It’s always fun to explore new places, but it’s even better to explore new places when it doesn’t cost you anything! Check out some favorite free attractions that are open year-round and are located in Sumner County, Tennessee, right outside of Nashville.
1. Visit Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center
Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center is a free art museum that houses rotating exhibits that change throughout the year. From past exhibits like photography by William Lee Golden of the The Oak Ridge Boys to the clayworks of Pablo Picasso, Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center offers affordable access to amazing exhibits that make for wonderful family-friendly memories.
2. Tour the Douglass-Clark House
The historic Douglass-Clark House, which dates back to 1786 and has a strong Civil War history connection with four house occupants enlisting, offers free tours of the site! During the tour learn the history of the Douglass and Clark families who occupied the house from after the Revolutionary War through 1959. A tour guide is available Tuesdays-Saturdays from 9am-4:30pm to share the stories from history; dress appropriately, as the historic house isn’t artificially heated or cooled!
3. Snap a Selfie at the Strawberry Crate
The Strawberry Crate Public Art in downtown Portland, Tennessee, is a fun photo-opportunity to be pictured with a large part of Portland’s history: strawberries! The art is also located in the heart of the city where the annual Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival is held each May that also offers free admission!
4. Join a Filming of TBN's Huckabee
Former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee films his weekly variety show, Huckabee, in Hendersonville. The show is a mix of politics, music, and celebrity interviews. Tickets are offered for free to be part of the studio audience and filmings generally occur each week. Guests must be 16 or older and must reserve tickets online in advance.
5. Explore Bledsoe's Fort Historical Park
Bledsoe’s Fort Historical Park in Castalian Springs has walkable grounds that are open year-round (except during special events), allowing guests to take a self-guided tour of the park. Informational panels share the story of the buildings at the park, and there is a layout with panels of the original 1780s fort that was on the property! There is also a great trail that runs along a historic cemetery and has an off-shoot trail down to remnants of an old spring house!
6. Bike or Hike Lock 4 Park on Old Hickory Lake
Lock 4 Park in Gallatin is a popular mountain biking location that is also home each summer to the Old Hickory Classic race. There is no fee to use the trails and the spectacular views of Old Hickory Lake draw bikers, runners, walkers, and picture seekers to the shores of the lake! The park also hosts the annual Fire on the Water Music Festival.
7. Pay Respect to Music Legends
Hendersonville Memory Gardens is a peaceful, final resting place for many influential musicians, celebrities, and their loved ones. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash may be the most recognizable. Other notable artists laid to rest in the Hendersonville Memory Gardens include Mother Maybelle Carter, Anita Carter, Helen Carter, Ray and Carrie Cash, Merle Kilgore, and Jean Shepard. Daily people from around the world visit the cemetery to pay respects to the departed artists. Download a map of the cemetery here for your visit.
8. Hike Bledsoe Creek State Park
Bledsoe Creek State Park, part of the Tennessee State Park system, is home to a variety of trails for all ages and abilities and there is no fee to use the trails. Popular trails include the waterfront trails on Old Hickory Lake and their new Reading Ranger Story Trail! It’s also a great place for birding and nature viewing.
9. Find All 13 Civil War Trails Markers
The Civil War Trails Marker program situates informative signs throughout Sumner County that recounts each location’s involvement in the Civil War. While many of these signs are placed on the grounds at local historic sites (and sites may have a fee to enter the house), viewing the signs comes at no cost.
10. Play at Mary's Magical Place
Mary’s Magical Place opened to the public in 2018 as an all-inclusive playground where all people of all ability levels can play! Equipment is designed in such a way that accommodates ability levels across the spectrum and is a fun experience for everyone! Named for Mary McAuley who lived her life in a wheelchair and passed away in 2015 at the age of 14, the playground honors her life, legacy, and infectious smile.
11. See One of Only Two Mexican-American War Monuments in Tennessee
The Mexican-American War is a lesser-known conflict in American history. Sumner County sent several men into battle and many of them were killed during their service. Today there are roughly only 30 monuments in the nation that recognize the service of those brave Americans and there are only two in Tennessee, one being in the historic Gallatin City Cemetery near the back, where it also lists the names of those who perished in the war.
12. Stop By the Sumner County, Tennessee, Visitor Center
Learn about what there is to do in Sumner County, Tennessee, at the Sumner County, Tennessee, Visitor Center and take free brochures about local attractions, eateries, festivals, and more! Guests can also tour the lower level of the picturesque southern mansion that houses the offices of Visit Sumner TN!