13 Tennessee Vacation Spots

Tennessee is a great place to visit if you want to travel domestically in the United States. Many of the vacation spots in Tennessee are perfect for family vacations. 

However, there are some places that are nice for a couples’ getaway or even getting together with a group of friends. 

ThereSome destinations that are perfect for couples who wish to spend some time alone and families who want to build lasting memories. 

There are also fantastic Tennessee vacation spots for trips with friends, co-workers, or clubs. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers recreational activities. There are places to camp within the park, but the only lodge is the LeConte Lodge, located in Sevierville, TN. 

The site is rather primitive, but it is a great place to bring kids to help them live in the moment and disconnect from social media and video games. 

The lodge is one of the best ways to experience the park comfortably. The cabins are outfitted with propane heaters and lanterns. 

Guests are also served family-style meals each night and breakfast each morning, and you can buy sack lunches to bring with you while you are exploring the park during the day. 

The park also offers camping accommodations, but for people who are not as familiar with the wilderness, you might not want to go that route. The weather can be unpredictable and harsh. 

However, you should not let that scare you away from visiting the park. It is a fantastic place to unwind and view wildlife. 

Nashville

Nashville

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee, and it is a popular tourist destination. The lively city is where many country music stars get their start, and it is a music lovers paradise. 

Whether you are planning a family trip or a getaway with friends, Nashville has plenty to interest everyone in your group. 

Children will enjoy the many area parks and museums that celebrate the history of the city. There is a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the Adventure Science Center, Lane Motor Museum, Nashville Shores Water Park, Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort, and the Treetop Adventure Park. 

Kids are not the only ones who will appreciate the city. Nashville is a popular destination for bachelorette and bachelor parties because there is an incredible nightlife. 

If you are planning an adult trip, you can definitely let loose in this southern city. You can take the Honky Tonk Party Express Bus for a fun ride around town. 

Or, visit The Grand Ole Opry, City Winery, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, and the Tootsies Orchid Lounge to experience the world-renowned music scene. 

Memphis

Memphis

Another popular destination for music fans in Tennessee is Memphis. The city has a history rich in Rock and Roll and Blues. 

Many famous artists recorded albums in Memphis. And, it is home to Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion which draws fans to the location every year. 

There are also many museums you can explore, including the National Civil Rights Museum, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Memphis Rock n’ Soul Museum, and Mud Island. 

Other attractions worth visiting in town are Dixon Gallery and Gardens and the Pink Palace Museum. 

Food options are plentiful, too. Try Blues City Cafe, a lively diner featured on several Food Network shows. 

Some of the best dishes to try are the mouthwatering seafood au gratin, the BBQ ribs, and for dessert, you have to try one of Blue City Cafe’s classic southern treats like the apple dumpling a la mode. 

Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg

When you want to relax at a Tennessee vacation spot, Gatlinburg is a delightful option. It is right outside the Great Smoky Mountains, and the town offers incredible views and plenty to do. 

The city is home to Ober Gatlinburg, an amusement park where you can ski and experience thrills. There are also nearly a dozen museums that are great for kids, like Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokys. 

If you enjoy taking things in from a bird’s eye view, you can take a ride on the Gatlinburg SkyLift or the Gatlinburg Space Needle.  

Anakeesta Adventure Park is another family-friendly attraction in the area that your entire family will be talking about for years. There are rides, shows, and amazing scenes to enjoy, plus the park offers plenty of places to stay and eat.

Chattanooga

Chattanooga

Chattanooga is home to exceptional places that make it a great vacation spot. The city sits along the banks of the Tennessee River and at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, which gives it a fascinating landscape. 

Take a vertical railway ride up on the Lookout Mountain incline railway, a funicular train that spans a mile to experience Ruby Falls, where people marvel at the underground falls that are 145-ft high. It is a site you will not see anywhere else. 

While on Lookout Mountain, be sure to experience Rock City Gardens, another area waterfall that cascades off the side of the mountain. You can walk over it on the bridge above to experience a fantastic mountain view. 

Several museums feature the history of the city, and there are natural sites where you can enjoy the water, like Chickamauga Creek and Nickajack Lake, which offer fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing. 

Knoxville

Knoxville

When you visit Knoxville there, the scene is a bit more laid back than some of the other destinations in the state, but there is still a lot to experience here. 

It is a great place to take kids or enjoy an adult vacation. Whether you like to relax in a natural environment or shop in a thriving downtown district, you can find activities that will appeal to you. 

The Market Square dates back to 1854 and it has plenty of places to grab a meal or buy gifts for your friends back home. A square is a notorious place for political rallies and a popular gathering place for activists and street performers. 

There is usually always something going on there. So, grabbing a bite to eat and people watching is always interesting in the square.

If you want to experience the city from a different vantage point, the Sunsphere Tower and observation deck is an exciting place to view Knoxville. 

