In the middle of the 9,420-acre Cedars of Lebanon State Forest in central Tennessee, you’ll find the 1,139 historic Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Known for its glades and red cedar forest, the park began as a settlement for European Americans in the late 1790s. They came up with the name because the settlers thought the red cedars were the same as the cedar forests in ancient Lebanon used in building the Temple of Solomon.
The property was bought by the United States Forestry Service in 1935, and they helped move the settlers to new locations where they could grow their crops. The Lebanon Cedar Forest, as it was called then, opened in 1937 and was turned over to be managed by the Tennessee Department of Conservation to reforest the land. Today, the park is a beautiful space filled with naturally unique ecosystems such as glades, limestone slabs, and thick forests full of cedar and other flora.
Visitors to the park can find plenty of fun activities to enjoy with family and friends like hiking on one of the six trails, playing a game of disc golf, or horseback riding on the 12.5 miles of bridle trails. There is also a pool, Nature Center, and caves to explore. Many wild animals make their homes in the park, such as turkeys, deer, foxes, and coyotes, as well as hundreds of species of birds. With so much to do, be sure to reserve a spot for your RV so you can stay for a night or the weekend. You’ll find over 100 campsites in three different campgrounds to choose from.
Only about a half-hour from Nashville to the west, surrounded by the Cedars of Lebanon State Forest, you will enjoy your drive to this park with all there is to see and do. Easy to reach just off of TN-265 and US-231, you can get there from I-40 to the north, US-70 from the east, I-24 to the south, or I-840 from the west. Since your route will be taking you through the forest, you will need to keep your eyes peeled for deer or other animals that may come out onto the road.
You may want to stop along the way to enjoy some of the attractions such as the Vesta Cedar Glade State Natural Area just 10 minutes to the southwest. This 150-acre rare habitat has a nice two-mile trail through the glades and forest where you can see some of the wildlife that lives among the trees. Many people visit this spot to see the wildflowers. They even have the endangered Tennessee coneflower in a fenced area where only the insects and other critters can get to them.
Once you get into the park, there are a few areas where a large rig may have trouble getting around. Some of these spots are the tight curves and sharp turns in Campground 1. Make sure you check the information about RV and trailer limits when setting up your reservation. It may also help to talk to someone by phone if you have an extra-large rig so you don’t reserve a spot that you may not be able to get into.
With its pleasant location in Lebanon, just 20 minutes away outside of Nashville, there isn’t a better way to enjoy the unique state of Tennessee than with a visit to Nashville East / Lebanon KOA. Head out and enjoy the gorgeous countryside with its wealth of outdoor activities, or drive into the city and catch shows featuring some of the best country music artists in the world. Nashville East / Lebanon KOA is an ideal place to have a relaxing vacation, where you’ll find amenities including a swimming pool, a dog park, Wi-Fi, 50-amp service, fishing, and pull-through sites for rigs up to 90 feet.
Campground 1 has 45 campsites that can accommodate RVs from 20 to 100 feet long. However, the majority of the sites are for rigs 50 to 70 feet long, which is still huge. With water and 20- to 30-amp electric hookups, you can cook in your rig or outside on the provided BBQ grill or fire ring. Each site also has its own picnic table and lantern hanger as well and is within a short walk to the showers and restrooms.
This campground has some sharp turns so it is best to check the reservation information when reserving your spot to make sure you will be able to maneuver your RV into place. Talk to the park ranger if you have any difficulties getting into your spot. Your kids will enjoy the ball field just to the north of the camp on the other side of the creek. Pets are also welcome but must be kept on a leash and not unattended during your stay.
Campground 2 has 35 spacious campsites with sites that can accommodate motorhomes up to 80 feet, but the majority are 50 to 55 feet long. All sites have 20- to 30-amp electric and water hookups, so you will have no trouble cooking inside or out with the BBQ grill provided by the park. You are welcome to bring your pets but must be restrained at all times.
You’ll be able to eat together at the picnic table rather than having to balance your plate on your lap in a camp chair and there is a lantern hanger so you can light up the whole area. The comfort station is between campsites 79 and 81, which has hot showers and modern restrooms. You’ll be right next to the disc golf course and swimming pool too so you can enjoy them as well. Reservations are required and can be set up to 12 months in advance.
Campground 3 has 30 campsites that have water and 20- to 30-amp electricity so you have most of the comforts of home. Cooking is easy whether you want to be inside or cookout on the grill provided by the park. You can all eat at the picnic table together with a lantern hanger nearby to keep your area lit up when the sun goes down. In the center of the campground, you can find modern restrooms and hot showers for your convenience. Bring your furbaby too but keep him on a leash or otherwise restrained.
Cave Creek runs right alongside the campground and there is a playground for the kids right on the other side. The ball field is across Cedar Forest Road by Campground 1 where you can also find another comfort station. If you need to dump the wastewater tank, the park provides a dump station at the end of the road and the camp store and laundromat are nearby as well. Reservations are needed and can be made up to a year in advance.
