Harrison Bay State Park, All Day Fun!
Things to do:
Hike, Bike, Swim, Tennis, Picnic, Camp, Bird Aviary, Dockside Café, Basketball, Horseshoes, Ski ball, Ballfield, Boat Rentals, Playground, Fish and Ranger Events
I’ve had a great time exploring Harrison Bay State park. I’ve camped, kayaked, hiked, jogged, swam, ate, bird watched, and went to ranger events there. There are so many fun things to do there by yourself or with friends and family. Harrison Bay became a state park in 1937 and was the first state park in Tennessee.
Raptor Aviary and Interpretive Center
When I went to explore Harrison Bay a little further I first stopped at the Raptor Aviary next to the Interpretive Center. The Interpretive Center is open Saturdays and Sundays April through October. There they have fun ranger led events. The Aviary is open year round. There are 3 different birds a Turkey Vulture named Happy, a Great Horned Owl named Marley and a Red Tailed Hawk named Scarlett. It was fun seeing these birds which you might not see every day. They do have a donation box set up there because it costs $5.25 a day to feed the birds. “Feed the Birds, Tuppence a bag” (Marry Poppins). Worth a Visit.
Across the street from the Aviary is The StarWalk. The StarWalk is a .5 mile graveled walking path. On the edge of the trail at regular increments there are signs with information about stars and space. They encourage visitors to walk the trail at night with a red lighted flashlight to help with their night vision during the walk.
Fishing Pier and Picnic Area
After my walk around the StarWalk I jumped back in the car and drove to the Fishing Pier. Driving towards the pier there are picnic areas all the way down the edge of the road and the lake. The picnic area overlook the marina filled with all different kinds of boats, including one that looks like a pirate ship! The Fishing Pier is large and also overlooks the marina. Very tranquil area to fish and picnic.
Boat Dock and Dockside Café
The Dockside Café is a fun place to get a bite to eat. During the spring and summer they have the back patio open, where you can eat overlooking the marina in the open air. I ate at the Café for breakfast this last summer. I kayaked out to Patterson Island to camp and in the morning I kayaked over to the Dockside Café for breakfast. It was a fun experience kayaking to a café and eating on their patio. I had the chicken fried steak and eggs, very good. You can tell a lot about a diner by their chicken fried steak! They also offer All You Can Eat Catfish every Friday. I still need to go try that out.
Hiking, Biking and Running
There are 2 hiking trails not including the StarWalk. The Bay Point Loop Trail is 4.5 miles long. It’s wooded and follows the edge of the lake. It can get very muddy right after it rains do definitely wear your hiking boots! The Lake Shore Loop trail is a little over a mile long. It is wooded and follows the lake. It is a little more up and down than The Bay Point Loop Trail. Both Hikes are a lot of fun and are home to deer, squirrels and a large variety of birds. If you want to go on a jog or run without stepping foot in the woods (understandable in the summer because of the high tick population) the road towards the fishing pier is perfect. The road between the boat ramp and the fishing pier offers a nice lake view and slow speed limits. Perfect for running by yourself or with your pet.
The Rec Area
The Rec Area is fun for everyone. They have Tennis Courts, Basketball Courts, Ski Ball, Horse Shoes, Volley Ball, a Ballfield, Playground, Open Air Theater, Fire pit, a swimming pool and boat rentals. The Swimming pool has an admission fee. There are also over 50 picnic areas scattered around. It’s a little wet right now but I’m excited to go have a fun park day with my family this summer.
The Park Rangers offer several events throughout the year geared towards wildlife education. In March they have the Weed Wrangle, The Harrison Bay Star Party and Full Moon Fitness. All the events that they offer can also be viewed on their website. I work with Boy Scout Troop in my area, we have camped several times at Harrison Bay State Park. On one of our campouts we were able to go to a ranger event where they showed us a king snake and taught us more about them and why they are such a good snake to have around. Whats even better is that all of these ranger events are free!
I’m glad that I got to explore Harrison Bay State Park. It is truly a great place for family fun. It makes a great day trip with all of its activities and events or you can even extend the excitement with an overnight camping trip! With 162 camping areas, convenient bathrooms and showers and a concessions stand there is room for everyone to have a great time right down the street!