Harrison Bay State Park allows all to reconnect with nature.

Harrison Bay State Park is an outdoor lovers’ paradise with enough activities to occupy even the most attention deficit child. But along with all the normal state park offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to walk with the bear.

By: Brad Bacon


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)—Most of our visions of relaxation include one thing. Some people like watch television; some like plop down on a rocking chair and read the day away; and some, the more adventures sort, like to get out and enjoy nature.

If you fall into the last category, Harrison Bay State Park should be the top priority on your to-do list. The park offers a wide variety of outdoor fun and relaxation, in a very safe, extremely family friendly environment.

The park allows for year round access to the lake.

The park’s main attraction is the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay golf course designed by none other than the bear himself Jack Nicklaus. According to the parks website, the course is “one of the most highly recognized environmentally sensitive courses in the nation.”  The website also boasts that the course has been certified by Audubon International for its conservation and habitat practices, as well as being registered as the first Groundwater Green Guardian site in Tennessee.

Don’t let the courses eco-friendliness fool you. With more water than the everglades and enough sand to make you feel like Jack Shepard from LOST it is wickedly tough even for experienced golfers. I highly recommend buying that extra sleeve of balls before heading out the first tee box.

The Bear Trace golf course was designed by Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers of all time.

For those who would rather not lose their sanity and $300 worth of broken golf clubs, the park also offers many alternatives. In one day anyone can easily hike one of the parks three trails; fish for large and small mouth bass, bluegill, and catfish; swim in the parks Olympic size swimming pool; play a game of basketball, softball, or volleyball; bike the park’s 4.5 mile paved loop; take a boat or jet-ski out on the lake; and then finish the day camping out on one of the park’s 149 RV or tent only camp sites.

“I love to fish off of the dock,” Chris Porter, an Ooltewah, Tenn. sophomore said. “Sometime the fish don’t want to bite, but that is where the skill comes in. You have to be patient and wait for the fish to come to you.”

Tennessee Fishing policies can be found here.

Catfish are only one of many marine life found inside the park's lake.

With so much to do, many can answer the call of the wild for no more than a three-dollar per person camping fee. Harrison Bay State Park might be the best-kept secret Chattanooga has to offer.