You've got to try this at least once......
Top spots in Tennessee to get your Outdoor Gear
By Ashleigh Gallop
The beautiful weather and amazing landscapes of our great state leaves you no excuse to stay indoors…..so get out of the house and take advantage of all Tennessee has to offer. Across our astounding state there’s so much to see and do. We hope this list provides a little inspiration for the nature lover in all of us.
Gator Brown’s Bait and Tackle
Have you ever wanted to spend time in 4,500 acres of green space? Visit Shelby Farms Park in Memphis. This park has more than 20 bodies of water offering fishing opportunities for everyone from beginners to the professional angler. You’ll need to be fully stocked and ready to catch some Catfish, Bream or Bass. Make sure you visit Gator Brown’s Bait and Tackle in Memphis before you go. This great local store pours their own lead weights, repairs and sells rods and reels, and would love to trade fishing “lies” with you. Something you just can’t find at the big box stores.
Cumberland Transit and Binks Outfitters
If you’re looking for a day on the hiking trails, look no further than Middle Tennessee. Only 30 minutes from Nashville some of the most beautiful areas the state can be found. Try Randor Lake; it’s a great spot for beginners and avid hikers alike. An easy 1.4 mile trail will give you a great view of the lake, and the Garnier Ridge or South Cove trails provide a vigorous yet rewarding path. Before you leave, stop into Cumberland Transit and Binks Outfitters, both located in the Nashville area. Make sure you pick up a multi-tool and buy a Yeti Rambler at Cumberland Transit to stay hydrated, and some Merrell hiking boots at Binks Outfitters before you begin your trek.
Starr Mountain Outfitters
Interested in hitting the hiking trails of the beautiful Cherokee National Forest? First stop into Starr Mountain Outfitters in Etowah. Located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Cherokee National Forest provides some beautiful views and stunning wildlife. With two extensive trail systems, Tanasi and Chilhowee, you’ll have more than 40 miles of trails for your "Wandering" adventure. Starr Mountain Outfitters in Etowah can help you get all the gear you need before you head out. Hydration pack, gloves, and the right shoes are top on the list to buy from Starr Mountain before you head out.
Rock Creek Outfitters and Trek Bicycle Store
Harrison Bay State Park is less than 20 miles from downtown Chattanooga and offers a great destination for water lovers and nature enthusiasts in Tennessee. This oldest state park in Tennessee has been around since the 1930’s. Before launching into the Chickamauga Lake, hit one of the two Rock Creek Outfitters locations for your kayaking gear. Named in the top 2 for paddle shops in the country, you can get a 10% discount on accessories when you buy a kayak. If you’re interested in riding the 4.5 mile bike loop along the shoreline, stop into Trek Bicycle Store on the Northshore. Whether you are looking for a commuter bike, something for heavy off road cycling, or both, the great team at this store will make you their number one priority….just don’t forget the helmet too!
Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC)
There’s no better place for camping than our Great Smoky Mountains. Heading out to see Cades Cove and Rainbow Falls is a great day in the mountains, but before packing it in for the night you’ll need to stop into Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). With a location right in Gatlinburg, NOC is the nation’s largest outdoor gear company. They will be happy to help supply you with tents, sleeping bags, camping kitchens and so much more. Master guides are there to answer questions or plan your next outdoor adventure, too. Just don’t leave without an Eno Hammock…..the only way to enjoy your night sleeping under the stars!
Ashleigh Gallop is a guest blogger from Chattanooga. Follow her on Instagram, @as_drake
10 Spots to Wander by Ashleigh Gallop
Our story of Tennessee is told one picture at a time, and the road in Chattanooga is paved with many of those pictures. Here’s our idea of a great Saturday in the ‘Nooga.
The Bitter Alibi
Their tag line….YOU WERE WITH US THE WHOLE TIME. Hoping it’s not your excuse from the night before, make sure you make it to The Bitter Alibi for breakfast to start your day. Open at 9am, their Breakfast Menu is the best in town. Serving local fruits, veggies and Niedlov’s Bread, make sure you try the Cumberbatch and wash it down with the Wake N Bacon.
Now on to our next spot. Arrive right after breakfast to avoid the crowds. Featuring a River Journey and Ocean Journey in two separate buildings, the Tennessee Aquarium is a MUST SEE. Rated as the best aquarium in America, guests can enjoy otters to penguins, butterflies to sharks, and frogs to jellyfish, all while overlooking the Tennessee River. Their mission: inspire wonder, appreciation, and protection of water and all life that it sustains.
Walnut Street Bridge
Once you’ve finished at the Aquarium, take the Walnut Street Bridge to the North Shore. It’s a great stroll and even better view of our beautiful city. Over 100 years old, the “Chattanooga Walking Bridge” is a MUST DO for Chattanooga. Restored in 1993, the pedestrian bridge links the Arts District with our North Shore. From public parks to pedestrian walkways, there are shops and restaurants galore on either end of the bridge. This is a popular spot to relax and enjoy our wonderful city!
