Situated in the southeastern region of the U.S., Rock Island State Park in Tennessee is home to gorgeous lakes, beautiful trails and amazing gorges and slopes. Covering 883 acres, it has plenty of space for everyone to enjoy. Three rivers flow together in this park, namely the Rocky River, the Collins River and the Caney Fork River. Another key water based attraction of the park is the tranquil Center Hill Lake.
One of the main places of interest within the park is the Caney Fork River Gorge, which is located along part of the length of the aforementioned Caney Fork River. This gorge features some highly atmospheric limestone trails which are perfect for hiking, some fairytale waterfalls and several pools sunk deep into the rock. Opening out onto Center Hill Lake, this gorge also boasts a natural sand beach along which visitors can walk or sunbathe.
An old dam, an historic old Mill and plenty of comfortable rustic cabins situated close to the Gorge make it one of the park’s focal points. Almost everyone who visits ends up at the Gorge, keen to experience its majestic beauty for themselves. The Dam itself is home to a waterfall known as the Great Dam Fall. Other key waterfalls in the region of the gorge include the Twin Falls, which are absolutely stunning, though it is dangerous for visitors to swim or wade near them due to their strong currents.
Kayaking in Rock Island State Park: A Popular Pastime
Kayakers come from all over the country, indeed from all over the world, in order to experience the wonder of kayaking in Rock Island State Park. There is a fantastic variety of different kayaking experiences. There is also a white water section of the park for experienced kayakers along the Caney Fork River Gorge and it is truly memorable. The Gorge can be accessed via Center Hill Lake, and the lake itself is a calm place for beginners to practice their kayaking skills. If you need to look for a kayak to have this adventure, check out killerkayaks.com.
Visitors can bring their best inflatable kayak if they prefer, but it is also possible to rent equipment (including life jackets) from the park itself. Kayaking lessons are also regularly available. Swimming and fishing are other popular water related pastimes here, though some areas of the park (including the Gorge itself, where water can rise rapidly and flow very swiftly) are not suitable for swimming. Spacious and conveniently situated parking lots make it easy to get trailers and equipment to and from the lake and the gorge.
In conclusion, Rock Island State Park is an extremely popular kayaking destination, and with good reason. There are stretches of water suitable for kayakers of all levels here, and the white waters that rush along the gorge draw professional kayakers from across the globe all through the year. Make sure to read some inflatable kayak reviews before you go. The combination of beautiful scenery and plenty of space makes this park a highly desirable place to engage in any kind of water sports.
What is better than exploring creepy, old houses? For the ghost nerd, nothing is better! Check out this interesting video we found and let us know what you think:
An old map and history of West Tennessee by Bravura Media Company:
I live in West Tennessee and love living there, but with all the bad weather we’re having over the winter, I decided to visit family in California. They always have the best weather and it’s sunny most of the time. I would move there if I didn’t have my grandparents and other family to look after.
My brother is lucky enough to have moved to the west coast and he offered to let me stay at his place for a couple weeks. We had such a relaxing time and he showed me some very beautiful scenery and we watched a few sunsets over the ocean. That seems to be popular with the people who live there.
When we were hanging around his house, he said he had to go cut the grass and he went to grab an extension cord. I asked him what it was for, and he said he has an electric lawn mower he has to plug in. I had never seen one being used before! And not only that, I had never seen one made of plastic either, but it was pretty sturdy.
He said he looked up reviews at mowlikeachamp.com and that made him decide to try one. It was so quiet, cut the grass pretty nicely, and there was no awful gas smell that I always hate. I think I’m going to get one for the spring!
The two weeks really flew by and before I knew it, I was back on the plane to go home. I miss him so much and I can’t wait to go back. Next time he’s going to show me even more things because it is such a huge state and there is so much to see. It would take months to see it all, and that’s if I traveled nonstop!
West Tennessee is one of the three major or Grand Divisions of the state of Tennessee, with the other two divisions being East and Middle Tennessee. Bordered by the Tennessee River toward the East, and the Mississippi River on the western side, West Tennessee is more sharply defined by the geographical features of the state than the other two Grand Divisions.
The states of Mississippi and Kentucky border to the north and west, respectively. A southeastern portion of the region in Hardy County is bordered by Alabama’s Lauderdale County. The boundaries of the region have been slightly expanded by the inclusion of Hardin County, which is divided by the Tennessee River. This region has 21 counties, and unlike most geographic divisions in the United States, the name has a socio-economic as well as a legal meaning.
A Brief History of West Tennessee
The territory, which now forms a major part of West Tennessee, was obtained through sequential cessions by the Chickasaw people. The purchase of the region was finalized in 1818 under a buying agreement named the Jackson Purchase. The name of the purchase was derived from Andrew Jackson, one of the officials involved in the purchase. The Jackson Purchase also included a part of the northern region of present-day Mississippi and the western region of Kentucky.
A large portion of the bought area lies in West Tennessee, but the term of the purchase is nowadays mostly used to solely denote the purchased region of Kentucky. Though historically important, the term ‘Jackson Purchase’ is a little misleading, since the entire cession of the land did not happen in one treaty. And Andrew Jackson, who was a military officer, was just one among many federal treaty commissioners who took part in the purchase.
