12 x Places to Visit in Tennessee

Last Updated On September 10, 2022

Because of its location in the southeast of the United States, the Volunteer State exhibits a diverse spectrum of cultural influences, including Appalachia, the Upland South, and the Deep South. Its landscapes and topography are equally varied, with the Mississippi River constituting its western boundary and the Blue Ridge Mountains forming its eastern. Virginia, Kentucky,  North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas surround its plains, plateaus, fertile farms, and karst terrain.

Downtown Nashville, Nashville, USA, Downtown Nashville skyline at sunset, the week before the NFL draft.

Photo by Tanner Boriack on Unsplash

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, owing to its proximity to many towns and states and the presence of atmospheric old-growth forests. Many people enjoy the incredible wildlife found along the Appalachian Trail or explore the magnificent Big South Fork and sparkling Cummins Falls, in addition to hiking and bicycling throughout its stunning limits.

While Tennessee offers many beautiful sites, most visitors come for the spectacular live music events and museums dedicated to renowned performers such as Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson. Aside from the famed Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the state's capital and largest city, you can also catch great blues and country performances in Memphis and Pigeon Forge's numerous taverns, concert halls, and music theaters.

1. Lover's Leap

2. Great Smoky Mountain National Park

By visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you may engage in a range of activities against the gorgeous background of the Smoky Mountains. Cades Cove offers excellent animal viewing opportunities by driving the picturesque circular road or exploring on foot or by bicycle.

3. Nashville

Nashville is the birthplace of country music and offers a wide range of musical and artistic cultural activities. Music fans may hear some of the best music in the state at the Bridgestone Arena, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the TPAC, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

4. Big South Fork National River

5. Franklin

You would not think of Tennessee as a wine-producing state, but there are some gorgeous vineyards near the town of Franklin in Middle Tennessee. This village is roughly 20 miles south of Nashville and is a must-see for history lovers. During the American Civil War, the Battle of Franklin was fought here in 1864.

There are two historic residences to see, Carter House and Carnton, and numerous festivals to attend. Depending on the season, mark your calendars for the Main Street Festival, Pumpkinfest, and the Dickens of a Christmas Festival.

6. Rock Island State Park

7. Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg, the gateway to the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is one of Tennessee's most popular tourist destinations. Gatlinburg is also known for its 407-foot-tall Space Needle observation tower, a must-see on a trip.

There's also the Sky Lift, a 2.1-mile-long aerial cable vehicle that connects Gatlinburg's downtown to the Ober Gatlinburg ski resort and amusement park. If you're looking for something unusual and intriguing to do, go to the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum, which has over 20,000 different salt and pepper shakers.

8. Hurricane Mills

9. Chattanooga

Chattanooga is rich in history, natural beauty, and quaint southern charm. Lookout Mountain's Rock City, with a walking trail dotted with festive gnomes and fairytale creatures, is a famous sight here. It is a friendly city with lovely vistas that overlooks the Tennessee River. Another Chattanooga site worth seeing while you're there is Ruby Falls, a 145-foot waterfall in a cave. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is a fun site where you can ride a full-sized train and participate in special-themed and seasonal rides.

10. Dollywood Express Steam Train

11. Cade's Cove

12. Cummins Falls State Park