Tennessee is the perfect place to spend an eventful summer as the state has a lot to offer, from awe-inspiring natural landscapes to thrilling music festivals.
It’s the best place to have fun for families and individual travelers as there’s a lot to do – you can enjoy a cozy weekend at the Great Smoky Mountains away from the city hustle or mingle with the bustling crowds in Memphis to enjoy the country blues.
To help you have the best time of your life out here, we have put together a list of must-visit locations throughout Tennessee. Continue reading to find out!
Six must-visit spots in Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and country music in America. The main attractions in the town include the Tennessee State Capitol and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
You can spend time exploring the downtown area, admiring the historic architecture, such as the Ryman Auditorium, and enjoying top-class country music live at Grand Ole Opry.
You can also immerse yourself in the sights at Nashville Parthenon, a recreation of the famous Athens Parthenon.
Feeling adventurous? Take your family for an evening on a cruise, enjoying a mesmerizing view of the Nashville skyline from the General Jackson Showboat.
Apart from that, you can visit the Adventure Science Center to enjoy various fun activities for kids and adults. Lastly, don’t forget to try the famous eateries in town.
2. Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge, a quaint town tucked away in the Smoky Mountains, is the best vacation spot in eastern Tennessee. There are many fun things to do in Pigeon Forge, from visiting Dollywood to enjoying farm-to-table meals to sightseeing in the Smoky Mountains – the fun never ends.
Whether you’re looking for a thrilling adventure in the Smoky Mountains or casual fun in town – Pigeon Forge combines the best of both worlds.
It’s bustling with tourists year-round and is home to everything from bizarre museums to world-famous theme parks.
You can take your family on a hike in the Smokys, get them a history lesson with a trip to the Island or take them for a thrilling ride on the alpine coaster
Home to Graceland and the most famous streets in Tennessee, Memphis is known as the it-spot for fans of rock’n’roll, blues, soul, and hip-hop music.
Memphis offers a lot of sights to see and things to do, from taking a stroll on the famous Beale Street to visiting Graceland and the Sun studio.
You can take your kids to the Rock’n’Soul Museum and Stax Museum of American Soul to immerse them in the town’s musical history.
Visit the Shelby friends to get a go at the classic country life. It’s a playground for the entire family; there’s something for everyone, from ziplining to hiking and horseback riding to pedaling on Pine Lake.
Apart from that, don’t forget to try the world-famous Memphis BBQ, a taste you can’t get anywhere else.
Gatlinburg has three main entrances to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and is a popular tourist destination in Tennessee.
The town is home to all recreational activities, from golfing to skiing. You can have a fun time with your family at the Ober Gatlinburg ski resort and amusement park, enjoy a ride on the Skylift and visit the Space Needle to get a mesmerizing, 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains.
The town is also home to quirky museums you can visit if you want something unusual and intriguing to do with your kids.
The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum houses over 20,000 salt and pepper shakers, each holding a different charm.
On the other hand, the Hollywood Stars Cars, which houses iconic cars from legendary movies like the Batmobile from The Batman (1960s), is a must-visit for all movie enthusiasts.
One of the best things about the town is that you can go any time and have a terrific time. Gatlinburg is magnificent in the winter, but it’s equally stunning in any other season!
Known for its natural beauty and historical landmarks, Chattanooga is a popular destination for visitors from around the globe.
It is the home to Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, the steepest incline railway in the world. You can take your kids on an educational trip to help them learn more about the diverse marine ecosystem by visiting the Tennessee Aquarium.
Moreover, you can also take them to see the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum for an on-the-go history lesson while experiencing an authentic steam train ride. Chattanooga is also renowned for the largest military parks in the country.
One of Chattanooga’s most prominent tourist attractions is Lookout Mountain, home to the famous Ruby Falls cavern and known for its breathtaking beauty and indescribably beautiful waterfalls.
It’s one of Chattanooga’s most spectacular natural marvels and the biggest underground waterfall in the world, the Ruby Falls.
Situated on the Tennessee River in eastern Tennessee, Knoxville is nestled in the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by a lovely natural environment. It’s brimming with tourists throughout the year.
In Knoxville, you’ll find some of the best Southern cuisine, a beautifully renovated and historically accurate downtown area, and an ardent sports culture that brings together sports enthusiasts from all over the country.
Furthermore, since Knoxville is about an hour’s drive from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s entrance, you can take advantage of your trip to Knoxville to explore the natural park and spend a day enjoying the great Smokys.
Knoxville is known for its unique art galleries, museums, historical sites, and cafes. You can spend your day exploring several city attractions.
You can take your kids to the World Fair Park near the Sunsphere, which provides a stunning view of the city and its surroundings.
Other notable attractions include Ijams nature center, the market square, the Tennessee Theatre, the many cozy cafes and cute little boutiques, and much more!
It’s safe to say that the state of Tennessee does offer something for everyone. It’s no secret that this city is the land of nature, food, and music.
More than that, it also offers a rich heritage and many other attractions to explore. The people are welcoming, and the environment is pristine with a deep-rooted culture.
We hope that some of these destinations in Tennessee will be worthy of your consideration while planning a trip to the state!