As the weather warms up and flowers blossom, Middle Tennessee really comes alive in the spring, making it an especially beautiful time to visit Franklin. Whether you live nearby or you’re traveling to the area for your family’s Spring Break vacation, you’ll find plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors here and keep children and adults of all ages occupied. Here are some of our favorite Spring Break activities.
Book a few nights at one of Franklin’s one-of-a-kind rentals
Whether you live five minutes or five hours away from Franklin, a few nights in one of the area’s amazing rental properties makes for a spectacular getaway – and there are rentals available to suit every taste and budget. We spent a delightful weekend at the Leiper’s Fork Inn, one of Pot N’ Kettle Cottages’ properties in the heart of Leiper’s Fork, and I honestly didn’t want to leave! Now, the owners have partnered with a personal chef who can whip up a personalized brunch or dinner for your group, making your stay even more delightful. Other rentals in and around Franklin range from stylish apartments to luxurious estate homes. Check out this post to see (and swoon over) photos of all that’s available.
Head down the Natchez Trace Parkway
I always make time for a trip down the Natchez Trace Parkway each spring, mainly for the hundreds of redbud trees that bloom on either side of the road and turn it into a fairyland. The best place to see the redbuds when they’re in bloom is on Franklin’s Highway 96 entrance ramp, which you’ll find right beside the iconic Natchez Trace Bridge. From there, take the parkway as far as you want to go for an unforgettable springtime drive. Our favorite stops on the parkway include Timberland Park (we recommend hiking the Big East Fork Reserve trail there), Leiper’s Fork, and Fall Hollow Falls.
Celebrate the outdoors at Bowie Nature Park
Bowie Park in Fairview has some of the best hiking trails in Middle Tennessee. Bowie’s miles of mostly flat wooded trails wind around several lakes and ponds and cross over a crystal clear stream. Got horses? Bowie Park has a lovely horse trail that’s very popular with local riders. Be sure to download a map of the trails ahead of time – There are lots of them, and it’s easy to get turned around.
Have fun on the farm
Williamson County is home to some of the state’s best farm experiences, and spring is the best time for a visit. Noble Springs Dairy offers a popular tour designed for all ages, where you’ll learn about farming, see the goat milking parlor and cheese-making facility, and learn how cheese is made. You’ll also get to feed and cuddle with the dairy’s baby goats and sample some of Noble Springs’ products. Tickets for the tour can be booked online.
At Mistletoe Farm, you and your family can get up close and personal with alpacas. Book a private alpaca experience and spend an unforgettable half-hour or hour with the herd. A camera and a few enthusiastic animal lovers are all you need to make this one memorable afternoon.
Climb to new heights at SOAR Adventure Tower
Located in nearby Cool Springs, this massive four-level climbing tower with 110 different climbing elements is popular with kids of all ages – There’s even a special ground-level section built for kids ages 4-7. In addition to the tower, SOAR also has an 18-hole mini-golf course and a bar where parents can kick back with a beer while the kids climb. SOAR is tremendously popular with locals and a great way to help your energetic family expend some serious energy.
Enjoy Franklin’s lakes and rivers
Want to get out on the water? Paddledog Adventures rents kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards by the hour – Their rental shed is right beside the Westhaven community’s lake, and rates are very reasonable. It’s a great place to get your kids comfortable with canoes or kayaks in a controlled environment.
Craving a little more adventure? Book a two-hour float on Franklin’s Harpeth River. Cumberland Kayak & Adventure Company will provide everything you need for the experience, including kayaks, paddles, and life vests. Cumberland Kayak’s shuttle departs from Harlinsdale Farm and takes you to a point on the river where you and your family can enjoy a leisurely float back to your car.
Whether you’re an expert fly fisherman or you’ve always wanted to try it, Franklin is the place to do it. Franklin Fly Fishing Co. offers half-day and full-day fly fishing trips on the Harpeth and nearby Caney Fork Rivers, either wading in the river or aboard Franklin Fly’s own drift boat. They even offer lessons so that literally anyone can enjoy the experience. Springtime is a great time to book your excursion – Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are in season.
