Step Outside - Tennessee WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Tennessee 144 144 Sun, 15 Jul 2018 16:14:56 -0500 5 Great Paddleboarding Spots in Tennessee Paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing water sports in the Tennessee area. With a vast number of lakes, rivers, and waterways throughout the state, it’s no surprise that water sport enthusiasts are finding their way to the sport. Next time you’re in Tennessee and have a hankering to stand-up paddleboard, consider the following five great spots throughout the state.  

The Tennessee River Gorge near Chattanooga is part of the greater Tennessee River Blueway, a 50-mile stretch designated a National Scenic River Trail. The gorge takes up 26 miles along the river. The River Gorge is used for the Chattajack paddleboard race. The winds along the gorge can be a bit unpredictable, so watch out for that. Rent your equipment and consider taking lessons with Live Life Skate and Paddle Co in Chattanooga before getting out on the water

Mead’s Quarry Lake is part of the greater Ijams Nature Center near Knoxville, Tennessee. The nature center has partnered with River Sports Outfitters for paddleboard and kayak rentals, making exploring Mead’s Quarry painless. New to paddleboarding? Consider signing up for one of Ijams Outdoor Academy classes. Their regularly updated calendar of events has all the program information you need.

Norris Lake is one of Tennessee’s “Best Kept Secrets,” according to their website. Lakeside real estate makes Norris Lake a fantastic vacation spot. Many of the marinas have paddleboard rentals, including Norris Dam Marina. Book a rental online or take part in one of their lessons. Keep in mind the frequent appearance of boats on the lake that you’ll have to navigate around. 

The Cumberland River winds through Nashville, Tennessee, providing a unique opportunity for paddleboard enthusiasts to see the city from a different perspective. Big Willie’s Action Sports in Nashville is happy to help get you on your paddleboarding adventure. Rent a board and take advantage of their guided tours, as well as beginner and advanced lessons. Tours of the Cumberland start at $50 per person. 

Lake Ocoee in Ocoee, Tennessee, is comprised of three separate, smaller lakes. The largest lake is 7.5 miles-long with a 50-mile shoreline. The water is mostly still, which provides a great location for intermediate paddleboarders to strut their stuff. Ocoee Paddleboarding offers paddle board rentals, lessons, and tours right on the lake. Choose from two-hour, four-hour, and all-day paddleboarding and make your reservation using their website.  

sianc/ Fri, 13 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0500
7 Best Motorsport Retailers and Rentals in Tennessee From scenic mountaintops to majestic rivers and lake lands, Tennessee’s got an outdoor scene that’s worth discovering. Those who have already seen its best sights will agree that this state is best explored off-road. From ATVs and UTVs to all the gear and equipment that enhance the experience, Tennessee features a multitude of motorsport retailers and rental agencies dedicated to adventurous riders. Start your epic journey off road with a stop at these seven fantastic retailers and rentals in Tennessee. 

There’s no better place to off-road than in the mountains, and you can pick whatever vehicle fill your thrills at Mountain Life Adventure Rentals. Choose from Polaris or Honda vehicles, then make your way to some of the most rugged, challenging trails in the Smoky Mountains and put your driving skills to the test. They’ve also got the lowdown on the best places to ride, so make sure you make them your first stop!

Driving this for the day! #utv #smokymountains

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If you’re looking to buy your own ATV or UTV, talk to the folks at FRS Powersports. They carry top names like Hammerhead Off Road to help you onto your next adventure. Plus, they can ensure you get the right vehicle to suit your needs the first time.

For OEM parts and the best deals on ATVs and UTVs, locals know there’s no better place than Cool Springs Powersports. Their expertise means you get the best vehicle for your needs, plus they know all the good spots where you can take your new toy for some serious off-roading adventures. Brands include Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda, among others.

We love #coolspringspowersports

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Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Kawasaki are just a few of the high-quality brands you’ll find here. Their fans love them because they’re the one-stop shop for hard-to-find parts, great service, and of course new and used vehicles.

Rent a buggy at Amped Super Sports, then spend the day navigating their miles of trails and enjoying a day outdoors. Kids and adults alike will love the guided tours. It’s muddy, fun, and guaranteed to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Specializing in both two-wheeled and four-wheeled varieties, you won’t find a more knowledgeable place in the area than Sloan’s. This discount motorcycle and ATV shop offers substantial cost savings over larger-scale dealers, helping you get the off-roading vehicle you want at a price to fit your budget. Some of their brands include Yamaha, Polaris, and Kawasaki.

