No matter what time of year you decide to visit Tennessee, there is always something exciting to check out. From resort towns with amusement parks to cities with a energetic music scene, this beloved state offers something fun for everyone. Enjoy hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or hit the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg during the winter. In regard to accommodations, Tennessee vacation rentals range from trendy lofts in downtown areas to spacious cabins nestled in the woods. Take a look at the eight best weekend getaway spots in Tennessee.
Located on the border between Georgia and Tennessee, Chattanooga has a lot to offer over a weekend. Kids love riding on the Chattanooga Hop On/Off Trolley Tour to get around town with stops at all the major attractions. Spend an afternoon exploring the Tennessee Aquarium with its blend of fresh and saltwater aquariums, located in the downtown area on the banks of the Tennessee River. Afterwards, stop by Ankar’s Downtown for a sandwich and the restaurant’s famous onion rings. On a beautiful afternoon, visit Rock City at the top of Lookout Mountain. From Rock City, you can see seven states on a clear day.
On the other end of the state sits the city of Memphis along the Mississippi River. After settling into your vacation rental, get up Saturday morning, and take the kids to the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks walk the red carpet. Each morning, the Peabody ducks leave their penthouse home, ride the elevator down to the lobby, walk the red carpet, and settle into the hotel lobby’s fountain for a day of swimming. Arrive early because it draws large crowds. On a sunny afternoon, explore Beale Street with the sounds of country music coming out of every bar. Shop for unique items at A Schwabs that offers all things Memphis, or pick up a treat at Beale Sweets Sugar Shack. When you’re ready for dinner, try Blues City Cafe for American favorites or the Pig on Beale for barbecue.
3. Pigeon Forge
Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is a great weekend getaway. Spend a day at Dollywood, an Appalachian-themed amusement park, to ride the coasters and kiddie rides, or opt for the attached water park, Splash Country, with its towering slides, lazy river, and large wave pool. Stretch your legs at the Islands in Pigeon Forge with its shopping and restaurants. Start your visit with a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel to see for miles as you rise 400 feet into the air, and then gasp in awe during the light show at the fountains. Stop by Paul Deen’s Country Kitchen for a Southern meal or Timberwood Grill for some comfort food.
Knoxville is one of the smaller cities in the state located in the eastern area. Take the family for an afternoon stroll in the Market Square district to see the 19th-century buildings, and get in a little shopping at stores such as Bluetique and Earth to Old City. Enjoy a meal of your favorite comfort food paired with local craft beers at Tupelo Honey, or spice things up at Soccer Taco. This is also a hot spot for festivals and events, including the Mardi Growl Dog Parade. Kids enjoy the Knoxville Zoo, where you can schedule a behind-the-scenes tour.
Find a vacation rental close to Uber Gatlinburg, and enjoy days zooming down the slopes on skis in the winter months. During the summer, ride the tram to the top of the mountain for an afternoon of ice skating, or ride on the Sky Mountain Coaster, where you board an individual car and control the speed as you coast down the mountainside. See for miles around when you ride up to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. At the bottom of this observation tower is Arcadia, a two-story playground and arcade that your kids won’t want to leave.
Get your toes tapping with a visit to the Grand Ole Opry during your weekend away in Nashville. You can purchase tickets and see a live performance of country music at its best or take a tour of this iconic theater. Kid love exploring the Nashville Zoo and seeing the animals as they take a ride on the Wilderness Express Train. Feel like you’re visiting Greece when you take a tour of the Parthenon in Centennial Park. It’s a full-scale replica of the landmark that stands in Athens. Eat southern classics at the well-known Arnold’s Country Kitchen.
Franklin is a small town with an abundance of fun and outdoor activities. About an hour south of Nashville, this town was a hub during the American Civil War. You can take a guided tour of the Lotz House or Carton Plantation, two antebellum homes, or the Carter House that dates back to the 1830s. The Carter home served as a command post during the war. In the evenings, stroll around the historic downtown area that covers 16 blocks. Favorite shops in the downtown area include Shoppes on Main Gifts and More Boutique and the Tin Cottage.
Visit the home of country music when you make Bristol your vacation destination. Take a tour of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, where some of the very first country music records were recorded in the mid-1920s. Go underground and take a tour of the Bristol Caverns and the Appalachian Caverns, but take a sweater even on a hot day since the temperature drops significantly underground. Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant is the place to grab a bite to eat with its delicious pizza, pasta, and entrees.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing Tennessee vacation rentals on Tripping.com.