Exploring the best things to do in Tullahoma will likely inspire you to visit this city in Franklin and Coffee counties, Tennessee.
Tullahoma boasts many points of interest woven into its superb location in southern Middle Tennessee just south of Normandy Lake.
The development of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad drove the foundation of Tullahoma in 1852.
The city’s name is traced from the Native American Choctaw phrase for “red rock.”
The abundance of water from the Big Springs of Tullahoma made it not only strategically important for the railway.
The springs’ waters also became a magnet for Tullahoma’s earliest farm settlements and plantations.
Later, the springs became a springboard for the resort spas that became tourist attractions in Tullahoma.
The city also eventually developed a manufacturing industry and emerged as a hub for aviation and aerospace.
Stressing the latter role, the University of Tennessee Space Institute, a graduate school for aerospace engineering, is based in Tullahoma.
Find out more about what makes this city tick among tourists on the following list of the best things to do in Tullahoma, Tennessee.
Explore the Short Springs Natural Area
The Short Springs Natural Area, accessible from Country Club Drive, offers its visitors 430 acres of lush forests to explore.
They can choose from six well-maintained trails for sightseeing in its expansive, tranquil environment that erupts wildflowers in spring.
Most of these pathways are loops intersecting each other, allowing visitors to have a mix of choices on verdant settings to see and terrain to tackle.
Each of the six trails has signage and route markings, making them reasonably easy to follow.
At the trailhead on Short Springs Road near the corner of Powell Road, there’s a map of the natural area next to the parking lot.
You can also download a map of the trails in the Short Springs Natural Area from its website.
Feel the Rush at Skydive Tennessee
The daring visitors of Tullahoma can expect a healthy dose of adrenaline rush at Skydive Tennessee.
Its facility is billed as Tennessee's Premier Skydiving Center, offering the state's largest parachute-jumping plane.
It operates a 20-23-seater Twin Otter aircraft for tandem, solo skydiving, and wingsuit jumping.
First-time skydivers need to spend about two hours for instructions and the tandem jump with an instructor at Skydive Tennessee.
On the other hand, solo jumpers will have to present an Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) Course certification or take this whole-day course at Skydive Tennessee.
This skydiving center also offers courses for wingsuit first-flight adventures for experienced skydivers certified with 200 jumps or more.
Enjoy Family Day at Splash Island
The Tullahoma Parks and Recreation runs Splash Island on North Collins Street adjacent to the D.W. Wilson Community Center.
This public facility initially opened in the late 1970s as an Olympic-sized pool and was upgraded to a family-oriented aquatic park in 2015.
Adults and kids visiting this water park can enjoy its 25-foot-high water slides and splash pad.
Besides its large outdoor swimming pool, Splash Island also features a 300-foot lazy river for water tubing.
In addition, park visitors can access an adjacent indoor pool with six lanes for lap swimming.
This pool also hosts aqua aerobics classes for all ages and ability levels.
Picnic facilities and food concessions are likewise among the features of Tullahoma’s Splash Island.
Bring the Kids to Imagination Station
The Imagination Station, with a unique playground as its main attraction, is another must-visit for families with kids.
This public recreational facility is located on the corner of Cedar Lane and West Hogan Street, just behind Splash Island.
The Imagination Station was named Tennessee’s largest community-built playground when it was built in the late 1980s.
This playground teases children’s imagination with its many play features, including a giant mock-up of a pirate ship, a sandbox, and various play setups.
After playing at the Imagination Station, kids can visit the nearby Cascade Park on East Carroll Street.
This sports park for children features two ballfields hosting Little League Baseball games since the early 1950s.
Chase Tullahoma’s Waterfalls
The spectacle of three Tullahoma waterfalls looms as one of the highlights of a visit to the Short Springs Natural Area.
The star for many visitors of this natural area is Machine Falls, which cascades down 60 feet and is nearly as wide.
Its namesake trail, though, the Machine Falls Loop cascading waterfall, presents the longest path among the trails in the natural area.
Many parts of this trail are steep and, thus, a little tricky to negotiate.
The trail to Machine Falls is open year-round, and dogs on leashes are allowed here.
Rutledge Falls is another magnet for the Short Springs Natural Area.
In summer, you can jump and swim to cool off in its waters below after a walk of less than a mile from the natural area’s parking lot.
Busby Falls provide twin excitement in its upper and lower sections to further spice up a visit to the Short Springs Natural Area.
You can access these cascades via a trail along Bobo Creek that passes across the scenic Collier Horn Bridge.
The steep escarpment along the Bobo Creek trail, with coats of wet weather seeping in winter and spring, presents an impressive sight.
Take a Stroll on the Tullahoma Story Book Trail
Take the chance to combine reading and exercise at the Tullahoma Story Book Trail.
This Tullahoma attraction is accessible from the trailhead Rock Creek Greenway near the Coffee County Lannom Memorial Public Library on North Collins Street.
The Story Book Trail features a chain of 25 podiums set 25 yards apart along the 1.5-mile greenway.
Each podium along the way displays the page of a book encased in glass, enabling visitors to read the book’s contents along the way.
The Coffee County Lannom Library typically rotates the 25 books picked to be featured in the trail every two weeks.
Rock Creek Greenway's path that hosts the Story Book Trail is eight feet wide and ADA-compliant.
Many visitors enjoy the natural beauty of this greenway traversing the lush banks of Rock Creek.
