Best things to do in Tennessee

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Just a stone’s throw away from the music city of Nashville, Tennessee offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions for all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re into outdoor adventures, rich history, or simply enjoying some good ol’ southern hospitality, there’s something for everyone in the beautiful state of Tennessee.

Key Takeaways:

  • Nashville: Experience the vibrant music scene and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Explore the beauty of this natural wonder with hiking and wildlife viewing.
  • Graceland: Visit the iconic home of Elvis Presley in Memphis.
  • Dollywood: Enjoy thrilling rides, shows, and southern hospitality at this theme park in Pigeon Forge.
  • Jack Daniel’s Distillery: Take a tour of Tennessee’s famous whiskey distillery in Lynchburg.
  • Ryman Auditorium: Attend a concert at this historic music venue known as the “Mother Church of Country Music” in Nashville.
  • Rock City: Explore the unique rock formations and gardens at this attraction on Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga.

Dive into Music History

Any trip to Tennessee is incomplete without submerging into its rich music history. From the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll to the heart of country music, the state offers a musical journey like no other.

Explore the Best of Nashville’s Music Scene

One of the must-visit spots for music lovers is Nashville, known as the capital of country music. Explore iconic venues like the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame to immerse yourself in the city’s musical heritage. Don’t miss out on catching live performances at honky-tonk bars on Broadway and discovering up-and-coming artists in cozy singer-songwriter venues.

For a deeper probe the industry, you can take a guided tour of Music Row to see where famous artists recorded their hits or visit RCA Studio B where legends like Elvis Presley once recorded. Nashville truly offers a blend of history, tradition, and modern creativity in its vibrant music scene.

Discovering Memphis: The Birthplace of Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Roll into Memphis, the city where the sounds of blues and rock ‘n’ roll echo through the streets. Visit iconic landmarks like Beale Street and Sun Studio, where legendary musicians like B.B. King and Johnny Cash made their mark on music history.


To truly understand the roots of American music, don’t miss the chance to visit Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former home turned museum. Here, you can walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and explore his legacy, from elaborate costumes to his collection of gold records.

To immerse yourself in the soulful sounds of blues and rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis is a must-visit destination that promises a musical experience like no other.

Majestic Nature and Outdoor Adventures

Your trip to Tennessee is incomplete without exploring its majestic natural beauty and partaking in thrilling outdoor adventures. Whether you are a nature enthusiast or an adrenaline junkie, the state has something to offer for everyone.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Essentials

To truly immerse yourself in the wonders of Tennessee’s outdoors, a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-do. With over 800 miles of hiking trails, stunning waterfalls, and diverse wildlife, this park offers a serene retreat for nature lovers. Don’t forget to pack your camera to capture the breathtaking views from Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park.

Great Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains

Experience the tranquility of the old-growth forests, spot black bears, elk, and deer, and marvel at the vibrant fall foliage during autumn. Remember to pack imperatives such as water, snacks, and sturdy hiking shoes for a comfortable and memorable adventure in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thrilling Outdoor Activities in Chattanooga

On your visit to Tennessee, make sure to stop by Chattanooga for a thrilling outdoor experience. From rock climbing on the iconic Lookout Mountain to white-water rafting on the Ocoee River, this vibrant city offers an array of exciting activities for adventure seekers. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned outdoor enthusiast, Chattanooga has something for everyone.

Chattanooga, Tennessee Skyline
Chattanooga, Tennessee Skyline

Outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy mountain biking on Raccoon Mountain, zip-lining through the lush forests, or exploring the underground wonders of Ruby Falls. With its unique blend of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping activities, Chattanooga is a paradise for outdoor lovers.

Outdoor adventures in Chattanooga offer a mix of excitement and natural beauty that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Be sure to check weather conditions and safety guidelines before begining on any outdoor activities to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Whiskey Lovers’ Paradise

Are you a whiskey connoisseur looking for your next adventure? Tennessee is the perfect destination for you! With its rich history of whiskey making and a plethora of distilleries to visit, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience in the Volunteer State.

Touring the Legendary Jack Daniel’s Distillery

The iconic Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg is a must-visit for any whiskey lover. The distillery offers guided tours that take you through the entire whiskey-making process, from the mashing of grains to the charcoal mellowing and aging in oak barrels. You’ll learn about the founder, Mr. Jack Daniel himself, and how his legacy continues to this day.

As you stroll through the scenic distillery grounds, you can witness the craftsmanship that goes into every drop of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. The tour ends with a tasting of their finest spirits, where you can savor the distinct flavors and aromas that make Jack Daniel’s world-renowned.

Exploring Other Famous Tennessee Whiskey Stops

One of the other top whiskey stops in Tennessee is the George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma. This historic distillery has been producing quality Tennessee whiskey since 1870 and offers tours that give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at their production process.

To truly immerse yourself in Tennessee’s whiskey culture, be sure to visit the many craft distilleries scattered throughout the state. These smaller, artisanal producers offer unique and innovative takes on traditional Tennessee whiskey, making each visit a new and exciting experience.

Cultural Experiences and Family Fun

All across Tennessee, there are cultural experiences and family-friendly activities waiting to be explored. Whether you’re interested in entering into the state’s rich historical sites or seeking unforgettable family destinations, Tennessee has something for everyone.

Dive into Tennessee’s Rich Historical Sites

Tennessee’s history runs deep, with a wealth of historical sites that offer a glimpse into the past. From the iconic Graceland Mansion in Memphis, the former home of Elvis Presley, to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, where you can learn about the history of Tennessee whiskey, there is no shortage of fascinating places to explore.

Wander through the Andrew Jackson Hermitage in Nashville, the plantation home of the seventh U.S. president, or visit Rock City on Lookout Mountain, known for its stunning panoramic views and massive ancient rock formations. Tennessee’s historical sites offer a unique opportunity to learn about the state’s past and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage.

