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Game fishing is a popular activity all year long on Old Hickory Lake.

Featured Article

Enjoy Summer Vacation Without Leaving Home

Old Hickory Lake - The Perfect Retreat for Locals and Tourists

Summer is one of the best times of the year, particularly in Middle Tennessee. Long days, blue skies and warm temperatures abound, inviting us to slow down and take a vacation from our normal daily grinds.

This year, the yearning to travel for some fun vacation time is stronger than ever. After spending the last few months quarantined at home due to the coronavirus, everyone seems eager for a change of surroundings.

However, despite the urge to get away from it all, the lingering effects of the pandemic have made vacation planning difficult for many families. Although most parks and resorts have begun to reopen, many vacationers have continued concerns regarding accommodation availability, social distancing requirements and travel safety. These concerns are exacerbated by the economic hardships wrought by the months of quarantine, which has left many families with limited funds available for vacations.

As a result, the continuing uncertainty created by the pandemic has caused many anxious vacationers to have to make difficult decisions about whether or not summer vacations this year are worth the risk.

Fortunately, folks who live in or near the City by the Lake do not have to make such a difficult choice, particularly if they love water.

Hendersonville is blessed to be the home of Old Hickory Lake, one of the most popular recreational areas in the state. From casual lake cruises to competitive fishing to summer afternoons filled with skiing and tubing, Old Hickory Lake has something to offer everyone.

Formed by nearby Old Hickory Dam and the Cumberland River, the lake spans over 22,500 acres in Sumner and four other adjacent counties. With a nominal pool elevation of 445 feet above sea level and 41 easy access points, Old Hickory Lake is perfectly suited for lake and river craft of all sizes. All dam and lake operations are managed year-round by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.

While the lake is accessible from many points in Sumner County, Hendersonville is the hub, boasting over 30 miles of lakefront shoreline. When you factor in the lake surface and shoreline areas, that creates plenty of room for safe, social distancing for families of all sizes.

Boating is one of the most popular summer activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you prefer the slow pace of kayaks and canoes or the heart-pounding thrill of high-performance ski boats, the lake is the place to be. From cruising the channel to tying up for a day of fun in one of the popular party coves, the excitement never ends on Old Hickory Lake.

There are four convenient marinas on the lake for area boaters. Three of the marinas are located in Hendersonville – Creekwood, Drakes Creek and Anchor High, with the fourth, Gallatin Marina, located just a few miles north. Each of these marinas offers full-service for boaters to help them get the most out of long days on the lake.

New boaters seeking their first vessels or experienced lake captains seeking to upgrade have several local boat sales vendors from which to choose. Drakes Creek Marina and TNT Watersports in Hendersonville, Calico Jack’s Boat & RV in Gallatin and Riverside Marine in Old Hickory offer a wide variety of powered watercraft that are perfect for lake cruising. Water lovers who prefer non-powered craft can purchase kayaks or canoes at Hook 1 Outfitters in Hendersonville.

For lake enthusiasts who want to spend time on the water without having to deal with boat ownership and upkeep expenses, there are plenty of daily watercraft rental opportunities available.

Kayaks, canoes and paddle boards can be rented from several local vendors, including Gallatin Kayak Rentals and Shady Cove Resort in Castalian Springs. Large, fully equipped pontoon boats are available for rent at Sweetwater Pontoon Rentals at Creekwood Marina in Hendersonville.

Boaters who intend to spend a significant portion of their summer on the water, but still do not wish to own their equipment, also have an option. The Nashville Boat Club offers private memberships that permit access to a wide range of boats and water toys at Old Hickory Lake, as well as at three other area lakes.

For vacationers seeking a more carefree experience on the water, there are also several local vendors who offer a variety of cruise options on Old Hickory Lake. From large group outings with RiverShip Cruises to smaller, more intimate getaways with Wanderin’ Star Yacht Charters, there are plenty of opportunities for folks to enjoy a carefree lake experience.

Along with boating, Old Hickory Lake is known to anglers around the country for its wide variety of fish, including catfish, crappie, bass and walleye. The diversity of fish coupled with easy access and navigation makes Old Hickory Lake a popular location for professional fishing tournaments.

Old Hickory Lake is also a major camping getaway destination, offering ample campsite rental opportunities at multiple locations, including Cedar Creek and Cages Bend. Open between April and October, the campsites attract thousands of tourists to the Sumner County area each year.

The lake is also home to a large number of waterfowl, including herons, cranes, gulls and eagles, including the majestic Bald Eagle. There are many wooded places surrounding the lake that are ideal for birdwatchers, including a 23-acre wildlife viewing area located near the Lock 3 Recreation area on Walton Ferry Road. For nature lovers and wildlife photographers, Old Hickory Lake is the place to be.

Old Hickory Lake’s central location places it within easy reach of several area parks and recreation areas, including Sanders Ferry, Drakes Creek and Memorial parks in Hendersonville and Lock 4 park in Gallatin. Each of these parks offers a number of different amenities for visitors of all ages, including boat ramps, swimming areas, playgrounds, running/hiking trails, ball fields and picnic pavilions.

After a long day of fun on the lake, nothing completes the experience better than dining at one of the area’s waterside restaurants. Between Old Hickory and Gallatin, the lake is home for several outstanding eateries who cater to boaters and non-boaters alike. Directly accessible from the lake, each of these restaurants offer unique menus to help diners enjoy their life on water.

Seafood and American cuisine lovers will feel right at home at Hendersonville-based The Rudder at Anchor High Marina and Moby Dicky’s or at Awedaddys Bar & Grill in Gallatin or Sam’s Sports Grill at Blue Turtle Bay in Old Hickory. Each of these restaurants offers a scrumptious menu ranging from salads and sandwiches to outstanding marine entrees including such delicacies as oysters, shrimp, lobster and a fresh catch of the day. They also offer full-service bars that serve up cold beer, wine and specialty drinks to help diners beat the summer heat.

For a safe and memorable family vacation experience, you need look no further than Old Hickory Lake.

  • Old Hickory Lake offers great nature watching opportunities, including the majestic Great Blue Heron.
  • Swimming in Old Hickory Lake is a popular way to beat the heat.
  • Game fishing is a popular activity all year long on Old Hickory Lake.
  • Sightseeing and dinner cruises, offered by companies like RiverShip Cruises, are popular summertime lake activities.
  • Reilly Zahn enjoys a hot afternoon on Old Hickory Lake by taking his Jet Ski for a spin.
  • Even pets have a great time on Old Hickory Lake.
  • Pontoon boat rentals make for great family fun on the lake.
  • Kayaking and canoeing are extremely popular activities on the lake.