Are you planning a trip to Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee? No matter what time of year you visit, there are always plenty of things to do in Reelfoot Lake. From fishing to kayaking and exploring the surrounding areas, here is what you can’t miss at Reelfoot Lake.

Cultural Activities

Attend Local Events and Festivals

Reelfoot Lake, located in northwest Tennessee near Union City, offers a variety of cultural activities for you to enjoy. One of the best ways to experience the local culture is by attending events and festivals. In Union City, you’ll find the annual Tennessee Soybean Festival, which celebrates the agricultural heritage of the region. This family-friendly event offers live music, food vendors, and arts and crafts displays.

Meanwhile, just a short drive away in Memphis, you can take part in numerous musical festivals throughout the year. A famous example includes the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, which highlights the rich music history of the city and celebrate its unique sound.

Visit Cultural And Heritage Sites

Reelfoot Lake is also a great starting point for exploring the rich history of Tennessee. Not far from Reelfoot Lake, you’ll find the fascinating Discovery Park of America in Union City. This interactive museum covers history, science, and art through engaging exhibits and displays. You’ll learn about regional history and industry, as well as American heritage.

For a more immersive historical experience, head down to Memphis and explore the National Civil Rights Museum. Here, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the Civil Rights Movement through exhibits, archives, and multimedia presentations.

Engage In Traditional Experiences

To truly appreciate the culture of Reelfoot Lake and its surroundings, be sure to engage in some traditional experiences. Enjoy Southern hospitality by sampling delicious soul food at a local restaurant, such as fried catfish, hush puppies, and sweet tea. Or, you can try your hand at traditional Southern activities like line dancing or catching a live bluegrass show.

In Memphis, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the iconic Beale Street – the Home of the Blues. Here, you can catch live music, visit blues-themed bars, and soak in the atmosphere of this historic and lively area.

Things to do in Reelfoot Lake: Outdoor and Nature Activities

reelfoot lake hiking

Nature Trails and Hiking

Reelfoot Lake State Park offers a variety of nature trails for you to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of the region. The Blue Basin Road and Hwy-157 trails take you through scenic landscapes filled with cypress trees, wildlife, and beautiful scenery. The Edgewater Loop is another popular choice that gives you the opportunity to observe various bird species, including the majestic bald eagles and captivating pelicans.

Water Activities

If you’re a fishing lover looking for the best things to do in Reelfoot Lake, you’ve come to the right place. The lake, teeming with various fish species, offers prime spots for casting a line and relaxing in nature. In addition to fishing, you can take part in other water-based activities like canoeing or kayaking, allowing you to get closer to the cypress trees and local wildlife that inhabit the area.

Adventure Sports

For adrenaline seekers, Reelfoot Lake and the surrounding state parks offer numerous adventure sports options. Hiking trails at varying levels of difficulty provide opportunities to challenge yourself and appreciate the stunning surroundings simultaneously. Bird watching is another popular activity, with the chance to spot various bird species, such as bald eagles and pelicans, in their natural habitat. The combination of hiking and bird watching adds an exciting, adventurous element to your visit.

Relaxation and Wellness

Spas and Wellness Centers

If you’re looking for some of the more relaxing things to do in Reelfoot Lake, you can treat yourself to a day of rejuvenation and relaxation at one of the many spas and wellness centers. These facilities offer various services, from massages to body treatments, ensuring that you feel refreshed during your stay. Don’t forget to soak in a therapeutic mineral bath, an experience that will surely melt away your stress.

Beaches and Pools

If you prefer lounging by the water, Reelfoot Lake has several serene beaches and pools for you to choose from. With golden sand and gentle waves, these spots are perfect for a relaxing day under the sun. Dip your toes in the water or enjoy a quiet swim to cool off. You can even visit a beachside campsite, where you can soak in the stunning lake view while you unwind.

Parks and Gardens

Another way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Reelfoot Lake is by exploring its parks and gardens. These green spaces offer the perfect setting for a leisurely walk, a picnic with your loved ones, or even a calming yoga session. Be sure to visit the various floral displays, showcasing a vibrant array of colors and scents that will leave your senses enchanted.

As you journey through Reelfoot Lake, make the most of your trip by indulging in the abundance of relaxation and wellness opportunities. Whether you choose to pamper yourself at a spa, lounge on a serene beach, or take a peaceful stroll in a picturesque park, you’re sure to leave feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Food and Culinary Activities

Local Cuisine Tasting

While visiting Reelfoot Lake, be sure to indulge in the local cuisine. The region is known for its delicious Southern-style cooking, featuring staples like fried catfish and hush puppies. Many restaurants and shops around the lake proudly serve these mouthwatering dishes. Don’t miss the opportunity to try some homemade barbecue, a regional favorite that will make your taste buds sing.

Cooking Classes

If you’re looking to take your culinary skills to the next level, Reelfoot Lake offers a variety of cooking classes. Learn from local chefs and experts as they teach you how to prepare some of the region’s most beloved dishes. From Southern comfort food to fresh fish caught right from the lake, these classes are both educational and enjoyable. Plus, you’ll have the chance to taste your creations and share them with your fellow classmates.

