Explore Tennessee: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Are you ready for the ultimate Tennessee adventure?

This travel guide will take you through Nashville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Great Smoky Mountains.

You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities, accommodations, transportation options, nightlife hotspots, and sightseeing attractions to keep your days filled with excitement!

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing retreat or an action-packed getaway, this guide has something for everyone who seeks freedom and adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • Nashville is known for its vibrant music and cultural scene, with iconic live shows at the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium.
  • Tennessee offers a variety of outdoor adventures, including hiking trails, fishing spots, camping opportunities, and serene strolls through Centennial Park.
  • The state of Tennessee has diverse landscapes for hiking and camping, ranging from easy strolls through lush forests to challenging hikes up steep inclines and high ridges.
  • Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy excellent fishing options in Tennessee, with different fish species available in different regions, including bass, trout, walleye, catfish, and more.

Nashville: Music City

You’ll love visiting Nashville, the ‘Music City’! With its vibrant music and cultural scene, there’s something for everyone.

From classic country sounds to contemporary hip-hop/pop, you can find it all. Visit the Grand Ole Opry or take in a show at the Ryman Auditorium, two of the city’s most iconic venues. Music-lovers won’t want to miss out on excellent live shows at other popular spots such as The Basement and 3rd & Lindsley.

Get your fill of local craft beers at any of the various breweries scattered around town or grab a bite to eat at one of Nashville’s delicious eateries.

If you’re seeking an outdoor experience, take a stroll through Centennial Park or explore one of many hiking trails around town.

Whatever you choose to do in Nashville, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time!

Outdoor Adventures

Whether you’re a fan of hiking, camping, or fishing, Nashville and the surrounding area have plenty of amazing outdoor adventures to offer.

From picturesque trails in the nearby mountains to serene fishing spots along rivers and lakes, the region is packed with opportunities for spending time outdoors.

There are also plenty of campgrounds available, so you can turn your trip into an overnight stay if desired.

Hiking Trails

Hiking is a great way to explore Tennessee’s natural beauty! With its varied landscapes, from the Appalachian Mountains in the east, to the rolling hills of Central Tennessee, to the flat Delta region in the west, there are plenty of trails for hikers of all abilities.

From easy meandering strolls through lush forests and along creeksides, to more challenging hikes up steep inclines and across high ridges, there’s something for everyone. For those looking for a bit of adventure there are also long-distance backpacking trails that traverse several regions.

To really get away from it all consider one of Tennessee’s many rustic primitive campsites which offer access to some truly remote areas. So come out and enjoy the outdoors – you won’t regret it!

Camping Sites

Camping in Tennessee is a great way to get away from it all and experience the state’s natural beauty. There are many camping sites throughout the state that provide various amenities.

Some options include rustic campgrounds with just the basics like fire pits and picnic tables, spacious RV parks with full hookups for electricity, water, and sewage, stunning cabins nestled among the trees for those wanting a luxurious stay, and group campsites perfect for large gatherings of friends or family.

Tennessee has something for everyone! Whether you’re looking to rough it outdoors or be pampered in a cabin retreat, there’s an option available.

All of these camping sites offer stunning views of Tennessee’s mountainous terrain and lush forests. So don’t wait – explore Tennessee today!

Fishing Spots

If you’re an angler looking for a great spot to reel in some fish, Tennessee has plenty of excellent options! From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Mississippi River, there are countless opportunities for fishing.

The lakes and rivers of East Tennessee offer up bass, trout, walleye, and muskie. In Middle Tennessee you’ll find catfish, crappie, bream, and bluegill. West Tennessee is known for its large-mouth bass.

Boating on Norris Lake can bring you close to trophy-sized catches. Reelfoot Lake provides year-round fishing and is well known for its crappie and catfish populations. There’s also a variety of public access areas throughout the state where you can cast your line without having to pay fees or gain special permits.

Whether it’s from the shoreline or out on a boat – get ready for an unforgettable fishing experience in Tennessee!


Gatlinburg is a scenic city nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

With its breathtaking mountain views and abundance of outdoor activities, it’s an ideal location for an adventure.

From hiking to whitewater rafting, there is something for everyone in this charming resort town.

Mountainside Views

You’ll love the breathtaking views of Tennessee’s mountainsides! From the highest peaks to rolling hills, there are plenty of opportunities to get outdoors and appreciate nature.

