Nashville offers its visitors no shortage of great attractions to enjoy. If you’re looking to escape the Music City for some other adventures, here are five great day trips or weekend getaways ideas, all within a few hours of Nashville!
Best Day Trips around Nashville
1. Franklin, TN
No matter the time of year, a quick drive down I-65 will lead you to one of Tennessee's gems. With most shops and attractions opening around 9am, once you have arrived in Franklin, visit one of the great local coffee shops before shopping in the quaint downtown or checking out some of the historic stops. You can take a tour of the Carnton Plantation built in 1826, the Carter House built in 1830, or the Loz House, which is home to a Civil War Museum. If you want some help discovering the town, there are opportunities take guided tours of on foot or even segways. And while there is no shortage of good dining in Franklin, 55 South has a menu ranging in delicious brunch to incredible dinners. For the evening, take a look at what live music, live theatre or movies might be playing at the Franklin Theatre.
Distance from Nashville to Franklin: 21 Miles - approximately a 30 minute drive.
2. Chattanooga, TN
A couple of hours south you can visit to Chattanooga with the whole family for a day adventure, or even make it into a weekend. Kids love the Tennessee Valley Railroad, complete with a museum and railroad rides. Close to one of Tennessee’s popular destinations of Lookout Mountain, you can drive, or take the railroad, up most of the mountain and pay a small fee of $5 per person to get to Point Park, where one can look out over the city. The view on winter nights yields stunning views of Christmas lights while summers are just nice for a beautiful view of Tennessee. There are plenty of parks to enjoy with the whole family during the nice days and several other great nature sites nearby. Full of history, Chattanooga is also home to the Chattanooga National Cemetery where many veterans and prisoners are honored from dawn to dusk.
Distance from Nashville to Chattanooga: 135 miles - approximately a 2 hour drive.
3. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail
You might be in Tennessee, but Kentucky is just a short drive away. When you’re so close, you may see great value in touring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. This journey is fun for the adult crew and can be customized to include just a couple of distilleries in one day or spread out over several days if you’ve got the time. The closest distillery to Nashville is the classic Maker’s Mark and if you’re looking to do your own self guided tour, this might be a good place to start as you head towards Louisville or Lexington, KY. Of course, on these self guided tours you’ll need to have a designated driver for the day as there are ten distilleries to visit in the state - the number being one of the many reasons it’s best to divide your time over several days. If you’re with a crew that would rather not worry about designated drivers, Mint Julep Tours offers many tours to 2-6 distilleries at any time. Prices range from $79-$198 plus the cost of distillery entrance ($40-80 depending on how many distilleries you hit), but the memories and stories you’ll be able to share are likely to be priceless.
Distance from Nashville: 160-215 miles depending on where you start - approximately a 2.5-3 hour drive.
4. Leiper’s Fork
Located just next to Franklin, Lieper’s Fork offers a true country experience and retreat from the city life. Local farmers and artisans sell their newer offerings in the small shops through the town right next to the antique stores full of rare finds. Along with shopping, a family fun stop is at the Jailhouse Industrys that offers family friendly events all year long. Check their schedule for what might be available during your trip. For a treat, Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant is a must to add to your day. There is a reason the line for this southern comfort food gets so long, and if you get there for dinner, there will be live music in the evenings on every night except Monday. Take note that while most nights are free to eat and listen to music, there is a cover charge of $10 for music on Friday and Saturday nights. Being such a short drive, this cute, farm town is a great escape from Nashville’s city bustle for a day.
Distance from Nashville to Lieper’s Fork: 29 miles - approximately a 45 minute drive.
5. Fall Creek Falls State Park
With the right weather, if you’re looking for more of a natural refuge from the city, Fall Creek Falls State Park is just a couple of hours East of Nashville. With no park entrance fee, and this distance, you can definitely enjoy the park as a day trip, complete with a short hike and catching some stunning views of the one, or more, of the four different waterfalls. For a small fee you can make a weekend trip with camping ($11-25) or spend a little more to stay at the inn that is inside of the park. Many hikers can take an easy walk around the lake at the base of Fall Creek Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the Eastern United States, or backpackers can plan to explore up to 34 miles of the park over several days. With the family, you can explore by car or take guided tours on horseback.
Distance from Nashville to Fall Creek Falls State Park: 119 miles - approximately a 2 hour drive.
Whether you’re alone or with your family looking for history, countryside, nature, or excitement, there is an adventure just outside of Nashville for you!
This article was written by Kim Cowan.