River Street Deli/Clumpies
Once on the North Shore, it’s time to hit River Street Deli for lunch. This true New York style deli has a unique and delicious menu that everyone will love. What to order? You’ll never go wrong with the daily special. After lunch, head up the stairs to Clumpies to cool off with a scoop or two of ice cream. Each flavor is hand made in small batches so you get the richest and creamiest scoop of ice cream each time. Our favorite: Firecracker…. It’s Tutti Frutti ice cream with Pop-Rocks!
As you make your way back toward the walking bridge, head into Blue Skies. An independent and local store, they sell artisan jewelry, funky purses, baby gifts, paper goods, and so much more. You won’t find their items at any big box store, and the gift wrapping is always free!
Carousel @ Coolldge Park
Don’t cross the river just yet. Stop at Coolidge Park first. Here you can play in the interactive water fountain, enjoy the beautiful views of our Tennessee River and ride a giraffe on the 100 year old restored antique carousel. Have a seat in the large grassy area and relax and enjoy the day.
Hunter Museum of Art
The Downtown side of the Walnut Street Bridge will lead you on a glass walking bridge to the next stop for the day. The Hunter Museum of Art houses American art from the Colonial period to present in a beautiful building with mountain and river views. Some of the artists represented are Winslow Homer and Andy Warhol. A family friendly gallery that everyone will enjoy. And, don’t forget that on the first Thursday of every month, admission is free.
Bluff View Art District-Tony’s
To finish off your day, the Bluff View Art District is right next to the museum. There you can stroll through the gardens of this 1.5 block bluff-top, art district that overlooks the river. After browsing the vast array of visual and horticultural art, have dinner at Tony’s Pasta Shop and Trattoria. Old world Italian food is sure to please the entire family. Bread from the nearby Bluff View Bakery is served, and the Lobster Ravioli is to die for.
Don’t head home just yet without stopping into Puckett’s for dessert. This restaurant that started as a grocery store back in the 50’s gives you a taste of true southern hospitality and great entertainment. You can enjoy live music every Saturday night. So sit back, listen and have a piece of Moon Pie Banana Pudding or Homemade Cobbler of the day.
Ashleigh Gallop is a blogger from Chattanooga. Follow her on Instagram, @as_drake
Tennessee's top places to see in the Spring
In the near future we will launch our new T-Shirt line, Tri-Star Adventures. The initial design acompanies Instagram Tennessee's love of photography with the Tri-Star Adventures spirit of wanderlust. That spirit of adventure inspired this blog post as we highlight some of our favorite places across the Volunteer State.
Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls is Tennessee's largest and most visited State Park. The park is located in Pikeville, TN and is around a 2 hour drive from Nashville or Knoville and is about an hour and 15 minutes from Chattanooga. The dramatic 256 foot waterfall is the highest free-fall waterfall east of the Mississippi River and it gives the park its name. This is a must see, so be sure to go after a few days of rain for even better photos. The park also offers over 50 miles of hiking and biking trails. Make time to check out the Cane Creek suspension bridge that is over 150 feet long located near the nature center.
For more information check out Friends of Fall Creek Falls.
Lookout Mountain, TN is a fantastic place to spend a spring day. Park in Historic St. Elmo at the base of the mountain and ride the Incline Railway to the top of the mountain. Commonly reffered to as "America's most Amazing Mile" the incline Railway offers riders a unique experience up the mountain. Once at the top, don't forget to take in the view from the observation deck and then walk a few blocks down the street to Point Park. Point Park is part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Civil War Battlefield. Here in November of 1863 the "Battle above the clouds" was fought. Be sure to check out the Visitor's center to learn more about the battle and take the short hike to take in the views of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River Valley.
At 6643 feet Clingmans Dome is Tenneessee's highest point and is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy the breathtaking views as you drive through the park and be sure to pull off at some of the overlooks. The road to Clingmans Dome ends in a large parking lot, from here a strenuous half mile hike awaits to reach the summit. The trail is paved, but can be quite steep at times and temperatures often vary 10 - 20 degrees from nearby lowlands so bring a jacket and water. The cool wet conditions near the summit actually make the area you are hiking through a coniferous rainforest. An observation tower at the summit offers you 360 views that can stretch 100 miles on a clear day. If possible, try to make the trek for sunrise or sunset and tag your photos #InstagramTennesse.
Tennessee is home to 56 beautiful state parks. This week Radnor Lake State Park in Nashville was named Tennessee's park of the year.
This is the highest award given to a State Park. To be nominated for this award Parks must meet specific criteria including excellence in ares of innovation, interpretation and resource management in addition to fiscal responsibility.
In 2015, Radnor Lake had over One million visitors. They also offered over 600 programs to the community including wildflower hikes, canoe floats, and birds of prey and reptile programs.
Recent additions to the park were made possible through a $40,000 grant to assist resource management projects including adding 33 acres to the park, opening a new aviary, and a new observation deck on the lake.
For more information on Radnor Lake, click here.
Radnor Lake, Burgess Falls, and Rock Island are a few of the more popularly tagged state parks on Instagram Tennessee. What's your favorite?