To find Can-Am and Polaris ATVs and UTVs, head to this excellent retailer. East Tennessee ATV & Powersports’ inventory includes all the latest in motorsport monsters like the newest Can-Am Outlander and Polaris Sportsman ATVs that are ready to take you on an adventure. 

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Best Outdoor Festivals in Tennessee Tennessee has long been synonymous with “natural paradise” for many, so it’s no surprise the state also hosts several festivals each year dedicated to all things outdoors. From hiking the beautiful Smoky Mountains to rafting in one the state’s many whitewater rivers, there’s no shortage of adventures and thrills here. Festivals make the experience even more fun, and you can find the best outdoor fests in Tennessee right here. 

In August, before the leaves start turning for the season, thousands of hikers, campers, paddlers, fishermen, and riders gather in one of the biggest mountain festivals of the year. This epic mountain adventure features activities for the water, air, and earth, including kayaking, hiking, a ropes course, paddleboard yoga, mountain biking, rafting, and more. There are tons of on-site and off-site events, clinics, and demos from outdoor brands you love and trust. The festival is presented by Trek Bicycles of Johnson City, Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union, and USA Raft, among other sponsors.

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This free event is dedicated to a full day of ATV riding through the beautiful October foliage through the Appalachian Mountains. Live music, food, and vendors will be on site as you enjoy the day’s adventures, along with children’s activities and a fireworks show. These trails are perfect for viewing elk and other wildlife, natural waterfalls, and the majestic mountains. Rides are divided into three categories to suit your skill level and desired travel time, but you can also hit the trails on your own. The City of LaFollette, Pyro Shows, and Ride Royal Blue are a huge part of this event’s success.

Professional balloon pilots light up the sky in a way you’ve likely never seen at this epic hot air balloon festival. Hot air balloons are a way to experience the great outdoors from a whole new perspective, and you can enjoy a tethered ride to see the sights from on high. Vendors, food trucks, a craft beer tent, and live music will also be on site, along with wine tastings provided by Nine Lake Wine Country. There’s something for every age and every interest, and it’s truly one of Tennessee’s most unique events.

No, you won’t be racing on real dragons, but these masterfully created dragon boats are certainly the next best thing. Grab your friends and enter as a team to compete in one of the most exciting boat races in the state. You’ll be rowing your heart out down the Cumberland River in this ancient Chinese celebration while also raising awareness of the river’s importance to the city. This event is hosted by the Cumberland River Compact and free for onlookers.

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5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Tennessee Birdwatching takes serious concentration, planning, and effort if you want to catch a glimpse of your favorite bird species. Seasoned birdwatchers know that time and place is everything. If you aren’t in the right area at the right time of year, you’ll never know what amazing bird species you’ll have a chance to spot. Given Tennessee’s vast mountain regions and varied terrain, the entire state is a prime viewing ground for hundreds of bird species of all sorts—if you know where to look. Take a trip to these five best birdwatching spots in Tennessee and enjoy the views.

The name gives its away—this is Tennessee’s premier birdwatching spot. The park is situated directly in the migratory path of its many visiting feathered friends. It’s also a prime breeding ground where visitors can find many nesting species. Purple martins and tree swallows are among the most commonly-sighted birds, but barn owls, sparrows, and singing birds are also quite popular. If possible, plan your visit for early morning or late afternoon for the best viewing opportunities.

Aside from the Aviary Education Center, this park also features plenty of birding excitement. November through April offers glimpses of wintering waterfowl, including ring-necked and canvasback duck. During the fall and spring, head through the forest along Otter Creek Road and Lake Trail for migratory birdwatching. 

Known for its eagle sightings (there’s even an Eagle Festival!), this park also plays home to migratory birds during the fall. White pelicans, cormorants, wood ducks, warblers, and wading birds are among the most popular denizens here. The park features a variety of habitats to attract a diverse bird population, including a lake and wooded areas. You can catch glimpses of birdlife from the visitor center, but Keystone Trail offers some of the best views. 

Summer at Reelfoot. .eagles

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Dubbed an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the Audubon Society, this area is essential for migrating neotropical birds. Flycatchers, gnatcatchers, warblers, and waterthrush are commonly sighted in the spring and summer months. A number of warbler species can be seen if you climb to the higher elevations of the park. In total, over 130 species of birds have been spotted in the park over the course of a year. Use the park’s variety of hiking trails to enjoy your bird spotting adventure.

I hope I never lose my awe of nature.

