For cities, Memphis  and Nashville  have a lot of nature. Nashville may be the greenest city in the nation, with its myriad parks and leafy neighborhoods. Memphis has the Mississippi River, a natural landmark of mammoth proportions.
Natural getaways can be close or far; head to the city park or take a weekend getaway to the woods.
For a quick retreat in the middle of town Centennial Park is your best choice. This well-loved and well-used park is home to the Parthenon , but also has a lovely pond and lots of walking trails. Bring a picnic and enjoy.
Cheekwood Museum and Gardens  may be the most beautiful setting for a picnic in all of Nashville. The estate built by the Maxwell House fortune is lovely, but it is the grounds that really take the cake. Hike the sculpture trail or visit the Japanese garden. Bring a picnic and make a day of it.
Nashville is well endowed with parks. The Edwin and Percy Warner Parks  are twin city parks next to each other. You can hike, jog, ride horseback, and visit the nature center. Just a bit farther down the road is the Radnor Lake State Natural Area . Preserved thanks to local ornithologists and other environmentalists, this is a perfect place for a family hike or solo expedition.
J. Percy Priest Lake  on the east side of Nashville provides lots of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Hike the shoreline, go for a swim, or get out on a boat. The lake is a magnet for Nashville residents in the summertime. Hike or camp at Long Hunter State Park.
The two-lane scenic parkway that begins a few miles west of Nashville is perfect for a bike ride. If you’re driving, enjoy passing through quiet and unspoiled countryside. Take a detour at Leiper’s Fork and hike part of the old Natchez Trace.
This glory-land of outdoor recreation is located on the slim finger of land between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. Camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and horseback riding are the most popular pursuits. You can see wild elk and bison and experience an 1850s-era frontier farm.
Plan to spend at least two nights camping. Go for a hike on one day and then rent a boat to explore the lake shore.
Truly a natural paradise. Escape from the daily grind at the Airpark Inn on the lake front. Gaze at the lake-scape of cypress trees, birds, and the beautiful west Tennessee sky. Go for a float on the lake, or a hike along the shore. Fuel up on catfish and hushpuppies.
Visit Mud Island  and the Mississippi River Walk to see a scale model of the Mississippi, from Minnesota to New Orleans. Take a river cruise to get up close to the Big Muddy.
Head east to the Dixon  and the Memphis Botanic Garden  to see classic southern gardens, with colorful flowers and lots of greenery. For a more rustic experience, go to Shelby Farms  to hike, mountain bike, or play with the dog.