Tennessee, known as the “Volunteer State,” is a treasure trove of natural beauty, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage. Located in the southeastern United States, Tennessee offers visitors a diverse range of experiences, from exploring the lively streets of Nashville and immersing in the rhythm and blues of Memphis to hiking through the majestic Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you’re a music lover, adventure seeker, or history enthusiast, Tennessee has something to offer for everyone.
One of the biggest draws of Tennessee is its vibrant music scene. Nashville, the state’s capital city, is famously known as the “Music City” and is the epicenter of country music. Home to legendary venues like the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, music lovers can immerse themselves in the rich history and soulful sounds that have made Nashville a music mecca.
Another must-visit city in Tennessee is Memphis, the birthplace of blues and the home of rock ‘n’ roll. Be sure to check out Beale Street, where live music spills out from every corner, and visit Graceland, the iconic mansion of rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley.
While Tennessee’s cities offer a wealth of cultural experiences, the state’s natural beauty is equally captivating. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddling the Tennessee-North Carolina border, is a nature lover’s paradise. With its sprawling forests, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife, it’s the perfect destination for hiking, camping, and scenic drives.
Aside from its music and natural wonders, Tennessee is also rich in history. A visit to Chattanooga offers a chance to explore the Civil War history at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, as well as experience the thrilling Lookout Mountain attractions.
Throughout the state, you’ll find charming southern hospitality, delicious comfort food, and a warm welcoming atmosphere that will make you feel right at home. From mouthwatering barbecues and soul food to farm-to-table experiences and craft breweries, Tennessee has a culinary scene that will satisfy any foodie.
So, whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in music, embark on outdoor adventures, or indulge in southern charm, Tennessee is the perfect destination for a memorable and diverse vacation. In this guide, we’ll take you through the top attractions of Tennessee and provide you with a one-week itinerary to make the most of your visit.
Best Time to Visit Tennessee
Tennessee experiences distinct seasons, each offering its own unique charm. The best time to visit Tennessee depends on your interests and the activities you wish to pursue. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons and what they have to offer:
- Spring (March to May): Spring is a delightful time to visit Tennessee, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. The weather is mild, with temperatures ranging from the 60s to 70s Fahrenheit (15-25 degrees Celsius). This is the perfect time to explore the Great Smoky Mountains, with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery creating a picturesque backdrop. Spring also brings music festivals and cultural events to cities like Nashville and Memphis.
- Summer (June to August): Summers in Tennessee are hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching the 90s Fahrenheit (30s degrees Celsius). If you can handle the heat, summer is a great time to visit for outdoor activities like swimming, river rafting, and exploring the vibrant cities. Just be prepared for crowds, as this is the peak tourist season.
- Fall (September to November): Fall is arguably the best time to visit Tennessee, thanks to the stunning display of autumn foliage. The weather is comfortably cool, with temperatures ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10-20 degrees Celsius). The Great Smoky Mountains transform into a vibrant palette of reds, oranges, and golds, offering breathtaking views. Fall is also a great time to enjoy hiking, wine tasting, and attending harvest festivals.
- Winter (December to February): Tennessee experiences relatively mild winters, with temperatures averaging in the 40s to 50s Fahrenheit (5-10 degrees Celsius). While the mountains may receive snow, the lower elevations typically have mild weather. Winter is a quieter season, perfect for enjoying indoor attractions, exploring museums, and experiencing the Christmas spirit in cities like Nashville and Memphis.
Keep in mind that the weather can vary within the state, with the eastern part of Tennessee experiencing cooler temperatures than the western part. It’s always a good idea to check the specific weather forecast for the region you plan to visit.
Overall, the best time to visit Tennessee is during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, attractions are less crowded, and the natural beauty is at its peak. However, if you’re a fan of music festivals and lively city vibes, the summer season may be your preferred time to visit. Regardless of the season, Tennessee offers a diverse range of activities and attractions that will make your visit memorable.
Getting to Tennessee
Getting to Tennessee is convenient due to its central location in the southeastern United States and well-connected transportation networks. Here are the main ways to reach Tennessee:
- By Air: Tennessee is served by several major airports, making air travel a popular choice for visitors. Nashville International Airport (BNA), located in Nashville, is the busiest airport in the state and offers a wide range of domestic and international flights. Memphis International Airport (MEM) is another major airport, particularly for those visiting the western part of the state.