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Due to its mix of open flatlands and wooded acreage, this site is a true sanctuary for the feathered variety. Migrating species are commonly spotted here, including thrushes, flycatchers, warblers, and tanagers. Visitors have largely reported great horned owl and barred owl sightings, along with red-shouldered hawks that nest in the spring. Year-round you might see wild turkeys, bluebirds, woodpeckers, kingfishers, and nuthatches, while a variety of other species appear on a seasonal basis. 

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8 Best Winter Hikes in Tennessee Tennessee is well renowned as the country’s premier hiking destination, but some may say the best time to hike is during the winter. Parts of Tennessee, like the Great Smoky Mountains, teem with tourists all year long, but the trails tend to be noticeably less crowded when it’s cold outside—if you know where to go. Start with these eight best winter hikes in Tennessee.

One of the most popular hiking destinations in the Smokies, you’ll likely have no trouble finding parking if you visit during the winter. Just about 2.5 miles’ round trip, this trail leads to one of the prettiest waterfalls around. The trail is also just 13 miles from famed Cades Cove, giving you plenty of fun sights and activities to fill your day.

#gopro #hero5 #waterfall #snow #laurelfalls

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Tucked away inside Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park, the Enclosure Trail travels around the ancient enclosure for a total of 1.3 miles. From the trail, you’ll be able to see both Blue Falls and Big Falls, along with other scenery and the old Enclosure that makes this hike unique. For more information on theories regarding the enclosure, you can stop by the visitor’s center theater and museum.

Take your pick of the three hiking trails that all begin at the Narrows of the Harpeth trailhead. You can ascend the bluff for a panoramic view of Harpeth Valley, head along the back of a limestone bluff to the defunct site of an old iron forge, or discover the oldest man-made tunnel in modern existence. 

πŸ’¦πŸ”¦ #frozen #cave #waterfall

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Located inside Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park, the highlight of the tour here is, of course, the 15 Indian mounds. The Greater Outer Loop Trail takes you directly to a few of them. While you’re here, make sure you stop at the mound-shaped museum to learn more about the area’s historical and cultural significance. 

Beautiful sunsets aren’t just for summer nights. Head to Chattanooga’s Point Park and begin your ascent to the top of Lookout Mountain. The loop between Rifle Pits Trail, Bluff Trail, Cravens House Trail, and Gum Springs Trail take you directly by Sunset Rock, where you can experience some of the most gorgeous views in the city, along with some of the area’s historical sites.

Though fairly easy in terrain, this nearly-five-mile hike means you’ll need good shoes and plenty of endurance. The trail leads to the old fire tower, which has been standing sentry for over 75 years. It’s one of just four remaining towers of its kind in the Cherokee National Forest. This trail is fun for the whole family, and is free to enjoy.

Gatlinburg is brimming with amazing trails, but this is one of the only ones that allows dogs and bicycles. The trail hugs the river’s edge in several spots, and offers views of old chimneys and foundations that are the only remainders of former homes. Trekking this trail in the winter offers unobstructed views of these structures. 

Snow doesn’t keep me out of my playground.

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The reward on this hike is getting to see one of the largest cave openings in Tennessee up close and personal. The hike itself is fairly easy, spanning just over 1.5 miles each way. You can access the trailhead from Sherwood Road in the Carter State Natural Area. South Cumberland State Park features a variety of other amazing hiking trails and natural sites, like the Sewanee Natural Bridge that overlooks Lost Cove. Plan to spend your whole day here to see all the best scenes.

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SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Fort Pillow State Historic Park There’s more to vacationing in Tennessee than the Great Smoky Mountains, and the state’s abundance of state parks prove it. You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a family getaway, especially when state parks have just about everything you need on-site. From entertainment to activities to education and more, a few days enjoying the great outdoors might change the way you vacation forever.

Located about 40 miles east of Memphis, Fort Pillow State Historic Park is a gem among state parks. Created to preserve the area’s importance as a Civil War historic site, visitors can spend the day exploring the well-preserved breastworks and reconstructed inner fort. There are several artifacts on display in the park, as well as museum tours that will tell you everything you need to know about the area. It’s also a prime birdwatching spot, offering wildlife viewing opportunities and camping areas. 

You can explore the former home of “Roots” author Alex Haley. This museum pays tribute to the life and achievements of Haley, along with the movement he created in American culture. There are several items on exhibit, as well as a gift shop and a brief documentary.