Kids and adults also enjoy the Knoxville Zoo and several historical sites and museums in the city.

Little River Campground

Little River Campground

For travelers who want to lay low, Little River in Townsend, TN, is a great option. On the river you can canoe, kayak, fly-fish, and camp. 

The Little River Campground offers visitors amenities like electric hookups, water, showers, and even a swimming pool. For people who prefer not to tough it out, there are also glamping options. 

The site is a popular place to take photos, ride horses, and even golf on the local course. It is just a short drive from many other area destinations like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. 

The grounds offer many modern amenities like Wi-Fi and cable TV so you can get in touch with nature but still stay connected too if you need to work or want to watch a sports game. 

Fall Creek Falls 

Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls State Park is the perfect location for nature lovers and families. Several falls are breathtaking to see. Fall Creek Falls is the tallest at 256 feet, and it is also one of the highest falls in the United States.

Lodging options in the park include camping sites, cabins, a group lodge, and an inn. There are year-round events that help visitors explore, connect with others, and even celebrate holidays. 

Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area

Big South Fork

Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area in Tennessee is a unique national park that offers visitors an opportunity to explore and be physically active. It provides educational opportunities with ranger-led events and classes. 

You can camp here or stay in a cabin, and there are even tours and excursions offered on-site. 

Some of the available experiences include guided hiking and overnight trips, river guides, and backcountry dining. Or, you can interact with nature on your own. 

You can disconnect and enjoy the peace that surrounds you, or if you need to connect, you can do so at Bandy Creek Stables. 

Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge is an eastern Tennessee mountain city. It is home to some truly unique entertainment options, including the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show. 

Other attractions include Hollywood Wax Museum, TITANIC Museum Attraction, WonderWorks Pigeon Forge, and the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. The town is action-packed and a great location to bring teenagers who are not easy to impress. 

If you like to ride roller coasters, Pigeon Forge has plenty to try. There is the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, outlet stores, and The Island in Pigeon Forge, a shopping and entertainment complex. 

Dollywood 

Dollywood

Dollywood Amusement Park in Pigeon Forge is a sprawling Appalachian-themed complex with several amusement parks and a resort named after Dolly Parton. 

You can spend several days exploring all the attractions Dollywood has to offer. After a fun-filled day, you can retire to a room at the on-site resort with views of the mountains.

You can also rent a cabin in Dollywood where the older members of your group can relax on the patio while you bring the kids to enjoy thrilling rides. 

The park hosts festivals and events throughout the year. Some of the most popular events throughout the year are the Festival of Nations in March, which gives you a chance to experience entertainment and food from around the world, and the Smoky Mountain Christmas during the winter when the park is transformed into a wonderland with light displays everywhere. 

However, no matter when you go to Dollywood there is always something special to experience.

Dandridge

Dandridge

If a small-town vacation is more your style, Dandridge, TN, is a quaint town where you can slow down. The Dandridge Visitor’s Center greets tourists with a history of the area. 

From there, you can explore three area marinas, Lighthouse Pointe, Mountain Harbor, and Swann’s Marina. The marinas have places to eat by the water. However, there are not huge crowds. 

Roper Mansion, a converted 1820 Federal-style building, houses two art galleries and a large antique shop where you can purchase items to bring home. You will also find a Revolutionary War Cemetery in town, and you can take a boat ride on the lake when the weather is nice. 

So, this is a great place to spend a few days alone or with a significant other. 

Clarksville

Clarksville

Clarksville is the fifth-largest city in the state. However, it doesn’t have the same fast-paced feel of other towns in Tennessee. 

It is the perfect place for older couples and those who want to escape a busy lifestyle for a bit. 

While you are there, you can visit Port Royal State Park or Clarksville Greenway to stroll through trails lined with trees. Or, you can visit Beachaven Vineyards and Winery to try the local wine. 

The town also has museums that share the local history, including Customs House Museum and Cultural, Fort Defiance Civil War Park and Interpretive, and the Pratt Army Museum. 

Dunbar State Park in Clarksville also allows you to see wildlife, sinkholes, limestone, caves, and go fishing. So, while the city is a laid back vacation spot, there is no shortage of fascinating sites to check out.  

Wrapping Up 

Tennessee is one of the most action-packed states in the country. Some Tennessee vacation spots are perfect for families and others are better for adults who just want to unwind. 

There are breathtaking views, lakes, national forests, state parks, amusement parks, plenty of places to dine, and interesting places to buy gifts.

With so many things to do in Tennessee, even the pickiest travelers will be impressed. The cultural scenes, art, and thrills are genuinely world-class. 

There are even spots that are great for vacationing with grandparents, adults, teens, and little ones. Or, you can escape to these Tennessee vacation spots to spend some time with a group of your closest friends. 

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