Tennessee is one of the most underrated states in the nation, especially when you compare it to its neighbor and rival, Mississippi. The state has a lot going for it that travelers often overlook. From the world-famous Nashville music scene to the state’s rich history, there are many reasons why tourists from all over the world come to this great state. Even locals don’t know about many tourist attractions throughout Tennessee. Here are ten must-see destinations in Tennessee that every traveler should check out.
1. Graceland Mansion
Elvis Presley was born and raised in Tupelo, but his fans love visiting his mansion in Memphis as much as they do his birthplace. This stunning mansion is filled with memorabilia from Elvis’ life, including original concert posters and awards he received while alive. Visitors can also tour the house and see where Elvis lived during his childhood.
Gatlinburg is a city located at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park base. Many visitors come here to enjoy the outdoors, especially those who love skiing or snowboarding. There are plenty of trails within the park that allow visitors to ski and snowboard. If you want to stay overnight, you can rent skis or snowboards and hit the slopes. Gatlinburg is popular with families in the summertime because of the water parks, zoos, museums, and aquariums. There are also several places to stay in Gatlinburg, including the Grand Lodge Resort and The Inn at Cove Creek.
3. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Memphis has been home to country music’s biggest stars, including Hank Williams Sr., Roy Acuff, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Willie Nelson. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum contains artifacts from each star and exhibits on their lives and careers. It’s a fantastic place to learn more about the history of country music and the people who made it what it is today.
Nashville is one of the most visited cities in the United States, not just because of country music but because it has so much to offer visitors. You can shop at local boutiques and antique stores, visit the famous Vanderbilt Mansion, eat delicious food at any number of restaurants, attend live shows, and explore the many bars and nightclubs in downtown Nashville.
5. Johnson City
Johnson City is located near Kingsport and Bristol in north-eastern Tennessee. It’s known for its scenic views, particularly around Lake Loudoun, surrounded by mountains and forests. This lake is one of the best spots for fishing and swimming in Tennessee. You can also hike through the forested areas surrounding the lake or fish off the shores.
Chattanooga is the largest city in Tennessee and is located on the banks of the Tennessee River. Visitors to Chattanooga love to come here for its beautiful riverfront and many historical sites and cultural landmarks. Some of the most popular attractions include Fort Henry, Lookout Mountain, The Market Square Historic District, The Tennessee Aquarium, and The Choo-choo Go-round.
Memphis is a city full of culture and history. Visitors can enjoy the many attractions in the area, including Beale Street, Graceland, The Pyramid Arena, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and the FedExForum.
8. Cades Cove
Cades Cove is located in western Tennessee, close to Franklin and Knoxville. It’s a beautiful town with lots of natural beauty. The main attraction was the Cades Cove Log House, built-in 1837. After being destroyed in a fire, the log cabin was moved to its current location in 1978. There are hiking trails throughout the area, and you can see wildlife such as deer and elk.
Dollywood is a theme park located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, known for roller coasters, water rides, and live entertainment. You will find many shopping, dining, entertaining, and accommodation options here. The most popular places are the themed areas, including Splash Country Waterpark, Dollywood Adventure Golf Course, and Wildwater Kingdom.
10. Oak Ridge
Oak Ridge is a small city located just outside of Knoxville. The city is known for its uranium production facility, which is still in operation today. Visitors can tour the facilities and see how the uranium is mined and processed. Other attractions include the University of Tennessee Campus and the Rock City Museum.
11. The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, stretching from North Carolina to Tennessee and containing some of the highest peaks in the eastern United States. Visitors can see these mountains from many different angles, including from the water, from a plane, and a train. There are several places to stay in the Smokies, including the Grand Bohemian Hotel, the Mount LeConte Lodge, and the Mountain Laurel Inn.
12. Natural Bridge Caverns
Natural Bridge Caverns is a limestone cave system located in Kentucky. It’s one of the most visited caves in the country and is open to the public year-round. The caverns were formed millions of years ago and are filled with stalactites and stalagmites. The tour’s highlight is the underground river, which runs through the caves and has clear water for health.
13. Clingman’s Dome
Clint Mansell is a famous American photographer and author. He wrote a book called “Photography is Not a Crime” and was inspired to make the famous photo, “The View from Clingmans’ Dome,” a mountain peak in Tennessee. The view is spectacular, and visitors can climb up to the top of the dome for a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
Stonehenge is an ancient stone monument located in Salisbury, Maryland. The monument was built around 3,500 BC, making it one of the oldest in the world. Bluestone slabs make up the structure, and visitors can walk around it and see the stones that make up the monument.
15. Green River Gorge
Green River Gorge is a national geological site in Kentucky. The gorge is located just south of Henderson and is filled with breathtaking rock formations. The area is known for its unique formations, and visitors can see the rocks from many different angles.
Tennessee is one of the best states to visit if you’re looking for something different. There are so many attractions and experiences that visitors will never run out of things to do. These fifteen locations are just a few of the many that visitors can experience in Tennessee.