Unlike Florida and California, which are close to the coastlines, Tennessee is a landlocked state, so you will only find a few beaches, especially in Nashville. That’s why “What is the closest beach to Nashville?” is a common question you’ll hear from those looking to bask under the sun and enjoy beach activities but don’t want to travel long distances.
So, what are the best beaches near Nashville? Contrary to popular belief that the closest beach to Nashville is in another state, here are 10 to consider:
- Little Chill Beach
- Cook Day Use Area
- Elm Hill Recreation Area
- Nashville Shores
- Anderson Road Recreation Area Beach
- Old Hickory Beach
- Lock 3 Recreation Area Beach
- Cedar Creek Recreation Area Beach
- Bryant Grove
- Defeated Creek Park Beach
These beach destinations may have similarities when it comes to what they offer, but there are only minor differences. Thus, to help you decide which is the best place to visit alone or with your partner, relatives, or friends, let’s get to know each of them. We ranked them based on their proximity to the City of Nashville, from nearest to farthest.
10 Best Beaches Near Nashville, TN
Before we start, here’s a table that sums up the ten beaches in terms of pet friendliness and whether it’s free or paid and allows overnight stays or camping that you can use as a quick reference:
|Beaches||Free or Paid||Pet Friendly?||Overnight Stay or Camping?|
|Cook Day Use||Paid||x||Designated Camp Grounds|
|Anderson Road||Paid||x||Nearby Camp Grounds|
|Bryant Grove||Free and Paid Options||x||x|
|Defeated Creek Park||Paid||✔||✔|
1. Little Chill Beach
Distance From Nashville: Around 1.2 miles (1.9 km)
Expected Travel Time: Approximately 4 minutes
While not truly the closest beach to Nashville, as it’s in the city itself, Little Chill Beach is the ideal destination for those who need a venue for a private beach party. Each booking includes the following:
- One beach staff for maintenance
- Chairs and tables
- Beach umbrellas
- Garbage cans with liners
- Honda EU2200 portable generator
- Access to hand washing and portapotty stations
- Street parking
That said, you must bring your own sound system and pay extra if you need a security guard. While you can bring your own food and beverage, you can coordinate in advance with the Little Chill Beach staff to match you with their affiliate or approved vendors.
2-4. Percy Priest Lake Beaches
Distance From Nashville: Around 11.6 miles (18.6 km)
Expected Travel Time: Approximately 13 minutes
The Percy Priest Lake recreational area in Middle Tennessee offers three beautiful beaches that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manage. They include:
Cook Day Use Area
Found on the lake’s east side, you have quick access to the sandy beach where you can swim and sunbathe. There are several beautiful covered pavilions that can accommodate up to 75 or 100 individuals where you can cook, relax, and keep your belongings.
There’s also a playground where your grandchildren can play and available drinking water, electric hookups, and flush toilets. Other activities you can do within the area are boating, hiking, and bird and wildlife watching.
Elm Hill Recreation Area
Perfect for those who want to rest and relax but want to bring their RV, this resort is on the west side of Percy Priest Lake. As the largest among the three beaches, there is also an outdoor swimming pool where you can swim and play water activities.
You’ll also find restrooms, picnic areas, a playground, and fire pits to complete your vacation experience. There are also kayak, boat, and paddleboard rental shops available for those who want to enjoy the lake instead of the beach.
While this is a pet-friendly RV resort, you can also opt to bring your tents and camp out, but make sure you reserve a spot in advance. What’s even better is that there are also camper docks and more than 100 full-hook-up sites to ensure you stay comfortable throughout your stay.
Nashville Shores Beach
This huge resort on the east side of the lake offers a sandy beach, a wave pool, and several waterpark attractions. You can rent a cabana or a cabin, depending on whether you plan to have a day of swimming or more than a day of rest and recreation.
5. Anderson Road Recreation Area Beach
Distance From Nashville: Around 15.2 miles (24.5 km)
Expected Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes
Anderson Road Recreation Area has an affordable day-use beach perfect for individuals, couples, groups, and families. Not only can you swim, but you can also kayak, paddleboard, ride a boat, and fish. Additionally, those who want to stay over can camp out on the campgrounds near the beach.
One thing to make a note of when choosing the Anderson Road Recreation Area Beach is that you can’t bring your pets with you.
6. Old Hickory Beach
Distance From Nashville: Around 16 miles (26 km)
Expected Travel Time: Approximately 21 minutes
Located along Old Hickory Lake, this day-use, pet-friendly sandy beach is the perfect destination for those who want or need a short break from their daily routine.
