Family-Friendly Retro Summer Activities in Tennessee

When was the last time you thought about the things you loved doing as a kid? Exploring a few retro summer activities can be fun for the whole family. There’s much more to a great summer vacation than binge-watching Netflix and playing games on the iPad®. Take a break from those modern devices and check out these options.

Roller Skating

Roller Skating used to be the go-to activity before the age of modern electronics. When was the last time you spent the evening at the rink? Skating can be great fun and it even offers a fantastic aerobic workout. Make it a family affair and join the kids. Sure, you might have a little farther to fall than the last time you laced up your skates, but you may be surprised at how quickly your skills return. The Roller Skating Association International offers a search tool to help you find a roller rink in your Tennessee neighborhood.

Drive-in Movies

Drive-in movies are a great option for families whose children have a difficult time staying quiet in a traditional theater. You can take toddlers or even infants without worrying that they’ll bother other patrons. Many drive-ins even have playgrounds for elementary-aged children.

While drive-ins hit their peak in the late 1950s, many remained in business through the ’70s and ’80s. While other states have only a handful of drive-ins left in business, Tennesseans looking for a drive-in are in luck. There are still more than a dozen in operation in the state. To find a drive-in near you and to schedule a family-friendly double feature for your crew, check out this list of drive-ins in Tennessee.


Thanks to the Kids Bowl Free program, bowling is one of the cheapest indoor retro summer activities around. More than 30 bowling alleys in Tennessee offer this program, which gives kids two free games of bowling every day during summer break. All you need to do is register your children at the link above. Even if your local bowling alley does not participate, many others offer discounted games to kids during the summer.

Arcade Games

It’s time to take a break from Minecraft® and Pokémon GO® and head to the nearest arcade. Arcade games have evolved dramatically since we were kids and no longer require children to simply move a joystick or press buttons on a controller. Many modern arcade games require whole-body engagement. Some ask you to react quickly, repeat dance moves or even do things like jumping jacks. In fact, your family could get a workout at the arcade without even trying.

Of course, there are still plenty of classic games to check out as well. Do you want to introduce your kids to the games you loved as a child? Look for your favorite games at an arcade near you with this user-submitted database.

By checking out these and other retro summer activities in Tennessee, you can give your kids the type of summer you remember having as a child. And don’t forget to invite your grandparents along to show them how much you appreciate the things they did for you during those childhood summers of yesteryear.

Most activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert or your doctor before engaging in the activity.

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