I think we’ve officially found our new favorite way to spend a family weekend getaway from Nashville. It doesn’t involve expensive hotels or tickets to the latest kids’ museum. It is glamping!
Every year during the summer and fall I get the itch to go camping. It’s like clockwork. I envision us at a secluded campground, surrounded by evergreen trees. We’re sitting by the campfire roasting marshmallows after the kids have finished playing in the nearby creek.
Later, we sit around the fire, the kids playing with their toys in the dirt, while David and I talk about the hikes we want to do for the following day. The next morning we’re awakened by the sound of birds singing, feeling refreshed for a fun day outdoors. We slept perfectly in our tent that only took ten minutes to put up, because, of course, this is my imaginary camping scenario.
I consider myself and outdoor enthusiast, but only to an extent. I love hiking, biking, and enjoying nature any way possible. Unfortunately, I also like sleeping with clean feet and air conditioning.
And this, my friends, is why I have recently fallen in love with the idea of glamping. It combines our love for outdoors and the ideas of camping, all with the luxuries of home. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not above camping, but the setup and prep are A LOT of work, especially with young kids. Even more so, if you only go once or twice a year.
Glamping at Sassy Springs Retreat
We recently made a spur of the moment family weekend getaway from Nashville. Leave it to David, our CFO (Chief Fun Officer) to find this awesome spot last minute on AirBnB. It was a great way to spend a weekend before the school year started back up.
Sassy Springs Retreat is only about and hour and a half drive from Nashville, most of which is interstate. We found it to be extremely easy to get to. Better yet, it is centrally located to several great waterfalls and things to do, making it an ideal base for a family weekend trip from Nashville. This could easily be a great destination for those of you in Chattanooga or Knoxville as well.
They have four different glamping options, three of which are canvas tents. The fourth option is a renovated RV that sleeps up to seven people.
We decided on the family tent, with two queen beds and a twin. This thing was huge! Even with the three beds, there was still some open space in the middle, enough that the kids could’ve sat on the floor and played. There were two small tables with lamps and a rack for our shoes. It was seriously like we had our own hotel room in the woods.
Each campsite has its own fire pit and lounge chairs. You can bring your own wood or they will gladly provide you with enough for a fire at a nominal fee.
An onsite community building with a kitchen area and two bathrooms serves as the central hub for everyone staying on site. Y’all , these aren’t your usual campsite bathrooms. They are clean, with flushing toilets and real showers with perfectly on-theme cow trough tubs.
The community building is where many of the campers and the owners, Corey and Desirae, congregate on a nightly basis, often playing cornhole. Corey and Desirae spent seven months traveling the US in an RV before returning home to Morrison. They missed the community feeling they found in the various RV parks and decided to bring that back with them. So the idea for Sassy Springs Retreat was born. Corey and Desirae are amazing hosts- friendly, welcoming, and knowledgable about the area activities.
You can choose to forgo the communal affair, but if you have kids, good luck. Our two were enamored by all the “new toys” in the community building. Plus, they loved playing and running with the owners’ son. There were endless options for the kids, aside from the plethora of toys. They have a trampoline, endless open space, and chickens roaming around.
You can’t go wrong with spending a weekend getaway at Sassy Springs Retreat.
Looking to spend more time in the Nashville area? Or are you from here, but looking for new ideas for places to go?
Make sure to get your copy of our Guide to Nashville for families! It has recommendations for three days worth of our favorite parks, restaurants, and kid-friendly attractions in Nashville. We’ve even suggested a few different places to stay!
How to Spend Your Days While Glamping
Relax at Sassy Springs
We had big plans for our family weekend trip from Nashville. We arrived at Sassy Springs Retreat around mid afternoon, planning to visit a local waterfall and let the kids play in a creek. However, a rain shower delayed our plans by about an hour. At that point, the kids were having so much fun we decided to stick around the campsite. They had a blast running around in the rain and playing in the mud, and we weren’t concerned in the least with two bathtubs nearby. #parentingwin
That night, after several hours of mingling with the owners and other campers, we finally made it to our air conditioned tent. We slept like
babies exhausted parents in our comfy beds while it rained and thundered just outside. We woke up the next morning nice and dry. I don’t even want to think about how miserable it would’ve been in a “real” tent.
Visit Machine Falls
The next day we cooked our breakfast in the kitchen area while the kids chased the chickens. Then, after packing up we made our way to Machine Falls near Tullahoma. This wide double cascading waterfall, located in the Short Springs Natural Area, is easy to get to and great for kids.
You can do the four mile loop for a full hike, but it was a miserably hot and humid August day here in Middle Tennessee, so we opted for the quicker out and back option to the falls.
Either way, the trail to Machine Falls is fairly easy. If you opt for the out and back to the falls, you’ll only be walking about 1.3 miles total. The only difficult part of the hike is a series of stairs and rock steps to get down to the area below the falls. Our total elevation gain on this route was only about 200 feet.
We ranked this one a 2 out of 5….only due to the slippery series of steps. Both of our kids were able to make some or all of the hike back out.
Our trail ranking goes from 1 (that was a breeze) to 5 (never again!). This is always based on how easy the hike is with kids, as fitness levels for adults can vary. Our kids are used to hiking with us, but we try to focus our rankings on safety and technicality of the hike.
Things to Know About Machine Falls
Once you get down to the falls you can stop and relax. There’s plenty of space for a picnic, if you want. If you plan to do a picnic, pack it in something like a backpack that will be easy to carry down all the stairs. Also consider taking a small towel or blanket to sit on.
There are also several different areas that are perfect for kids to swim and play. Most spots were only about six to eight inches deep or even less. Some spots may be deeper after a heavy rain so you may want to take a life jacket for younger toddlers.
Be careful with the kids going to the falls as the steps can be slippery.
If you want to spend some time on the water, you can visit Smooth Rapids Rentals in nearby McMinnville for a fun day on the water. We haven’t personally used them, but they came highly recommended by Corey and Desirae.
Visit a Local Brewery
If you decide against a picnic or didn’t plan ahead, don’t worry. Murfreesboro is only about twenty minutes away. You can stop and pick up food from Party Fowl or any other spot you find then take it over to Mayday Brewery to finish up your weekend getaway before heading back to Nashville.
Mayday Brewery is super kid friendly (and dog friendly too), so you can sample a few beers while the kids play board games or pet the baby goats. Yep, the day we were there someone had their pet goats with them. So I guess they’re goat friendly too, as long as they’re leashed.
Considerations for Your Weekend Getaway to Sassy Springs
I would definitely consider a stay of two or more nights at Sassy Springs for your weekend getaway from Nashville. There are plenty of other options for things to do nearby for a jam packed weekend. You could check out Foster Falls or Greeter Falls.
The glamping site is only an hour from Chattanooga, so you could always spend a day doing some fun things there. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Chattanooga with kids.
Have you been glamping? What are your favorite family getaways from Nashville? Let us know in the comments below!