Nashville City Guide

Relaxing & Unwinding in Nashville

©2006 Byron JorJorian You'll find scores of unique animals at the Nashville Zoo.

Nashville can be an ideal place for some laidback moments if you know where to go. The pace can be slower here at times, so you can take it even easier on a vacation. Nobody is in a rush going through the wildflowers in April, when they have a spa treatment in June, diving into a pool in August, or looking at the fall foliage in October.

The Nashville area is filled with numerous state parks, botanical gardens, and plantation grounds that are great for strolling on a nice afternoon. It might seem tough to imagine, but Nashville also has its share of golf courses and biking opportunities.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Relaxing & Unwinding in Nashville

Insider's Guide: The Best of Relaxing & Unwinding in Nashville

For a personal retreat, Scarritt Bennett Center (1008 19th Ave S) is like a slice of heaven. At the Gothic-like cathedral with dormitories, you can meditate. And just having a quiet lunch in its Dining Hall is tranquil. Walk in its outdoor labyrinth at the gardens, or get a deep-tissue massage in your room. Scarritt Bennett also has "Taize" music and prayer to "quiet the mind, open the heart, and feed the soul." What is offered is non-denominational, but you can talk with advisors about your beliefs.

Radnor Lake State Natural Area (1160 Otter Creek Rd) includes 1,100 acres of forest preserves with an 85-acre lake and some of the highest hills in the Nashville Basin. The area provides scenic, biological, and geological areas for hiking, observation, photography, and studying nature.

Old Hickory Lake (6 miles northeast of Nashville on Cumberland Dr) is a 22,000-acre lake with 440 miles of shoreline, eight marinas, and many opportunities for riding a pleasure boat, sailboat, or personal watercraft.

J Percy Priest Lake (3737 Bell Rd, 11 miles east of Nashville off of Interstate 40) is the place for waterskiing, fishing, boating, and picknicking. You can also tour a visitor center.

The Cheekwood Botanical Garden (1200 Forest Park Dr) includes 55 acres with five gardens specializing in dogwood, wildflowers, herbs, daffodils, roses, and tulips. A Botanic Hall has an atrium of tropical flora and changing plant exhibits.

Tour the Nashville Zoo (3777 Nolensville Rd), where time stands still for animals like the lorikeets, gibbons, and elands. Wile away the day at the new Giraffe Savannah and Alligator Cove, with the rhinoceros hornbills and the red pandas on the Bamboo Trail, or the Saki monkeys at the Critter Encounters.

Designed by Gary Roger Baird, the Ted Rhodes Golf Course (1901 Ed Temple Blvd) features wide fairways, spreading greens, and a number of difficult water hazards on its 18-hole, par-72 public course. The Two Rivers Golf Course (3150 McGavok Pike) is a historic golf course situated in the Opryland area of Nashville. This 18-hole, par-71 course has several challenging putting greens.

Whether you prefer a horse-drawn carriage or a mini-bus, there are plenty of ways to see Nashville. Learn about the city's organized tours on the next page.