- By Car: Tennessee has an extensive highway network, making it easily accessible by car. Interstate 40 and Interstate 24 are the main east-west routes, while Interstate 65 runs north-south through the state. Driving to Tennessee allows for flexibility and the opportunity to explore the scenic routes and attractions along the way.
- By Bus: Several bus companies operate routes to and within Tennessee, offering an affordable alternative to air or car travel. Greyhound and Megabus are two popular bus operators that serve major cities like Nashville and Memphis.
- By Train: Amtrak’s Crescent and City of New Orleans lines provide train service to Tennessee. The Crescent route stops in Memphis and offers connections to other cities, while the City of New Orleans line connects Chicago to New Orleans, making stops in Memphis and Jackson.
Once you have arrived in Tennessee, there are various transportation options available to explore different parts of the state:
- Rental Car: Renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore Tennessee at your own pace. All major airports in Tennessee have car rental facilities, making it convenient to pick up a vehicle upon arrival.
- Public Transportation: Tennessee’s major cities, such as Nashville and Memphis, have public transportation systems that include buses and in some cases, light rail. These options are great for getting around within the city limits.
- Taxis and Ride-Sharing Services: Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are also available in Tennessee’s cities, providing convenient transportation for shorter distances or when you prefer not to drive.
- Trains: Amtrak’s train service can be utilized for transportation between cities within Tennessee, such as Memphis and Nashville.
When planning your trip to Tennessee, consider the distances between cities and the activities you wish to do. Depending on your itinerary, a combination of air travel, car rental, and public transportation can be the most efficient and convenient way to explore the state.
Getting Around Tennessee
Getting around Tennessee is relatively easy, thanks to its well-maintained highways and transportation options. Here are the main ways to get around the state:
- By Car: Renting a car is often the most convenient and flexible way to explore Tennessee. The state is well-connected by a network of highways, including Interstate 40, Interstate 24, and Interstate 65, which make it easy to travel between cities. Most major car rental companies have offices at the airports and in the downtown areas of Tennessee’s cities.
- Public Transportation: Many of Tennessee’s major cities have public transportation systems that include buses and in some cases, light rail. Nashville, for example, has the Nashville MTA, which operates a bus system throughout the city. Memphis has the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) with bus routes covering the city and surrounding areas. Public transportation is a convenient option for getting around within the city limits, especially if you prefer not to drive.
- Taxis and Ridesharing Services: Taxis and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in Tennessee’s cities. They provide convenient transportation, particularly for shorter distances or when you don’t have access to a car. Taxis can typically be found at designated taxi stands or hailed on the street, while ridesharing services require a smartphone and app to book a ride.
- Trains: Although not as extensive as in other parts of the country, Amtrak’s train service can be utilized for transportation between cities within Tennessee. The City of New Orleans line connects Memphis and Jackson to other cities, and the Crescent route stops in Memphis, offering connections to other destinations.
- Walking and Biking: Tennessee’s cities, especially downtown areas, are often pedestrian-friendly. Walking and biking can be enjoyable options for getting around if you’re exploring a specific neighborhood or taking in the sights and sounds of the city. Many cities, including Nashville and Chattanooga, have bike-sharing programs that allow you to rent bicycles for short periods.
- Guided Tours: If you prefer a hassle-free and informative way to explore Tennessee, guided tours are available in various cities and attractions. These tours allow you to sit back, relax, and let a knowledgeable guide lead the way, providing interesting insights and information.
When planning your transportation in Tennessee, consider the distances you’ll be traveling, the convenience of having a car versus relying on public transportation, and the parking availability in urban areas. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local transportation options in the specific cities you’ll be visiting to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.
Top Attractions in Tennessee
Tennessee offers a wealth of attractions that cater to diverse interests, from music and history to outdoor adventures and natural wonders. Here are some of the top attractions that you shouldn’t miss during your visit to the Volunteer State:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Spanning across Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore its pristine hiking trails, scenic drives, and breathtaking waterfalls while immersing yourself in the park’s diverse flora and fauna.
- Nashville: Known as the “Music City,” Nashville is a must-visit for music lovers. Walk down Broadway and soak in the sounds of live country music pouring out of the honky-tonks. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, take a tour of the historic Ryman Auditorium, and catch a performance at the iconic Grand Ole Opry.