Take in some of the best mountain vistas in the state with these experiences:

  • Go camping or hiking for a day trip or an extended stay.
  • Enjoy a scenic drive on winding roads through rural areas.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride and see the beauty from above.
  • Rent a cabin in one of Tennessee’s many charming towns for unbeatable views and relaxation.

No matter how you choose to experience them, you’ll be sure to find some memorable mountain sights and sounds in Tennessee.

Outdoor Activities

From mountain biking and rock climbing to kayaking and fishing, Tennessee offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for all ages. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just getting started, the Volunteer State has something to offer everyone.

There are trails that wind over hills and through valleys, allowing hikers to explore beautiful scenery while taking in some fresh air. For those looking for more physical challenge, there’s rock climbing with stunning views from the top of cliffs or boulders.

The rivers provide kayakers with plenty of rapids and calmer spots to enjoy the serenity of nature. Fishermen will appreciate the variety of fish species in lakes and streams across Tennessee.

No matter what type of outdoor activity you choose, you’ll find freedom and joy in exploring what this state has to offer.

Pigeon Forge

Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is a great destination for outdoor adventures. You’ll find plenty to do, including hiking and biking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding area. Whitewater rafting is also available for an adrenaline rush, and you can go horseback riding through the mountains. Additionally, there’s zip-lining for a bird’s eye view of nature.

Whether you’re looking for an exciting getaway or a peaceful weekend with your family, Pigeon Forge has something to offer everyone. From horseback riding to whitewater rafting, there are many activities to keep you busy and entertained. With its breathtaking scenery and endless outdoor activities, Pigeon Forge is sure to give you an unforgettable experience!

The Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains offer an abundance of wildlife, hiking trails, and camping spots. You can experience the breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains or catch a glimpse of deer, elk, or bears on your hike.

With almost 800 miles of trails ranging from easy to strenuous hikes as well as plenty of camping spots that range from primitive sites to developed campgrounds with electricity and running water, you can find something to fit everyone’s needs.

Wildlife Abundance

You’ll be amazed by the abundance of wildlife in Tennessee. From black bears and white-tailed deer, to otters and wild turkeys, the state is full of unique animals that you can observe in their natural habitats. It’s a great way to spend time outdoors!

Here are some highlights to look out for:

  • Bald eagles soaring above tall trees
  • Fireflies illuminating the night sky
  • Coyotes howling in the distance
  • Wildflowers blanketing colorful meadows

Tennessee offers many opportunities for visitors to witness nature’s beauty without sacrificing freedom or safety. Whether it’s spotting rare creatures or simply listening to birds chirping, an outdoor adventure awaits!

Hiking Trails

Hiking in Tennessee provides an incredible way to observe wildlife and enjoy the beauty of nature. From the lush forests of the Smoky Mountains to the rolling hills of Central Tennessee, there is a trail for everyone.

With over 800 miles of trails within the state, you can find anything from easy day hikes to challenging multi-day backpacking trips. Popular destinations include The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll through nature or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, you’ll be sure to find it in Tennessee! Plus, with so much wilderness available, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to spot some local wildlife as well!

Camping Spots

Camping in Tennessee offers a perfect way to get away from it all and immerse yourself in the natural beauty. There are plenty of spots to camp, from secluded mountain campsites to popular lakeside retreats. Here are some of the best camping spots in Tennessee:

  • Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area – With over 125,000 acres of wilderness, this is one of the largest protected areas in the state.
  • Cumberland Gap National Historic Park – This park features stunning views, historic sites, and plenty of outdoor activities.
  • Fall Creek Falls State Park – Home to one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River.
  • Frozen Head State Park – Located high up on the Cumberland Plateau with beautiful views and a variety of trails for hiking.

With its diverse landscape and abundance of scenic locations, Tennessee is an ideal place to go camping and explore nature’s wonders.

Local Cuisine

Tennessee has numerous local cuisine options that you’re sure to love! From the classic southern dishes like fried chicken and biscuits, to the more unique specialties like Nashville’s famous hot chicken, there is something for everyone.

Enjoy barbecued pork or beef in Memphis, or try some of Knoxville’s signature moonshine-glazed smoked salmon. For a vegetarian option, sample some of Chattanooga’s farm-fresh vegetable medleys.

