As one of the most popular times to travel, Memorial Day weekend offers a myriad of activities and attractions to enjoy. With summer right around the corner, whether you’re looking for patriotic fun, scenic areas featuring the great outdoors, or amusement parks, Tennessee has it all. See the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, or experience the coasters at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. Book a stay at a Tennessee vacation rental to be in the center of all the fun. Here’s a quick look at the nine best Memorial Day weekend getaway spots in Tennessee.

1. Nashville

City skyline at sunrise.
Source: Facebook/Downtown Nashville

Honor America’s military members in the state’s capital city, Nashville. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is the place to see the WWII Memorial, dedicated to the men and women who fought in World War II. Afterward, visit the War Memorial Auditorium to learn about the service members who fought in World War and see the sculptures dedicated to the memory of those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. A tour of the Military History Branch of the Tennessee State Museum teaches your family more about Tennessee’s contribution to the military.

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2. Pigeon Forge

Rustic path through a moss covered forest.
Source: Flickr/Miguel Vieira

Celebrate the holiday and warmer weather with a vacation rental in Pigeon Forge. Kids of all ages find a favorite ride at Dollywood, an Appalachian-themed amusement park. With the pools opening over the weekend, spend a day at Dollywood’s Splash Country and cool off in the lazy river or shoot down the slides. Escape the crowds and breathe in the fresh air at Adventure Park at Five Oaks. Take a horseback riding tour with amazing views of the Great Smoky Mountains or opt for a guided zipline adventure.

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3. Chattanooga

Swinging bridge over a rocky gorge.

On the border of Tennessee and Georgia sits the welcoming city of Chattanooga. Learn more about the American Civil War and take in the view for miles on Lookout Mountain when you go hiking in the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Rock City is another great place to get out in the warm weather. This local attraction features swinging bridges, narrow walkways between rocks, and walking paths. Hop on the Southern Belle Riverboat for a couple of hours of sightseeing on the Tennessee River. When hunger strikes, the third deck of the boat has a hamburger joint.

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4. Clarksville

Rocky cliff in the forest.
Source: Flickr/Lindsey Boise

Immerse yourself in history and outdoor activities in Clarksville along the Cumberland River. Learn more about this meandering river at the As the River Flows Museum. Take a tour and enjoy the beauty of the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center. The building once served as the town’s post office and customs house. If you need to cool off, take a tour of the Dunbar Cave State Park. The Dunbar Cave runs for more than eight miles. Horsefeathers is a great rainy day activity, where each family member can express their creativity by painting a canvas or piece of pottery.

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5. Gatlinburg

Ariel view of a forest of trees.
Source: Flickr/Sarath Kuchi

Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is the place to find a vacation rental tucked away in the woods. See for miles around with a visit to the observation deck of the Gatlinburg Space Needle that sits more than 400 feet above the ground. Bring quarters for the kids to use playing in the massive arcade at the bottom of the needle. At Ober Gatlinburg, the snow has melted but the park is open for a ride on the tram to see for miles in any direction. Ride on the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster for a thrilling time.

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6. Memphis

People riding bikes in front of a sign.
Source: Facebook/Memphis Travel

Enjoy a patriotic weekend exploring Beale Street in Memphis. Home to hip clubs playing blues music at all hours of the day, Beale Street is the perfect place to explore on a warm sunny day. Get a snack and a nifty little sugar buzz with a stop at the Beale Street Sugar Shack. Check the schedule and book tickets for a Red Birds baseball game at AutoZone Park. Spend a day outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather at Mud Island River Park, which offers a swimming area, pedal boats, and walking paths.

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7. Knoxville

Architectural structures surrounding a large fountain.

Start your weekend in Knoxville with the ride up to the observation deck of the Sunsphere and take in the views of the town below. The observation deck was built for the World’s Fair in 1982 and offers 360-degree views. Stretch your legs in the Historic Market Square area, checking out the shops and cooling off in the water fountain. Pick up the ingredients to make a farm-to-table meal at your vacation rental from the Knoxville Farmers Market.

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8. Wears Valley

Ariel view of trees in a vast forest.
Source: Flickr/Thomson

Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a stay in Wears Valley, which is located within easy driving distance of the park’s gates. On your first evening, drive up to Clingmans Dome, an observation deck in the park that stretches out over the mountain to watch a stunning sunset. Drive slowly along the 11-mile, one-way loop that circles around the Cades Cove Valley, where you can catch sight of wildlife, such as raccoons, deer, and black bears, and historic buildings. Walden’s Creek Stables offers horseback riding tours through the area.

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9. Johnson City

Boulders in a river
Source: Flickr/Ron B

Perfect for outdoor lovers, the small-town of Johnson City sits at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Bring your bikes or a good pair of walking shoes to navigate the 10-mile Tweetsie Trail and enjoy the breath-taking scenery. Watauga Kayak takes small groups out onto the Nolichucky River for an afternoon of whitewater and fast-flowing water. On a rainy afternoon, learn more about rainforests and coal mines at the Hands On Regional Museum.

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