12 Best Places to Visit in Tennessee

Tennessee is one of the most famous places to visit in USA and is a true southern icon. Its capital, Nashville, is quite popular, and the state has some defining cultural features. It is the 16th most populated state in the US and is landlocked, so it has its own set of sites and tourist attractions. So, if you're thinking of planning a family trip, you should definitely consider it as an option.

Look up the types of places you'd like to see and make your itinerary accordingly.

The state has something for everyone. From unique museums to skiing resorts, you'll be able to get a variety of experiences under your belt. The climate there is quite moderate, with cool winters and warm summers, so you can enjoy pleasant weather throughout the year. You just need to plan your vacation, come to Tennessee, and see some of the best sites there.

Best Places to Visit in Tennessee, USA

Here are a few attractions to start you off with.

1. Graceland

This huge mansion in Memphis is the famed home of Elvis Presley. He was the original music icon and changed celebrity culture in the US. It is a National Historic Landmark and is one of the most visited houses in the country. You can buy tickets to tour through the house and see the cars and planes Presley owned. Once you see the sprawling estate, you’ll get an idea of just how iconic he was, and also enjoy the grandeur.

2. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The Country Music Hall of Fame was chartered in 1964 and aims to preserve and collect American vernacular music. Country music has really defined the evolution of American culture and is representative of its history. Therefore, this museum works quite extensively to interpret and protect this music and make sure it remains part of American culture.

You should visit it to see artifacts from Country music legends, and also listen to iconic tracks you may have never heard of before. You can buy tickets to visit this museum in Nashville and experience a slice of music history.

3. Dollywood

If you and your family are up for a bit of fun, you must go to Dollywood when you come to Tennessee. Located in Pigeon Forge, it rests on the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It is an immense amusement park, with a wide range of attractions. Here, you can experience thrilling rides, go to seasonal festivals, and also enjoy top-notch dining options. It also has a water park, so your family can have some great quality time splashing around as well.

So you've arrived at Dollywood. Chances are you're visiting this shrine to Dolly, arguably the queen of country music, to honor the iconic musician and catch some tunes — maybe even ride a few roller coasters. But this is the South — Tennessee to be exact — so you know the food is going to be on point, too. From classics like pulled pork sandwiches to banana pudding, Dollywood is all about serving guests the best of Southern comfort food — and some of the recipes even come from Dolly's own kitchen.

4. National Civil Rights Museum

If you're interested in history, then you must visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. It traces the history of the ongoing civil rights movement right from the 70s to current events. This museum is a great way to educate yourself on the complexities of the movement and how communities were marginalized and mistreated over the years.

This museum was built around the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. So, you can get a true sense of history here and evaluate how far things still need to go with civil rights.

5. Cades Cove

Cades Cove is Tennessee's part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a secluded valley with gorgeous sites and lush greenery. It also has excellent camping facilities, so it is a good place to spend a few days with your family. You can enjoy nature trails, camping, trekking, and even horse riding here. So, do make it a point to take out a few days for nature when you come to Tennessee.

6. Ober Gatlinburg

This is a mountainside amusement park which has a lot to offer. From skiing and mini-golf to wildlife encounters, it has something for everyone. You can even visit the mall here and do some shopping. Its surroundings are quite beautiful, so you should stay here for a day or two to take in the views and get a feel of all the fun experiences it has to offer.

7. Beale Street

Beale Street is basically downtown Memphis and is a really fun place to visit, especially at night. It was one of the original localities of blues music and was a highly active area for Black commerce and culture at the time of the Civil Rights movement. It has some great bars and restaurants you can visit, with some of them having historical significance. In addition, you can also take in some musical performances at night for a truly fun time.

8. Chattanooga

In addition to being a fun word to say, Chattanooga is a city located in a beautiful place at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. Here you will find many outdoor activities, which could be welcome at the end of an intense road trip. Due to the location of the city on the Tennessee River, it is not even necessary to leave the Chattanooga boundaries to spend some quiet time outdoors.

Among things to do in Chattanooga, relax in Ross's Landing, an urban park by the river. Although it is now an open-air oasis, it is in the place where the Cherokee people lived.

9. Lookout Mountain

The Lookout Mountain itself is worth a visit, either for its trails or its history as the site of a famous battle of the American Civil War. And if you're not afraid of heights, a ride on the Lookout Mountain slanting train that climbs up the side of the mountain will take you to historic places and trails. Do you still want more outdoor activities? Drive to Rock City, which is a popular site due to its panoramic views over seven states.

10. Ruby Falls

Drive to Ruby Falls, just southwest of downtown Chattanooga. The underground waterfall is 145 feet high and is located inside a cave in the Lookout Mountain. Ruby Falls in Chattanooga is a stunning 145-foot waterfall. It is unique because it is situated a staggering 1,100 feet below the surface of the earth under Lookout Mountain.

That makes it the deepest waterfall that you can actually visit in the United States, making it one of those natural attractions that you will never forget.

11. Burgess Falls

Burgess Falls State Park is home to some of Tennessee's prettiest views and is a popular place to picnic. Of particular note are the powerful waterfalls that are dotted around the grounds of the park. This is why if you visit, you should certainly take a trip along the River Trail/Road Loop to take full advantage of them. If you are a keen fisher, you won't be disappointed by the opportunities there either!

12. Gatlinburg

Located at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains this underground lake measures a staggering (almost) five acres, making it the biggest lake of its kind in the USA. Pretty crystal anthodites and impressive stalactites and stalagmites make it a must-see location, especially from the vantage of a glass-floored boat in the Craighead Caverns.

In conclusion, there's a lot to do in Tennessee. You just have to choose which places attract your interest and are suitable for your family. Once you do, you’ll have a great trip.

Kalyan Panja