#alexhaley museum

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Grab the best burger in town at Kissell’s Kitchen, a down-home family eatery that’s dishing out comfort food and friendly service. They also specialize in fish chicken, barbecue, and their raved-about barbecue redneck egg roll. Kissell’s is open for all three meals, so there’s never a bad time to visit.

If burgers ain’t your thing, stop by the Hen House for deliciously golden fried chicken. You’ll find a little bit o’ everything here, including country fixings, country fried steak, and daily specials. It’s true Tennessee flavor, plain and simple. 

Get to know the local area better with a trip to Lauderdale County Museum. Situated in the historic Sugar Hill Mansion built in 1842, this museum is free for the public to enjoy as they learn more about the history of Lauderdale County.

There are several sites along the western border of Tennessee that make up the Great River Road Trail, including the Riverside Drive Welcome Center and Beale Street Landing in Memphis. These sites (and others) are found along the shores of the Mississippi River and bear historical significance to the state. The Welcome Center features bronze statues of Elvis and BB King, perfect for an Instagram-worthy photo op.

Open for hunting and exploring, the Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge offers prime viewing for Tennessee wildlife. Ideal for birdwatching, you may also catch glimpses of raccoon, whitetail deer, snakes, turtles, and squirrels.

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A beginner’s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid



Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 





About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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10 Best Archery Outfitters in Tennessee Olympic archer or entry-level bow hunter, anyone can enjoy the thrill of this incredible sport. Tennessee plays home to several archery ranges and stores dedicated to helping you get the best bows and other gear to perfect your shot. It all starts with a visit to one of these 10 best archery gear shops in Tennessee. 

This archery training haven has a pro shop on site that specializes in competitive archery. They carry some of the best-in-class brands like Hoyt and Bowfinger to outfit you with all the right gear and accessories. This place is especially invaluable to beginner archers since they offer personal instruction and can help recommend the best products suited to your skill level.

Legolas and Katniss for the day 🎯 #sportysaturday

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The perfect spot for bow hunter and target shooters alike, you’ll find everything you need for a day in the field at Taylor’s Archery and Outdoors. Their fans love them because they almost always have what they’re looking for in stock without having to wait for it to be ordered. And for rainy or cold days (or any other time, really), you can perfect your shot at their indoor range.

Killer Instinct Crossbows in stock ready to go!!

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Middle Tennessee has a huge community of bow hunters, and U Need It Archery is their one-stop shop. Their retail area features brands like Mission, Mathews, and a wide variety of parts and accessories to keep your bow working and looking like new. They also offer an indoor range for archers of all ages and skill levels. If you need it, chances are they have it.

No matter what you need for your bow, you can get it here. You can get your bow serviced while you shop for all the parts and accessories you need. If they don’t have it for you, they’ll get it for you as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

Folks love this family-owned shop because of their dedication to archers of all types. They’re fellows archers, too, and they know what high-quality equipment and services look like. This means you get the best possible experience from your investment, while also helping out a small business.

Here you’ll find some of the best names in archery, including Hoyt, Mission, and Mathews. They focus not just on selling you the right bow, but also providing all the servicing and maintenance your investment needs. If you don’t live close by, they can ship you whatever you need.

Their customers love the reasonable prices and high-quality gear at Bowhunter’s Pro Shop. They build custom strings and arrows give you a truly unique experience that suits your abilities, in addition to a full-service archery repair shop.

Though primarily a gun shop, this place is equally skilled in helping fellow archers pursue their passion. They offer a wide range of bows in all sizes for all ages, along with all the accessories you’ll need in the field.

Archery repair and service is what makes their shop stand out from the rest. When you need a tuning, repair, or accessory installation, even if you didn’t buy your stuff from them, you won’t want to go anywhere else. They also offer bow sales and produce custom strings.

Jenny Stephens next hunt is an Xpedition!

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Once you pick up your new bow or accessories here, you can try them out on-site at their indoor range. This place is kid-friendly too, so you can turn your visit into a family adventure.

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Tennessee Tennessee’s freshwater fishing opportunities in the state’s beautiful lakes and streams are second to none. Despite not being on the coast, the state offers no shortage of places to fish for some of your favorites. Whether for pure enjoyment or to catch your next meal, you’ll never catch anything without the right bait and gear. Start your fishing adventure with a trip to these 10 best bait and tackle shops in Tennessee. 

This shop is everything that other bait shops should aspire to be. Not only do they carry bait and tackle, they also offer reel servicing and other maintenance to keep your equipment looking and functioning like new. They’ve also got an on-site deli, since fish aren’t the only ones who need to eat.

