The infamous “home of the Screaming Eagles,” the Army’s one and only Air Assault Division, Fort Campbell is truly one of the best Southern bases for military families. The area is freshwater lakes, Nashville eclectic, antique trails, and culinarily speaking — deliciously multifarious.
Lucky for you, dear reader, this guide skips right over the blasé, the overdone, and the average and gets straight to the quintessential things every Screaming Eagle worth their salt has done, eaten, or wished they had known about. This is the local’s guide to Fort Campbell.
Is it Tennessee or Kentucky?
Technically, the base itself is in Kentucky, but thanks to over 10 access gates (only three are open 24 hours), locals will tell you that travel between the two state lines is a seamless, often daily activity. Determine which state to settle into via detailed reports by PCS Grades and Military One Source, whether you pick Tennessee for its lack of state income tax or grab a few bluegrass-filled acres in the country.
A food scene far beyond fried
Fried chicken and buttermilk waffles had their moment and will forever live on in infamy on pretty much any mainstream restaurant’s menu. The modern food-obsessed South, though … it has moved on.
Clarksville — Drawing from its hearty international veteran population, local university, and consistent influx of hungry active-duty soldiers, the food scene throughout this urban-suburban town does not disappoint. Don’t think twice about ordering the local flight of micro-brews from Blackhorse, or the sheer volume of beer cheese dip you’ll down over the years. For pho, it’s Little Saigon you want, uncomplicated and unpretentious. Actual artisanal bread reminiscent of Europe lives on at Silke’s, complete with an in-house German restaurant.
Nashville — To recommend barbeque, one must know if they like it rubbed, dry, sauced, Southern, or in any of the famous styles. Try them all, but consistent, list-topping joints like Martin’s (go dry rub) won’t disappoint. Trips to Nashville (a one-hour drive) are perhaps best served with a side of purpose. Eating your way through the city is manageable neighborhood by neighborhood. Try brunching with Henrietta Red in Germantown or up your craft cocktail knowledge at PH in Wedgewood-Houston.
On the hunt for adventure
The middle Tennessee/Southern Kentucky area is dripping in history. Legitimately, there may be a historic marker on every corner around here. Broken down by interests, there’s plenty to do year-round.
Outdoors — Tennessee has over 500 waterfalls, 65.9 official miles of the Appalachian Trail, the Smoky Mountains to the east, and Land Between the Lakes to the west. Hike, bike, SUP, row, or spelunk your heart out here. Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave is a vast and impressive sight to see.
Arts & culture — Fine art at the Frist, catching symphonies at the Schermerhorn, and more antique stores than a picker could ever desire lives here. Driving just a few hours north to partake in “America’s Greatest Race,” the Kentucky Derby is the Southern rite of passage you never knew you needed.
Music & entertainment — Live music (yes, grunge too) lives forever in the halls of the Exit-In, and date nights are made for strolling through downtown Franklin’s historic streets. Pick any of the many bourbon trails, a name reserved solely within Kentucky’s borders, to gain an appreciation far beyond expectation.
Sports — While there are several options to partake in semi-professional- and professional-level sports close by, there is only one that guarantees a good time. “Smashville” loves its hockey, (despite the sticky Southern summers), and the Predators love them back.
Even with a traditionally higher than average OPTEMPO, Fort Campbell makes raising a family easy thanks to a robust offering of sports, parks, and child-friendly outings. Take a stroll along miles of the greenway beltline, cool down seasonally at one of many on- or off-post splash pads, or venture out to find new friends by trying the newest 619 neighborhood playgrounds.
There’s not a lot of ways to go wrong with things to do, eat, or see while living here. So rock on back in your front porch chair, and drink it all in slow and sweet.Read comments