West Tennessee’s Demographics
West Tennessee is slightly less populated and has a smaller land area compared to the East and Middle Tennessee divisions. West Tennessee has a total land surface area of 27582 km² and based on the United States Census, conducted in 2000, had a population of 1,449,802 people living in its 21 counties. The region has 13 cities, and 7 of them have a population that is higher than 10,000. The seven most populated cities are found in Shelby County. Shelby County is made of Memphis and six other major suburbs. The 13 cities in West Tennessee include Memphis, Paris, Bartlett, Millington, Collierville, Brownsville, Germantown, Union City, Dyersburg, Martin, Lakeland, and Arlington.
Interesting Things About West Tennessee
Tourists and travel enthusiasts visiting West Tennessee can enjoy various natural areas and attractions, which include Paris Landing State Park, the beauty of the Mississippi River, channelized rivers and the legacy that is Reel Foot Lake. The West Tennessee region lies in an area with active tectonic activities, which make it vulnerable to earthquakes. In fact, some past major quakes are said to have reversed the flow of the Mississippi River briefly.
However, these earthquakes left a lasting legacy that you can enjoy watching and perhaps rowing in, and that is Reel Foot Lake. This is large and shallow body of water created by earthquakes. Channelized rivers that you could also enjoy touring include the Beech River, Big Sandy River, Forked Deer River, Obion River, Nonconnah Creek, Wolf River, and Loosahatchie River.
West Tennessee also offers more than just nature attractions. The great city of Memphis, known as the ‘Home of the Blues,’ is also the birthplace for the Rock n’ Roll genre and presents various music-based attractions. These attractions include Beale Street Entertainment District, Sun Studio, Stax Museum of American Soul and Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland.
The West Tennessee Strawberry festival is also quite an attraction and the locals and visitors celebrate the strawberry industry with fireworks, parades, dances, and Strawberry Mart.
Lovers of tours and travel can reach the great West Tennessee by air, rail, or road. The region has the largest freight airport in America, which is also the second largest globally. Dyersburg and McKellar-Sipes are the regional airports. Numerous interstate highways run through West Tennessee, and the CSX, the Union Pacific, Canadian National and Norfolk Southern maintain various railroad lines that cross the region.
If you’re planning a trip of a lifetime to West Tennessee, simply continue reading to discover 5 of West Tennessee’s most adventurous campgrounds. After all, what’s a camping trip without activities such as hiking, canoeing and horseback riding?
1. Chickasaw State Park
Chickasaw State Park, which is named after the Chickasaw Indians who once inhabited West Tennessee, boasts 1,280 acres of explorable terrain. If you’re an avid hiker or mountain biker, you may be interested in exploring the park’s four miles of trails. Or you can rent a horse from the park’s on-site stables to ride on. If you love nothing more than spending time by the water, you can explore Lake Placid by row boat or pedal boat. You can also camp overnight, staying in a private cabin or renting a camp or RV site.
2. T.O. Fuller State Park
Rich in African American civil rights history, T.O. Fuller State Park is built on land that indians once lived on, and some things are still preserved! One of the advantages to staying at this particular camp ground is that open fires are permitted, so feel free to sit around a campfire and toast smores. Featured activities at this park include pool swimming, trails to hike, bird watching, basketball and tennis courts, and an education center. There are 45 camp/RV sites with picnic tables, electric/water hookups, showers, coin laundry and more.
3. Beech Lake Family Camping Resort
If you’re searching for a family friendly campground, head to Beech Lake Family Camping Resort. This popular resort backs straight onto Beech Lake and provides ample opportunities to participate in water based activities such as boating and fishing. If you have access to a boat, why not plan a day trip to nearby Redneck Island, which is located a stone’s throw away from the resort’s pier. If you have young children, they’ll enjoy pretending that they’re pirates searching for buried treasure. If you’re looking to travel with a furry family member, you’re also in luck as pets are allowed.
4. Graceland RV Park & Campground
If you’d rather explore city life instead of the woods, Graceland RV Park & Campground is within walking distance to Graceland, Elvis’s Memphis mansion, where you can go on a very interesting tour of his estate. The campground itself has amenities including a swimming pool, a tent area, full time security, bath and laundry facilities, walking trails, electric hookup, internet connection and more. They also have cabins available and a store to buy food or souvenirs, so everything you could need is right there. It might be a good idea to reserve a spot, especially in the summer when everyone is vacationing.
5. Reelfoot Lake State Park
Located in Northwest Tennessee, Reelfoot Lake State Park is known for its wildlife, boating and fishing. The lake itself was created by a series of earthquakes in the 1800’s that caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards! The park has different tours depending on the seasons and there are 2 campgrounds and a museum. Cabins will be built in the near future, but the existing campsites have water, electric, tables and grills, and they allow pets. They have a fish cleaning house, laundry, showers, and a boat launching ramp as well. There is no swimming allowed, as this lake is basically a flooded forest and could pose a serious danger to swimmers.