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How to Make Quality Family Time a Priority This School Year

family canoeing

The kids are back in school and fall is in full-swing, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. You can spend time together well after the first class bell rings. Here are some ideas for activities suited for getting in some quality family time.

Outdoor Adventures

Tennessee abounds with places to get outside and enjoy nature as a family. Pack a picnic and head to one of a dozen inclusive state parks, where you’ll find plenty of inspiration to go hiking, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding and even swimming.

Interpretive centers and outdoor educational opportunities — like Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge or Discovery Park of America in Union City — also offer families the chance to spend an afternoon learning about science and nature.

Historic Day Trips

It’s fairly easy to get across the state, so consider taking a weekend trip to learn about Tennessee’s rich history — after the kids finish their homework, of course.

In East Tennessee alone, you’ll find dozens of sites where you can learn about the early years of the community. The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greeneville and Davy Crockett Birthplace State Historic Park in nearby Limestone both provide a look at these famous Tennesseans’ lives.

In Northeast Tennessee, Rocky Mount Living History Museum in Piney Flats and Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton offer glimpses of the region’s first settlers. Near Knoxville, you’ll find the Museum of Appalachia and the Blount Mansion.

In Southeast Tennessee, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park commemorates the 1863 Civil War battles for Chattanooga. Expect similar historic sites in Middle and West Tennessee, including the storied home of President James K. Polk.

Learn about more family fun activities in Tennessee.

Sporting Events

Football season is always a great time for the family, especially in Tennessee. Don’t just enjoy watching a Tennessee Vols or Titans football game from the couch, plan an outing to Nissan and Neyland Stadiums themselves. Increase the family experience by tailgating with fun activities and healthy snacks before cheering on your favorite team.

Cooking and Canning

Garden-fresh veggies are everywhere during the fall, so take in the bounty while you can. Visit farmers markets together as a family or search for a pick-your-own farm where you can harvest your own fruits and vegetables. Then work together to either can or freeze the produce so you can enjoy them throughout the winter. Working as a team to preserve the food will make it taste even better when fully prepared!

For many households, back-to-school time means less together time, but that doesn’t have to be the case with so many fun activities that the whole family can enjoy. Spend an afternoon or a weekend with your kids and make memories to last all year long.

Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Always check the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.

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