You don’t have to travel to explore new places! Chattanooga is filled with activities to keep your family entertained. We’ve compiled a list of fun ways to spend your next “stay-cation.” And the best part? They’re all FREE!
Enterprise South Nature Park
Enterprise South Nature Park offers miles of walking and bicycling paths through 2,800 history-laden acres. The property once belonged to the Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant, which manufactured explosives. The property’s former life has been preserved in the concrete magazines that stored dynamite. They’re sprinkled throughout the park, some of which are left open to look around. There are also areas for picnics and a small lake that attracts wildlife. Bring your dog!
Renaissance Park offers an unbeatable view of the Tennessee Aquarium and Chattanooga skyline! The 23-acre park is situated on the North Shore with a convenient parking lot at the corner of Cherokee Boulevard and Manufacturers Road. Renaissance Park offers several nature trails and picnic areas, but is best known for its steep hills to slide down on sleds or cardboard. You might find pieces of cardboard at the foot of the hill waiting for you! This park is not dog-friendly.
Move aside, San Francisco! Chattanooga has its own version of the zig-zag street along the Riverwalk near the Hunter Museum of American Art. During Riverbend, the path leads to a stage under the Walnut Street Bridge (a unique view of the river AND sought-after shade!). The walkway ends at the waterfront and Ross’s Landing. Whether it’s the unusual twist on a sidewalk, a new view of the bridges, or wildlife along the riverfront, you’ll want to have your camera handy!
Walnut Street Bridge
Get some exercise and a history lesson on your walk across the Walnut Street Bridge! Built in 1890, the bridge was the first that connected downtown to the North Shore. You’ll find several markers sharing historical tidbits about the bridge and Chattanooga. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. You might also find a live musician or two! There are several benches along the bridge to stop and enjoy the view of the city skyline and Maclellan Island.
Bluff View Art District
The city’s original art district is a pocket destination within Chattanooga! Bluff View has galleries, restaurants, and a bed and breakfast nestled on cliffs overlooking the Tennessee River. Grab a coffee from Rembrandt’s and stroll through the sculpture garden overlooking the Veteran’s Bridge.
Emmy-winning artist Wayne White will inspire with his unique indoor fun-house located in downtown Chattanooga. Imagine Pee-Wee’s Playhouse inspired by Scenic City history… that’s what you’ll find at Wayne-O-Rama! They’re open Wednesday through Sunday until September. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged!
Raccoon Mountain Caverns and Campground is home to Tennessee’s highest rated cave! You can take a tour of the cave, pan for gemstones, or relax by a campfire. Though the tours will set you back at least $30 per person, take advantage of the large public trail system on TVA’s property! Raccoon Mountain is TVA’s largest hydroelectric facility. Check out the water reservoir and rock formations that create interesting scenery along many of the bike and hiking trails!
Coolidge Park Splash Pad
Coolidge Park is nestled along the North Shore’s waterfront. The park has a 100-year-old carousel, pavilion, and interactive play fountain! The fountain entertains children of all ages for hours. There’s seating nearby allowing parents to supervise (but stay out of the splash zone!).
Chattanooga Public Library
How cool is this? The Chattanooga Public Library’s Make Play Read Learn program gives children “passports” with 26 different activities to choose from. They’ll learn one point for each activity completed. For every 10 points, they’ll get a raffle ticket to be entered in to win one of five great prizes! The program is registering now! Find out more here.
Chester Frost Park
Chester Frost Park is the closest you’ll get to a white, sandy beach in Chattanooga. The park, operated by the Hamilton County Parks & Recreation Department, is on the shore of the Chickamauga Lake. There’s a sandy beach front with access to the water, playground, boat ramp, and camp sites! It’s free to enter and $15 a night to camp for Hamilton County residents.