Clarksville Makes A Fun And Easy Road Trip From Nashville

I’m always looking for new road trips from Nashville or places that make for easy getaways or stops along the way. Clarksville, Tennessee is just under an hour from Nashville and perfect for a weekend away from the big city or even a day trip to do some shopping and grab lunch.

In Clarksville you’ll find a cool downtown on the upswing with nifty local shops and a good selection of locally owned restaurants. I found some great murals and statues around town as well as places to get outside and enjoy nature. (Full disclosure – it was unbelievably hot during my visit so I didn’t experience as much outdoors as I would have liked.)

Here are some of my top suggestions for when you stop in Clarksville, Tennessee!

See The Pat Summitt Memorial

I love finding a cool statue of someone famous and learning about their ties to the area. I didn’t know much about Pat Summitt, other than that she had been a notable basketball coach. But, wow! What an impressive lady! I learned so much about her just from the informative guides placed around her statue.

She started coaching in the mid 70s and earned just $250 a month. (She even had to clean the team’s uniforms!) She’d go on to win Olympic medals, 1,098 career wins, and be inducted into the inaugural class at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2016 at the age of 64.

The Pat Head Summitt memorial is easy to find along the riverfront at Liberty Park.

Try Some Local Clarksville Restaurants!

Clarksville has a lot of locally owned restaurants and even a few iconic spots you should consider in town. Johnny’s Big Burger ranks near the top as it’s been a staple in the area since the 1960s. Their signature dessert is called the “bun and cream”. It’s a bit of a hole in the wall – and they only accept cash, just FYI.

Being a pizza lover, I decided to try a new spot in town called Four Brothers Pizza. It’s a wood fired stove pizza joint and it was really good! They have many different varieties to choose from. However, as I’m the pickiest travel writer in America, I stuck with good ol’ pepperoni and cheese.

The Visit Clarksville website has a full list of restaurants in the area.

Find Some Of Clarksville’s Murals and Statues

A Van Gogh inspired mural in Clarksville, Tennessee

Like a lot of destinations, Clarksville is embracing the mural craze that’s sweeping the nation. It’s always fun visiting new places to see great artwork along the side of old buildings or in creative spaces.

Perhaps the most notable mural in Clarksville is a very cool Van Gogh inspired creation called “Clarksville Starry Night”. It’s 10,000 square feet in size and shows some of the city’s most historic buildings. There’s also a fun mural directly below the train tracks downtown in honor of the old song “Last Train To Clarksville”. (FYI – this isn’t the Clarksville they were talking about.)

Around the city there are quite a few statues to spot as well. I mentioned the Pat Summitt memorial but you’ll also find statues in honor of athlete Wilma Rudolph; Gomer Pyle nemesis, Frank Sutton; and John Montgomery.

Go Shopping!

It was pretty hot during my visit to Clarksville so I spent as much time indoors as possible. Thankfully there were plenty of places to explore that had air-conditioning! I found some cool shops downtown with neat gifts and locally produced items for sale.

Shout out to The Clarksville Collection – one of the fun locally owned stores you should visit while you’re exploring the area. They sell unique gifts and souvenirs. They even carry one of my travel books, The Ultimate American Music Bucket List!

After walking around and visiting different shops, I found a shaved ice stand called Johnny & June’s near the city’s downtown public green space which hit the spot!

Get Outdoors!

I really want to come back to Clarksville and spend more time on some of the nature trails around town. Clarksville also has some great parks for visitors to explore. Liberty Park seemed really cool. There’s Dunbar State Park as well as Rotary Park.

If you want to be outdoors and enjoy a history lesson at the same time – consider a visit to Historic Collinsville. It’s about 30 minutes away from downtown but worth the trip. I really enjoyed my tour of this place! It takes you back to the 1800s in middle Tennessee with exhibits and cabins that have been well preserved. They have buildings you can tour like an old school house, smokehouse, and even a tobacco barn.

Some of the buildings have been painstakingly decorated to reflect the time and conditions of the era. I’ve seen a lot of these setups over the years and I found this place to be very well done! (Plus there’s tons of open space for your kids to run around in between the buildings!)


Last Train To Clarksville mural

I really enjoyed my visit to Clarksville and think this is a great road trip from Nashville or a spot to consider stopping if you’re traveling through western Tennessee. You can easily find a great place to eat, plenty of places to get outdoors, and some local flavor in their public artwork and shops. There are a few museums in town like the Customs House Museum which is generally geared toward kids. There’s even a blueberry farm about 20 minutes from town.

If you’re looking for a place to stay while visiting Clarksville, I loved my stay in the Homer House located downtown. It’s listed on AirBNB and was absolutely perfect – both for its location and amenities!

The kitchen at Homer House in Clarksville, Tennessee

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