Choose Your Own Adventure in Franklin: Spring Break Edition

Spring Break is right around the corner, and no matter your age or interests, there’s plenty for you to do and see in Franklin! Check out these travel profiles and choose your own fun Franklin Spring Break adventure, based on the description that best fits your vacation vibe.

The City Slicker

Do you like shopping, food, and fun, all within walking distance of your hotel? Downtown Franklin is your Spring Break destination. Check into the elegant Harpeth Hotel on Second Avenue North, then cross the street for cocktails on the porch at JJ’s Wine Bar. Head to Red Pony on Main Street afterward for Chef Jason McConnell’s inventive Elk Meatloaf and Eggplant Meatballs, then end the night with live local music at The Legendary Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor on Margin Street. 

Start the next day with a decadent New Orleans-inspired brunch at Ruby Sunshine on Main Street. Follow it up with an afternoon of shopping at Main Street’s many boutiques, art galleries, and home decor stores — and don’t forget to stop in the Visitor Center for great local finds and a detailed brochure containing a guided walking tour of downtown. 

Expand your horizons by spending a few hours on The Franklin Hop, a hop-on, hop-off tour on a vintage trolley with live narration that includes stops at The Factory at FranklinLeiper’s ForkCarnton, and more.

End your action-packed day with dinner at 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails, Harpeth Hotel’s beloved signature restaurant, and a movie or concert at the historic Franklin Theatre

The Road Tripper

Want to enjoy springtime in Franklin with the radio turned up and the wind rushing through your hair? Have we got a road trip for you! 

Head down the Natchez Trace Parkway for stunning natural scenery, hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks. This 444-mile-long national parkway runs from Nashville through Franklin all the way to Natchez, Mississippi, and whether you get on it for 30 minutes or three hours, you’ll find plenty to do and see along the way. (We made a list of all our favorite stops here.) Stop at Timberland Park (milepost 437.2) for a hike on the gorgeous Big East Fork Reserve trail, then head on to the historic village of Leiper’s Fork (milepost 428). Finish your day with dinner and a live show at Fox & Locke – You never know when one of the area’s music superstars might show up for an impromptu performance!  

Start the next morning by heading to The Spa at Leiper’s Fork for a relaxing massage or facial. Afterward, spend some time shopping at Leiper’s Fork’s fantastic locally-owned boutiques and art galleries. Be sure and make time for wine tasting by the creek at Wines in the Fork. Finish it all off with a decadent dinner at 1892, where Chef Dylan Morrison’s menu incorporates the area’s freshest produce and meats.

The Family Guy (or Gal!)

Are you part of a group with a range of ages and interests? Franklin has plenty of activities for every age and stage.

At Sticks & Stones Axe Co. in Cool Springs, book a lane and practice throwing axes at a target. It’s a fun way to practice your aim and burn off some energy. Ages ten and up are welcome to participate!

The Rabbit Hole VR is a virtual gaming arcade in Franklin offering single and multiplayer games your whole family can enjoy together. Games are open to ages eight and up.

At SOAR Adventure Tower, you’ll find a massive four-level climbing structure with 110 different climbing elements for every age and stage. The ground level features a special section built especially for kids ages four-seven. SOAR also has an 18-hole mini golf course and a bar where parents can kick back and enjoy a beer. 

If you’re in search of the area’s best playground, we’re fans of Pinkerton Park in Franklin, which boasts two elaborate playgrounds as well as restrooms, picnic tables, and grills. Crockett Park in Brentwood is another great option – It includes castle architecture, plenty of slides, rubberized paths, and shaded picnic tables.

And no family vacation is complete without sweet treats! Visit Five Daughters Bakery at The Factory in Franklin for their famous 100-layer donuts. While you’re there, don’t miss Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for some of the best ice cream you’ll ever put in your mouth. Feast on a Dream Shake at Sugar Drop on Franklin Road. Loaded down with candy, ice cream, and freshly made baked goods, one Dream Shake could easily satisfy two or three people! Or, head out to nearby Nolensville for a stop at the fabulous Nolensville Toy Shop (located inside a historic home) and a delectable dessert next door at Itty Bitty Donuts, where the donuts are made to order and out of this world.

The Outdoors Enthusiast

Franklin is arguably at its most beautiful in the spring, and if you’re itching to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, you’ll find plenty of fun ways to do it.

Enjoy a relaxing two-hour float down the Harpeth River with Cumberland Kayak & Adventure Company, which provides you with kayaks and shuttle service and departs from Harlinsdale Farm. Or book a boat or wading trip with Franklin Fly Fishing Co. Their guides provide the gear and expertise to ensure you have the best possible fly fishing experience.

Head out for a springtime hike on one of Franklin’s gorgeous hiking trails. Our favorites include the trails at Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary, where wildflowers grow in profusion, Preservation Park in Thompson’s Station, which has incredible views of Williamson County’s pastoral countryside, and Bowie Park in Fairview, where the trails wind around several beautiful lakes and ponds.

