Summer Fun at Cook Public Use Area in Nashville TN

Summer time means sun and swimming and fun! I love the many recreation areas around Percy Priest Lake in Nashville! There are beaches along the lake that are just 15-30 minutes away from us.

One of our favorite spots is the Cook Public Use Area in Nashville. Sure, its name doesn’t sound interesting. But it is an awesome place with a wide beach area for swimming, a number of picnic tables, and grills! So we took our inflatable boat, packed some food, and off we went!


If you are looking for a place to spend the summer, have a picnic, and swim, Cook Public Use Area is a great place to go.

Here are several tips so you can enjoy your time at Cook Recreation Area. 

Location and Open Times.

Look at the map below to check its location. It’s very accessible and easy to find. Prepare $5 cash before you enter the park. You need to pay it at the guard house before you can enter it. They do not accept credit card payments, so make sure you have cash. For more details, please check out the webpage of this park.

There’s plenty of space for parking and this park is not very busy at all!

On weekdays, the park is open only until 5:00 pm. During weekends, it closes at 7:00 pm. I wish it were later than that, but that’s the rule. Right before closing time, the park ranger will roam in his golf cart and remind people that the park will close in 30, and then in 15 minutes.

Swimming Area

This park has a large swimming area. We’ve been to two other lake swimming areas–the Bryant Grove at Long Hunter State Park, and at the Cedar Creek Swimming area. But the Cook Day Use area is the best by far.

summer fun

It has a wide beach for swimming, the water is cool and clean, although it may look murky because of the sand disturbed by swimmers. Children (and adults) can play in the sand.

playing on the beach

Be careful about leaving kids’ toys and your stuff, though. When we went there, some of the kids in our group left their paddle board and toys somewhere in the sand, and somebody took everything! I couldn’t imagine anybody taking those things, but it happened!

Lots of picnic tables and grills!

You can choose a picnic table and there are plenty of those! Most of them, however, are a bit far from the swimming area. But it’s not a problem at all because trees provide shade along the walking areas.

picnic table by the water



Fun for Kids

There is a playground for kids. It has a slide, monkey bars, swing, and a couple of climbing areas. It can be hot in there, though, so it’s best to let your kids play there in the afternoon. The playground area also has mulch to help cushion the impact if kids fall.


If you forgot to bring floaties or life jackets for your kids, there are loaner life jackets available. It came in handy when we inflated our boat and the kids rode with me.

life vests

The Cook Public Use Area also has a boat ramp for people who own boats. People can fish or just enjoy a cruise through the Percy Priest Lake. We had an inflatable boat. So we filled it up with air, I hopped on board with 3 kids (not mine, but my friend’s), and we enjoyed a short paddle on the lake.

We still have a couple of weeks before summer ends and we’d probably go there again another weekend soon!


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