Tennessee: Road Trip Through The Volunteer State
Thinking about packing your bags for the perfect road trip getaway? If so, then visiting Tennessee can be a dream destination with ample opportunity for making unforgettable memories.
Whether your plans include a bucket list travel adventure or a family friendly staycation, consider spending time in Tennessee. From Gatlinburg, to Lynchburg, to Memphis, there’s something for everyone with fun family-friendly activities any many things to see and do!
This guide will help road trip travel planners identify some of the best places to visit, and no matter what your іnterеѕtѕ are, уоu’re sure to find just what you have been looking for – in Tennessee!
Gatlinburg is a fantastic city to visit any time of year, but it’s extra special in the winter! For more than 50 years, visitors have set their sights toward Ober Gatlinburg, where everyone can have a blast while playing in the snow. Tennessee’s only ski area, Ober Gatlinburg offers 10 trails, snowboarding, and snow tubing.
For those not too keen on the more spirited snow activities, there is an amusement park that offers ice skating, miniature golf, and a family friendly area where the little ones can take a spin on the kiddie rides.
For lovers of the weird and unusual, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is Gatlinburg’s best place to find shrunken heads, a mirror maze, the Guinness World Records Adventure houses exhibits, interactive games for the kids, and so much more. There’s even a state-of-the-art Moving Theater where visitors can feel like they’re part of the movie action!
Six miles from downtown Chattanooga, Rock City is the best place to make some magic, no matter what time of year you visit. Everyone wants to See Rock City! Check out these incredible seven stops along the Enchanted Trail:
Visit Lovers Leap and maybe catch a glimpse of soaring falcons; see Seven States when you stand at the corners of Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia; discover fairies, nymphs, and gnomes at Fairyland Caverns; immerse yourself in nursery rhymes at Mother Goose Village, find gemstones at Prospector’s Point, suspend reality over a deep crevice at Swing-a-Long Bridge; and find a foothold at the 25-foot tall kid-friendly climbing wall.
Not to be missed in East Tennessee is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Dollywood, Ruby Falls, Anakeesta, and Cherohala Skyway, a 43-mile National Scenic Byway that connects Tellico Plains with Robbinsville, North Carolina.
Known for its incredible music and rolling hills, Nashville is just the starting point of any Middle Tennessee adventure. Visitors can find song, spirits, and sporting good times nearly everywhere one looks. Check out the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and enjoy live shows by top country music performers and tour a growing collection of over 2.5 million artifacts.
Lynchburg is the place to be if you want to tour Jack Daniel’s Distillery, America’s oldest registered distillery. Sampling tours are available for persons 21 years old and up with family-friendly tour options available for those under 21.
For a cool treat, head to Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, where you will discover Tennessee’s largest show cave. This U.S. National Natural Landmark reveals majestic rock formations and underground rooms that are 333 feet below Earth’s surface! Visitors can enjoy tours, concerts, and spectacular underground sites at Cumberland Caverns.
Other Middle Tennessee favorites include The Grand Ole Opry which offers backstage tours and award-winning shows; Belle Meade Plantation can’t be beaten for history, horses, and hospitality; and Nashville Zoo is a favorite family-friendly destination where rhinos now roam!
Undoubtedly, there’s more than blues and barbecue between the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers, so head to West Tennessee to try your hand at fishing or catch a side-of-the-road safari!
Get outside and discover a new favorite animal at Tennessee Safari Park in Alamo. Of course, visitors are treated to a glimpse into the lives of camel, bison, zebra, and emus, but also get to experience the not often seen red-necked wallaby, blue-tongue skink, and Nubian dwarf goats. This is a drive-through park and visitors can feed the animals from their car, all in less than an hour.
Let’s go to Paris! Paris, Tennessee, that is. While there, be sure to head to Eiffel Tower Park to view the Eiffel tower! This tower was originally created at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, then donated and permanently installed in Paris’s Memorial Park. This somewhat petite Eiffel Tower was boosted to touch the clouds at 70 feet when it was last refurbished.
There are many taller Eiffel Towers, but Paris, Tennessee is the only location also boasting to be home of the World’s Biggest Fish Fry!