- Memphis: Immerse yourself in the birthplace of blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll in Memphis. Visit the famous Sun Studio, where legends like Elvis Presley recorded their first songs. Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Beale Street, explore the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, and pay homage to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll at Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
- Chattanooga: Located in southeastern Tennessee, Chattanooga offers a mix of natural beauty and historical attractions. Explore Lookout Mountain, where you can visit the stunning Ruby Falls and enjoy scenic views from Rock City. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Tennessee Aquarium, one of the largest freshwater aquariums in the world.
- Knoxville: Home to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville offers a blend of history, culture, and outdoor adventures. Explore the charming Market Square, visit the Knoxville Museum of Art, and take a stroll along the scenic Riverwalk. If you’re a football fan, catch a University of Tennessee Volunteers game at Neyland Stadium.
- Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg: These neighboring towns serve as gateways to the Great Smoky Mountains and offer a plethora of family-friendly attractions. Visit Dollywood, a theme park owned by country music superstar Dolly Parton, and explore the interactive exhibits at the Titanic Museum. Enjoy hiking, shopping for crafts, and indulging in Southern cuisine.
- Jack Daniel’s Distillery: Whiskey enthusiasts won’t want to miss a visit to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and craftsmanship behind one of America’s most famous whiskey brands. Sample their iconic Tennessee whiskey and explore the scenic surroundings.
These are just a few highlights of Tennessee’s attractions, but the state has much more to offer. From historic sites like the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s former estate, to natural wonders like the Cades Cove Loop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee is sure to captivate visitors of all interests and ages.
Day 1: Exploring Nashville
Start your Tennessee adventure with a day exploring the vibrant city of Nashville. Known as the “Music City,” Nashville offers a rich cultural and musical experience that will leave you captivated. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your first day:
Begin your day with a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Dive into the fascinating history of country music and its iconic artists through interactive exhibits and memorabilia. Don’t miss the chance to see the collection of vehicles and costumes belonging to legendary musicians.
Afterward, take a stroll along Broadway, the heart of Nashville’s entertainment district. You’ll find an array of honky-tonks and live music venues offering non-stop entertainment and showcasing talented local musicians. Stop by one of the many restaurants or cafes for a delicious Southern breakfast or brunch to fuel your day.
After grabbing a bite to eat, make your way to the Ryman Auditorium, known as the “Mother Church of Country Music.” Take a guided tour to learn about the venue’s illustrious history and its significance in the world of music. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a live performance.
Next, head to the picturesque Centennial Park, home to the iconic full-scale replica of the Parthenon. Explore the park grounds, admire the Athena Parthenos statue, and learn about its connection to Nashville’s nickname, the “Athens of the South.”
No visit to Nashville is complete without experiencing the lively atmosphere of the honky-tonks on Broadway. Spend your evening hopping from one venue to another, enjoying live music performances. Immerse yourself in the authentic country music scene and dance the night away.
For dinner, indulge in traditional Southern cuisine at one of Nashville’s renowned restaurants. From hot chicken and barbecue to meat-and-three establishments, you’ll find a variety of mouthwatering options to satisfy your taste buds.
After dinner, if you’re up for it, consider catching a show at the Grand Ole Opry. This iconic venue has been showcasing country music’s biggest stars for decades. Check the schedule in advance and book your tickets to ensure a memorable evening.
If you have more time in Nashville, consider visiting other attractions such as the Johnny Cash Museum, the Frist Art Museum, or taking a relaxing riverboat cruise along the Cumberland River.
Nashville’s energy and musical heritage make it an unforgettable destination. Take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the city as you kick off your Tennessee adventure.
Day 2: Discovering Memphis
On the second day of your Tennessee itinerary, immerse yourself in the rhythm and blues of Memphis. Known as the birthplace of blues and the home of rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis offers a captivating blend of music, history, and soulful Southern charm. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your day in Memphis:
Start your day by visiting Graceland, the iconic mansion of rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley. Take a guided tour of the mansion and explore the exhibits that showcase Elvis’s life and career. Walk through the remarkable collection of cars, costumes, and memorabilia that pay homage to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Don’t forget to visit Elvis’s final resting place at the Meditation Garden.