If you want to spend a few nights indoors for a change, reserve one of the nine cabins at the park. Located to the east of the disc golf course and pool, and right next to the Limestone Sinks Trail, these cabins are a serene retreat from your busy life. Each of the cabins can accommodate up to six guests with two bedrooms and a loft and one full bath. The downstairs living space has two couches and a television with cable. The cozy fireplace with gas logs makes the room even more charming.
Outside the cabin, you can use the BBQ grill to cook up some steaks to eat at the picnic table while you enjoy the peacefulness of the Tennessee woods. If you’re bringing your furbaby with you, make sure you reserve one of the two pet-friendly cabins. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance and these are popular so the earlier the better.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park has a special surprise hidden in the forest. For a nice cozy retreat with your significant other, reserve the Ricketts Historic Cabin, which is located on its own tucked into the woods across from the playground and ballfield. This historic log cabin is a special place for a weekend getaway where you will feel like it is just the two of you because it is. Since the cabin just has one bed, it is perfect for a newlywed retreat, special event, or honeymoon. Built in the 1930s, the solid cabin has one room with a king-sized bed with bedding, a full kitchen with appliances, and a bathroom supplied with towels and linens. Sit out on the deck in the rocking chairs while you relax in the beauty and serenity of the park. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed, so you will have to leave your furbaby at home for this one.
Are you having a family reunion or wedding coming up? Maybe you have a scout troop or hunting group to plan for? The Cedars of Lebanon Cedar Forest Lodge can accommodate up to 80 people. There are two sleeping quarters, and each dormitory has 19 twin-sized bunk beds on each side, and there are shower rooms and restrooms right outside the dorms. You will need to supply bedding, linens, and towels.
The huge commercial kitchen has all stainless-steel appliances with a double oven, several refrigerators and freezers, and a middle island with commercial-grade cooking pots and utensils. There is a serving area as well as a dining hall with tables and chairs for over 80 guests. The meeting room has plenty of comfortable seating, a fireplace, and a television with cable. Outside you’ll find picnic tables, three BBQ pits, and an athletic field. Just across the road you can visit the Nature Center and Butterfly Garden or take a walk on one of the trails nearby. Reservations can be made up to 24 months in advance.
Be sure to pack your disc golfing gear in the RV before heading to the park. The 54-par disc golf course in Cedars of Lebanon State Park is rated as one of the best in central Tennessee with 18 holes on flat and wooded terrain. With a course length of 4,300 feet, it has 15 holes under 300 feet and three between 300 and 400 feet. The fairways are mostly lined with cedars and other hardwoods and most are narrow, making it just challenging enough to be fun for everyone.
The Olympic sized swimming pool is open from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day. Located between the disc golf course and Limestone Sinks Trail, the pool is near the campgrounds and cabins. Being an outdoor pool, it is subject to closure due to bad weather, but it is mostly sunny in this part of Tennessee. Be sure to pack the sunscreen and pool toys in the rig before heading to the park. Then just sit back on one of the lounge chairs around the pool and soak up some sun while you watch the kids play.
The Merritt Nature Center has tons of exciting and historical exhibits to learn about. During the summertime, programs are held daily by a park employee or visiting naturalist. Some of the activities may include games, movies, campfire stories, guided tours, hayrides, hikes, and crafts. You may even get to meet some wild animals brought in by special guests. These programs are not just for kids, though. Everyone is welcome to come and learn more about the flora and fauna of the park and its surroundings.
If you have a horse and want to bring them along for some horseback riding, make sure you bring proof of a negative Coggins test with you. Cedars of Lebanon State Park has 12.5 miles of bridle trails to explore with your four-legged friends, including your pooch if you have one. Make sure he is on a leash at all times, though. All horses should be unloaded and loaded by the riding stables, which is at the southern end of the park on Stables Road. The trailhead begins near the parking lot by the stables.
Pack some comfortable and sturdy shoes so you can enjoy one (or more) of the six trails at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. The 0.4-mile Limestone Sinks Trail is the easiest, and some say most interesting as it has you meandering along several sinkholes and an ancient rock house. This is located just south of the cabins and across the road from the pool. If you want a challenge, try the 4.20-mile Hidden Springs Trail, which is just off of the Limestone Sinks Trail. It has varied terrain with forest, streams, and limestone passages to explore.
Pack the family into the motorhome and head to Cedars of Lebanon State Park during the off-season for a nice peaceful picnic. With 11 picnic pavilions to choose from, you should be able to find one you like. Three of these can be reserved so you are sure to have a spot for your get-together. One of these can accommodate up to 60 guests while the other two can fit up to 80. Each of the pavilions has 10-12 picnic tables and at least one BBQ grill. Several are near playgrounds and restrooms. Be sure to bring your own charcoal and eating utensils.