Jack’s has been a Chattanooga icon in the fishing community for over 40 years. They know what you need to catch fish in the area, and you can find it all at their store. While you’re there, you can stock up on all the extras, like soda, beer, snacks, and your fishing license.

If you’re looking for that hometown service experience, you’ll find it at Jerry’s Bait Shop. The folks here are serving up a heaping helping of southern hospitality with a side of the best bait in the area. They also carry a wide range of other outdoor gear, including duck and turkey calls, bows, and guns.

#sprinker frogs back in stock!

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For live bait in Memphis, you’ll want to make Gator Brown’s your first choice. In addition, you can get your rod and reel serviced while you peruse the shop. They also make their own weights.

Poindexter’s has been serving its community for over three generations. Their fans love them because they always have a large selection of fishing tackle in stock. In addition to serving your fishing needs, you can also count on them for hunting and archery supplies.

This family owned-and operated business has steadily grown its following since the 1970s when it first opened by Big Charlie himself. It’s your one-stop shop for high-quality fishing gear and the best breakfast in town.

A trip to this bait shop means you get the full fishing experience right here—including the fishing spot! Located on the lake, the shop is tucked inside a camping and RV park so you can extend your fishing trip as long as you like.

This friendly little gas station pit stop offers the best bait for fishing in the area. You can fuel up at their deli, grab some extra fuel for the boat, and stock up on snacks and drinks, all in a single trip.

Previously South Third Bait and Tackle, In-N-Out in Memphis has been serving the community for over 25 years. The locally-owned shop provides high-quality bait at unbeatable prices. Stop in for helpful advice and guidance, too.  

Does anything compare to the feeling of a small-town shop? Not only is the staff welcoming and informative, but they’ll also provide you with all of the bait and tackle you’ll ever need for a successful fishing trip. If you’re in the Soddy-Daisy area, you simply cannot pass through without visiting. 

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5 Best Ski Destinations for Families in and Around Tennessee For Tennesseans, the snow just can’t fall fast enough when skiing is at stake. The state is close to some of the best family-friendly ski destinations in the country, helping skiers young and old discover their passion for this favorite winter pastime. When the weather turns cold, you’ll want to find yourself at one of these five best family ski destinations in and around Tennessee. 

The most iconic ski destination for families in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg is brimming with snow day activities. The snow fall in this area is hit or miss during the winter, so they make plenty of their snow to keep the slopes snowy white all winter long. They offer first-timer lessons from qualified instructors. When you’re ready to put away the skis, you can enjoy snow tubing and a number of other kid-friendly activities in the park.

We were not “board” at all πŸ‚ (πŸ“·@cwebb288 )

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Every day is a great skiing day at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. Just a stone’s throw from the Tennessee/North Carolina border, you could easily make this a day trip, or take advantage of their stay and ski packages to get more from your trip. They have over 10 amazing runs that start at the tip top of the mountain. Along with some epic skiing, you’ll also enjoy the amazing views.

πŸ‘ lol

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It’s not the biggest ski destination near Tennessee, but it is one of the best. They’ve got several runs to suit all skill levels, as well as a practice slope for young skiers and small group instruction guaranteed to help your children have a blast while they learn.

Just a short drive from the Tennessee border lies Sugar Mountain, the family favorite skiing destination in the southeast. Tickets are extremely reasonable compared to other resorts in the area, especially if you go on a weekday. This place caters to families, giving children four and under a free lift ticket with a ticketed adult, and discounted rates for kids age five through 11.

This epic destination offers so much more than skiing—it’s snow day fun for the whole family. In addition to incredible slopes and mountain views, you can also enjoy snow tubing, snowboarding, and ice skating. For the kids, the instructors offer different classes depending on your child’s age to ensure they get the best instruction for their abilities. When you’re ready to warm up, grab a frosty brew at the on-site brewery.

We made it!

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6 Best Ice Skating Rinks in Tennessee When the temperatures drop in Tennessee, the skates come out. From frozen ponds to full-scale ice rinks, Tennessee has no shortage of places where you can glide across the ice in the winter, even when snow is scarce. Discover your skating talent at one of these six best ice skating spots in Tennessee.

This indoor icearium hosts the only U.S. figure skating program in the area. It’s also the site for the Knoxville Figure Skating Club. The venue features open sessions for public skating and pick-up hockey games. You can sign up for child and adult classes to perfect your form and technique.