After your Graceland experience, head to Beale Street, a historic street known for its vibrant music, lively atmosphere, and soulful food. Take a stroll along the street, listen to live performances pouring out from the numerous blues clubs, and enjoy the energy of this iconic music district. Grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants, where you can savor delicious barbecue and southern specialties.
Continue your exploration of Memphis with a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. Housed in the building where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the museum chronicles the history of the civil rights movement in the United States and offers thought-provoking exhibits and interactive displays.
Next, make your way to Sun Studio, often referred to as the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. Take a guided tour to learn about the studio’s rich history and its role in launching the careers of legendary musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Stand in the same room where these iconic artists recorded their first hits and feel the magic of the place.
Spend your evening experiencing the vibrant nightlife of Beale Street. Enjoy live performances by local blues musicians, indulge in more delicious Southern cuisine, and soak in the soulful ambiance of this legendary street. Be sure to check out the Beale Street Music Festival, held annually in May, which brings together acclaimed musicians from various genres.
If you’re a fan of blues, consider ending your evening at one of the many blues clubs on Beale Street. Witness captivating live performances and feel the essence of this musical genre that originated in the heart of Memphis.
If you have more time in Memphis, you can explore additional attractions such as the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, or take a historic riverboat cruise along the Mississippi River.
Memphis will captivate you with its rich musical heritage, historical landmarks, and genuine Southern hospitality. Take the time to soak in the culture, music, and flavors of this iconic city as you continue your Tennessee adventure.
Day 3: Enjoying the Great Smoky Mountains
On day three of your Tennessee itinerary, it’s time to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. This majestic national park offers breathtaking views, diverse wildlife, and endless outdoor adventures. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your day in the Great Smoky Mountains:
Start your day by driving to Newfound Gap, one of the most scenic overlooks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and be sure to snap some photos to capture the beauty of the landscape.
After enjoying the views, embark on a hike to one of the park’s stunning waterfalls. Some popular waterfall hikes include Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls, and Abrams Falls. These trails offer varying levels of difficulty, so choose one that suits your fitness level and enjoy the picturesque scenery along the way.
As you continue your exploration of the park, head to Cades Cove, a historic valley known for its stunning views and abundance of wildlife. Take a scenic drive through the loop road, where you may spot deer, black bears, and other wildlife that call the park home. Take your time and stop at the various historical buildings, including churches, log cabins, and a working grist mill.
For a unique experience, consider renting bicycles from the Cades Cove Visitor Center and pedaling through the loop road. This allows you to enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace and provides more opportunities for wildlife sightings.
As the day winds down, find a spot where you can enjoy a picnic dinner amidst the natural beauty of the park. Many picnic areas are scattered throughout the Great Smoky Mountains, providing serene settings to relax, dine, and soak in the peacefulness of the surroundings.
If you’re interested in stargazing, consider staying late to witness the sky come alive with stars. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its dark skies, making it a prime location for observing the stars and constellations.
If you have more time to spend in the Great Smoky Mountains, there are additional activities to consider. Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit Clingmans Dome for panoramic views, or explore other hiking trails in the park.
The Great Smoky Mountains offer a spectacular natural escape, allowing you to connect with nature and create lasting memories. Enjoy the tranquility, the awe-inspiring scenery, and the abundance of wildlife as you experience the beauty of Tennessee’s renowned national park.
Day 4: Exploring Chattanooga
On day four of your Tennessee itinerary, venture to the charming city of Chattanooga. Nestled amidst scenic mountains and along the Tennessee River, Chattanooga offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventures and cultural attractions. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your day in Chattanooga:
Begin your day by visiting Lookout Mountain, one of Chattanooga’s most iconic landmarks. Take a scenic drive up the mountain or ride the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, one of the world’s steepest passenger railways. Once on top, enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city, the Tennessee River, and the surrounding natural beauty.
Continue your exploration of Lookout Mountain by visiting Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall located inside a limestone cave. Take a guided tour through the cave and marvel at the stunning rock formations before reaching the majestic 145-foot waterfall. The awe-inspiring sight is sure to leave a lasting impression.
After descending from Lookout Mountain, head to the Tennessee Aquarium, one of the largest freshwater aquariums in the world. Explore the fascinating exhibits that showcase marine life from rivers, oceans, and forests. Don’t miss the opportunity to get up close and personal with penguins, otters, and sharks.
