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10 Must-Visit Places In Tennessee For Natural Wonders, Historic Landmarks, Music Venues, Outdoor Activities, Artistic Centers, And Family-Friendly Attractions

Explore the best places to visit in Tennessee, from the breathtaking Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the iconic Ryman Auditorium and family-favorite Dollywood.

Natural Wonders in Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Have you ever wanted to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature? Look no further than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and vibrant forests, this national park offers a plethora of for visitors of all ages.

  • Hike to the majestic Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Take a leisurely stroll along one of the park’s many scenic trails, such as the Laurel Falls Trail, and witness the mesmerizing beauty of waterfalls cascading through lush greenery.
  • Embark on a wildlife-watching adventure and spot black bears, deer, elk, and a variety of bird species that call the park home.

Ruby Falls

Deep beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered – Ruby Falls. As you descend into the depths of the cave, you’ll be captivated by the awe-inspiring beauty of the underground waterfall, which cascades down 145 feet into a crystal-clear pool.

  • Marvel at the breathtaking formations of stalactites and stalagmites that have been formed over thousands of years.
  • Take a guided tour and learn about the geology and history of Ruby Falls, as well as the efforts made to preserve this natural wonder.
  • Capture unforgettable memories as you stand in awe of the illuminated falls, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that will leave you spellbound.

Cummins Falls State Park

If you’re looking for an adventure off the beaten path, Cummins Falls State Park is the perfect destination. Nestled in the rolling hills of Tennessee, this hidden gem offers a picturesque setting for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

  • Trek through lush forests and rocky terrain to reach the breathtaking Cummins Falls, which stands at an impressive 75 feet tall.
  • Cool off in the crystal-clear waters of the falls, where you can swim, wade, or simply relax and take in the scenic beauty.
  • Embark on a hiking expedition along the park’s various trails, such as the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River Trail, and discover hidden waterfalls, caves, and stunning overlooks along the way.

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Prepare to be amazed by the grandeur of Fall Creek Falls State Park. With its towering waterfalls, rugged gorges, and expansive forests, this park offers a truly immersive and awe-inspiring outdoor experience.

  • Witness the majestic beauty of Fall Creek Falls, the park’s namesake, as it plunges 256 feet into a pool below.
  • Explore the park’s extensive trail system, which caters to hikers of all skill levels and leads to hidden gems like Piney Falls and Cane Creek Falls.
  • Engage in a variety of recreational activities, including fishing, swimming, bird-watching, and camping, amidst the tranquil surroundings of this natural wonderland.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Tennessee’s are sure to leave you in awe. From the majestic peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains to the underground marvels of Ruby Falls, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the Volunteer State’s breathtaking landscapes. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Tennessee’s .

Historic Landmarks in Tennessee


Graceland is one of the most iconic historic landmarks in Tennessee. As the former home of the legendary musician Elvis Presley, it offers visitors a unique glimpse into the life of the “King of Rock and Roll.” The mansion itself is beautifully preserved and showcases the opulent style of the 1970s. Visitors can explore the various rooms, including the famous Jungle Room and the Trophy Building, which displays Elvis’s extensive collection of awards and memorabilia. The tour also includes access to Elvis’s final resting place, located in the Meditation Garden. For fans of music and pop culture, a visit to Graceland is a must.

The Parthenon

Nestled in Nashville’s Centennial Park, The Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. This architectural marvel stands as a symbol of Nashville’s rich cultural heritage and is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists. Inside, visitors can marvel at the monumental statue of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, which stands at an impressive 42 feet tall. The Parthenon also houses an art gallery that showcases a collection of American paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate stunning architecture, a visit to The Parthenon is sure to leave you awe-inspired.

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site

Step back in time and explore the life and legacy of the 17th President of the United States at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site. Located in Greeneville, Tennessee, this site encompasses several historic buildings, including Johnson’s tailor shop, his early home, and the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery, where he and his family are buried. Visitors can take guided tours to learn about Johnson’s presidency, his role in Reconstruction, and his impact on American history. The site offers a fascinating glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of one of the country’s most pivotal leaders.

Belle Meade Plantation

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Tennessee at Belle Meade Plantation. This historic landmark, located in Nashville, was once a renowned thoroughbred horse farm and is now a museum that tells the story of the plantation’s past. Visitors can explore the beautifully restored mansion, stroll through the stunning gardens, and learn about the lives of the people who lived and worked on the plantation. The guided tour provides insights into the history of slavery, horse racing, and the social and economic impact of the plantation. With its captivating history and picturesque surroundings, Belle Meade Plantation offers a unique and educational experience for all.