#KDUB hit the ice at @coolsportsknox! β›Έ πŸ‘€Link in the bio to see more!

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This mega sportsplex houses a variety of indoor and outdoor sports activities, but ice skating and hockey are among the top favorites. Two full-size ice rinks offer year-round indoor ice skating. They offer classes and leagues for adults and kids, as well as public skating just for fun.

If you’ve always wanted to ice skate but don’t know how, the pros at Ice Chalet are eager to teach you. They offer skating sessions for all skill levels, as well as open skate times, group classes, hockey, and curling.

Thanks for teaching me how to skate

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Home of the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, this ice center lets you skate on the same rink as the pros. You can learn to skate by enrolling in a camp or class, or simply enjoy a few rides around the rink during an open-to-the-public session.

Uncle Jason and Uncle Tony came to visit.

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Chattanooga doesn’t have its own indoor rink, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from enjoying this family-favorite activity. Instead, they’ve brought in a temporary ice rink for the holidays, giving you a chance to ice skate through mid-January. They take of everything, including skate rentals and balance devices, so all you have to do is show up.

*this picture was taken when we saw our final grades*

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This mountain top amusement park features a large indoor ice rink year-round. This ice-skating arena has been one of the park’s main attractions for decades. Just $9 grants you access to up to three full hours of skating time.

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9 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Tennessee There’s never a bad time to go camping in Tennessee, especially since the state offers dozens of cozy cabins to chase away the winter cold. Here, camping doesn’t always mean sleeping bags and tents. You can have an epic camping experience—complete with campfire—in a modern, amenity-filled cabin that makes your stay the next best thing to being home. For the best in winter getaways, book your spot at one of these 10 best winter camping cabins in Tennessee. 

There’s never a bad time to visit Rock Island State Park, but winter usually means less busy here. Though too cold to swim, you can still get a good view of the falls and other scenery the park is known for. Cabins are open year-round and offer some of the coziest accommodations you’ll find.

Gatlinburg is undoubtedly the place to be during a Tennessee winter, mainly because of the sheer volume of activities you can enjoy. Camping in a cabin at Imagination Mountain is often much more cost effective than a hotel on the Parkway, plus you get the added bonus of fun games, mini golf, heated salt water pool, movie theater, and a playground—all included in your stay.


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Everyone’s favorite forest fire-denouncing bear has its own campground in the Smoky Mountains (how fitting). Each cabin is heated to keep you warm on those cold mountain nights, in addition to fire rings and grills to create the authentic camping experience. Expect a chilly trip in the winter, and possibly some snow.

This cold weather camping experience is sure to keep you warm. The campground features an indoor hot tub and heated cabins to help you defrost from your day’s hike or other outdoor adventure. Situated atop Cumberland Plateau, you can expect some of the best views in the state.

Cabin with a view of the lake

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Open all year, the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA is nestled into the foothills of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The large deluxe cabin is beautiful and overlooks Patriot Park. You’ll find two bunk bed sets, one full sleeper sofa, one queen bed, one full bath and half bath, and a full kitchen to sleep eight people at this spot. 

Located near Jamestown, Tennessee, this state park was the first to become a designated Dark Sky Viewing destination. The views of the sky alone make this a worthy winter camping destination, especially since it gets dark early to extend your viewing pleasure. Hiking and fishing abound at this park, so come prepared to take advantage. Perhaps the best part is that their winter cabin rentals also include a fireplace to keep you toasty all night long.

This area sees its fair share of snow each winter, so make sure you pack warmly. After all, it just isn’t the same winter camping experience without a blanket of snow surrounding your cabin, right? Each cabin comes complete with full bathroom, kitchen, wood burning stove, and heat. The park has recently had some flood damage, but you can still enjoy most of the trails and the never-ending supply of gorgeous scenery.

Peaceful, calm, and beautiful, Natchez Trace State Park is a nature-lover’s paradise. Surrounded by gorgeous lake views, every cabin comes completely outfitted to ease your stay. While you’re there, you can enjoy a relaxing bike ride, hike, or horse trails, or enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant. 

The Gatlinburg KOA is a 16-acre park not far from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy hiking trails and beautiful scenery at this campsite. For comfortable sleeping, snuggle up in their deluxe cabin. The cabin has two beds, a full bathroom and partial kitchen, and an expanded patio.  

