While the great state of Tennessee may not be at the top of everyone’s list when you think of ‘best travel destinations, the truth is there are no shortage of different things you can do. The state has some truly stunning natural paradises and hiking trails, bustling music scenes in the city of Nashville, numerous popular historical museums, and more. Here are the most fun things to do in Tennessee.
1: Hike In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
There are few hiking trails in the southeastern United States in general that will be as scenic as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is actually the most visited national park in the United States and is also a part of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains.
Holding the distinction for also being among the first federally funded parks in America (it was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1940), the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has numerous preserved historical buildings, the famous Alum Cave Trail, and a virtually unlimited number of panoramic scenic vistas and an abundance of flora and fauna.
2: Embark On The General Jackson Showboat Cruise
One of the largest showboat cruises in the United States, the General Jackson Showboat Cruise in Nashville will take you down the Cumberland River where you can view both the massive skyscrapers of downtown Nashville and wildlife along the natural areas.
You’ll get to sit either on the balcony or outside deck and be treated to some truly incredible food. Don’t forget to bring your camera because you’ll want to take plenty of photos.
3: Visit The Graceland Mansion
Located in Memphis, the Graceland Mansion was previously one of the homes of Elvis Presley who used it as one of his places to get away when he wanted to avoid the national scene. Now converted into a museum and fully open to the public since 1982, the Graceland Museum is the second most visited private home in the United States, second only to the White House in Washington D.C.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Graceland Mansion rests over some very lush green property and also has Elvis’s car collections, Vegas jumpsuits, and two planes on site as well.
4: Explore The Music City
Nashville is well known as the Music City throughout not only the country but also the world, and Tennessee as a whole is considered to be the birthplace of country music. In Nashville there are an abundance of musical neighborhoods where you can view amateur and professional performers alike live.
Specific places you will want to visit include the Nashville Jazz Workshop, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Music, and the Grand Ole Opry. It doesn’t matter whether you’re into country, jazz, rock, or pop, because Tennessee has it all.
5: Walk The Civil War Trail
Tennessee played a central role in the western front of the American Civil War. Even though they were officially on the side of the Confederacy, they supplied large numbers of soldiers to both sides in the war.
There were many battles fought across Tennessee during the Civil War, and there are almost just as many historical sites to commemorate the old battlefields. But perhaps the most well-known Civil War site of all in the state is the Civil War trail, which follows the 1864 campaign of Confederate General Hood to regain control of Tennessee after most of it fell to the Union troops in the preceding years.
Additional places to visit will be the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Chattanooga battlefield, which was one of the bloodiest battles fought within the state during the war.
As you can hopefully see, you can have a lot of fun when you visit Tennessee, regardless of whether you travel alone or with your family. The state has a lot of fun things to do and not just in the capital city of Nashville. You can explore the Music City, go for a cruise on a showboat, explore old Civil War battlefields, visit the home of a musical legend, and go hiking in the most visited national park in the state. What more could you ask for?