From rolling hills and quiet lakes to places steeped in history and fun-filled family friendly events, you’ll find something to love in Hardeman County.
#1 Get Outdoors for Fun, Exercise, and Beautiful Scenery at Nearby Chickasaw State Park and Big Hill Pond State Park
Lace up your boots, put on your helmet, check your fishing line, or find your binoculars! If you’re looking for a great time outdoors, you’ll find it at these two state parks.
With miles of hiking, horse, and biking trails, those looking to hit the trail for a bit of outdoor exercise can explore the hills, bottomland forests, swamps and lakes of Big Hill Pond State Park or the timberland and lakeside vistas of Chickasaw State Park.
Climb the steps up to the 70-foot observation tower that overlooks Travis McNatt Lake or wander the boardwalk through Dismal Swamp to enjoy the scenic vistas or birding opportunities at Big Hill Pond State Park.
If you prefer water sports, visitors to the parks can fish, swim, or paddle on the lakes. Kayaks, canoes, SUPs, and pedal boats are available for rent seasonally and a boat ramp is available.
Make it a weekend getaway and enjoy one of the tent camping sites, rent a historic WPA cabin, bring your RV, or bring a group and rent the lodge.
Whatever your idea of outdoor fun, you’ll find it at Big Hill Pond State Park near Pocahontas and Chickasaw State Park near Henderson.
These two parks are just a short drive over the county line. Chickasaw State Park is located just west of Henderson, TN, on Highway 100 in Chester County. Big Hill Pond State Park can be visited in nearby McNairy County near Pocahontas.
#2 Visit the National Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction
The nation’s number one museum featuring the history of sporting dog breeds, field trials, and the hunting tradition is located on 4 ½ acres in Grand Junction, Tennessee – the site of the National Field Trial Championship since the early 1900’s.
The Museum houses information, art and photos, trophies, and memorabilia from over 100 years about pointing dog and retriever breeds, field trials, shooting sports, and hunting.
The 6,400-square-foot Retriever Field Trial Hall of Fame holds portraits of Retriever Champions and their owners and handlers. The Sporting Dog Wing houses portraits, photos, and memorabilia representing several dog breeds – American Brittany, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, German Shorthaired Pointer, Gordon Setter, Irish / Red Setter, Vizsla, and Weimaraner.
The Field Trial Hall of Fame showcases the most important humans and canines in the sports of field trialing and bird hunting. Stop in at the Gift Shoppe to find clothing, jewelry, books, ornaments, home décor, and more.
For all bird dog and sporting dog lovers, The National Bird Dog Museum is a must-see.
#3 Take the Grand Ladies of the South Walking Tour
As you tour the historic districts in Bolivar to view the historic homes, churches, buildings, and cemeteries, you’ll see architecture in the Victorian-style, Greek Revival, Victorian-Gothic, Tuscan-style villa, Colonial-Georgia, and Italianate and learn the stories of some of Bolivar’s early residents.
The tour begins at the Hardeman County Courthouse at 100 Main Street, constructed in 1868. One of the state’s first memorials to the fallen Civil War soldiers is on the south lawn of the courthouse. A monument to the city’s namesake, Simon Bolivar, can be found at the west entrance.
Drop in at the Little Courthouse Museum, built in 1824. This is one of the few remaining log courthouses in the United States and has been converted into a museum spotlighting Hardeman County history.
The tour includes 22 locations featuring buildings constructed as early as 1824. The Hardeman County chapter of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities (APTA) offers guided tours each spring.
Pick up a walking tour brochure at the Hardeman County Chamber of Commerce office at 112 S. Main St.
#4 Take in a Show at the Hardeman County Arts Center
Have a seat in the 7,800 square-foot Arts Center (HCAC) and take in a show. From musicals, dramas, comedies, dinner theater, art shows, and children’s productions, you will be sure to be delighted by the artistry of the theatre.
Recent shows include Willy Wonka Jr., Smoke on the Mountain, Fiddler on the Roof, Charlotte’s Web, The Sound of Music, and so many more!