Visit Local Markets

A visit to Reelfoot Lake is not complete without a trip to the local markets. These bustling centers of activity offer a wide range of fresh, locally-sourced produce, meats, and seafood, as well as unique handmade crafts and souvenirs. Take a stroll through the aisles and pick up some ingredients to experiment with in your own kitchen, or simply enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and friendly locals who are more than happy to share their knowledge and recommendations.

Entertainment and Nightlife

beale street

Live Shows and Performances

Some of the best things to do in Reelfoot Lake and its surrounds is catching live shows and performances. The area hosts a variety of local bands and musicians showcasing their talents in various genres. You can find these performances in nearby towns, such as Union City, located just 15 miles southwest of Reelfoot Lake. Additionally, the Tennessee 21 Theatre offers a range of cinematic experiences for movie lovers.

Bars and Nightclubs

Reelfoot Lake may be a serene natural wonder, but it’s surrounded by a lively nightlife scene. For a refreshing drink and good company, check out the local bars and taverns in the surrounding towns. With a variety of options, from laid-back pubs to lively dance clubs, the nightlife around Reelfoot Lake caters to diverse tastes. Make sure to inquire about any special events or theme nights happening during your visit.

Evening Cruises or Tours

To add a unique twist to your Reelfoot Lake experience, consider embarking on an evening cruise or tour. This allows you to explore the beauty of Reelfoot Lake as the sun sets and experience the nocturnal wildlife awaken. Often, tour companies offer guided night cruises that provide fascinating insights into the area’s ecosystem and history. This unforgettable experience will surely be a highlight of your visit to Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee.

Shopping and Souvenirs

Local Artisan Shops

While visiting Reelfoot Lake, you’ll undoubtedly want to take home a memento of your trip. Be sure to explore the local artisan shops that offer unique, handcrafted products made by talented local artists. At these shops, you can find everything from beautiful pottery and handmade jewelry to wood carvings and paintings. Not only do these items make excellent souvenirs, but they also provide a meaningful way to support the local economy.

Popular Shopping Districts

When it comes to shopping around Reelfoot Lake, there are several districts worth exploring. Check out the bustling area near the lakefront, where you can find a variety of shops selling interesting trinkets, outdoor gear, and clothing. Venture into the nearby towns where charming boutiques and antique stores await your discovery. Regardless of your shopping preferences, you’re sure to find a great selection of items to meet your taste and budget.

Unique Finds

Reelfoot Lake is home to a variety of unique shopping experiences you won’t want to miss. Keep an eye out for shops selling handcrafted duck decoys, a nod to the area’s reputation as a waterfowl hunting destination. These intricately designed decoys are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, making them a great conversation piece to take home. Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to purchase a jar of the region’s famous honey made by local bees that feast on the area’s bountiful wildflowers. These unique finds will serve as great reminders of your visit to Reelfoot Lake.

Family-Friendly Activities

reelfoot lake 1

Children’s Museums and Attractions

While visiting Reelfoot Lake, make sure to explore the nearby Tiptonville. This charming town offers a range of exciting activities for children and the whole family. One must-visit spot is the children’s museum, where kids can engage their curiosity and imagination through interactive exhibits and learn about the region’s history.

Parks and Play Areas

Reelfoot Lake itself is a natural playground with various parks and play areas for children. Enjoy a family picnic, take a leisurely stroll, or engage in games and sports at conveniently located parks around the lake. Near Tiptonville, you can find well-maintained playgrounds, which offer safe and fun-filled spaces where kids can burn off energy and make new friends.

Interactive Workshops

In addition to museums and parks, Tiptonville and the surrounding areas of Reelfoot Lake often host interactive workshops for families and kids. These workshops can range from arts and crafts sessions to nature-themed activities. Check the local events calendar to find engaging workshops taking place during your visit, and let your children have a hands-on learning experience that they will cherish for years to come.

Practical Tips

When visiting Reelfoot Lake in Northwest Tennessee, it’s important to be aware of the local customs and etiquette. Southern hospitality is apparent in this region, so always greet people with a friendly smile and a “hello.” Take note that fishing and hunting are popular activities in the area; make sure to give local anglers and hunters their space while exploring the surroundings.

Don’t forget to try local cuisine, such as fried catfish and hush puppies.

Reelfoot Lake is generally a safe destination, but it’s always wise to take precautions. Keep an eye on the weather, as the area can experience storms and flooding, especially during the spring and fall months. Make sure to pack appropriate gear, such as rain jackets and sturdy footwear.

During outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, or boating, be mindful of the wildlife in the area. The lake is home to a variety of creatures, including alligators, snakes, and a wide range of bird species. Maintain a safe distance and never approach or feed wild animals.

Reelfoot Lake offers various activities for every budget. Accommodations in the area can range from budget-friendly campgrounds to more upscale lodges. To save on costs, consider:

  • Visiting during the offseason (winter or early spring) for discounted lodging rates.
  • Bringing your own food and drinks to avoid expensive restaurant meals.
  • Taking advantage of free or inexpensive attractions, such as the Reelfoot Lake State Park, the Wildlife Refuge, or simply enjoying the natural beauty around the lake.

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