Music and Entertainment Venues in Tennessee

Tennessee is known as the birthplace of many genres of music, including country, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s no wonder that the state is home to a variety of music and entertainment venues that offer unforgettable experiences for visitors. Whether you’re a fan of live performances, historic landmarks, or interactive exhibits, Tennessee has something for everyone. Let’s explore some of the must-visit venues in the state:

Ryman Auditorium

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman Auditorium is an iconic music venue that has hosted legendary performers since its inception in 1892. This historic venue has witnessed the evolution of country music and continues to attract artists and music lovers from around the world. With its remarkable acoustics and intimate atmosphere, attending a concert at the Ryman is an experience like no other.

Beale Street

Location: Memphis, Tennessee

If you’re a fan of blues, soul, and jazz, Beale Street in Memphis is a must-visit destination. This vibrant street is lined with historic clubs, restaurants, and shops that have played a significant role in shaping the music scene in the United States. From live performances by talented musicians to mouthwatering Southern cuisine, Beale Street offers a unique blend of entertainment and culture.

Grand Ole Opry

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

The Grand Ole Opry is a world-famous country music stage that has been showcasing the genre’s biggest stars since 1925. This iconic venue has hosted legendary artists such as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Garth Brooks, making it a mecca for country music enthusiasts. Attending a live show at the Grand Ole Opry is an opportunity to witness the rich history and enduring legacy of country music.

Country Music Hall of Fame

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

For those interested in delving deeper into the history and impact of country music, a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame is a must. This museum is home to an extensive collection of artifacts, exhibits, and memorabilia that celebrate the pioneers and legends of country music. From interactive displays to live performances, the Country Music Hall of Fame offers a comprehensive and immersive experience for visitors of all ages.

Outdoor Activities in Tennessee

When it comes to , Tennessee offers a wealth of opportunities for adventure and exploration. From canoeing on the Harpeth River to hiking the Appalachian Trail, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or just looking to try something new, Tennessee has it all.

Canoeing on the Harpeth River

One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of Tennessee is by canoeing on the Harpeth River. With its calm waters and scenic surroundings, the Harpeth River provides the perfect setting for a relaxing day on the water. As you paddle along, you’ll have the chance to spot various wildlife species, including turtles, herons, and maybe even a few otters. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, there are options for all skill levels, making it a great activity for the whole family.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

For those seeking a more challenging outdoor adventure, hiking the Appalachian Trail is an experience like no other. Tennessee is home to a section of this iconic trail, offering breathtaking views and a chance to immerse yourself in nature. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a journey through rugged terrain, lush forests, and stunning vistas. Along the way, you may encounter diverse wildlife, such as black bears, deer, and a variety of bird species. Remember to pack plenty of water, snacks, and a camera to capture the memories of this unforgettable hike.

Fishing in Reelfoot Lake

Tennessee is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities, and Reelfoot Lake is a prime destination for anglers. Known for its abundance of crappie, bass, and catfish, this natural lake offers a tranquil setting for a day of fishing. Cast your line from the shore or rent a boat to explore the lake’s hidden coves and channels. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, the experienced local guides can provide tips and tricks to help you reel in the big one. So grab your fishing gear and get ready to enjoy a day of relaxation and excitement on the shores of Reelfoot Lake.

Rock Climbing in Obed Wild and Scenic River

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and a chance to test your physical limits, rock climbing in Obed Wild and Scenic River is the perfect activity for you. With its sheer sandstone cliffs and challenging routes, Obed offers a world-class climbing experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, there are routes suited for all skill levels. Strap on your harness, chalk up your hands, and ascend the rugged cliffs while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. Just make sure to follow safety guidelines and climb with a partner or under the supervision of a certified guide.

With its diverse range of , Tennessee is a playground for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Whether you prefer the tranquility of canoeing on the Harpeth River, the rugged beauty of hiking the Appalachian Trail, the thrill of fishing in Reelfoot Lake, or the adrenaline of rock climbing in Obed Wild and Scenic River, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the great outdoors of Tennessee. So pack your gear, embrace the spirit of adventure, and discover the that await you in the Volunteer State.

Cultural and Artistic Centers in Tennessee

Tennessee is not only known for its natural beauty and historic landmarks but also for its vibrant cultural and artistic centers. Whether you are an art enthusiast, history buff, or simply looking to explore the artistic side of Tennessee, these centers offer a diverse range of experiences. Let’s take a closer look at some of the must-visit cultural and artistic centers in Tennessee.