Learn to play polo
You never know when the royal family is going to ring, asking you to join in a polo match, so you might as well be prepared. Luckily, Franklin’s got you covered. Franklin Polo Academy offers a range of classes, from a single introductory course teaching you the basics and allowing you to see how you like it to package classes that teach you all you need to know. They also offer one-on-one polo instruction for those who are ready to take their polo-playing skills to another level. This could be a really fun and unique way to get outside with your family and enjoy your spring break vacation.
Ride your bicycle
Do you like to travel with your bikes? You’re in luck – Brentwood has one of our favorite paved bike trail systems in the state. Eight different trails range in length from one to eight miles round-trip, and most trails are connected so that you can customize your ride to be as long or short as you desire. Plus, the scenery is beautiful – You’ll pass creeks and farmland, ride through forests and parks, and see several historical sites along the way. Check out the Brentwood trail system map to plan your route ahead of time.
Immerse yourself in a virtual reality world
Since my family includes kids ranging in age from 14 to 30, it can be hard to find an activity that everyone will enjoy. Luckily, virtual reality games always fit the bill, which is why we had an absolute blast at The Rabbit Hole VR in Cool Springs. The 6,000 square foot virtual reality arcade has arcade game sessions for one to 12 players and escape games for either two players or four players. Kids ages eight and up can play the arcade games as long as they can fit in the gear; ages 10 and up can play all games. Reserve your game time on The Rabbit Hole’s website.
Learn about Franklin’s remarkable Civil War history
More than 150 years ago, the bloody Battle of Franklin occurred on the city’s doorstep – Today, evidence of the battle still lingers, and there are lots of places to see it for yourself. The Battle of Franklin Trust includes three different historic homes – All three offer tours and are worth visiting. Carnton and the Carter House are both right next to downtown Franklin, and Rippavilla is located nearby Spring Hill. The Lotz House is another home in downtown Franklin with an excellent Civil War history tour. Children lived inside the Lotz House during the Battle of Franklin and figured into its story, so older children are likely to enjoy this particular tour.
Franklin on Foot offers all kinds of walking tours of downtown Franklin specialized depending on your interests. Book your tour ahead of time on the website.
Book a hot air balloon ride
It’s always been my dream to see the world from a hot air balloon, and I’ve discovered you can do just that right here in Franklin. Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventure offers both shared and private excursions on a hot air balloon that reaches altitudes of up to 2,000 feet. The company prides itself on showing its passengers landscape features you can’t see any other way, like hidden lakes, hollows, and wildlife. You can book your hot air balloon experience on the Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventure website.
Go on a Midnight Sun scavenger hunt
Did you know the world’s most famous Tennessee Walking Horse once lived on Franklin’s Harlinsdale Farm? His name was Midnight Sun, and today more than 50 years later, Visit Franklin offers an enjoyable way to learn about him through a Midnight Sun scavenger hunt that takes you to 10 different horse statues hidden throughout downtown Franklin. Stop by the Visitor Center downtown to pick up your scavenger hunt brochure or download it online, along with Midnight Sun coloring pages and an activity booklet for the kids. Once you’ve completed the scavenger hunt, you can take it back to the Visitor Center for a prize!
Celebrate the season at a Franklin festival
Franklin’s Main Street Festival is one of the state’s most popular events, and this year it’s being held on the weekend of April 22-24. Join 120,000 other visitors, shop for arts and crafts, listen to live music, and enjoy local food and drinks. Weather-wise it’s typically one of the best weekends of the year, so this is an ideal festival to put on your Spring Break calendar.
Looking for something a little cozier? Check out Nolensville’s annual Buttercup Festival on April 10. Historic Nolensville is always a good option for an afternoon visit, but on this day, the town will host arts and crafts vendors, live music, and lots of food options. For more ideas on things to do while you’re there, check out our guide to Nolensville.