7 Reasons to Visit Tims Ford State Park this Season

How a cozy lakeside retreat might be the perfect way to spend the winter season.

7 Reasons to Visit Tims Ford State Park this Season
cozy cottage fireplace

The offseason is a terrific time for a getaway. Every year, people from all over the United States flock to the most popular national parks like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Acadia, Glacier National Park, and of course, Tennessee's own Great Smoky Mountains.

But you don't have to head out of town and fight for the last remaining airport parking space like the millions of travelers this season. Tennessee is home to some of the region's most beautiful state parks, worthy of appearing on any nature lover's must-see list. And with small-town charm, swoon-worthy lake house rentals, hiking trails, and stunning fall and winter foliage, it's no secret that Tims Ford State Park makes the list.

Read on for seven reasons to head to Tims Ford Lake this season.

No. 1: Beautiful fall foliage and more

Fall in Tennessee is undeniably epic. Spectacular fall colors abound starting in early October, with the peak coming around mid to late October. Getting into November, the leaves fall, clearing the way for some of the most breathtaking landscapes to see and experience.

Sunrises are some of our favorite times at Tims Ford Lake. The temperatures are cooler, the water is perfectly calm and the sun rising over the changing trees is simply magical, all the way into winter.

No. 2: Epic bird-watching

Birding is a favorite pastime at Tims Ford Lake, which is home to over 135 recorded species of birds, including the American bald eagle. Other birds spotted in the fall and winter include the Canada goose, mallard, pied-billed grebe, ring-billed gulls, as well as wintering bay lesser scaup and bufflehead ducks. And, if you listen closely, you may hear barred and great-horned owls near wooded areas.

Besides the more than 2,200 acres of state park along the Tims Ford Lake Shoreline, you'll find even more birding and hiking opportunities nearby in Sewanee near the University of the South Campus and the EDC Wildlife Management Area Woods Reservoir Refuge, among others. Learn more about birding at Tims Ford State Park here.

No. 3: Scenic drives

No matter which direction you're coming from, the drive to Tims Ford Lake is beautiful. From Middle Tennessee, highways were carved into the rock, creating a stunning façade. Trees line the paths and make for gorgeous vistas any time of the day. If you take one of the many less-traveled routes, you'll find picturesque farms and miles of unique landscapes as far as you can see.

No. 4: Fewer crowds

quiet fall hike

Tims Ford Lake is well known for lake and outdoor activities in the summer months. The fall and winter afford you the opportunity to enjoy the lake and state park with fewer summer crowds.

This makes for calm lake waters and quiet hiking paths. If you like the idea of feeling you have nature all to yourself, then you should definitely visit Tims Ford Lake and state park in the offseason.

No. 5: Proximity to the most visited US National Park: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Spending time at Tims Ford State Park is great on its own, and what's more, it's also just a couple of hours' drive from one of the most visited national parks!

Break up your trip into two parts and make your way over to East Tennessee to visit Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Within a short distance, you can experience the best hiking, views, and attractions that Tennessee has to offer.

No. 6: Peaceful surroundings

With winter comes the busy holiday season, and sometimes you need to get away from it all. Winchester, Tennessee, and Tims Ford State Park offer you the opportunity to do just that. Quiet streets, quaint downtowns, calm lake waters, thousands of acres of state park, and tucked away lakeside cottages give you the perfect backdrop for a serene staycation.

No. 7: Instagram-worthy accommodations

Hibernation Station at Twin Creeks

Don't feel like you have to rough it when staying near a state park when you visit in the fall. Choose to bring your RV and stay waterfront at an RV resort, or the choose a brand new fully-equipped waterside cottage. Twin Creeks RV Resort offers 100% water view or waterfront RV campsites with a well-maintained bathhouse, laundry facilities, the Trading Post store, as well as access to the lake, a boat ramp, and hiking trails.

If you prefer lakefront vacation rentals, choose one of the Twin Creeks Waterside Cottages. These lakeside retreats aren't the primitive cabins of your youth, though. Each waterside cottage offers you fully-equipped, stylishly decorated four bedroom, three bathroom home away from home. Each lake house has access to a private or shared boat dock, two outdoor living spaces, a gas grill, and a fireplace, perfect for cozy nights with family.

This winter, ditch the crowd and visit Middle Tennessee's Tims Ford State Park. Stay with us at Twin Creeks and we promise you'll want to stay all winter long.

Want to know how the national parks compared last year?

The Most Visited US National Parks

(According to the National Park Service in 2021, not counting other designations in the National Parks System)

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (second only to the Blue Ridge Parkway)
  2. Zion National Park
  3. Yellowstone National Park
  4. Grand Canyon National Park
  5. Rocky Mountain National Park
  6. Acadia National Park
  7. Grand Teton National Park
  8. Yosemite National Park
  9. Indiana Dunes National Park
  10. Glacier National Park