You’ll pass scenic bridges along this greenway, which also offers benches and picnic tables alongside the Tullahoma Story Book Trail.
Catch an Event at Frazier McEwen Park
Summer visits to Tullahoma put in focus the Frazier McEwen Park on Big Springs Avenue.
Nestled along Rock Creek, this park hosts an annual summer outdoor concert series on Saturday nights from August to September.
The park is also the traditional host of Tullahoma’s holiday events, such as the Annual Haunted Hayride, a Halloween thriller.
Kids also enjoy visits to this park on ordinary days because of its playground with an aerospace rocket theme.
Other amenities at Frazier McEwen Park include picnic facilities, two pavilions, a ballfield, and nature trails linked southward to the Rock Creek Greenway.
Unwind at Lakewood Golf & Country Club
Even non-golfers can visit Lakewood Golf & Country Club, located on the quiet northern side of Tullahoma.
This family-oriented facility is southwest of the pristine Short Springs Natural Area.
You can access it through either Short Springs Road from the north or Country Club Drive from the west.
Besides its golf course, this country club features lighted tennis courts, a swimming pool, a ladies’ lounge, and the 19th Hole Bar & Grill.
The golf course offers a par 72 play over 6,613 yards from the longest tees.
Golfers can hone their skills in a driving range with mats and grass, a putting green, and a short game area.
Spend the day at Lakewood Golf & Country Club!
Tour the Beechcraft Heritage Museum
The Beechcraft Heritage Museum is located on Old Shelbyville Highway, just south of the Tullahoma Regional Airport (KTHA).
The main displays at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum comprise more than 35 aircraft manufactured from 1924 to 1994.
The planes on exhibit include the first Beechcraft plane, Barons, Beech 18s, Bonanzas, Duke, Travel Airs, Musketeer, Staggerwings, and Starship.
These iconic Beechcraft planes are displayed in a 60,000-square-foot hangar amid an expansive, picturesque setting.
Visitors can also drop by the museum’s Louise Thaden Library, displaying aviation artifacts, including the 1929 trophies of the Women's Air Derby and the 1936 Bendix.
Enjoy a Getaway at Lake Tullahoma
Though relatively small at about 35 acres, Lake Tullahoma is a great place to visit because its serene natural surroundings are perfect for a getaway.
This lake, one of the three water bodies in Tullahoma, can be accessed from Short Springs Road and then onward north on Lake Hills Road.
You can check for available Airbnb in the charming residential neighborhood, Lake Tullahoma Estates. On the flanks of the lake.
Such accommodation will enable you to kayak and fish on Lake Tullahoma.
Paddling across the lake also offers the opportunity to visit its 20-foot waterfall with a pool below where you can enjoy a quiet swim.
Hit the Bullseye at Templar Shooting Sports
A state-of-the-art indoor range draws gun enthusiasts to Templar Shooting Sports on South Jackson Street.
Its cutting-edge equipment includes rifle-rated steel Action Target allowing target retrieval via a track and trolley system.
The indoor range has an excellent ventilation system purging 100% of its air every 65 seconds.
It provides ten lanes with targets set at 25 yards, suited for any small-arm caliber.
Safety and training lessons are available in Templar Shooting Sports, owned and managed by a military veteran.
Let the Kids Enjoy the Hands-On Science Center
The Hands-On Science Center is another Tullahoma destination where kids can enjoy a learning experience.
Located on Mitchell Boulevard, this city attraction offers more than 100 exciting displays related to scientific concepts.
These exhibits involve aerodynamics, pressure, light, and sound.
The Hands-On Science Center also entertains with its showcases about electricity, geology, outer space, and the ocean environment.
In addition, the center hosts special events and runs a shop selling science kits for kids.
Tour the Cascade George Dickel Distillery
The George Dickel Distillery, located on Cascade Hollow Road, is one of the stops of the Tennessee Whiskey, comprised of more than 25 distilleries in the state.
A Nashville merchant, George Dickel, opened this distillery in 1878, producing whisky with a smoother taste.
This distinctive taste is achieved by chilling the whisky before its mellow-charcoal filtration.
The Scottish tradition is a trademark of the George Dickel Distillery, open to tours by appointment.
After a tour, distillery visitors can enjoy self-guided whisky tastings.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Go Fishing at Normandy Dam
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) built the Normandy Dam mainly for flood control and as a water reservoir for economic development, with a side benefit of recreation.
Completed in 1976, the dam features a boat ramp that anglers and paddlers can easily access.
This boat ramp is accessible from Frank Hiles Road in Normandy, about nine miles north of Tullahoma.
Visitors can fish from the edge of the dam’s waters covering 3,000 acres.
Smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and largemouth bass are the primary fish stock in Normandy Dam.
You can find this place in Normandy, Tennessee, 16 minutes from Tullahoma.
Relax at Barton Springs Campgrounds
The Barton Springs Campgrounds offer some great sites to stay, relax, and enjoy the lake waters formed by the Normandy Dam.
This facility offers 128 campsites for RVs and tents, with all having lake views.
It also provides a boat ramp and boasts Barton Springs Beach for swimming.
The campsites have water and power supply, as well as picnic facilities.
Campers can stay short-term or long-term at these campsites, accessible via Frank Hiles Road in Normandy, 13 minutes from Tullahoma.
The best things to do in Tullahoma can liven up a trip to Middle Tennessee.
Just staying within its city limits can already turn up enough spots for an exciting itinerary.
Many of these activities will complete your visit to the Volunteer State.