Tennessee National Parks

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Tennessee National Parks

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Great Smokey Mountains - National Park Sign
Great Smokey Mountains – National Park Sign

The Tennessee National Parks list includes a 200,000 acre recreational area, Civil War battlefields, the homestead of our 17th President and the most visited National Park in the National Park system!

Tennessee is bordered by the Mississippi River to the west and the Appalachian Mountains 450 miles to the east.  It cover 2 time zones (Eastern & Central) and is bordered by 8 states! (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia).  Tennessee is also home to the longest continuously running live radio show, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, which has been on since November 28, 1925.

Tennessee is a beautiful state and beyond the National Park sites, it has other cultural treasures and state parks work visiting.


Tennessee National Park Sites:

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site: Located in Greenville, Tennessee, this site is the homestead of our 17th President, before and after his presidency.  The historic site also includes a Andrew Johnson National Cemetery, and the site of his burial.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area: Encompassing over 125,000 acres, this Tennessee National Park Service site protects the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River.  You can see miles of sandstone bluffs and the many tributaries that run across the Cumberland Plateau.  Located in northeastern Tennessee, part of the site is in McCreary County, Kentucky.

Fort Donelson National Battlefield: The site of an early battle in the Civil War and a significant victory for the Union.  In February, 1862 Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant, along with Andrew H. Foote’s ironclad gunboat fleet overtook Forts Donelson & Fort Henry, controlling the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers and shutting off a major industrial supply route to the Confederate Army.  Ulysses’ quote of “No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.” earned him famed notoriety.  He would go onto victories at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga and promote his way to Commander of the union Army where he would accept Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in 1865, and become President of the United States in 1869.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park   The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited National Park in the U.S., and has over 800 square miles of beautiful Appalachian mountains to explore!  From the Roaring Forks Motor Nature Trail to Clingman’s Dome, there are several waterfall hikes and other trails.  The towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge also offer family entertainment and dining options.  Our Gatlinburg whitewater rafting trip was incredible!

Obed Wild and Scenic River: Maintained by the National Park Service, the Obed River is 45 miles in length with rock cliffs rising as high as 200 feet from the bank.  Outdoor enthusiasts come to Obed for fishing, bird watching, camping, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing.  There is a National Park Service Visitor Center located in Wartburg, TN.

Shiloh National Military Park: The Shiloh National Military Park consists of the Shiloh Battlefield, Shiloh National Cemetery, Shiloh Indian Mounds, Corinth Battlefield, and David Fields Battlefield.  On April 6, 1862 the battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest battle on American soil in its time.  More than 23,000 combined casualties resulted in what would eventually be the Union Army maintaining their position in Tennessee.

Stones River National Battlefield: Located in Rutherford County, Tennessee, this 570-acre battlefield bears significance in that the Union Army, commanded by William Rosecrans, repelled fierce Confederate attacks by Braxton Bragg’s forces to maintain control of central Tennessee.   It was a very bloody battle and inflicted heavy casualties on both sides – over 24,000 killed, wounded, and missing soldiers combined.

 


Tennessee’s State Parks

The Tennessee State Park system manages over 200,000 acres of park land, contained in 56 state parks.  Their website is very useful, as it has a location map that you can click on for these sites and make reservations relevant to each site.  Make a reservation for one of the 624 rooms in their 6 inns, or one of the 3,600 campsites located at 36 campgrounds.  The parks also are home to 8 parks, 9 golf courses, 4 marinas, 27 swimming pools, and 366 cabins.

 

Our Family Recommends:

1.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park

2.  Gatlinburg Whitewater Rafting on the Upper Pigeon River

3.  Gatlinburg Cabins – get a place with a view!

4.  Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Show

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