Family Vacations to Tennessee

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Tennessee – Family Vacation Guide

Tennessee is a musical state. Home to both country music and blues, from Nashville to Memphis you will find music is a way of life for the people who call Tennessee home. To the east, the Great Smoky Mountains. To the west, the Mighty Mississippi River. In between, there are exciting cities and beautiful landscapes to explore.

Why Go

From country to blues to rock, Tennessee is the state for music lovers. It’s also the place for nature lovers. This state is home to the Great Smoky Mountains, which earned its name as one of the greatest national parks in the country.

Where to Go


Rockabilly got its start in Tennessee, especially once Elvis Presley introduced the world to Memphis’ blues scene. The world-famous Beale Street’s neon lights call to travelers who want to listen to blues, with local and national artists calling the area home. While here, most families make the pilgrimage to Graceland, Elvis’ home, which now serves as a memorial and museum.

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Nashville, the home to the biggest country artists in the country, is the Mecca for southern music, and it pours into the streets from the many honky tonks along Tennessee’s very own infamous Broadway. The Ryman Auditorium was home to the original Grand Ole Opry, the longest running radio show in the U.S.A. college town, Nashville offers much in a cultural getaway with art exhibits, hot new foodie spots, and more.

Take Me to Nashville

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Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg

Home to the beloved Dolly Parton, Pigeon Forge, in the Smoky Mountains, is like a family-friendly Vegas in the woods. Shops, restaurants, and even Dolly’s very own amusement and water park, Dollywood, will fill your days. Nearby, Gatlinburg gets you even closer to the Smokies, offering nearly as much as its neighbor but with fewer crowds.

Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains National Park provides outstanding hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking for adventurous families. Camping is popular here, with a variety of cabins for rent, as well, if roughing it isn’t exactly your style. The Appalcahian Trail runs through the Smokies, and some of the vistas along it provide mountain views that stretch hundreds of miles.

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What to Do

  • Dollywood, Pigeon Forge

    Dolly Parton loves her hometown so much, she created a large amusement park and separate water park for visitors to enjoy in Pigeon Forge. Kids will love the rides; you’ll love the family-friendly environment.

  • Grand Ole Opry, Nashville

    The longest-running radio program in the country, the Grand Ole Opry, still features its weekly programs and visitors to Nashville can get tickets to watch them live. Originally housed at the Ryman Auditorium near Broadway, the current Opry is next door to the Convention Center. Be sure to visit Ryman, as its a museum and tribute to the Opry’s past.

  • Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga

    Tennessee’s biggest, and might we add fabulous, aquarium can be found in the charming town of Chattanooga, not to far from the Georgia border and an easy drive from Atlanta.

  • White Water Rafting

    The 1996 Summer Olympics competed in Atlanta, and its river sports were sent across the border into Tennessee, where river rafting is still operating along the same stretch used during competitions. Be there first thing in the morning, when the dam is released, for easier rapids; or wait until the last run, when the dam gets closed, and the waters surge.

  • Hiking

    With more than 800 miles of trails in the Smoky Mountains, there are short, long, easy, difficult, and all sorts of terrains to explore with your family.

  • Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville

    They aren’t kidding when they called themselves the “called the “Smithsonian of Country Music” – this museum and hall of fame is huge! The 350,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art museum features galleries, concert space and more.

Getting Around

This large state requires renting a car, even to explore its cities, which are, unfortunately, not entirely pedestrian friendly.

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