Unforgettable Family Destinations

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit destination for families, with its breathtaking natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities. Take a scenic drive through the park, go hiking on one of the many trails, or enjoy a picnic by a picturesque waterfall. The Great Smoky Mountains offer endless opportunities for fun and adventure for visitors of all ages.

The city of Gatlinburg is another family-friendly destination in Tennessee, known for its bustling main street lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions. Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, ride the Gatlinburg SkyLift to get a bird’s eye view of the city, or explore the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community to discover unique handmade treasures. The options for family fun in Gatlinburg are limitless.

Historical sites and family destinations in Tennessee offer a perfect blend of education and entertainment for visitors. Whether you’re interested in delving into the past or creating new memories with your loved ones, Tennessee has something for everyone to enjoy.

Uncovering Hidden Gems

To truly experience the beauty of Tennessee, you have to go off the beaten path and uncover the hidden gems that this state has to offer. From secret attractions in East Tennessee to lesser-known spots in Middle and West Tennessee, there are countless hidden treasures waiting to be explored.

East Tennessee’s Secret Attractions

Any traveler looking for unique experiences will find plenty to love in East Tennessee. From the charming small towns nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains to the hidden waterfalls and hiking trails, there is no shortage of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Take a scenic drive along the Cherohala Skyway, explore the mysterious Forbidden Caverns, or visit the historic Bush’s Beans Visitor Center for a taste of local flavor.

Don’t forget to check out the quirky roadside attractions like the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum and take a leisurely stroll through the peaceful gardens of the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum. East Tennessee is full of surprises for those willing to venture off the beaten path.

Off the Beaten Path in Middle and West Tennessee

Gems of Middle and West Tennessee await those looking for a different kind of adventure. Explore the hidden history of the Bell Witch Cave, take a scenic drive through the Natchez Trace Parkway, or visit the mysterious Mysterious Mansion in Gatlinburg for a spooky thrill. Nature lovers can hike through the stunning Cummins Falls State Park or marvel at the unique rock formations at the Hidden Passage Trail in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Off the Beaten Path in Middle and West Tennessee offers a chance to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the hidden treasures of the region. Whether you’re into history, nature, or just looking for a new experience, you’ll find something special in these lesser-known spots.

Foodie’s Guide to Tennessee Delicacies

Unlike any other place in America, Tennessee offers a tantalizing array of culinary delights that will leave any food lover satisfied. From savory barbecue to sweet treats, the state is a treasure trove of flavors waiting to be discovered.

Must-Try Local Dishes and Where to Find Them

Tennessee Hot Chicken: A spicy Southern specialty, Tennessee hot chicken is a must-try for those who can handle the heat. Head to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, where this fiery dish was born, for an authentic taste of this local favorite.

Biscuits and Gravy: A staple of Southern breakfast cuisine, biscuits and gravy can be found at many diners and cafes across the state. For a truly indulgent experience, try Loveless Cafe in Nashville, where fluffy biscuits smothered in creamy gravy will make your taste buds sing.

Unique Dining Experiences Across the State

Experiences: Tennessee offers more than just delicious food – it also provides unique dining experiences that will make your meal even more memorable. From dining in historic train cars to enjoying a meal with live music in a cozy cafe, the state has something for every food enthusiast.

For a truly unforgettable dining experience, consider visiting The Treehouse Restaurant in East Nashville, where you can dine among the trees in a magical setting. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a one-of-a-kind meal, Tennessee’s dining scene has something special in store for you.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

Despite Tennessee’s diverse climate, there is always a festival or event happening that captures the essence of each season. From lively music events to colorful cultural celebrations, Tennessee offers a variety of festive experiences throughout the year.

Tennessee’s Can’t-Miss Spring and Summer Events

Tennessee’s spring and summer seasons are filled with vibrant events that showcase the state’s rich culture and heritage. One of the most iconic events is the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, where visitors can enjoy the beauty of thousands of blooming cherry trees while immersing themselves in Japanese culture. Another must-visit event is the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, a four-day music extravaganza featuring performances by top country artists.

Celebrating Fall and Winter: Festivities Worth Traveling For

Events like the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair and the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg are perfect examples of the festive spirit that fills Tennessee during the fall and winter months. The craft fair showcases the work of talented artisans from across the country, while the barbecue championship brings together pitmasters competing for the title of the best barbecue in the world.

A trip to Tennessee during the fall and winter seasons is not complete without experiencing the magical Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration, where visitors can enjoy millions of twinkling lights, festive performances, and holiday-themed attractions.

Summing up

Now that you have discovered some of the best things to do in Tennessee, you can start planning your itinerary for a fantastic trip to the Volunteer State. Whether you are looking to explore the vibrant music scene in Nashville, marvel at the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, or immerse yourself in the history of Memphis, Tennessee has something to offer for every type of traveler.

From delicious Southern cuisine to thrilling outdoor adventures, Tennessee is a destination that will leave you with unforgettable memories. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an unforgettable experience in the heart of the South!


Q: What are some of the best things to do in Tennessee?

A: Tennessee offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. You can explore the vibrant music scene in Nashville, hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and visit historical sites like Graceland in Memphis.

Q: What outdoor activities can I do in Tennessee?

A: Tennessee is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can go whitewater rafting in the Ocoee River, camping in the Cherokee National Forest, or horseback riding in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Q: What cultural experiences can I have in Tennessee?

A: Tennessee is rich in culture and history. You can visit the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, explore the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, or attend the annual Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester. Don’t forget to try some delicious Southern cuisine along the way!

Hi there! My name is Sushanta Das, and I'm a passionate traveler and explorer. I've always had a deep curiosity and thirst for adventure, which led me to start my travel blog.

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