Tucked right into America’s heartland, Tennessee sometimes gets overlooked as a flyover state. But one visit to this fascinating destination will change your mind forever. Tennessee offers plenty for people of all ages to explore, so you can be sure that you’ll never have a boring day when you visit. Here are the best Tennessee cities to see on your next family vacation.
It wouldn’t be a true Tennessee tour without a stop in Nashville. As the home of country music, this city is packed with places to catch live music along with iconic attractions like the Grand Ole Opry. If you get worn out on honky-tonk, impress your teenagers with a visit to Third Man Records, Jack White’s hip record store and music venue.
No day trip to Nashville would be complete without a delicious Southern meal, so be sure to stop at Arnold’s Country Kitchen, where the cafeteria-style dining ensures that even picky eaters can find something they love.
While Nashville is all about music, Memphis is a more eclectic city with a variety of unique attractions that families will love. Teach middle- schoolers and teens some important history with an educational visit to the National Civil Rights Museum. Follow that up with a fun visit to Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley and an iconic Memphis attraction. For dinner, some famous Memphis barbecue is a must; enjoy the city’s signature tangy sauce in the meaty meals from A&R Bar-B-Q in East Memphis.
If you have little ones in tow, be sure to visit The Peabody Memphis, a downtown hotel known for its famous Peabody Ducks. Your kids will be tickled by the sight of the hotel’s resident ducks marching across a red carpet on their way to or from the lobby fountain, a daily tradition the hotel has upheld since the 1930s.
This is the best Tennessee city for families with little ones, thanks to the many attractions that cater to younger kids. Visit the Chattanooga Zoo, the Tennessee Aquarium, and the Creative Discovery Museum to keep the kids and adults entertained all day long. Another family-friendly spot in Chattanooga is Coolidge Park, which features a splash pad and a vintage indoor carousel.
For any train-obsessed kids, there’s nothing better than riding the Tennessee Valley Railroad. Your family will get to board a vintage train and tour some of the scenic areas surrounding Chattanooga. Depending on which day you visit, there are up to four train routes from which to choose.
If you and your brood are the outdoorsy types, you’ll absolutely adore Gatlinburg. This town offers easy access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take the Gatlinburg Sky Lift to get a scenic view of the town from above, or venture into the mountains to explore the beautifully maintained trails winding through lush forests. When you need a break from the Great Outdoors, visit Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, where you can catch a hilarious comedy show suitable for all ages.
Make your way through Tennessee’s beautiful terrain to visit all these family-friendly destinations. With so many great attractions for all ages, this is the perfect spot for a family road trip.