While Tennessee is famous for being the home and indeed the birthplace of both blues and country music, its scene is no less diverse than its music scene.
The stunning forested Great Smoky Mountains are a world away from the lush green valleys and scorching lowlands found in the rest of the state, and each distinctive geographic region has its musical heritage.
Despite differences in scenery and music, famous southern hospitality can be seen wherever you go. Endless charming towns and cities lie next to sparkling spa towns, fun-filled amusement parks, and of course great live music venues.
In addition to being the state capital, Nashville is also the country music capital of the world. Consequently, there are plenty of fantastic live music venues for you to visit, as well as museums dedicated to illustrious names like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.
Despite being known as 'Music City, USA', Nashville has many different sides and is now a hub of culture and commerce in the region.
There are some wonderful old buildings and historic landmarks dotted for you to discover, while its vibrant neighborhoods are filled with unique boutiques, trendy bars, and cozy cafes, with many leafy parks.
However, the main reason people visit us is for their music. Catching the Grand Ole Opry radio show live or seeing a concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium is a quintessential Nashville experience.
Plus, no visit to the city can be complete without strolling through the glittering Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
2) GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
|Great Smoky Mountains National Park|
Great to visit at any time of year, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is awash with breathtaking scenery and breathtaking natural sights that change before your eyes as the seasons change.
It is the most visited national park in all of the US Once visited, it is easy to see. The majestic Great Smoky Mountains are almost entirely covered in verdant forests with a myriad of scenic trails and trails - like the Appalachians - winding their way through the undergrowth As such, there are plenty of outdoor activities for you to try, with hiking, mountain biking, and fly fishing all very popular.
A wonderful way to see as much of the national park as possible is to camp overnight and get up early to see some of the many historical sights, cultural landmarks, and breathtaking views that lie within its boundaries.
As it is widely considered the birthplace of blues music, it should come as no surprise that music permeates the soul of Memphis.
Along Beale Street, you will find dozens of funky bars and clubs that feature fantastic live music for you to enjoy. Throughout the city, there are many museums and monuments dedicated to various musicians, with Graceland - Elvis Presley's former home - being the most popular.
Lying along the Mississippi River that borders Arkansas, Memphis is a lively place to visit, attracting music lovers from around the world, and there is certainly a lot of fun to have.
Although it used to be very run down, many bars, restaurants, shops, and breweries have popped up in recent years, and you can't visit Memphis without trying some of its famous and delicious barbecue dishes.
Located right at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains and the wonderful National Park that bears its name, the resort town of Gatlinburg is nestled in a beautiful setting, with magnificent nature and mountains all around it.
As such, many people visit it for the wealth of outdoor activities it has to offer. Hiking the Appalachian Trail is a particularly popular pastime, while in winter, the state's only ski resort, Ober Gatlinburg, is packed with people having fun.
Since there is quite a touristy atmosphere and you are looking out over Gatlinburg, don't be surprised to see many arcades, miniature golf courses, souvenir shops, and go-kart courses around the city. Unique attractions like the Salt Shakers and Pepper Shakers Museum and the Hollywood Star Cars Museum are dotted here and there too.
Although much of Gatlinburg is quite flashy and kitschy, the city has its charms. The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about Tennessee's rich history and see all the local crafts that are being created.
5) CUMMINS FALLS STATE PARK
|Cummins Falls State Park|
Named after the beautiful waterfall at its heart, Cummins Falls State Park is home to a host of beautiful unspoiled scenery and pristine nature that surrounds the gorge and river that runs through the park.
With a very wild and rugged vibe, the state park offers fantastic hikes as you navigate streams, boulders, and woven forest paths to reach the waterfall.
The waterfalls look majestic as watercourses on the rock face of the pool below. A lovely thing to do here is go swimming in the refreshing waters or enjoy a picnic.
6) PIGEON FORGE
Best known for being the home of Dollywood, the mountain town of Pigeon Forge is a fun and friendly place to visit that has something for all members of the family to enjoy.
With tons of souvenir shops, shopping malls, and amusement parks dotted around the city, there is plenty to see and do.
While country music fans, in particular, will love all the music theaters and music-related museums and venues, the city's main attraction is, of course, the Dolly Parton theme park, which features plenty of fun attractions for you to try.
Due to its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge is also a great base from which to enjoy the great outdoors. At night, you can go back to the city tired but happy and see a magic show or a performance.
Situated on the banks of the Tennessee River on the Georgia border, Chattanooga has long been a major railroad station. She is known internationally for the famous song 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' by Glenn Miller.
Due to its important and strategic use as a transportation hub, Chattanooga was hotly contested during the American Civil War. As such, there are several interesting battlefields and historical sights to visit in the city.
Today, however, the main reason people visit the city is because of the fantastic variety of outdoor activities. It is not without reason that Chattanooga is known as the “Scenic City” as beautiful ridges, valleys, and mountains stretch around it.
These natural wonders lend themselves perfectly to mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing, with a wide variety of water sports also on offer.
To top it off, downtown Chattanooga has a very lively atmosphere, with many restaurants, bars, and breweries nestled amongst its beautiful old brick buildings.
On the banks of the Harpeth River, the small town of Franklin is just over 30 miles from Nashville. Its laid-back city center has a wonderfully laid-back vibe, with plenty of boutiques, restaurants, and bars for you to choose from.
The main reason people visit, however, is for its battlefields and historical sites that are related to the fierce and bloody Battle of Franklin that took place here in 1864 during the Civil War.
For visitors interested in gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of the historical events that occurred here, the Carter House, Lotz House, and Carnton Plantation are all very informative to visit.
With a small-town atmosphere, Franklin is worth a day trip from Nashville and can easily be combined with a visit to nearby Arrington, which is home to a fantastic vineyard selling delicious local wines.
An increasingly popular tourist destination, Tennessee's third-largest city, and its former capital is well worth a visit if you're into food and drink, as a host of restaurants, bars, and breweries have sprung up in recent years.
As it is also home to the University of Tennessee, its streets are very lively and youthful. College football game nights are a massive event in the city, as fans flock to the Neyland Stadium, which can hold up to 102,000 people.
Additionally, Knoxville's arts and cultural scenes are flourishing, and many cultural events, art festivals, and music performances take place here throughout the year.
With the Great Smoky Mountains National Park also close by, the city is a great base if you want to explore the park's myriad of trails while returning each night for delicious local and craft beers.
10) LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
|Land Between The Lakes|
Situated between Lake Barkley and Lake Kentucky, the appropriately named Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area will delight nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike with its stunning scenery.
Home to a wide range of different landscapes and habitats, visitors can hike or bike through beautiful forests and wetlands, with vast stretches of beautiful coastline also exposed.
With some of the largest expanses of intact and undeveloped forest in the eastern United States, there is a sense of wilderness throughout much of the recreation area.
Many different types of birds and wildlife reside within its boundaries. As the two elongated lakes border the recreation area, there are also ample opportunities for swimming, boating, and water sports, while many people choose to camp overnight in the park.