So, sit back and enjoy the talented individuals in Hardeman County.
#5 Shop the Historic Districts of Bolivar and Middleton
Take a stroll down the historic streets of Bolivar and Middleton to find unique boutiques featuring fashion and jewelry, shops full of antiques and collectibles, and gifts that will delight. While you’re enjoying the shopping, stop in for a bite to eat at one of our local eateries on the square.
#6 Dine on the Roof Top at Big Waves Bar & Grill
There’s something special about dining under the stars, especially when you’re enjoying live music. Big Waves is located in Bolivar’s historic court square district and the view from the rooftop seating is perfect for watching the world go by.
Try the famous Big Wave Burger – ½ lb of Black Angus beef topped with thick cut bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle slices and mayo – or grab a salad for something lighter.
The rooftop seating at Big Waves is a great place for a night out.
#7 Experience the Tennessee Forest Festival
Each fall, the town of Bolivar is host to a weeklong festival celebrating forestry, logging, and community. The Tennessee Forest Festival features a parade, art contest, beauty contest, fashion show, music on the square, and BBQ.
For those who like a little friendly competition, there are several events to enter. Try your hand at the cornhole competition or the tennis, golf, and pickleball contests. Forestry-themed events include a tree identification contest, a log sawing contest, and highland games. This family friendly event also features a saw dust treasure hunt just for kids.
So come on out and learn about this important industry in Hardeman County while having a whole lot of fun.
#8 Enjoy Live Music on the Square
You’ll find banjo pickers, guitarists, drummers, singers and more at the Court House Square in Bolivar each Friday night from April through October.
Bring a picnic and enjoy the local bands or purchase food from local vendors in the square. It’s a night to remember.
#9 Visit the Civil War Trail Markers
For history buffs, there are three locations in Hardeman County featured on the Tennessee Civil War Trails. These are Hardeman County Courthouse, Davis Bridge, and Grand Junction.
The original Hardeman County Courthouse was constructed of logs in 1824. It was moved and a brick courthouse with more space was constructed in 1827. The city of Bolivar was occupied in 1862 by Union forces. In 1864, General Samuel D. Sturgis ordered the courthouse and town square to be burned. The current courthouse houses a memorial to the fallen Civil War soldiers on the south lawn. This monument is thought to be the oldest in the state – erected in 1868. A Civil War Trail marker is located at the corner of Main Street and market Street on the courthouse lawn.
Davis Bridge is the site of a Civil War battle on October 5, 1862 – part of the Corinth campaign. As Major General Earl Van Dorn’s troops retreated from Corinth, they were pursued by U.S. General Rosecrans forces. General Grant sent another force commanded by Major General Stephan A. Hurlbut to block the crossing. Van Dorn eventually succeeded in getting his army through the two columns. The Davis Bridge Battlefield State Park is located at the site of this battle.
Grand Junction was so named for the crossing of the Memphis and Charleston Mississippi Railroad Line. The Union army occupied the city for nearly three years. A Contraband Camp was established in the city – a place where runaway slaves could receive care.
#10 Go on a Family Friendly Nature Walk
No matter the season, getting out with the family for a nature walk is always fun. You can watch the changing of the seasons, learn about the plants or birds along the way, participate in a nature scavenger hunt, or even read a story.
When you’re ready to get out with your family for a quick outing, try out one of the local city parks.
Pleasant Run Creek Park at 100 Stevens Road in Bolivar includes several walking trails. The Storybook trail features a new book each season. Each stop along the trail holds a different part of the story. This is just a part of the Arboretum Trail where the family can learn about the trees in the park.
City Park in Bolivar is located at the corner of South Polk and Poplar Streets and includes a walking trail around the grounds. Sand Beach Lake will be a great addition to these city parks with a zipline, picnic pavilion, and walking trails. The projected completion date is 2024.
For the Love of Tennessee – Stay Safe!
For the love of Hardeman County, stay safe! Safely travel, safely visit, and safely shop.