Experience Tennessee through Culture and Adventure
Tennessee is indeed a very special place to visit with so many special tennessee attractions to see and experience, where the old laid back culture of the Midwest meets modern day mystery with the eclectic vibe of today. One interesting fact about Tennessee is that it has seven state songs where most states have only one official song. For music lovers this charming state is a welcome retreat where folk music of the people from the mountains in the east meets the African American of the western Mississippi lowlands singing the blues which eventually gave rise to the modern country music that we all love today, and took Nashville as its legendary home.
The Tennessee flag has three stars that represent the three geographic regions which feature all tennessee attractions in the East, Middle and West Tennessee. Heather covered peaks in the east of the Great Smoky Mountains descending to the evergreen valleys in the middle plateau in Nashville and then towards the sizzling lowlands close to Memphis in the west.
Tennessee offers its many unforgettable attractions scattered around this beautiful state. Travelling from the west side of Memphis to the Great Smoky Mountains on the east and right into the middle to Nashville and Chattanooga, the so called Volunteer State has many places to discover, adventurous things to do in tennessee and great food to savor for any wandering visitor.
In Tennessee, be prepared to take a hike along the exhilarating mountain trails in the cool early morning breeze, and just when the sun sets, feel free to stomp your feet along with the beat in a honky-tonk Nashville dance party or walk along the streets of Memphis where Elvis once lived.
Expect the best laid-back lifestyle and the true southern charm country ambience when you travel around the Volunteer State and see the beauty of these tennessee attractions. You’ll get the warmest smiles among its friendly people with distinct country accents and great country cuisine- the usual scene across this great place that joined the nation in 1796 as the 16th state. Many beautiful places to see and experience in Tennessee, which distinctively combined historical values and enigmatic aura that will translate to a captivating and interesting vacation experience, and will probably be the most memorable vacation that you will ever have.
Best Time to Visit Tennessee
Tennessee is one of the best states in the U.S. that you can generally visit any time of the year according to your vacation objectives. The recent 2012 research conducted by Public Policy Polling on people’s opinion about the 50 different states, it was concluded that Tennessee ranked 3rd, appreciated for its natural beauty and charming people, making it one of the most popular destinations in the United States. See the best tennessee attractions depending on your what to do in tennessee list today.
Summertime in Tennessee is the busiest season for tourists. During summer, people flocked over to the west to Graceland in Memphis, Nashville in the middle to experience the best country music and in the east to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. During summer in the Volunteer State the temperature will soar high at around 90° to 100° Fahrenheit along the mid and western parts. Expect to have lower temperature in the eastern part especially during the evening in the Smoky Mountains where about ten million tourists flocked the area yearly. The best time to experience Graceland is in August, where the Elvis Week is yearly held or visit Nashville in June and attend the Country Music Festival. Make sure to reserve and book early to ensure your stay here since this is a peak season for these tennessee attractions.
This is the time when the countryside is teeming with colorful and exhilarating foliage especially in the eastern portion of Tennessee. Spectacular views of fall scenery at the Smoky Mountain Park are to behold and prices are often higher than usual. At this time of the year days can still be warm and arid, but with cooler nights. Expect to experience clear, crisp and nice air all throughout Tennessee where the summer’s heat is now tempered and finally over. Occasional autumnal rainfalls are also expected so better packed some rain gear since the Volunteer State’s weather is quite unpredictable. Around September temperature ranges from 61° to 83° Fahrenheit and by December it reaches to about 31° to 50°. The grand display of over 2 million Christmas lights can be truly mesmerizing at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville during mid-November where many people from all over the globe travelled some thousand miles just to marvel at this spectacular display. This is just one of the best things to do in tennessee during this season.
During this time there are lesser number of tourists, it often starts to increase around Christmas time when visitors arrive to partake in various what to do in tennessee activities for this season. Winter is a good time to visit the Smoky Mountain Park with less foliage giving a good visual impression of the spectacular mountain view. The Enchanted Garden of Lights located at the Rock City on top of the Lookout Mountain has been a favorite for over 20 years now among visitors. A train ride along the Chattanooga’s Tennessee Valley Railroad offers a unique trip to the North Pole where visitors are hauled in a steam engine old fashioned locomotive enjoying the sights and sounds from Santa’s visits to memorable Christmas carols. Colder nights with an average temperature of 28° are expected in January with typical range of 40 to 50 degrees cooler temperatures prevail all throughout the season. Expect to have some snow around the upper Cumberland range and in the Smoky Mountains.
This could be the most ideal season for any traveler to this beautiful state. During this season, temperatures are comfortably mild; nights are cooler while humidity is at its lowest. Amazing native trees are in full bloom in the entire state. People from over flocked the West Tennessee area to experience the Memphis in May, one of the many tennessee attractions, which is a month long celebration that begins with a Beale Street Music Festival and by mid-May the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest fills the air with delicious smoky aroma that captivates your senses. The Festival of Nations is also celebrated during this time of the year in Sevierville in the Smoky Mountains. You can experience a dazzling display of beautiful daffodils and buttercups lining up the main road all the way to the town during the Daffodil Festival of Tiny Bell Buckle, located in the southern part of Nashville around 55 miles away.
