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Places to visit in Tennessee

19 Best Tourist Places to visit in Tennessee 2024

Have you ever considered strapping on your cowboy boots, tuning your guitar, and heading to the "Volunteer State?" You should because Tennessee is a wonderland of nature's bounty and cultural explosion. It's not just about the Grand Ole Opry, y'all! With craggy peaks, tranquil lakes, vibrant cities, and music that speaks to the soul, Tennessee offers a complete package of awe and amazement. "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page," said Augustine of Hippo. Tennessee is a chapter you don't want to skim. It's filled with hidden gems, places where you can touch the sky, listen to the rivers, and dance to the eternal rhythms of a state that truly exemplifies America at its best.

Let me tell you, this place is an explorer's paradise—an array of adventures that range from hipster bars in Nashville to the quiet, rolling hills in the countryside. And speaking of hipster bars, have you heard the saying, "Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough"? That might as well be Tennessee's unofficial motto. This state offers a tipple for every taste, a song for every soul, and a landscape for every lens. Imagine a place where you can go from clicking photos in front of vibrant street art to hiking an ethereal forest trail on the same day. Tennessee does one better; you can do all that and still have time for a plate of smoky barbecue ribs! So, are you ready to delve into this treasure trove of experiences? Buckle up because I'm about to whisk you through the top 19 places that make Tennessee the sensational state it is!

List of Top 19 Places to visit in Tennessee

Ever wondered what makes Tennessee a treasure trove of experiences? Dive into a journey as we list the top 19 places, from the best hiking trails in Tennessee to the echo of music festivals that will guide you through the state's charm.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Natural Beauty
  • Graceland | Elvis Presley's Mansion
  • Dollywood | Theme Park Extravaganza
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum | Musical Legacy
  • Nashville Zoo | Exotic Animal Encounters
  • Civil Rights Museum | Historic Civil Rights Hub
  • Lookout Mountain | Panoramic Scenic Views
  • Ruby Falls | Underground Waterfall Wonder
  • Gatlinburg | Mountain Resort Town
  • Pigeon Forge | Family Entertainment Hub
  • Memphis | Music and Culture Hub
  • Sevierville | Hometown of Dolly Parton
  • Chattanooga | Scenic Riverfront City
  • Bristol Motor Speedway | NASCAR Racing Thrills
  • Radnor Lake State Natural Area | Serene Natural Retreat
  • Cumberland Island National Seashore | Pristine Coastal Wilderness
  • Mammoth Cave National Park | World's Longest Cave
  • Frozen Head State Park | Hiking and Wildlife Haven
  • Fall Creek Falls State Park | Waterfall Paradise

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Natural Beauty

One of the most visited national parks in the U.S., the Great Smoky Mountains offer stunning vistas, lush forests, and diverse wildlife. With its vast expanse, it's no surprise that it boasts some of the best hiking trails in Tennessee. The undulating landscapes provide a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Best for: Nature lovers.
  • Major Tourist Spots: Clingmans Dome, Cades Cove.
  • Best Time to Visit: Fall for vibrant foliage.

2. Graceland | Elvis Presley's Mansion

Step into the home of the King of Rock' n' Roll. Graceland showcases the life and career of Elvis Presley. The mansion is a tribute to the legend, from his iconic jumpsuits to his jets.

  • Best for: Music fans.
  • Major Tourist Spots: Elvis's Car Collection, Graceland Archives.
  • Best Time to Visit: All year round.

3. Dollywood | Theme Park Extravaganza

For the perfect mix of family-friendly activities in Tennessee, Dollywood is the place to be. Co-owned by Dolly Parton, this theme park blends thrilling rides, music, and southern culture.

  • Best for: Families.
  • Major Tourist Spots: Wild Eagle, Lightning Rod.
  • Best Time to Visit: Summer for full attractions.

4. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum | Musical Legacy

Cherishing the history of country music, this museum in the heart of Nashville offers exhibits on famous artists and the evolution of this soulful genre.

  • Best for: Country music enthusiasts.
  • Major Tourist Spots: Elvis Presley's Solid Gold Cadillac, RCA Studio B.
  • Best Time to Visit: All year round.

5. Nashville Zoo | Exotic Animal Encounters

Animals from around the world greet you at the Nashville Zoo. It's not just about observing; interactive encounters make the experience memorable.

  • Best for: Families and animal lovers.
  • Major Tourist Spots: Kangaroo Kickabout, Critter Encounters.
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and Fall.

6. Civil Rights Museum | Historic Civil Rights Hub

This poignant museum in Memphis is a testament to African Americans' struggle and resilience. It takes visitors through the turbulent Civil Rights Movement era, illuminating the sacrifices made for justice.

  • Best for: History enthusiasts.
  • Major Tourist Spots: Room 306, Witness to the Assassination exhibit.
  • Best Time to Visit: February (Black History Month).

7. Lookout Mountain | Panoramic Scenic Views