Sure, Tennessee is technically landlocked. Luckily we’ve pulled together a cross-section of our seven favorite places to experience water in nature (not just that turquoise stuff with a concrete bottom), whether you want to swim, paddle, fish, or just hike along the shore with epic water views. All of our picks, from east to west, are close enough to Nashville that you’ll spend less time in your car getting there and more time actually at—and on, and in—the water.
East Bank Landing — 2 Victory Ln, Nashville
In September 2015, Metro Parks opened East Bank Landing, a two-plus-acre park on the banks of the Cumberland River in the shadow of Nissan Stadium. Yes, there was a park there before, but now it features a grassy slope and a car turnaround at the top. So, this new version makes it a whole lot easier to load and unload kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards and get into the river, a shimmery view of the skyline in clear sight (when there’s not an event at the stadium, of course).
Almost immediately after its opening, this became the coveted selfie spot for urban paddlers. It’s also designed to be a great spectator spot, with another two acres at street level. Hang out here to watch the Cumberland River Dragon Boat Festival on September 9, which benefits the Cumberland River Compact. For a longer paddle, have a friend drop you off at the boat ramp at Shelby Bottoms and pick you up here. Also, later this summer, a revived McGavock Pike launch is scheduled to be open. Get in there, and take off at East Bank downtown.