And don’t forget about the city of Nashville’s banh mi sandwiches served on French bread. Whatever your preference, Tennessee has it all!

Shopping Destinations

If you’re looking for a great shopping experience, Tennessee has plenty of excellent options.

From large shopping malls to small boutiques, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re searching for the perfect gift or just want to treat yourself, the Volunteer State offers endless possibilities.

Shopping Malls

Shopping malls in Tennessee offer a great variety of stores for visitors to explore. You can find anything from major department stores to unique boutiques, including designer labels, outdoor gear, home goods, and local artisan products.

No matter what your style or budget, you’re sure to find something that fits your needs. With enticing window displays and modern amenities like food courts and entertainment outlets, shopping malls in Tennessee make it easy to spend an afternoon browsing the selections while soaking up the atmosphere.

Many also feature convenient parking and flexible hours so you can plan your visit accordingly. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind item or want to take advantage of great deals, a trip to one of these shopping malls is sure to be an enjoyable experience.


From designer labels to unique boutiques, Tennessee’s shopping malls offer something special. The iconic Mall at Green Hills in Nashville, the Wolfchase Galleria in Memphis, and Knoxville Center in Knoxville provide a wide range of options for boutique shopping. With over 175 stores and restaurants, shoppers can explore a variety of options. From luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci to local favorites like Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. or Sip Cafe, there is something for everyone. Independent boutiques also offer one-of-a-kind items such as vintage clothes, handmade jewelry, and home decor. Tennessee has it all when it comes to boutique shopping!

Arts and Culture

Tennessee is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, with something for you to enjoy no matter where you’re from! From the famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville to the Tennessee State Museum in the capital city, there’s something for everyone.

Here are just a few of the ways you can experience Tennessee’s unique art and culture:

  • Get immersed in music history at the iconic Grand Ole Opry.
  • Admire works from some of the region’s most talented artists at local galleries and museums throughout the state.
  • Take part in interactive theater performances at one of Tennessee’s many theater venues.
  • Enjoy festivals celebrating everything from traditional crafts to modern music genres all year round.

With so much to offer, it’s easy to see why Tennessee is an ideal destination for culture lovers!

Historical Sites

Discover some of Tennessee’s rich history by visiting one of the many historical sites throughout the state! From battlefields and fortifications to museums and memorials, you can explore the state’s past in a variety of ways.

Visit Fort Donelson National Battlefield for a glimpse into Civil War history or Shiloh National Military Park to stand on hallowed ground where Union and Confederate forces clashed.

You can also explore Native American heritage at Mound Bottom Archaeological Area or check out the nearby Carter House, which was once home to a prominent family during the Civil War.

For something different, visit Ryan Place Historic District in Chattanooga, an area full of Victorian-era buildings that date back more than 100 years.

There are plenty of opportunities to learn about Tennessee’s past and gain insight into a fascinating culture.

Sports and Recreation

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun, Tennessee has something for everyone! From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Cumberland Plateau, there are plenty of sports and recreational activities to choose from. Whether it’s hiking and camping in the mountains, fishing in a lake or river, or exploring caves and waterfalls – Tennessee has it all!

  • Kayaking & Canoeing
  • Hiking & Camping
  • Fishing & Boating
  • Cave Exploration & Waterfall Hunting

Tennessee is home to hundreds of miles of trails for hikers and backpackers of all skill levels. You can explore lush forests, take in stunning views from mountain peaks, or wander through peaceful meadows. Nature lovers will find plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife like black bears, deer, and wild turkeys.

For those who prefer to stay on land, there are many golf courses scattered throughout the state offering everything from casual rounds to professional tournaments. For those looking for a more adventurous experience, you can try whitewater rafting on one of the many rivers that flow through Tennessee. You’ll also find numerous opportunities for rock climbing as well as cave exploration in areas such as Chattanooga’s Lookout Mountain.

And if you’re an angler looking for your next catch-of-the-day challenge – Tennessee offers some great fishing spots!

Festivals and Events

With its diverse cultural heritage, Tennessee offers an array of festivals and events for visitors to enjoy.

From the world-famous Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester to the fall Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, there’s something for everyone.

Throughout the state, you can find small town celebrations such as Dickson’s Strawberry Festival or Germantown’s Oktoberfest.

