Whether you’re looking to enjoy the city and its urban offerings, explore the rolling hills of wine country, or hike up a mountain—look no further than Tennessee. Its state capitol, Nashville (a.k.a. Music City) boasts historic landmarks, the best hot chicken around, and local honky tonks. Escape the city with a trip to the Smoky Mountains and its multitude of mountain towns. Stay in Franklin to soak in Civil War era history or engage in outdoor activities in Gatlinburg. Visit Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Splash Country amusement park in Pigeon Forge.
Not sure where to start? Check out the best destinations in the state for music lovers, wine drinkers, and mountain climbers—there’s something for everyone in Tennessee.
- Explore diverse live music in Nashville.Visit Music Row to see where the greats—including Elvis Presley—recorded music or head to the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry to catch this generation’s best musicians. Of course, Nashville offers much more than just live music. Check out the Parthenon, the Country Music Hall of Fame, delicious hot chicken at eateries like Hattie B’s, and honky tonks across the city.
- Go on a rural retreat in scenic Franklin.Just 30 minutes south of Nashville, Franklin offers lush pastures and a charming, historic downtown to explore. Downtown Franklin boasts 15 blocks of one-of-a-kind shops and eateries. Franklin is also home to one of the most significant Civil War battle sites at the Carter House and Canton. Afterwards, head southeast into the Tennessee hills for a visit to the Arrington Vineyards.
- Visit the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg.The mountain resort city of Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains offers hundreds of hiking trails home to diverse wildlife. The city is also home to the Big Pigeon River, perfect for whitewater rafting, and various ski resorts. When you’re done getting your daily exercise in, explore one of Gatlinburg’s numerous breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
- Cool down at Dollywood’s Splash Country in Pigeon Forge.Perfect for a family vacation, Pigeon Forge is home to Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s Applachian-themed water park that offers more than 40 amusement park rides and attractions. Additionally, the family-friendly town offers mini golf, go-kart racing, theatre shows, and entry into Cades Cove, one of the most popular Smoky Mountains destinations.
- Explore the Forbidden Caverns of Sevierville.Touted as one of the most spectacular caverns in the United States, Forbidden Caverns features a crystal clear underground river, several grottos, towering chimneys, rock formations, and cavernous rooms. After exploring the caverns, head back to charming downtown Sevierville to see the historic Sevier County Courthouse and snag a selfie with the Dolly Parton statue, installed to honor the singer who called Sevierville home.