If you’ve been wanting to chase waterfalls, but wanting to social distance and choose one that’s not so crowded, Machine Falls is a great choice!
We took our daughters, ages 6 and 11, and ran into maybe 10 other families the entire time we were there, including our hike to the falls and back.
Machine Falls was about an hour hike down for us, but I will admit we intentionally took our time so that our youngest would feel safe and comfortable, especially on the slippery rocks toward the end.
Things to know before you go: (I was so glad I did research before visiting!)
Wear sneakers or shoes with good traction, and consider bringing water shoes or sandals for the tail end of the hike. You will be hiking down the creek to get to the falls. And the water is COLD.
Parking lot is by the big white water tower. Put this address in your GPS: 1861 Short Springs Rd. Tullahoma, TN. Machine Falls is located in Short Springs Natural Area.
The trailhead is across the street from the lot.
When you begin the trail, you will notice the sign for Machine Falls points in BOTH directions! The path on the right is much easier! We took the path on the left going to the falls and the right path coming back so we know from experience! If you take the more strenuous path on the left, watch out for tree roots and rocks sticking up out of the pathway at the start of your hike. Regardless of which path you choose, as you get closer to the falls, the climb becomes steeper, and some of the steps are loose.
When you come upon the little bridge, this is good time to change your footwear.
We had the best experience at Soundwaves. And it wasn’t just the water park. Everything about our stay was satisfying from customer service when we arrived, to our fancy schmancy hotel room to enjoying walking around the beautiful hotel grounds.
When you book your package, you can request early arrival, which we did, and they will hold your bags and let you go ahead to the water park while they are preparing your room. They text you when your room is ready.
You will need to pay $32 for parking and it is only $8 more for valet.
We thought ahead and packed a pool bag with everything we would need and had our swimsuits on under our clothes. You won’t need beach towels; they provide them for you!
Once your room is ready, you can grab your bags, get your bearings and go back to Soundwaves if you want. We took everything to our room and checked out our digs, then spent another hour on the lazy river at Soundwaves.
In addition to the lazy river and a traditional pool, Soundwaves offers something for everyone in the family, from a gentle toddler area, to a more daring kid area with climbing and an obstacle course, to surfing and super fast water slides.
We recommend locking up valuables in your room. Lockers cost $12 in the Soundwaves area.
As far as food, we didn’t go there, but it was nice that they had Decibels restaurant inside Soundwaves. It looked cool if you wanted to grab a bite without worrying about drying off and changing clothes. You could just eat in your swimwear.
They don’t allow you to bring outside food into Soundwaves. We did bring lots of snacks with us on the trip and made frequent visits to our room to consume them and save money.
If you are on a budget like we were, the pizza place located in the Delta was yummy and a good deal. It was $4 for a big slice, which was enough to fill me up. Pizzas are cooked in wood fired ovens and it was great because pizza is a favorite food of my picky eater who is five.
We did splurge on room service. Our girls begged for desserts from room service. My big girl devoured the tiramisu and my little one turned the creme brûlée over to me after trying one bite. It was amazing.
Booking your stay. You will need to book a hotel room or a party room to do Soundwaves. Check out all deals available. My daughter wanted family time instead of a party, and really wanted to stay at the hotel anyway. I didn’t look into the cost of booking a party room, but it is an option to consider.
When I booked there was a Soundwaves package, and when you go to the website for Soundwaves/Gaylord Opryland, you will most likely end up on Marriott Bonvoy website since that is who you will book through. I was able to find a teacher discount just by doing a google search, and if you live in Nashville/Davidson county they offer a special discount. Be sure to follow Gaylord Opryland on social media. They post offers and discounts there.
Another way we were able to get a better rate was by being flexible with the date we chose. Please do this. There can be a $200 or more variance in cost from one day to the next.
We went for my oldest daughter’s birthday and booked the for the end of our spring break. Her birthday is in June and we just went so that tells you we were extremely flexible. Waiting until June would be a) peak season, and b) have costed three times as much. When I pulled up their rates calendar where you can see prices for each day of the year, that date was the lowest, so we jumped at it. An example of the rate calendar is below.
Get approved for the Marriott Bonvoy credit card for $200 credited back. Be sure and read the fine print: we had to use our debit card initially for the deposit, then they transferred our balance to the Bonvoy card upon arrival at the hotel.
And if you use my referral link, you can earn 3 free nights, if you spend $3000 with your card the first three months. We were able to do this easily just by putting all of our expenses on the Marriott card during that time.
We just booked our SECOND stay at Opryland Hotel this year, and it was FREE with our Marriott Bonvoy points! We will go this weekend for Madeline’s birthday. She picked to go to Soundwaves instead of having a birthday party! 🙌🏻
I had been wanting a rewards card for awhile, and after doing lots of reading I settled on Bonvoy. Not only did we quickly earn points for two free nights at any Marriott (and Opryland Hotel is owned by Marriott 🤓) they also gave us a $200 rebate from our stay for AC’s birthday.
We earned the $200 rebate by putting our first Soundwaves stay on the Bonvoy card. I was skeptical but sure enough, the $200 was credited back to us on our next statement just as promised.
We earned the two nights by putting all of our monthly purchases on the Bonvoy card then paying it off at the end of the month. Sure enough, an electronic certificate appeared on my Bonvoy app for two free nights. This company is true to their word and I feel like a have made a wise choice choosing this card! Too good not to share!
If you use my referral link below, if you spend $3000 with your card the first three months you will get 3 free nights stay from Bonvoy. I earn points for each of you who get the card using my link. Win win!
We love Soundwaves, Opryland Hotel and Marriott!
Earn a 3 Free Night Award with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. I can be rewarded too if you apply here and are approved for the card. Learn More.
We didn’t really have a clear agenda for today, but thought it would be fun to spend the day in Nashville. I have found that our best family outings are spontaneous and flexible, not locked into a schedule.
I also like packing a picnic lunch for us to save money, and when it’s nice out, it’s fun to eat outside at one of the local parks. Today was perfect for that. Madeline has so much fun helping me pack a bag of goodies for each of us.
We decided to try going to the Frist Museum first. The girls love the children’s art area and we haven’t been in almost a year. When we arrived there were two Metro buses that had just dropped children off for a field trip, and the lot was full.
We decided to go to Cumberland Park by the river and have our lunch first, then go back to the museum after the field trip kiddos had cleared out and the hopefully there would be parking.
This was the best plan and worked out perfectly. I think we all felt recharged after spending time by the water, taking in beautiful views of the Nashville skyline, and soaking up some sun and vitamin D.
When we arrived back at Frist we had our choice of parking spots and there were just a handful of patrons at the museum.
All four of us enjoyed doing art, especially watercolor! The girls enjoyed doing art with colored pencils, doing prints and had fun with lights, fabric and markers. We are so grateful for this program that is free for children under 18 and $15 for an adult. (Money saving tip: when you pay for admission, ask the museum employee for the museum patron parking discount. We only paid $4 and would have paid $20!)
We let both girls pick out a souvenir at the gift shop. Anna Claire picked a set of crystals and Madeline picked out a kaleidoscope that we could barely get her to remove from her eyeball to see where she was going. 😂
We trusted Siri to direct us with the best way to get home which ended up being Rosa Parks Blvd. It took us right by one of our favorite places, the Nashville Farmer’s Market. So of course we had to stop in to browse and get some Jeni’s ice cream.
Such a great day. We love Spring Break – an excellent prelude to summer.