If you’re looking for a unique experience, visit Memphis’ annual Beale Street Music Festival or Nashville’s CMA Music Fest.

There are also plenty of regional events like Bristol’s Rhythm & Roots Reunion and Gatlinburg’s Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales that allow visitors to explore local culture.

Whether it’s music, food, art, or history – Tennessee has just what you need!


No matter what your budget is, Tennessee has plenty of accommodations to choose from. From luxurious hotels and cabins to camping sites, there’s something for everyone!

Here are some options:

  • Stay in a hotel or motel in a city like Nashville or Memphis for easy access to attractions and nightlife.
  • Rent out a cabin in the mountains for an escape into nature.
  • Pitch a tent at one of the many campgrounds spread across the state for an affordable option.
  • Spend some time on houseboats floating around lakes such as Dale Hollow Lake.

There’s no shortage of places to stay in Tennessee, offering travelers freedom and flexibility when it comes to exploring the state.


Traveling around Tennessee is easy with a variety of transportation options. You can take an interstate bus, rent a car, or hail a taxi to get around the state. For longer distances, hop on an Amtrak train out of Nashville and Memphis for destinations across the country.

Fly into one of the state’s nine airports located in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, and Tri-Cities. To explore at your own pace, you can rent a bike or join one of the many biking tours offered throughout the state. Motorcycles are available to rent as well if that’s how you choose to travel for added freedom and adventure.

Lastly, you can always rent an RV if you want to experience more in-depth exploration while enjoying all that Tennessee has to offer.


No matter what type of nightlife you’re looking for, Tennessee has plenty to offer. Whether it’s live music, local bars, or a cozy spot to grab a bite and drinks with friends – you’ll find it here.

  • A lively pub scene in Nashville
  • The unique honky-tonks in Memphis
  • A variety of clubs in Knoxville
  • Boutique wine bars and craft beer havens scattered throughout the state

Tennessee is an oasis of fun, excitement, and exploration. For those seeking adventure after dark, there are plenty of activities to keep your nights alive. From casino gambling to outdoor concerts and shows – whatever your style is – Tennessee has something for everyone!

Sightseeing Attractions

If you’re looking for something to do during the day, Tennessee has plenty of sightseeing attractions to check out.

From historical sites like Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage and Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, to the awe-inspiring views in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re a music enthusiast, take a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum or visit one of Nashville’s many live-music venues.

Art lovers can head over to The Parthenon in Centennial Park for an up close look at replicas of ancient Greek sculptures.

Nature lovers can explore Reelfoot Lake State Park and its array of wildlife species or take a hike through Chattanooga’s Lookout Mountain hike trails.

No matter what your interests are, Tennessee has sights you won’t want to miss!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Tennessee?

The best time to visit Tennessee is spring or fall. The weather is mild and the scenery beautiful. You can enjoy activities outdoors without worrying about extreme temperatures. Plus, the days are longer so you have more time to explore!

What Are the Best Budget-Friendly Accommodation Options in the State?

There are plenty of budget-friendly accommodation options in Tennessee. From camping and cabins to hostels, you’ll find a great deal to suit your needs. Enjoy the freedom of exploring the state with affordable prices.

Are There Any Hidden Gems in the Local Cuisine Scene?

Yes! Tennessee has some delicious hidden gems in its local cuisine. From Nashville Hot Chicken to Memphis BBQ, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! Plus, you can find unique restaurants with affordable prices. Check out the reviews and explore the state’s culinary scene!

Are There Any Special Safety Considerations to Keep in Mind While Traveling in Tennessee?

Yes, when traveling in Tennessee be sure to check for road closures due to weather and always use caution. Wear bright colors when hiking and avoid entering areas with wild animals. Obey local laws and be aware of cultural differences.

Is There Public Transportation Available Throughout the State?

Yes, there is public transportation available throughout Tennessee. Buses and shuttles provide service in most urban areas, while Amtrak trains run between several major cities. You can find more information on routes and schedules online.


Tennessee has something for everyone, no matter your interests. From the music of Nashville to the outdoor adventures of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, there’s an abundance of activities available.

From accommodations to transportation to nightlife and sightseeing attractions – you can find it all in Tennessee. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, Tennessee is the perfect destination.

So come explore and experience what this amazing place has to offer!

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