Frist Art Museum

Location: Nashville

The Frist Art Museum, located in the heart of Nashville, is a hub for contemporary and classical art. Housed in a beautifully renovated historic building, the museum showcases a wide range of exhibitions that span various art forms and periods. From paintings and sculptures to photography and interactive installations, there’s something to captivate every visitor.

At the Frist Art Museum, you can immerse yourself in the world of art through guided tours, workshops, and lectures. The museum also hosts special events and performances, adding a dynamic touch to the overall experience. Whether you’re a seasoned art connoisseur or a novice appreciator, the Frist Art Museum promises an enriching and visually stunning visit.

Tennessee State Museum

Location: Nashville

Delve into the rich history and culture of Tennessee at the Tennessee State Museum. This expansive museum offers a comprehensive journey through the state’s past, showcasing artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that bring history to life. From prehistoric times to the Civil War era and beyond, the museum covers a wide range of topics, allowing visitors to understand the diverse heritage of Tennessee.

The Tennessee State Museum also features rotating exhibits that highlight various aspects of the state’s culture, such as music, sports, and industry. Whether you’re interested in exploring the role of Tennessee in the development of American music or understanding the impact of the Civil Rights Movement, this museum offers a deep dive into the state’s cultural fabric.

Knoxville Museum of Art

Location: Knoxville

Nestled in the heart of Knoxville, the Knoxville Museum of Art is a treasure trove of artistic expression. With a focus on contemporary art, the museum showcases a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and multimedia installations. The exhibitions at the Knoxville Museum of Art highlight both local and international artists, offering a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of contemporary art.

In addition to its permanent and temporary exhibits, the museum also offers educational programs and workshops for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just curious about the latest trends in the art world, the Knoxville Museum of Art provides a platform for exploration and inspiration.

Hunter Museum of American Art

Location: Chattanooga

Situated on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, the Hunter Museum of American Art is a captivating blend of art, architecture, and nature. The museum’s collection spans over two centuries of American art, featuring works by renowned artists such as Thomas Cole, Mary Cassatt, and Andy Warhol. From traditional landscapes to abstract expressionism, the Hunter Museum offers a diverse range of artistic styles and movements.

What sets the Hunter Museum apart is its unique location, with three separate buildings that showcase different architectural styles. As you explore the museum, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the river and surrounding landscape, creating a harmonious blend of art and nature.

Family-Friendly Attractions in Tennessee

Tennessee offers a wide range of that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. From thrilling amusement parks to educational museums and fascinating wildlife encounters, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top in Tennessee:


Located in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood is a world-class theme park that combines thrilling rides, live entertainment, and Southern charm. Named after the legendary country singer Dolly Parton, this amusement park offers a variety of attractions for the whole family. From roller coasters and water rides to live shows and delicious Southern cuisine, Dollywood promises a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

Nestled in the heart of Nashville, the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is a must-visit destination for animal lovers. This expansive zoo is home to a diverse range of wildlife from around the world. Families can explore habitats that mimic the natural environments of animals such as giraffes, elephants, kangaroos, and many more. Kids will also love the interactive exhibits, including a petting zoo and a playground. The Nashville Zoo offers a unique opportunity to learn about conservation and wildlife preservation in a fun and engaging way.

Tennessee Aquarium

Located in Chattanooga, the Tennessee Aquarium is a top-rated attraction that provides a fascinating glimpse into the underwater world. With both freshwater and saltwater exhibits, visitors can explore a variety of ecosystems and encounter a wide range of marine life. From playful penguins to majestic sharks, the Tennessee Aquarium offers a truly immersive experience. Interactive displays and educational programs make it a perfect destination for families looking to learn and have fun together.

Discovery Park of America

Situated in Union City, the Discovery Park of America is an educational and interactive museum complex that celebrates the wonders of science, history, and art. With over 70,000 square feet of exhibit space, this attraction offers a wide range of hands-on activities and immersive displays. Families can explore everything from dinosaur fossils and space exploration to Native American history and art masterpieces. The Discovery Park of America encourages curiosity and discovery, making it an ideal destination for families seeking both entertainment and education.

So whether you’re seeking thrills, wildlife encounters, underwater adventures, or educational experiences, Tennessee has it all. These provide endless opportunities for fun, learning, and creating lasting memories. Plan your visit to Tennessee and embark on an unforgettable family adventure!

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