Things to do in Tennessee
- Zip your way to the natural beauty of Tennessee’s forest
For an adventured filled vacation for groups or families, the Eco-Adventure Canopy Zip Tour is highly recommended and is on top of the popular things to do in tennessee. This fun and safe activity in Nashville brings in a load of thrills and wonderful memories that will surely last a lifetime. Zipping through the lush forest with old tall trees is the best way to experience and see the natural beauty of Tennessee. Imagine soaring up above the ground from a height of 85 feet to 450 feet high in various zipping activities across the 40 acre forest in a 90-minute zip line ride. Great for group and family bonding activity that comes totally safe using the latest innovations via steel cables and secured harness in an attached zip pulley system that is available all year round. This zip tours has 9 thrilling zip lines that you can combine with other activities around the Adventure Park situated along the picturesque bend of the Harpeth River. Experiencing the natural forest beauty becomes even more thrilling and enchanting when the moon shines the fullest and this is available once a month via the Full Moon Zip Tour every Saturday evening.
- Experience the thrill of white water rafting
White water rafting is a fun activity for everyone who seeks fun things to do in tennessee and it is quite an exciting adventure. Enjoy this with family and friends, and get ready to tumble and frolic along the Big Pigeon River in Tennessee. Conveniently located near Sevierville and Gatlinburg areas enjoy the most thrilling ride that you can experience in just 4 hours. Featuring lively Class III-IV rapids that Pigeon River could offer, that flows along the grandiose Smoky Mountains National Park on the eastern border side. This is the Nantahala Outdoor Center most summarized whitewater experience available for families or groups. The quality of white water rafting action is ensured with the consistent controlled release of water coming from the dam from Tuesdays until Thursdays and all Saturdays including Labor and Memorial Days.
- Have the best lake fishing experience only in Tennessee
When it comes to fishing Tennessee offers the best spots around its many scenic lakes. The Volunteer State is teeming with natural state parks that are perfect for fishing and more fun outdoor activities. No need to run out of things to do in tennessee. The Big Ridge State Park is developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority that has a lush forest along the Norris Lake in Union City. Enjoy fishing along the lake in this 3,687 acre nature park and expect a good catch of variety of bass, crappie and bluegill. For an avid angler a visit at the Cove Lake State Park is truly rewarding with catches that range from bass to crappie. This 210 acre park offers panoramic views of the nearby Devil’s Race Track who has a very steep summit. You can also rent a rowboat to explore the tennessee attractions such as the beautiful lake and enjoy fishing activity which is available all year long.
- Camp your way to nature in the exciting wilderness in Tennessee
Nothing beats the fun and excitement of camping around nature in Tennessee. The Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park is now considered as one of the most exhilarating and scenic spots in America today. Enjoy a fun filled and relaxing vacation with family and friends, and never be bothered with what to do in tennessee in this nature park that features amazing cascades of waterfalls, gleaming streams, timberland, gorges with an exciting variety of activities and recreational facilities making this one of the best parks in the Southeast region. The Fall Creek Falls boost a majestic height of 256 feet and is the highest east waterfall in the Rocky Mountains. Other falls are also situated in this park like the Piney Cane Creek and the Cane Creek Cascades. The forest is covered in lush hickory and oak on its way to the gorge where tulip poplar and hemlock forest awaits any visitor. The protected gorges in this park have a unique flora and fauna that anyone can enjoy around the Cumberland Plateau.
Get the best hiking and camping experience in the Frozen Head State Natural Area. Considered as one of the best tennessee attractions for backpacking and hiking around Tennessee, this park covers 50 miles of panoramic and challenging foot trails that have 10 available backcountry campsites. Situated just 5 miles of Wartburg northeast in the Morgan County, this vast 11,562 acre untouched scenic area is the second highest peak in the Cumberland Mountain region. The mountain top is usually covered in thick snow and ice. This park also has picturesque waterfalls, giant rock formations and over 14 mountain peaks elevated in over 3,000 feet. There is an abundance of wildlife and wild forest plants and trees that you can experience along its twenty major foot trails.
Enjoy Great Comfort Food in Tennessee
Tennessee has a vibrant array of restaurants that entices the senses and at the same treat the palate with a unique blend of taste from traditional way of southern style cooking. Here you can find the best tasting barbecues, best spicy chicken and the famous “meat and three”. Dining out here should be among your lists of things to do in tennessee and explore unique combinations of taste worthy of any appetite.
