End-of-Summer Nashville Stay-cation Itinerary


If your kids are in metro public schools, their last day of Summer is August 5th. That’s right around the corner! Make the most of the final week off with a summer staycation. Maybe you weren’t able to squeeze in a vacation with your loved ones this Summer. With this handy-dandy itinerary, you can still make a summer’s worth of happy family memories. If your kids aren’t starting school, you can use this schedule the entire month of August. If they are, your itinerary begins July 28th. Enjoy!

*All addresses and hours of operation are listed on hyper-linked websites.

Monday, July 28th

Your kids are going to love you. Remember that as you make the trek out to Hermitage to the Cook Recreation Area on Percy Priest Lake. A sandy beach welcomes your children into an area of the lake reserved for swimming. There are sheltered picnic tables and a nice playground. Plan on spending a good part of the day there and bring a picnic. The weekdays are much less crowded here than on hectic weekends. The earlier you can get there, the better your chances of nabbing a shady spot!

What to bring: $4 per carload for parking, bathing suits, floats, towels, a large blanket to lay on, beach toys, sack lunches and drinks, sunscreen, bug spray

Nora, Elvira and Oscar play on the beach at Cook Recreation Area.
Nora, Elvira, and Oscar play on the beach at Cook Recreation Area.

Tuesday, July 29th

If you have never been to Story Time at the downtown Nashville Public Library, you are in for a treat! This is a seriously fun show. Your kids will sing along with Library Pete, Mary Mary, and/or the Professor. They will enjoy the adorable antics of some of the lovable puppets, like Tommy Dog or Spanish Fox. The show usually runs 30-45 minutes and has showings at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Afterward, let your kids play fun, educational games on the library computers, and then head outside to enjoy a packed lunch or snacks by the fountain—just outside the children’s library. If you are a member, check out a book on Greek mythology to read over the next two nights. It will come in handy later in the week. Stop by Bobbie’s Dairy Dip when you leave and enjoy a sundae.

What to bring:  library card, sack lunches or snacks, money for sundaes ($3.25 each).

Wednesday, July 30th

Your day begins at the picturesque Edwin Warner Park. Start at the Nature Center where your kids can pick up a few facts about the animals and insects that live in the park. Be sure to pick up a purple pack—a backpack full of gear for exploring, including such things as a field guide, pond microscope, and dip net. Head right out the big glass doors to the Nature Play natural playground outside. (For more info on the benefits of natural playgrounds, read our article on them here.) After your little ones have had their fill of digging in the dirt, take the trail just behind the playground where they can wade in the creek and check out the cool StoryWalk on the Little Acorn Trail. Picnic in the park or head over to the famous Loveless Cafe for lunch.

What to bring: bug spray, sunscreen, towels, change of clothes, beach toys, picnic blanket, sack lunches and drinks, or money for Loveless Cafe (for prices, see menu here),

Gray at Edwin Warner Park

Thursday, July 21st

If you hadn’t already guessed, here’s why you were reading that mythology book. Today you visit the Parthenon! Gaze at Athena—who hovers nearly 40 feet above your head inside the full-scale replica of the original in Athens. Print out this family worksheet to use during your visit. Be sure to check out the choo-choo behind the Parthenon when you leave! For lunch, picnic in the pavilion next to the playground—then fly a kite, kick a ball, or just explore the park around you.

What to bring: admission money ($6 for adults, $4 for children over 4), sunscreen, bug spray, outdoor toys, family worksheet, sack lunches, and drinks.

Wilder at the Parthenon.

Friday, August 1st

Bask in the beauty of the Cheekwood botanical gardens, right alongside the Big Bugs who call them home for the rest of this month. If you haven’t checked out the Big Bug exhibit, you absolutely must! Let your kids pick up a backpack at visitor services and enjoy the interactive Backpack Adventure together. Check out the cool model train, play in the tree house, and marvel at the mansion. Be sure to wander the magical Woodland Sculpture Trail. If you come during the day, you can picnic on the grounds; or, if you are feeling fancy, grab lunch at The Pineapple Room. Cheekwood is open until 8:30 on Friday nights with live music and adult beverages if you prefer to visit when the sun is setting and temperatures are dropping.

What to bring: admission money ($14 for adults, $7 for children over 3, plus $3 per car for parking), money for optional lunch and/or alcohol (see menu here for prices) or sack lunches and drinks, sunscreen, and bug spray.


Saturday, August 2nd

Early, before the sun is scorching (I’m suggesting 8:30,) set your little adventurers loose at Dragon Park (Fannie Mae Dees). Then, get to the Belcourt Theatre a little before 10:00 to get your refreshments and tickets for the Olde Worlde Theatre’s presentation of “The Pied Piper.” Finally, head over to Pancake Pantry for some Polka Dot Pancakes or an Ooey Gooey Sticky Sandwich.

What you will need: money for Belcourt tickets ($8 each), money for Pancake Pantry (for prices, see menu here,) sunscreen.


Sunday, August 3rd

Head out to Stoney Creek Farm in Franklin to spend some quality family time picking fruits, veggies, and herbs to use in your dinner tonight. What a great, hands-on way to teach your children about farming and the food they eat! Of course, pizza doesn’t grow here, but perhaps picking and preparing their own dinner will get them to at least TRY their vegetables tonight.

What you will need: sunscreen, water, bug spray, wide-brimmed hats, money for fruits and vegetables (click here for the U-Pick price list).


Note: Please be sure that your kids are not in direct sun for long periods, take frequent breaks from playing, stay hydrated, and wait a decent amount of time after eating before swimming or playing. If you can, limit your sun exposure to earlier in the day or evening and maximize time in the shade. Don’t forget sunscreen!

For more staycation ideas, see Mandy’s post on the Last Chance…Summer (coming soon!).

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Lacey is a born-and-raised, tried-and-true Nashvillian. She tried moving away once but couldn’t hack it and moved right back home where she lives with her husband, Thomas, their one-year-old son, Gray, and three dogs, Munky, Puma and Eevee. Lacey worked in the veterinary field until two weeks before Gray was born and is grateful she is now able to be a stay-at-home mommy who gets to take her son on the town and discover all the family fun Nashville has to offer. She loves Steinbeck, vegetarian cooking (and eating) and binge watching television series on Netflix during the few precious hours her baby boy sleeps.


  1. This is awesome, thanks! We just relocated here from Los Angeles, CA last month and my wife Bee and I are always looking for fun and interesting ways to get our 5 year old girl Jenabel out and about, socializing, and taking in all that Nashville has to offer! We’ll be seeing you at a number of these gatherings and events…!

  2. That’s wonderful, Bob! We’re glad to be a resource for you and your family. Hope you all are enjoying your new city!


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