Next, take a leisurely stroll along the Tennessee Riverwalk, a scenic 13-mile paved path that winds along the riverfront. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere, take in the views of the river, and relax in one of the many parks along the way.
As evening approaches, make your way to the historic Bluff View Art District. This charming neighborhood is known for its art galleries, sculpture gardens, and boutique shops. Enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the district’s restaurants, many of which offer picturesque views of the river and downtown Chattanooga.
After dinner, catch a performance at the Tivoli Theatre or the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. These cultural venues offer a variety of shows, ranging from Broadway productions to classical concerts, providing a delightful way to end your day in Chattanooga.
If you have more time in Chattanooga, consider visiting the Creative Discovery Museum, an interactive museum for children, or explore the Hunter Museum of American Art, which houses an impressive collection of artwork across various mediums.
Chattanooga’s scenic beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural attractions make it a delightful destination to explore. Embrace the city’s charm and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you continue your Tennessee journey.
Day 5: Visiting Knoxville
On day five of your Tennessee itinerary, venture to the vibrant city of Knoxville. Located in eastern Tennessee, Knoxville offers a mix of history, culture, and outdoor beauty. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your day in Knoxville:
Start your day by visiting the Knoxville Museum of Art, located in the heart of downtown. Explore the museum’s impressive collection of American artwork, including contemporary pieces, regional artists, and rotating exhibitions. Take your time to appreciate the diverse range of artistic expressions that the museum showcases.
Afterward, take a stroll through Market Square, a lively pedestrian area filled with shops, boutiques, and local eateries. Browse through the independent shops, grab a coffee, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere. On select days, the square also hosts a farmers market where you can find local produce and unique handmade crafts.
For a step back in time, visit the Historic Ramsey House, an elegantly restored landmark that offers a glimpse into the life of early 19th-century Knoxville. Take a guided tour of the house, learn about the Ramsey family’s history, and explore the surrounding gardens and grounds.
Next, head to the University of Tennessee campus to explore its iconic landmarks, including Neyland Stadium, home to the Tennessee Volunteers football team. Take a walk along “The Strip,” a section of Cumberland Avenue near campus that’s lined with shops and restaurants catering to the college crowd.
Wrap up your day in Knoxville by enjoying a relaxing walk along the Knoxville Riverwalk. This scenic trail winds along the Tennessee River, offering beautiful views and a serene atmosphere. Take in the sunset, enjoy the river breeze, and revel in the natural beauty of the area.
For dinner, explore the culinary scene in Market Square or head to one of the eclectic neighborhoods of Knoxville, such as the Old City, for a wide range of dining options. From farm-to-table establishments to international cuisines, Knoxville offers something to satisfy every palate.
If you have more time in Knoxville, consider visiting the East Tennessee History Center to delve into the region’s past, or take a scenic drive to the nearby Great Smoky Mountains for more outdoor adventures.
Knoxville’s mix of history, artistic offerings, and scenic surroundings make it a captivating destination. Embrace the city’s vibrant energy and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage as you continue your Tennessee journey.
Day 6: Relaxing in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg
On day six of your Tennessee itinerary, take a break from the bustling cities and immerse yourself in the charming towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, these neighboring towns offer a mix of natural beauty, family-friendly attractions, and delightful entertainment options. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your relaxing day in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg:
Start your day by visiting Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s renowned theme park in Pigeon Forge. Enjoy thrilling roller coasters, live entertainment shows, and unique attractions inspired by the rich culture and heritage of the Smoky Mountains. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in delicious Southern food and traditional treats offered throughout the park.
If you prefer a more tranquil start to your day, explore the natural wonders of the Smokies by taking a scenic drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy the serene beauty, and perhaps stop at one of the many picturesque overlooks to capture stunning photographs.
After a fun-filled morning, make your way to Gatlinburg, a charming mountain town known for its cozy atmosphere and unique attractions. Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, where you can marvel at a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, penguins, and colorful fish. Step into the underwater tunnel for an up-close and personal view of the aquarium’s inhabitants.
For a taste of local craftsmanship, explore the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community, an 8-mile loop road offering a vast array of shops and galleries featuring handmade crafts and traditional Appalachian artwork. Browse the unique creations and take home a special souvenir to commemorate your time in the Smokies.