You can lounge on the sand or rent a small or large 100-capacity picnic shelter with grills to cook food. However, picnic tables are also available for those who prefer to bring cooked food.
Children will not only enjoy the water and sand because the area also has a well-equipped, safe playground. Bird and wildlife watching, camping, hiking, and fishing are among the other popular activities one can do at Old Hickory Beach.
You will also have access to a relaxing massage. Other amenities include a boat ramp, electricity and water hookups, and a wide parking area. One problem is that the flush toilets are only available on a seasonal basis.
7. Lock 3 Recreation Area Beach
Distance From Nashville: Around 20.8 miles (33.5 km)
Expected Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes
While the rest of the swim beaches on this list requires an access or use fee, Lock 3 Recreation Area Beach is a 200-foot beach that you can access for free. That’s why you won’t expect to enjoy basic amenities like restrooms, restaurants, and rental shops.
That’s why you must bring your own food, drinks, and other beach essentials, such as a beach umbrella, mat, and chair. You must also note that pets and nude swimming are not allowed. In terms of activities, you can sunbathe on the smooth sand, swim in the clear water, hike, fish, and camp out.
Parking is also free, but when it’s full, you must make do with street parking.
8. Cedar Creek Recreation Area Beach
Distance From Nashville: Around 24 miles (38.6 km)
Expected Travel Time: Approximately 27 minutes
As a recreational area, Cedar Creek has a lot to offer, including a clear-water beach where you can swim, sail, fish, and enjoy other water activities.
Like with Old Hickory Beach, there are plenty of birds and wildlife, electric and water hookups, and a playground. There is also a picnic shelter that can only accommodate up to 50 individuals and covered picnic pavilions that are only a few steps away from the beach.
You’ll also love that the site has hot showers and laundry facilities, perfect for those who want to stay overnight and camp out on the nearby campgrounds. However, you must note that parking isn’t always guaranteed, so it’s best to visit the area at the earliest hour possible.
9. Bryant Grove
Distance From Nashville: Around 24.41 miles (39.28 km)
Expected Travel Time: Approximately 33 minutes
Among the four recreational areas of Long Hunter State Park is Bryant Grove, where you can find a small swim beach. It’s one of the perfect quick getaways for couples, friends, and families.
Not only is there an Instagrammable water fountain, but there are also picnic tables with benches where you can safely spread out your food or place your insulated picnic basket (view on Amazon). Even better, the ground is wide enough to accommodate your 100-can capacity wheeled cooler (view on Amazon) and other essentials.
You may also place a blanket or picnic mat, making it a great area to sit and enjoy the view while watching the kids enjoy the water and the sand. Your grandchildren will also love the small playground, or they can go with you for a short hike in the available trails once they get tired of swimming.
Some things to note when visiting Bryant Grove are that pets are not allowed, restrooms are a bit far from the swimming area, and parking lots can be full-packed during the weekends and the summer season.
10. Defeated Creek Park Beach
Distance From Nashville: Around 65.7 miles (105.73 km)
Expected Travel Time: Approximately 68 minutes
Yet another recreational park with a swim beach offering day and overnight use is Defeated Creek Park. Its amenities include flush toilets, a fire pit, a wash and dry facility, grills, and a dump station. There is also a wide paved parking area, a church, and a boat trailer parking.
Day users can use the available picnic areas with tables or reserve any of the group shelters equipped with electric, sewer, and water hookups. On the other hand, those who plan to stay for more than a day can put up their all-season tent (view on Amazon) or park their RV in any of the 155 sites, all equipped with electrical hookups.
Note that while the area is dog-friendly, you must ensure they’re on a leash outside your RV. The leash must also be less than six-foot long.
Other activities you can enjoy are jet skiing and water skiing. Since the beach is located within the park, you can also bike, hike, ride a horse, fish, view wildlife, ride a boat, and play basketball and volleyball. There are also boat ramps and a marina for easy access to the lake.
What Is the Best Beach Closest to Nashville, TN?
When deciding what the best closest beach to Nashville is, you must answer a few questions:
- How long do you want to spend driving or traveling?
- Who are your companions? Will you bring your pets or grandchildren?
- How long we’ll be staying in the area?
- What other types of activities do you want to enjoy?
Most of these beaches are pet-friendly and will take less than an hour’s drive, depending on traffic, but only a few allow overnight accommodations or camping. It’s also worth noting that most of them allow access to a lake and hiking trails. Plus, while most of them are pet-friendly, it’s best to check what pets are allowed and what other requirements must be met.
Therefore, at the end of the day, it will all boil down to your specific needs, wants, and preferences.