#inga #koacamping #snowday #anniversary #gatlinburg

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Start Your Trek: 7 Unbeatable Hiking Retailers in Tennessee Tennessee hikers know that it takes a special kind of store to meet their needs. Given the hundreds of hiking trails, state parks, waterfalls, and outdoor wonders throughout Tennessee, it’s no surprise that the state plays home to some of the best hiking stores around. Inside you’ll find tons of hiking treasures that can make your next trail experience an epic one. For the best in hiking apparel, gear, and accessories, head to one of these seven unbeatable hiking stores in Tennessee. 

Featuring all the hiking brands you love, even well-outfitted hikers can’t help but find something new and necessary here. The folks here know how to give back to the hiking community—every purchase goes toward local non-profits and land managers to ensure you always have plenty of places to roam. Choose from high quality brands like Patagonia, the North Face, and Marmot

When you’re choosing hiking apparel and gear, partner with the people who know the area best. If you’re near Athens, you’ll find the local experts at the Outdoor Store. They’ve taken care to select reliable brands like Hydro Flask and Chaco that aren’t ready to quit until you are.

I am going to do this, now I just need the supplies. So I went to the outdoor store near me that my son works at and “I was not to do or say anything stupid, trying on things that would require me to expose my stomach, say ‘Are you shitting me?’” (Bryson 10). When I went in i met a person to help me get all of the things that i would need for my journey ahead. I will need a lot of things to help me along the way, and this is just the place to get these things. Little did I know how much I will really need for my journey ahead; ropes, backpack, sleeping bag, hiking boots, tent and anything else that you could ever possibly think of that you would need on a journey like this. And yes, this cost me what seemed like a fortune, all for things that i would probably never use again.

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With big names like Keen hiking boots and Camelbak hydration, you know this is a serious hiker’s store. Here you can fuel up on everything you need for a successful hike. And with top quality brands like these, you can rest assured your investment will last for years to come.

drinking hot coffee and wearing sweaters hoping God will get the hint

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GSM (Great Smoky Mountains) Outfitters is in the heart of hiking country, serving as a gateway to hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains. Keen, Marmot, and Osprey line the walls and shelves, along with other top-notch brands that won’t leave you stranded. If you plan on doing any hiking in the mountains, make sure you stop here first.

Yesterday was a beautiful day for delivering Olde Virden's Red Hot Sprinkle. We resupplied @gsm_outfitters_llc out in Wears Valley.

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Just a stone’s throw from some of the best hiking in the Upper Cumberland region, you’ll need the right gear and clothing if you want to get the most from your experience. The trail system here seems to have no limits to challenges and scenery, making it a premier destination for locals and travelers alike. The team at Outdoor Experience recognizes their obligation to the hiking community, which is why they stock only the best names in hiking, including the North Face, ENO and MSR.

Music, nightlife, restaurants, entertainment—Nashville has everything going for it, even when it comes to the outdoor scene. Even in a busy city you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy Mother Nature, and LifeView Outdoors can help you enjoy it in the best possible way. Choose from favorite brands like Black Diamond, Mountain Hardwear, and Adventure Medical, to name a very slight few.

Yes, there is a Bass Pro Shop inside a pyramid, which is even more reason to make the trip. Inside you’ll find some of the top quality brands this famous chain is known for, including Merrell, Columbia Sportswear, and Adventure Medical.

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Camping Done Right: 7 Essential Outdoor Stores in Tennessee Tennessee offers some of the best camping opportunities in the country, given its abundance of state parks, lakes, and mountain vistas. However, both beginner and veteran campers alike realize that it’s hard to have a successful camping trip without the bare necessities. Luckily, there are plenty of outdoor stores in the know about camping in Tennessee that can help you choose the right gear for a memorable experience. Stock up on everything you need—and maybe a few things you didn’t realize you needed—at these seven outdoor stores in Tennessee. 

Gatlinburg is a gateway to the Smoky Mountains, so it’s only fitting they have an epic camping store to supply its thousands of campers. Step inside the lodge-style outpost and you’ll find an array of tents, backpacks, apparel, and other camping gear to complete your experience. Even if you’re not camping anytime soon, the store itself warrants a visit. Kids can enjoy the swinging rope bridge, bear cave, and massive fireplace while waiting for parents to shop. Some of their brands include Osprey, ChacoBlack Diamond, and Camelbak, among others.

Get all your basic camping essentials in a single stop. Cumberland Transit features some of the best brands your campsite will ever see, including ENO, Yeti, and Marmot. They’ve been in business for nearly half a century, and know the area well enough to offer real expertise and knowledge on how to get the most from your purchase.