As the day winds down, take a leisurely stroll along the bustling streets of Gatlinburg. Discover charming shops selling handcrafted goods, specialty boutiques, and sweet shops offering treats like homemade fudge and ice cream.
For dinner, savor a meal at one of the local restaurants showcasing Southern cuisine and regional favorites. From mouthwatering barbecue to savory mountain trout, Gatlinburg offers a variety of delectable options to appease any palate.
If you have an extra day in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, consider exploring more of the attractions the area has to offer. Visit Ober Gatlinburg, a mountaintop amusement park and ski resort, or take a scenic chairlift ride to experience breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg provide a perfect blend of tranquility and entertainment, allowing you to unwind and create treasured memories against the backdrop of the stunning Smoky Mountains. Enjoy the charm, natural beauty, and family-friendly attractions of these delightful mountain towns.
Day 7: Exploring the Jack Daniel’s Distillery
On the final day of your Tennessee itinerary, embark on a unique and flavorful journey as you visit the renowned Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg. Discover the rich history and time-honored traditions behind one of America’s most famous whiskey brands. Here’s a suggested itinerary for your day at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery:
Start your day by joining a guided tour of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Learn about the fascinating process of making Tennessee whiskey as you explore the distillery grounds. Discover the secrets behind the famed charcoal mellowing technique and visit the old-timey warehouses where the whiskey ages to perfection.
During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see the famous cave spring, the source of the iron-free water used in the whiskey production. Gain insight into the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into every bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.
After the distillery tour, indulge in a whiskey tasting experience at the Barrel House, where you can sample a selection of Jack Daniel’s iconic spirits. Learn to appreciate the unique flavors and nuances of different whiskey variations under the guidance of knowledgeable distillery staff.
While at the distillery, make sure to explore the visitor center, which showcases the history, artifacts, and memorabilia of the Jack Daniel’s brand. Browse the gift shop, where you’ll find a variety of whiskey-related merchandise, from bottles and glassware to unique souvenirs that celebrate the distillery’s heritage.
After immersing yourself in the world of Jack Daniel’s, enjoy a leisurely drive through the picturesque countryside surrounding Lynchburg. Take in the scenic views of rolling hills, rural landscapes, and charming small towns. Consider stopping at a local restaurant to savor a delicious meal featuring Southern cuisine and regional specialties.
As the evening unfolds, take a moment to reflect on your Tennessee adventure and savor the memories you’ve made throughout your trip. Raise a glass of Jack Daniel’s whiskey in celebration of a week well-spent in the Volunteer State.
If time permits, consider extending your distillery experience with a visit to the nearby Lynchburg town square, where you can explore quaint shops and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Alternatively, continue your journey through Tennessee by exploring nearby attractions such as the picturesque Tims Ford State Park or the charming town of Bell Buckle.
A visit to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery is a delightful way to conclude your Tennessee itinerary, offering a taste of southern craftsmanship and a deeper understanding of the legacy behind a legendary American whiskey brand.
Where to Stay in Tennessee
Tennessee offers a variety of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences and budget. Whether you’re seeking luxury, convenience, or a cozy retreat, you’ll find a range of choices throughout the state. Here are some popular areas to consider for your stay in Tennessee:
Nashville: The capital city of Tennessee is home to a plethora of hotels, ranging from luxury accommodations to budget-friendly options. Stay in downtown Nashville to be within walking distance of popular attractions like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Broadway’s honky-tonks. The Gulch and East Nashville neighborhoods are also popular choices for their vibrant scenes, trendy restaurants, and boutique hotels.
Memphis: Whether you prefer the quaintness of historic lodgings or the comfort of modern hotels, Memphis has it all. Stay in the downtown area for proximity to iconic attractions like Beale Street and the National Civil Rights Museum. The Midtown area is also popular, offering a mix of boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts.
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge: In the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer a variety of accommodations, including cabins, resorts, and hotels. Opt for a cabin rental for a cozy mountain getaway or choose a hotel in downtown Gatlinburg for easy access to shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
Knoxville: Knoxville provides options ranging from upscale hotels to budget-friendly accommodations. Stay in downtown Knoxville for easy access to Market Square and the University of Tennessee campus. The West Knoxville area offers a more suburban setting with a range of chain hotels.