No visit to West Tennessee would be complete without a stop at Graceland in Memphis. Discover the personal side of the legendary Elvis Presley with an interactive tour of Graceland Mansion. For a truly memorable Memphis visit, stay the night at the Guesthouse at Graceland, a AAA Four-Diamond luxury hotel located just steps from the gates of Graceland.
If music is your thing, check out this post which features Beale Street and Graceland in Memphis.
Other notable West Tennessee destinations include Shiloh National Military Park where visitors can trace the story of Corinth in the Civil War from secession through Reconstruction; Jackson’s AMP at the Market where you can delight in outdoor musical concerts; and Selmer, to check out the annual Rockabilly Highway Revival, where visitors enjoy internationally known Rockabilly murals and listen to fantastic Rockabilly music.
Knowing more about the destination you visit can be a real time-saver. You’ll know what to еxресt and how to plan your ѕtау. The cities and regions of Tennessee are аѕ inviting as they are mеmоrаblе. Plan well – and enjoy your travel in Tennessee!
Have you traveled to any of the destinations suggested in this guide? Let me know if I left anything out and please share your experience in a comment below.
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I do solo female travel and love a good road trip. The mountains of Tennessee are beyond beautiful. Nashville is exceptional. Memphis is the only place I haven’t been.
The mountains of East Tennessee are some of my favorite places to visit. I agree with you, they are perfectly beautiful. And who doesn’t love Nashville, the music capital of the world? The western part of Tennessee has excellent travel options and I hope you can explore Memphis and the surrounding area soon!
Great write up! My partner has roots in Tennessee, and we have been wanting to make a trip for some time. I knew it was known for country music, but I didn’t realize there was so much else to see and do!
Thanks Kate! Yes, Tennessee is surprisingly diverse in its options of things to see and do which makes for a great road trip destination.
Beautiful! I keep meaning to make a weekend trip over to Tennessee! Thanks for all the suggestions. I can’t wait to see NAsheville!
I love the mountains and Gatlinburg area the best. Anakeesta is the newest attraction there and with the fall color starting, it should be gorgeous!
I love tennessee! I love going to nashville for the Pharmacy burgers and the hot chicken
Sweet! I hope you have a great time in Nashville!
Ah I miss Tennessee! This post has such good tips, some that I didn’t even know about and I used to travel there every summer growing up! Thank you!
You’re welcome Lo!
I’m your neighbor over in NC! Planning a trip to Chattanooga for business and plan to spend some time exploring. Been to Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis over the years. Lots to see and do!!
Very cool Patti! I have a small house in Maggie Valley, NC. The east side of the Smokies is great too! Say hello to Chattanooga for me when you go on your business trip. 🙂
you are an amazing photographer love each shot
Great locations make for great images that’s for sure. Thank you.
I love the Gatlinburg area. Pigeon Forge is always lots of fun too and right next door. Thanks for some great recommendations, I will need to check out more of Tennessee.
I’m glad I could help inspire some Tennessee travel!
Wow! So much to see and do across the state. This is a great resource!
I’m glad this article was a help to you!
I’ve never been to the US but Tennessee has always been on my list. I’d always thought of the food, the drinks and the music – I hadn’t realised how beautiful the scenery is too!
Holly | http://www.honestlyholly23.com
Oh yes, this part of the US has many gorgeous locations. I hope you get to visit some day!
Such a wonderful guide. We love visiting Gatlinburg every year especially in the winter time because of the beautiful views they have and the decorations. Great pictures you have here. Now time to plan a mini vacation for the Christmas.
I love Gatlinburg too. Winter time is so beautiful!
Sweet adventures! I so long to travel to an area that has snow. Living in South Africa is great and all sunshines but no snow. Glad to get to know alittle more about Tennessee!
I’m glad I could share a little slice of the Southeast US with you.
I have never been to the beautiful state of Tennessee, but would love to visit one day I often hear the people are nice, it has some of the amazing landscapes and the food is phenomenal. Great post!
The people are very nice; part of that famous southern hospitality and all. 🙂
Wow, this post was quite insightful and informative! I have never been to Tennessee but now I want to check it out. Chattanooga, Rock City looks very interesting and I definitely want to tour the Jack Daniel’s distillery! Loved the photos too.
Amira at ASelfGuru
You can’t go wrong at either of those destinations! 🙂