Camping doesn’t come cheap, especially if you’re starting to amass your armory of sleeping gear, cookware, and other essentials. Four Bridge Outfitters seeks to change the way people camp by offering gently-used outdoor gear for far lower than retail prices. Think of it as a consignment store for camping stuff—they get new items in every week from their consignors so there’s always something fresh to find on their shelves. They also stock a wide array of brand new gear, too.

Dedicated to all things outdoors, this store features some of the best in gear and apparel for all types of nature-based adventures. Locals love them because they can always find just what they need for a perfect weekend in the woods, everything from basic tents or hammocks to cookware, pocket showers, and waterproof bags. Some of their bestselling brands include Big Agnes, the North Face, and JetBoil, to name a few.

You’ll score major finds at well below big-box prices at Gear Closet. This camping consignment store always has something new to delight campers. They also accept donated items, which mean even bigger savings for you. For those just getting into camping, stopping here first is a good way to get started without investing a lot (especially if you don’t plan to camp often!). Their inventory changes regularly, but brands like the North Face and ENO have been known to make appearances. 

No one knows campers like Coleman, the brand completely dedicated to helping campers have the best possible outdoor experience. The outlet store is brimming with Coleman-branded gear and products for campers of all ages and interest levels. You can score quality tents, lighting, electronics, cookware, and entertainment in a single shopping trip. Plus, Coleman is your headquarters for replacement parts for lighting, tents, air pumps, heaters, and other items.

Take an REI store, downsize it a bit, and you’re left with LifeView Outdoors. Like most good campsites, this store is a bit off the beaten path but it’s well worth the trip. They’ve got one of the best camping selections in the state, hands down. You’ll find all your favorite camping brands, like Black Diamond, Marmot, and Big Agnes, in addition to highly knowledgeable staff who can help you make all your shiny new toys work the way they’re supposed to.

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Making the Most of Rock Island State Park With one of the best outdoor scenes in the country, Tennessee knows no limits when it comes to creating epic experiences in nature. The state parks are filled with plenty to do for every age and every type of adventurer. There are over 50 state parks here, but Rock Island State Park is one that definitely deserves a spot on your must-visit list.

This over 880-acre state park has everything going for it: beautiful river views, waterfalls, trails, and plenty of outdoor sporting opportunities. The park’s unique position at the confluence of three rivers (Caney Fork, Rocky, and Collins) has created myriad scenic areas for visitors to enjoy, including the awe-inspiring Caney Fork River Gorge. Fans flock to the area for fishing and kayaking, as well as year-round camping to get back in touch with nature. If you’re planning on visiting, you might want to spend a couple days here to get the most from your visit.   

The gorge is an absolute must-see if you visit, and the Upstream Trail is the easiest way to get there. This moderate-rated trail is just half a mile one-way, starting from the Twin Falls Overlook parking area. This area of the gorge is a popular place for swimming, but it can be risky. You’ll need to leave the same way you came, making your round-trip about a mile.

Inside the park you’ll find the remnants of frontier settlements and old cemeteries. Hop on the two-mile Collins River Connector trail to get there, either by foot or by mountain bike. The trail itself isn’t too difficult, and is a must if you crave a bit of history with your visit.

Rock Island State Park is a camper’s paradise year-round. Take your pick of cabin rentals or traditional campsites for RVs or tents. Both campgrounds within the park offer Wi-Fi and bathhouses with hot water. They also offer treated firewood available for purchase on site. 

This natural area is just a few miles away from Rock Island State Park and is named for the discovery of a giant sloth skeleton back in 1811. The bones are on display at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, but visitors can explore the natural area where they were found. The cave itself has plenty of historical significance as a saltpeter mine in the 19th century, and contains several well-preserved artifacts from its heyday. The cave spans nearly 10 miles of passage, making it one of longest mapped caves in the state. If you want to visit the cave, you’ll need to contact Rock Island State Park as access is limited.

Grab some local flavors at Foglight Foodhouse, a Cajun-inspired eatery with Southern roots and plenty to fill every appetite. Inside the rustic exterior you’ll find fresh seafood, jambalaya, and steaks, all served up with a side of Creole soul. It’s warm, cozy, and friendly, and just might become a must-stop anytime you’re in the area.

Just 30 minutes separates Rock Island State Park and Cumberland Caverns, a tourism hotbed that takes visitors deep underground to explore lost secrets. You can tour the caverns by day or book an overnight excursion, giving you an opportunity to traverse its 32 miles of passages. Underground waterfalls, rock formations, and fun events await you. 

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