Chattanooga: Chattanooga offers a diverse selection of accommodations, including boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts in the downtown area. Stay near the waterfront for scenic views and proximity to attractions like the Tennessee Aquarium. The Lookout Mountain area also provides unique accommodations with stunning vistas of the city and the surrounding landscape.
Additionally, throughout Tennessee, you’ll find charming inns, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals that provide a more intimate and personalized experience. The state also offers numerous campgrounds and RV parks for outdoor enthusiasts looking to immerse themselves in nature.
When choosing where to stay in Tennessee, consider your planned activities, preferred location, and desired amenities. It’s essential to book accommodations in advance, particularly during peak travel seasons or when attending major events, to secure the best options for your stay in the Volunteer State.
Where to Eat in Tennessee
Tennessee is known for its mouthwatering cuisine and diverse culinary scene. From traditional Southern comfort food to innovative farm-to-table restaurants, the state offers a wide range of dining options to satisfy every palate. Here are some top recommendations for where to eat in Tennessee:
Nashville Hot Chicken: A visit to Nashville is not complete without trying the city’s iconic hot chicken. Hattie B’s and Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack are two beloved establishments offering crispy, spicy fried chicken served with sides like pickles and white bread. Choose your spice level and get ready for a fiery and flavorful experience.
Barbecue: Tennessee is renowned for its barbecue, and you’ll find mouthwatering options throughout the state. In Memphis, don’t miss Central BBQ, known for its succulent smoked ribs and pulled pork. In Nashville, head to Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint for tender brisket and delectable sides, or rendezvous with the famous dry-rub ribs.
Southern Cuisine: Indulge in classic Southern comfort food at Loveless Cafe in Nashville, where you can savor mouthwatering homemade biscuits, fried chicken, and country ham. In Memphis, visit Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken for their crispy and juicy chicken paired with Southern sides like mac and cheese and greens.
Farm-to-Table Experiences: For those seeking fresh, locally-sourced ingredients prepared with care, Tennessee has plenty of farm-to-table options. Husk in Nashville is renowned for its focus on Southern ingredients and creative dishes. In Knoxville, visit Harvest, known for its seasonal menu featuring locally-grown produce and artisanal ingredients.
International Cuisine: Tennessee also offers a variety of international dining options. In Nashville, explore the city’s diverse Ethiopian food scene at restaurants like Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Taste of Ethiopia. In Memphis, try Lebanese cuisine at the popular and family-owned restaurant, Casablanca, or enjoy authentic Mexican fare at Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana.
Craft Breweries and Distilleries: Tennessee is home to a thriving craft beer and spirits scene. Visit Yazoo Brewing in Nashville for a wide selection of craft beers, or check out Blackberry Farm Brewery in Walland for their artisanal brews. For whiskey aficionados, beyond the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, also explore Corsair Distillery in Nashville or Old Dominick Distillery in Memphis.
Tennessee offers an abundance of dining options that celebrate the rich flavors and culinary traditions of the region. From iconic Southern dishes to international flavors and craft beverages, prepare your taste buds for a memorable culinary journey throughout the Volunteer State.
Tennessee truly offers a remarkable experience for visitors seeking a blend of vibrant cities, breathtaking natural beauty, rich history, and mouthwatering cuisine. From the vibrant music scene of Nashville to the blues-infused streets of Memphis, the Volunteer State captivates with its cultural richness and warm southern hospitality. The majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides an enchanting backdrop for outdoor adventures and scenic drives, while charming towns like Chattanooga and Knoxville offer their own unique attractions and charm. Whether you’re exploring the iconic landmarks of Tennessee’s cities, embarking on hiking trails in the mountains, or savoring the flavors of southern culinary delights, the state’s diversity ensures that every traveler finds something to love.
As you plan your visit to Tennessee, consider the best time to go based on your interests and the activities you wish to pursue. Explore the vibrant cities, immerse yourself in the history and culture, and indulge in the delicious regional cuisine. From honky-tonks and live music venues to historic landmarks and natural wonders, Tennessee promises an unforgettable experience full of adventure and discovery.
Remember to check the specific COVID-19 guidelines and opening hours for attractions, restaurants, and accommodations to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. Whether you’re a music enthusiast, history buff, outdoor adventurer, or a lover of good food, Tennessee offers a captivating journey that will leave you with lasting memories. Plan your itinerary, pack your bags, and get ready to explore the wonders of the Volunteer State.