Did You Know That Tennessee State Park Lodges Are Amazing?

On my personal travel bucket list was a visit to Fall Creek Falls State Park in Spencer, Tennessee. I had seen photos of the park’s beautiful waterfalls and heard it was a great place to enjoy the outdoors. After I finished exploring the incredible park, I decided to stay the night at one of the Tennessee state park lodges.

I was completely in shock at how amazing the facility was! Tennessee state park lodges are without a doubt, some of the best state park lodges in the country. As of now, there are six different state park lodges. Of those, four have either been completely rebuilt or undergone massive renovations. (Plans exist to update the others.)

I recently decided to do a follow-up visit to Fall Creek Falls State Park and visit the other updated lodges along the way. In the video below, you’ll see some of the incredible images of the various properties as well as some of the great outdoor activities you can enjoy nearby.

These Are The Best Tennessee State Park Lodges

Paris Landing State Park Lodge

400 Lodge Road, Buchanan, TN.

Tennessee state park lodge

Paris Landing State Park is located along Kentucky Lake near the small town of Paris, Tennessee. This is a wonderful place for anyone that enjoys being out on the water, particularly if you own a boat. The Paris Landing State Park Lodge is beautifully designed with an abundance of natural light that brightens up nearly every spot in the building.

The lodge has really comfortable, modern guest rooms. The room I stayed in had a small balcony overlooking the lake. (Which was awesome to catch the sunrise!) There was a modest pool area and an indoor bar for late afternoon and evening gatherings. The restaurant offered both indoor and outdoor seating and was open for lunch and dinner.

There are some hiking trails in the park but the lake is really the top attraction. If you don’t have a boat, you can rent one or find a spot to fish along the banks. The lodge at Paris Landing State Park was perfectly located to be in the water in no time at all.  

Tennessee state park lodge
A guest room at Paris Landing State Park Lodge
sunrise Paris landing state park
Sunrise over Kentucky Lake at Paris Landing State Park Lodge

Fall Creek Falls State Park Lodge

2536 Lakeside Drive, Spencer, TN.

As I mentioned, Fall Creek Falls State Park is where I first discovered how wonderful the Tennessee State Park Lodges are. On my return visit, I had an equally wonderful experience. The lodge itself is located deep within the park. (It’ll take you another 20 minutes to actually get to it once you see the first welcome sign.)

Once you arrive, you’ll notice a lobby that’s loaded with cool gathering places for people to sit and mingle. There’s even a small room with board games and a puzzle to work on. Step outside and enjoy lounge chairs above the swimming pool and near the outdoor seating for the lodge’s on-site restaurant. Even indoors, the views from inside the restaurant are terrific.

There are meeting spaces throughout the lodge for weddings, corporate events, and parties as well. The hallway leading to the rooms is bright with natural light and really welcoming.

Around the lodge are numerous biking and walking trails and of course a lake for fishing or pedal boats. Within the park are several waterfalls – one that’s super easy to get to and swim in the water below. Fall Creek Falls requires a moderate hike over rocks to the base. It’s tricky and should be done only wearing shoes with good traction.

The rooms here are comfortable with the option to upgrade to a larger suite on the corners of the building. These larger rooms accommodate more people and have a nice living room area and a wraparound deck with views of the lake. So cool and modern!

Fall Creek Falls lodge swimming pool
The swimming pool at night at Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park Restaurant

Pickwick Landing State Park Lodge

120 Playground Loop Drive, Counce, TN.

Much like the other Tennessee State Park Lodges, Pickwick Landing is surrounded by beautiful scenery. 1,400 acres to be exact! There’s the Tennessee River that provides plenty of outdoor recreation whether you’re looking to actually be on the water or simply keep it in view as you relax in the outdoor pool at one of the many picnic areas around the park.

This was the busiest lodge during my week of exploring the parks. There were multiple conferences and groups gathering over the two days I was there. This was also the park where I really just took time to chill out. (Which is funny to say considering it was at least 95 degrees outside while I was there.)

Pickwick Landing State Park Lodge, like the others offers free continental breakfast each morning. It’s nothing fancy but standard fare like most hotels. (A waffle machine; bagels, some cereal, and assortment of fruits, oatmeal, and yogurt.) The restaurant, also like the others, has a menu that includes sandwiches, salads, and other items you’d expect. They do have some higher end options like steak and fish – though I didn’t try any of them while I was traveling.

sunset at Pickwick Landing State Park
Sunset over the Tennessee River at Pickwick Landing State Park Lodge
Tennessee State Park lodges
Lobby at Pickwick Landing State Park Lodge

The Lodge At Montgomery Bell State Park

1000 Hotel Avenue, Burns, TN.

Of all the Tennessee State Park Lodges I visited, the staff at Montgomery Bell State Park really went out of their way to make me feel welcome. (I can only assume the entire staff had been alerted that I was visiting, because total strangers kept yelling “Hey, Bill!” while I was meandering around the property.) This lodge is the closest one to Nashville and would make an easy weekend trip if you live in that city. It’s only about 40 minutes east of downtown.

I had access to a double-room during my visit which would be awesome for a large family traveling together. There was a standard room with a king sized bed, but next door was a living room with a kitchen, couch and television, and a full dining room table. Of course, both rooms had decks to look over the property.

While in the park, I took time to kayak and found a nice little rental shack just a short walk from the lodge. They also had pedal boats and standup paddle boards. There was also a little beach area with protected access to the water for swimming. Montgomery Bell also has some ties to Hollywood! It was one of the main sites used in the 80s cult classic, Ernest Goes To Camp.

The lodge has an on-site restaurant like the others and was offering a special event during my stay. They were having a fun, 80s themed party around the pool with a DJ one night. The staff told me they’re trying to include more of these special events for guests. (You can find them on their Facebook page!)

The pool area outside of Montgomery Bell State Park Lodge
An upgraded “bonus room” adjacent to a regular guest room.

Final Conclusions

Overall, I was so impressed by the quality of these park lodges and the possibilities it provides for families or couples (or singles like me!) to enjoy nature and have a place to rest and relax at the end of the day. The lodges were clean, safe, well maintained, and reasonably priced depending on the time of season. The staffs at each lodge I visited were really nice and helpful. (Even before they knew I was a travel journalist!)

Like me, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of these Tennessee state park lodges!

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