Nashville, Tennessee’s state capital, is one of the state’s biggest and most vibrant cities. Boasting a rich culture and fascinating history, as well as being the home of country music, Nashville is a prime tourist location and has a lot to offer each and every visitor. Even if you’re not interested in the history or country music vibe of the city, there are still plenty of great landmarks to visit and outdoor activities to enjoy, with kayaking being one of Nashville’s most popular examples of eco-tourism.
The famous Cumberland River flows straight through the city itself and various other rivers and bodies of water can be found in the surrounding area, making Nashville a super spot for kayaking of all kinds. There’s a lot of calm water around the city, offering relaxing, peaceful kayaking expeditions where you can simply float along and appreciate the views, as well as some choppier waters for more seasoned kayakers in search of a challenge. Things to do in Nashville TN
Best Places to Kayak in Nashville
There are plenty of excellent kayaking locations all around Nashville, offering a wealth of opportunities for kayak enthusiasts. Some locations offer views of the city skyline and urban kayaking adventures, while others are more nature and wildlife-oriented. Here are some of Nashville’s best kayaking spots.
· Cumberland River
Easily the number one kayaking spot in all of Nashville, the Cumberland River offers a good balance of both calm and choppy waters, providing something for everyone. The more relaxing parts of the river can be found on the western side of town, while the eastern edge tends to be a little more challenging. In any case, the Cumberland River provides some unbeatable views of Nashville’s skyline and architecture and is a great way to take in the city’s sights.
· Downtown Nashville
Head down to the waterfront in downtown Nashville and set off at Cumberland Park for one of the most scene kayaking routes in the city. Check out sights like Demonbreun's Cave and Mill Creek along the way and take in the stunning city skyline as you go. This is a great kayaking route to enjoy in the early hours of the morning or evening, with the rising or setting casting some beautiful shadows across the landscape.
· Harpeth River
The Harpeth River flows through the Nashville suburbs and surrounding counties, offering the perfect backdrop for a relaxing afternoon of kayaking. Huge trees hang over the slow-moving waters and plenty of little sandbars on either side provide the perfect spots for picnics and photoshoots. Swimming and fishing can also be enjoyed in the river.
Kayak Rentals and Tours in Nashville
Several great kayak companies operate in the Nashville area, offering low-rate kayak rentals and guided kayaking tours of the city.
1. Adventures on the Harpeth - 568 US-70, Pegram, TN 37143 (615 646-0308)
As previously discussed, the Harpeth River is a lovely kayaking spot not too far outside of downtown Nashville. With slow moving waters, it’s a great choice for inexperienced kayakers and families, as well as being a big hit with nature lovers. Adventures on the Harpeth runs kayak rentals at low costs and will also recommend a wide variety of kayaking routes for you to enjoy in and around Nashville. The friendly, trained kayak guides and staff members will be able to show you all the best kayaking routes and arrange the perfect trip for you and your group.
2. Cumberland Kayak - 2 Victory Ave, Nashville, TN 37213 (615 800-7321)
As the name indicates, Cumberland Kayak is focused on the famous Cumberland River, which is one of the most popular kayaking locations in all of Nashville. With the city skyline to enjoy, as well as a wide array of wildlife and greenery, the Cumberland River has it all and can be recommended to all kayakers, regardless of age or experience level. This company runs a bunch of different kayaking tours focusing on both the city and surrounding nature to suit every kind of kayaker.
3. River Queen Voyages - 2 Victory Ave, Nashville, TN 37213 (615 933-9778)
One of the best-rated kayaking companies in Nashville, River Queen Voyages offers both one and two hour guided kayaking tours of the city, focusing on the famous Riverwalk and Shelby Bottoms areas. With breathtaking views just waiting to be discovered along the way, these kayaking tours will provide magical memories that you’ll never forget. The tours run at various times of day and can be enjoyed by kayakers of all ages, making River Queen Voyages a great choice for families with kids.