- Barbecue grilled dishes in Tennessee
Authentic southern styled barbecue can be sampled at the Big Boy's Barbeque. Whole hog barbecue dishes are smoked traditionally using coal for the best real firewood that can give off a distinct aroma. Meats are slowly smoked until moist and tender with usual barbecue sauce along the side. Big Boy’s is located in Crossville Tennessee, hailed by many as one of the cleanest and home to great tasting barbecues at very affordable prices. While in Memphis, you can check out and smell the enticing smoke coming out from the Cozy Corner’s kitchen. People around Tennessee will drive for hours just to sink their teeth and indulge in their famous barbecued Cornish hens and ribs which top the list of things to do in tennessee.
- Southern styled home cooking and soul food in Tennessee
For southern comfort and soul food you can head out to Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House located in Moore County. Famous for its fried Okra and carrot cake, Mary Bobo’s offers the best southern home-style cooking, great for family gatherings and any celebrations. Looking for a country styled food buffet? Why not travel to Ardmore and head your way to Fried Tomato Buffet where you can get a southern and soul food buffet treats that will satisfy your comfort food craving. Many have attested that Fried Tomato has the best tasting sweet tea along with their delectable collection of best southern foods in a unique buffet setting that will truly gratify you that comes in an affordable per plate fee.
- Best fried hot chicken in the South
Another Tennessee specialty that you should not miss is their hot and spicy chicken. Each chicken piece is dredged in authentic country spices and pan-fried in cast iron skillet to perfection. Many hot chicken eateries kept their recipes in top secrecy, but you don’t need to learn them since you can have your share of good ole hot fried chicken in Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, a roadside restaurant located in Mason or when in Nashville head out to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack which is already an institution that serves the best hot chicken and one of the best tennessee attractions that needs no advertising.
- Have a “meat and three” satisfying meals in Tennessee
Probably you heard about “meat and three” which is a short name for a restaurant type serving of one meat dish and three sidings of vegetables, and other choices that also includes a hearty dessert. Cupboard Restaurant in Memphis offers the best variety of country styled food dishes that come with fresh green sidings. The Little Tea Shop is also worthy of your visit and their corn sticks are simply irresistible.
- Unique dining experience for the whole family to enjoy in Tennessee
For the whole family especially the kids will surely enjoy home-style cooked meals at the Peabody Ducks Restaurant in Memphis. This famous hotel restaurant is a must see for any Memphis travelers. Famous personalities such as Oprah Winfrey, Nicolas Cage, Wentworth Miller, Faith Hill and Larry King just to name a few, have paid pay their homage to the mighty ducks parading in the fountain area lobby. It is famous for its matching ducks that parade and march around the lobby at 11 AM and 5PM. So make sure to come early or better yet make advance reservations to have this unique dining experience and great food.
Best Places to Stay in Tennessee
- Peabody Hotel in Memphis is itself a one-of-a-kind attraction
The tradition of marching ducks around the fountain area at the hotel’s lobby started as a joke in 1932 and now had remained one of the most unique tennessee attractions that you truly find memorable. Built in 1925 and was a home for live radio broadcast during the 30’s until the 40’s. The hotel met a shutdown in the 70’s, but later resurrected around 1981, it reopened following a total renovation. It has 464 rooms that have modern day facilities but still retained its old country charm, an elegant reminiscent of the old hotel in common areas and as well as the world famous hotel lobby.
- The Blackberry Farm Hotel gives you modern standards with traditional southern-styled hospitality
Voted as one of the best new hotels in the United States for this year, Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee has lavish and ultra-modern accommodations from estate rooms to country style cottage suites. It boosts superb customer service from its well-mannered front desk staff and has a delectable fine cuisine in their now famous restaurant. The newly renovated Farmhouse Spa is totally impressive with first class hydrotherapy treatments that lets you relax and never have to worry about what to do in tennessee when you stay here. Staying in one of their Hill Cottages is highly recommended, wherein you will be delighted to have your own indoor and outdoor fireplaces with stylish vaulted ceilings.
- Union Station Hotel lets you enjoy Tennessee’s great country music in this historical place
Originally built as a train station that accommodates the Louisville and Nashville Railroad systems, this is now a highly rated hotel that ranked 3rd among the best hotels in Tennessee recently. Have a unique and historical travel experience that will surely wow music lovers and rail aficionados. This rail station was opened in 1900 and was forced to close down in the 70’s when a decline of train passengers was evident. But restorations took place in the 80’s, resurrecting the old station into a unique hotel with Tiffany glass dome still preserved and provides a natural lighting in the lobby that features two interesting alligator ponds. Union Station Hotel has world class 125 rooms that managed to preserve its old grandeur but with modern amenities such as a conveniently located walking access to Music Row where one can listen to great Nashville music; fine restaurants and to the historic Second Avenue district. This hotel is now considered as a historical landmark by The National Trust Historic Hotels of America and regarded as one of the most distinct tennessee attractions that you can visit and experience.
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