If you love having a variety of things to do while on vacation, look no further than the exciting city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Fantastic indoor and outdoor attractions are situated close to many Chattanooga vacation rentals. Additionally, you can tour the area on foot, on a Segway, in an amphibious vehicle, or on a train. Since Chattanooga played an important role in the American Civil War, there are numerous landmarks and attractions that highlight this history. Check out the most prominent activities in and around Chattanooga.

1. See the Stunning Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls is part of the Lookout Mountain Caverns in Chattanooga, which is one the most popular attractions in the city. You can see brilliant stalactites and stalagmites while you walk the length of the cave to get to the falls.

2. View Native Species at the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center

The Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center has 14 miles of trails filled with plants and animals native to the southeastern U.S. The Center’s butterfly garden, and blue heron boardwalk are great places to take a peaceful break after a day of sightseeing. A canoe training area preps people thinking about paddling down the river, and play areas abound for families traveling with children.

3. Take a Sidewalk Tour

Near the top of any list of things to do in Chattanooga is Chattanooga Sidewalk Tours. Learn about history and architecture, or view beautiful sculptures and homes while strolling around, all with the help of tour guides who are well-versed in the city’s history.

4. Take a Cruise on the Southern Belle River Boat

Take a boat ride down the Tennessee River on the Southern Belle River Boat. It offers lunch cruises when you need a break in the middle of the day, as well as dinner cruises that include a night of food and dance. Narrated boat tours point out the importance of the river in the city’s past.

5. Spend a Morning at the Tennessee Aquarium

One of the more popular attractions in Chattanooga is the Tennessee Aquarium, home to hundreds of local fish species as well as more exotic creatures. Follow a path that traces water from the mountains to the ocean, and view fish animals in their native habitats.

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6. Take a Land and Water Tour with Chattanooga Ducks

Few things are as exhilarating as being on a tour that starts on the streets and ends in the water — all in the same vehicle. At Chattanooga Ducks, it is not unusual for the captains to let children steer the boat during the trip. The guides on these tours offer plenty of information to keep your family interested.

7. Travel the City on a Segway or Bike

If your family needs a break from walking, head over to Chattanooga Segway and Bike, and take a Segway tour that starts with a lesson. This company also offers bike tours of the city, giving you a chance to enjoy the weather while viewing historic sites.

8. Eat Some BBQ at Mike’s Smokehouse

No trip to Chattanooga is complete without sampling some of the superb BBQ from the area. Mike’s Smokehouse offers ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and other favorites, along with delectable sides like macaroni and cheese and collard greens. Choose from a variety of sauces in containers right on the table.

9. Take the Train Up Lookout Mountain

One of the best views of the city and surrounding areas are found atop Lookout Mountain, and one of the best ways to get up there is on the Lookout Mountain Incline Railways. This historic rail line has been in operation since 1895, offering amazing views of the valley and mountainside homes. Once you reach the top, you can visit several scenic overlooks, one of which houses a cannon to remind people of this area’s importance in the Civil War.

10. Stroll Around the Tennessee Riverpark

For great views and a look at some fantastic public art pieces, head over to the Tennessee Riverpark. The park is 10 miles long, and you can take a break to watch people fish or toss in your own line. Bird lovers love this park, as they can get close-up views of some of the area’s amazing waterfowl.

11. Visit the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Trains played a large part in the area’s history, so a visit to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum should be on your list of things to do. The museum was founded to preserve historic locomotives, and it has since added tracks so you can take a ride and learn more about local rail history.

12. Imbibe at the Tennessee Stillhouse

Head over to the Tennessee Stillhouse to learn about Tennessee’s famous whiskey. Take a guided tour to learn how this company cooks, ferments, and bottles its own whiskey, which is left to age in whiskey barrels that were made before Prohibition.

13. See the Animals at the Chattanooga Zoo

The Chattanooga Zoo is the proud home of the largest indoor red panda exhibit in the world. It is also home to a large number of chimpanzees, who live both indoors and out in the Gome Forest. Visit the Interpretive Center at the zoo to learn more about the animals that live there.

14. Enjoy the Hunter Museum of Art

As you enjoy the fine collection housed at the Hunter Museum of Art, you can also soak up the ambiance of the 1904 mansion in which it is housed. Plenty of educational programs are available for both children and adults, and the museum’s location offers spectacular views of the river and downtown Chattanooga.

15. Visit the Creative Discovery Museum

Take your kids to the Creative Discovery Museum for learning and fun. The museum offers demonstrations, story times, and opportunities to go outside and dig for dinosaur bones.

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