in the Cumberland River, Clarksville was once an important location in the development of Tennessee and opening up the west in the new America.
Since we’re talking rivers and rolling hills, it stands to reason there are a lot of nature-related things to do in Clarksville.
- Dunbar Cave – Dunbar Cave State Park is a cave system near Clarksville. You can visit and walk the trails and go near the cave, but I highly recommend getting a guided tour. Inside you’ll find remnants of Mississippian Native American markings.
- Kings Bluff – This rock climbing park is open to the public, though it would appear closed off and gated. The Southeastern Climbers Coalition requires your email address to get a gate code and it’s well worth it just to hike the trails. Do not climb unless you’re experienced and have the right gear.
Because of it’s proximity to the Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers, Clarksville became an important military location throughout American history. In fact, nearby Fort Campbell is still in operation today.
To get a taste of the rich and diverse history of Clarksville, Tennessee, add these places to your list.
- Customs House – The Customs House is quite an extraordinary building and museum and could truly fit in any category. It’s family-friendly with active hands-on fun. Yet I feel it’s full of history. It’s an ornate multi-architectural style building, chronicling the history of Clarksville as well as its people. Originally a post office and customs house, the general interest museum showcases the postmaster’s office, with history of the area, a Memory Lane with war memorabilia, art from local artist, a playroom for kids. It truly has a surprise around every corner.
- Fort Defiance Civil War Park – Because of it’s location on a hill overlooking the river, Fort Defiance played an important part in the Civil War. Not a typical stone or wood fort, this was an underground earthen fort built into the hill. The area has a historical center and walking trails.
- Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement – One of the largest, most outfitted pioneer settlements we’ve visited, the Historic Collinsville area is worth the 25-minute drive out of the city. 18 restored log homes and buildings, Historic Collinsville was once a loving project of JoAnn Weakley, a descendant of one of the homes. Be sure to check out any special events that add more excitement to this area.
Because it’s in Tennessee, Clarksville is a great place for activity. Enjoy all four seasons and mild weather most of the year.
- Walking Tour of Downtown
- Walk, Run or Bike the Cumberland Riverwalk
- Rotary Park – playgrounds and paved walking trails, and a mountain bike trail
- Take in any active pursuit downtown and rent a B-Cycle
- Don’t wait to do the outside rock climbing at King’s Bluff, check out the Clarksville Climbing Indoor Gym.
- Kayak the Cumberland River
- Ice Skate in the Commons in Winter
Clarksville is rated one of the top small towns in the US that are drawing in artists. Making this a perfect place to dive into some culture.
- Statue Hunt – There are a number of famous folks and artistic statues throughout Clarksville. Go on a Statue Hunt
- See a Play at Historic Roxy Regional Theater
- Paint your own pottery at Horsefeather’s Pottery Studio
Yes, I look at dining as a thing to do, especially because dining in Clarksville is an event. These are worth adding into your day.
These are located downtown:
- Yada Yada Yada Deli
- Roux Americajun – Find the Speakeasy entrance
- Blackhorse Brewery
- Strawberry Alley Ale Works – Upstairs – This is an event unto itself with games located throughout the upstairs.
- Fuel Icecream
Located in Clarksville and worth the drive:
- Choppin’ Block – Can’t get better than fresh from the butcher!
- Liberty Park Grill – take in the sunset on the patio after a day of kayaking.
- The Catfish House
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Riverview Inn right in downtown Clarksville. The location can’t be beaten as it’s walking distance to every downtown restaurant, the common square, and shopping. The rooms are a bit dated and the indoor pool is closed until further notice. However, the view of the river is extraordinary and the free hot breakfast is good.
Find other Clarksville Hotels by searching here.