Are you searching for an affordable and fun vacation spot in the US? If so, head straight to the state of Tennessee. From its lively music scene in Nashville to its scenic mountains in East Tennessee, there are plenty of no-miss sights and activities in the Volunteer State.
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If your idea of the perfect vacation is spending time outdoors, you’ll love hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains or exploring the caves at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. For a dose of culture, take a tour of the historic homes in Chattanooga or visit the Memphis Zoo. And no trip to Tennessee would be complete without experiencing some of the state’s famous Southern hospitality.
To help you plan an experience-rich trip, here are the best places to visit in Tennessee.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This park is one of the most popular national parks in the US and hosts over 11 million visitors every year. The park is home to many wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, wild birds, and turkeys. There are also over 800 miles of hiking trails in the park for visitors to explore, including some that take you to breathtaking waterfalls like Grotto Falls, Abrams Falls, and Rainbow Falls. The most-visited national park in the United States also has other activities, including fishing, cycling, horseback riding, and camping. If you’re a camper, this park should be on your list.
This mountain town 8 miles northwest of Gatlinburg is a top destination for outdoor activities and family fun. There are a lot of places to stay in Pigeon Forge, so you’re sure to find something that meets your needs. The condos offer breathtaking views and let you enjoy the Smoky Mountains in all their glory. Be sure you select one with a fireplace to enjoy the chilly evenings. While you’re in town, don’t miss out on Dollywood, an amusement park named after country music legend Dolly Parton. The park features roller coasters, live shows, and family-friendly rides. There are many places that are popular among tourists including WonderWorks, Hollywood Wax Museum, and the Titanic Museum. These are just a few of the fun things to do in Pigeon Forge.
Gatlinburg makes a great base camp for exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The town is also home to various attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Ober Gatlinburg, and the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Gatlinburg features several parks, including Gatlinburg Park, Mynatt Park, and Mills Park. Visitors can explore several hiking trails in the area. It’s a family destination that offers beautiful mountain views and many barbecue restaurants with live country music to satisfy even the most difficult-to-please eaters.
Memphis played an important role in developing the blues, rock and roll, and soul music. Memphis is home to iconic musical attractions, including Graceland, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, and Sun Studio. Visitors can also check out the city’s many art galleries, museums, and historic. Visit the National Civil Rights Museum, the Memphis Zoo, and the Children’s Museum of Memphis. Try some of the city’s famous barbecue food while you’re there.
It’s the fourth-largest city in Tennessee and is home to many attractions, including the Chattanooga Zoo, the Tennessee Aquarium, and Lookout Mountain. The city also features a variety of parks, including Coolidge Park, Warner Park, and the Chattanooga National Cemetery. Families will find kid-friendly attractions like the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Creative Discovery Museum. Adults can enjoy a night out on the town with Chattanooga’s many bars and restaurants. The city also offers a variety of shopping and dining options.
It is one of the oldest in Tennessee and the fifth-largest city in the state. The city has a lot to offer its visitors, including the Fort Defiance Civil War Park and Interpretive Center, the Clarksville Marina, and the Customs House Museum. If you are 21 years old, you should enjoy Clarksville’s budding brewing culture. The city is home to many local breweries, including the Clarksville Brewing Company and the Cumberland River Brewing Company. Visitors can also participate in various tours and tastings at the breweries. Clarksville’s peak tourist season is during the summer and fall when the weather is mild.
Nashville, the state capital of Tennessee, is known for its music, food, and culture. The city is home to many iconic musical attractions, including the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Ryman Auditorium. You can check out the city’s many art galleries, museums, and historic sites. Try some of the city’s famous hot chicken while you’re there. Like any other Tennessee destination, Nashville is best enjoyed between May and September.
Lynchburg is the perfect destination for whiskey-loving adults aged 21 and up. The city is home to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, which offers tours and tastings. Tastings are often included on most tours. But keep in mind that Lynchburg is a dry county; you won’t be able to buy alcohol legally on-site or anywhere within the town limits. You can still stroll around Lynchburg’s historic square to explore its charming shops, delicious restaurants, and beautiful 19th-century buildings like the courthouse and Moore County Jail Museum.
Bristol is a small city located on the Tennessee-Virginia border. This city is home to a number of iconic musical attractions, including the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the Bristol Caverns, and the Rhythm and Roots Reunion. Visitors can also explore the city’s many art galleries, museums, and historic sites. Don’t forget to try some of the city’s famous barbecues while you’re there. Bristol’s peak tourist season is during summer and fall when the weather is nice, and there are various festivals and events in the city.
Murfreesboro attracts tourists with its many historical sites, including the Oaklands Mansion, Cannonsburgh Village, and the Stones River National Battlefield. This place is also home to several parks and recreational facilities, including the Stones River Greenway, the Murfreesboro Little Theatre, and the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring. Families will find kid-friendly attractions like the Adventure Science Center and the Murfreesboro Children’s Museum. Adults can enjoy a night out on the town with Murfreesboro’s many bars and restaurants. The city also offers a variety of shopping and dining options.
Where you want to travel in Tennessee depends on what you’re interested in. If you love music, then Nashville is the obvious choice. But if you’re looking for an extraordinary experience, don’t forget about places like Lynchburg and Bristol. And, of course, Murfreesboro has plenty to offer tourists of all ages. Regardless of your preferences, you’re sure to find the perfect vacation destination.