Do you like to ride your bicycle? The Brentwood Trail System has eight interconnected, paved trails that wind through forests, fields, and neighborhoods and follow alongside the Little Harpeth River. For more experienced cyclists, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a very popular option and offers some of Middle Tennessee’s most scenic views. You can also rent electric bikes from Pedego in downtown Franklin and either choose a guided tour of downtown Franklin, Leiper’s Fork, or Franklin’s historic homes or strike off on your own adventure.

And for a truly unforgettable outdoor experience, book a hot air balloon ride with Franklin’s Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures. Their experienced guides will take you over hidden lakes and hollows, offering wildlife sightings and incredible views of Williamson County’s less-developed countryside.

The Food and Wine Connoisseur 

Do visits to the best restaurants, vineyards, and breweries top your Spring Break must-do list? No Worries! Franklin’s got you covered. 

For breakfast, try the hot chicken biscuit (called the Princess) at Biscuit Love or the made-from-scratch pastries at Merridee’s Breadbasket, both in downtown Franklin. If you’re off to a late start, head to Frothy Monkey, where delicious breakfast dishes are served all day long. 

Cool Springs is home to some of the best brunch options you’ll find anywhere, including The HoneysuckleBrickTops, and Tupelo Honey. In Nolensville, Me & Loretta’s now serve up a delicious weekend brunch that includes southwestern twists on classic breakfast favorites.

For lunch, it’s hard to beat Herban Market on Franklin Road, where delicious smash burgers, tacos, and sandwiches are made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Gray’s on Main and Puckett’s are two downtown Franklin favorites. Cool Springs boasts the popular Burger Up, and in Brentwood, The Puffy Muffin serves up fabulous ladies-who-lunch fare. For a quick meal, try Waldo’s Chicken & Beer, Big Shakes Hot Chicken & Fish, or Hwy 55 in Spring Hill, which serves up mouthwatering burgers and fries in a classic 50s diner environment. And if you have a hankering for a true Tennessee lunch tradition, Bishops Meat & Three is a must.

Dinner at Culaccino in downtown Franklin is a must – Be sure and try the grilled octopus appetizer – It’s unforgettable. The same is true for 55 South’s garlic parmesan crab fries, which are every bit as good as they sound. You can dine on fantastic hickory and oak wood grilled steaks at Cork & Cow. In Cool Springs, you’ll find Sperry’s, a Middle Tennessee staple, as well as a sophisticated fine dining menu at The Rutledge and creative takes on sushi at Wild Ginger.

Are you in search of the area’s best wineries, breweries, and distilleries? Download the Makers and Masters Trail to your phone and follow it to Arrington VineyardsCompany Distilling at Thompson’s StationLeiper’s Fork DistilleryMill Creek Brewing Co in Nolensville, and Curio Brewing Co. Visit four out of the five stops and turn in your digital passport for a free t-shirt at the Visitor Center in downtown Franklin! 

And if you’re looking for a true big night out, try the Dinner & Distilleries Tour, which offers black car service to two local distilleries and dinner at Circa.

The Luxury Lover

Are you looking for a spring break getaway to mark a milestone or special occasion? Southall, a luxury spa resort, wellness retreat, and working farm in rural Franklin, is just the place for you.

Stay in one of Southall’s 62 guestrooms and suites or 16 cottages, all featuring upscale amenities like oversized tubs and gas fireplaces in a pastoral setting that highlights Franklin’s lush natural beauty. Dine at one of Southall’s restaurants on meals made with fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the resort’s own farm. Enjoy on-site activities like hiking and biking on Southall’s trails, paddling on Lake Mishkin, relaxing with yoga or forest bathing, or testing your skill on the ropes course. Or find your bliss at Southall’s spa, which boasts a steam room, sauna, and relaxation lounge, as well as treatment rooms where you can enjoy a massage, facial, manicure, or pedicure. 

Eight years in the making, this newly-opened luxury resort is truly an unforgettable vacation experience.

The History Buff

If you love exploring America’s past, Franklin can offer the perfect Spring Break adventure. 

Stay in one of Franklin’s historic bed and breakfasts or cottages. Some of our favorite options are The Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast, located just two blocks from the historic Carter House and Lotz House, Sweeney Cottage, an 1890s farmhouse in Leiper’s Fork hand decorated by singer-songwriter Holly Williams, and the Rainey House, a beautiful home in downtown Franklin built in 1839 and located in the heart of the antique district.

Tour Franklin’s historic homes, which include Carnton, the Carter House, the McLemore House, the Lotz House, and Rippavilla in nearby Spring Hill. If you’re planning on touring more than one home, you can buy discounted tickets at the Visitor Center. Be sure and grab a self-guided walking tour booklet of downtown Franklin while you’re there!

Take a guided walking tour of downtown Franklin with Franklin on Foot or Franklin Walking Tours. Both offer a range of tours designed to suit all ages and interests, including evening ghost tours.

And if you’re looking for a little historic ambiance while you eat, you’ll definitely want to dine at Gray’s on Main, which is housed in an 1876 building that once was Gray’s Pharmacy, Biscuit Love, located inside the historic Corn House built in 1892, or The Coffee House at Second & Bridge, which you’ll find in a lovely historic home right beside the Harpeth Hotel.