Best Road Trips in Tennessee
See the Volunteer State Along These Famed Tours
Hit the road and see the Smoky Mountains this summer, have a crisp adventure in Nashville this winter, and just plain enjoy yourself any time in between.
Tennessee offers a fantastic blend of scenery, history, music, vibrant cities, charming small towns, recreation, and places to tour…including everything from museums to plantations to distilleries. We begin with Nashville and then follow the historic Natchez Trace Parkway southwest through the Tennessee countryside.
The Middle Tennessee tour takes you south from Franklin through a series of towns in what amounts to a big loop that ends in Murfreesboro, about twenty minutes east of Franklin and less than half an hour southeast of Nashville. Along this Tour we’ll see plenty of history – much of it Civil War-related, the home for Tennessee Walking Horses, three distilleries, museums, mountains, the largest cave system in Tennessee, the state’s exact center, National Battlefield lands, numerous classic courthouses, and more.
The mountains of eastern Tennessee provide some of the most beautiful scenery in America. Knoxville, the major city in the eastern third of the state and home to the University of Tennessee, offers plenty to see and do in a city setting; the small towns and remote mountain areas of the Smokies offer scenery, history, and great roads to drive; and the trifecta of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg is loaded with tourist attractions and things to do for kids and grown-ups of all ages.
In the southeastern corner of the state, explore the Cumberland Plateau area with a tour through Chattanooga. You'll find exceptional hospitality and a wealth of premier attractions. Any visit in early June should yield a day at the Riverbend Festival, an 11-day music fest featuring top headliners in country, rock, and blues. You'll want to mosey on over to East Ridge, just a short drive east from Chattanooga, where you ride to the top of Lookout Mountain aboard the Incline Railway. North of East Ridge is Dayton, which yields quick and easy trips to Fall Creek Falls State Park – plan a picnic, or enjoy a hike.
Venture through the Highland Rim of northern Tennessee and check out cities like Clarksville, White House, and Johnson City. You'll have a wealth of outdoor options – visit Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Clarksville, or the Cummins Falls State Park in Cookeville. As you explore the Highland Rim, be sure to also check out the Historic Mansker's Station Frontier Life Center in Goodlelttsville – you'll have a real scream at this lantern-lit ghost tour.
The West Tennessee Music Loop Tour is for major music lovers! Touring western Tennessee covers artists like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and B.B. King. Enjoy museums, memorials, and beautiful outdoor Tennessee in impressive cities like Jackson, Camden, and of course, Memphis.