With 26,000 acres to explore, Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of Tennessee’s most popular outdoor vacation destinations. The lovely Cumberland Plateau terrain includes rivers, gorges, and pristine forests along with the eponymous waterfalls. The quiet charm and natural beauty of the surrounding towns make them an ideal place for vacation rentals. Whether your idea of a fun vacation is having a quiet morning sipping coffee on the deck of your vacation rental or getting up early for a wilderness adventure, here are some great communities to visit to find your vacation rental in Fall Creek Falls.

1. Spencer, Tennessee

Located just outside the boundary of the state park, Spencer is a great starting point for a wilderness-focused trip. Bring along kayaks or rafts to store in your vacation rental’s garage, because there are miles of whitewater rivers threading through the area. Rock climbers can find some of the best climbing in the area. Younger kids will love exploring the trails and be wading in the smaller streams. Although Spencer is the county seat, this quaint town has a quiet, rustic feel.

2. Mooneyham, Tennessee

Located among the rolling hills and beautiful forests east of Fall Creek Falls, the rural community of Mooneyham has an old-fashioned feel. Charming brick homes and quaint log cabins dot the area. Choose a vacation rental with a deck to sit outside and watch the whitetail deer and wild turkeys that roam through the trees. Shopping and dining options in Mooneyham are limited, so plan on picking up groceries and other essentials in the nearby town of Pikeville.

3. Welchland, Tennessee

Like Mooneyham, Welchland is a spread-out, rural community perfect for a quiet getaway. It is located just off State Route 111 for easy access to bigger towns while still retaining its country charm. Choose a cabin located along one of the numerous streams running through the area for excellent birdwatching and wildlife viewing opportunities without even leaving your vacation rental.

4. Lees Station, Tennessee

This unincorporated community sprang up around the historic railroad station it is named for. Located just five miles outside of Pikeville, Lees Station offers a rural feel with easy access to minor convenience. Fill up your tank and pick up small items at the gas station and convenience store in town, or head to Pikeville for a dinner out. Expect to find older brick or wood vacation rentals in this area.

5. Pikeville, Tennessee

Source: Flickr/J. Stephen Conn

For more convenient access to shopping and dining without losing that small-town atmosphere, look for a place to stay in Pikeville. Stroll along the tree-lined streets and enjoy the old-fashioned brick buildings, many of which date back to the early 1800s. Catch a bluegrass show at the Nickel Row Music Hall on Main Street, or, if you’re there during the beginning of August, browse for bargains at the annual 127 Yard Sale, a multi-state yard sale that spans more than 700 miles, including a stop in Pikeville.

6. Mount Crest, Tennessee

Located just east of Fall Creek Falls State Park just off of State Route 30, Mount Crest features upscale, secluded homes with spectacular views. Amenities are limited, so plan ahead to minimize driving time. However, Pikeville is only about 5 miles to the east along Route 30, so it’s easy to run to town if you forget a key ingredient while cooking in your vacation rental’s kitchen.

7. Sparta, Tennessee

Source: Flickr/Brent Moore

If you’re a bluegrass fan, Sparta is the place to be. Home to legendary musicians Lester Flatt and Benny Martin, this charming town embraces that heritage with frequent live concerts, festivals and other musical events. Stroll around historic Liberty Square to feel like you’re stepping back in time, or take a quiet morning walk along Calfkiller River Trail, an easy, paved scenic trail. Despite its quaint atmosphere, Sparta is also home to numerous restaurants and shops.

8. McMinnville, Tennessee

Source: Flickr/Brent Moore

McMinnville is a lovely blend of an old-fashioned farming town and a modern tourist destination. Known as the Nursery Capital of the World, the area is a plant lover’s dream due to the more than 450 nurseries scattered around. The charming brick buildings that make up McMinnville’s small downtown district have been lovingly restored and are home to plenty of family-friendly stores and restaurants. It is about an hour away from Fall Creek Falls, but there’s plenty of natural beauty in the area as well. Check out Cumberland Caverns to see Tennessee’s largest cave, and get tickets to Bluegrass Underground for an unforgettable concert right in the cave.

9. Smithville, Tennessee

If Fall Creek Falls State Park is just one stop on your trip, you may want to look for vacation rentals a little farther afield. Located about an hour away, Smithville is close to I-40 for quick access to other cities, including Nashville. Plan your trip around the Fiddler’s Jamboree and Crafts Festival to enjoy live music and browse through locally made art. This small town is quieter during the rest of the year, but you can always expect friendly locals and a relaxed country atmosphere.

10. Rock Island, Tennessee

If you’re bringing along a larger boat that’s not suitable for whitewater, consider staying in Rock Island. Located about half an hour from Fall Creek Falls, this charming little town is home to several marinas to provide easy access to the river. Choose a waterfront vacation rental for a top-notch view of other boaters, or opt for a smaller cottage in town for a cozy feel. Sample the numerous country-style restaurants in town, or pick up groceries at the local market to cook your own meals. Book early during the summer months as Rock Island is a popular destination.

11. Crossville, Tennessee

Conveniently located near several major highways, including I-40, Crossville is a great option for families with varied interests. Nine golf courses of varying difficulty levels make this city a great destination if you love to play, The nearby Cumberland Mountain State Park offers opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and canoeing. Visit the city’s numerous historical sites, such as the Homesteads Tower Museum, for an educational experience, then enjoy some family-friendly dining at one of the numerous cafes and restaurants located in the city.