The Volunteer State has some truly beautiful scenery and has been home to some of the most legendary musical talent the world has ever seen. Tennessee is also incredibly accessible for most of the United States thanks to the fact that it’s sandwiched between 8 neighboring states.
This list of the top sights to see when you visit Tennessee is chock full of natural beauty, adventure, and musical clout.
What Not to Miss When You Visit Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Gatlinburg
Located right outside of Gatlinburg and spanning both Tennessee and North Carolina you’ll find the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – the most visited and one of the most beloved National Parks in the United States. Jagged mountain peaks and lush forests give way to tumbling waterfalls in this park that is brimming with adventure.
Here you can enjoy hiking, history, and the true beauty of the Tennessee mountains.
Graceland And Elvis Presley’s Memphis Complex – Memphis
Graceland is a timeless icon of rock’n’roll history. At Graceland you can see where the King Of Rock’N’Roll resided. As you tour the Presley’s opulent mansion you’ll get the chance to view the famous Jungle Room and the other lavish rooms.
Head to Elvis Presley’s Memphis Experience for an even more in-depth look at the singer’s life. Explore the entertainers career museum where you can immerse yourself in Elvis’ incredible career through hundreds of artifacts including stage costumes and cars.
The Grand Ole Opry House And Museum – Nashville2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN 37214
Did you really even visit Tennessee if you miss seeing the Grand Ole Opry?
The Grand Ole Opry is a country music institution that showcases the past, present and future of country music. The Opry remains the platform that connects artists and fans to the music that they love. You can tour the Opry House and feel like you are walking amongst the stars and legends that have regaled their stories on this hallowed stage. If you’re lucky, you can catch a concert here live.
Beale Street, Home Of The Blues – Memphis
Beale Street is the very heart of entertainment in Memphis and to blues fans it’s the most important street in America. More than 150 years ago Beale Street gained popularity and it remains the heart of the city of Memphis today. Known for music ringing out from open doors and as a place to stroll with a drink in hand, it’s a fun place to hang out. Grab some amazing southern food, check out record shops, or hear live music at almost every venue on the street.
Dollywood – Pigeon Forge
As you might expect from a park themed after country music icon, Dolly Parton, this park has a big personality just like its namesake. With plenty of live music, lavish stage shows, and epic coasters the park also highlights the beauty of the Smoky Mountains.
The line up of thrill rides at this amusement park is impressive and it includes the famous Lightning Rod. When the coaster made its debut in 2016, it took the title of the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster. But that’s not all Dollywood has to offer, Dolly Parton’s influence is really felt in the entertainment aspect of the park. The shows are reason enough to go to Dollywood and the sheer number of shows and entertainment is staggering. It’s fun for the whole family!
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage – Hermitage 4580 Rachels Ln, Hermitage, TN 37076
Just a few miles from Nashville you’ll find Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the plantation home of the seventh President of the United States. Highlights here include the beautiful gardens and forest surrounding the plantation. The museum contains artifacts and documents from Jackson’s presidency.
Chattanooga And Tennessee Valley Railroads4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37421
Railways have always been of vital importance to Tennessee. The railroads were used to ship lumber and cotton during times of peace and military supplies during the unrest of the Civil War. The Tennessee Valley Railroad features a museum and offers an hour-long steam trip, as well as main line excursions and dinner packages. It’s a fun experience that takes you on a trip back in time to a slower-paced era when railroad travel was a way of life.
Knoxville was the first capital of the state of Tennessee and the charm of the city will have you captivated as soon as you arrive. You’ll notice the Sunsphere Tower, its observation deck offers unparalleled views of the downtown area. Nestled downtown you’ll find Market Square where the people of Knoxville have gathered since 1854. Today you can find a great farmers market and different art fairs throughout the year.
Lookout Mountain – Chattanooga
Lookout Mountain offers some of the best views in Tennessee. You can see seven states from this vantage point including Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and of course Tennessee. Take the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, a mile long journey on a trolley style car at an incline of 73%. Check out Rock City for dramatic views or Ruby Falls to view the largest underground waterfall in the United States. Parking is free but there is a fee of $19.95 per adult and $11.95 for children 3-12 for entrance to Rock City.
Titanic Museum – Pigeon Forge 2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Although Tennessee’s connection to the R.M.S. Titanic is dubious at best, the Titanic Museum is a must visit in Pigeon Forge when you visit Tennessee. The building itself is spectacularly built in the shape of the ship and about half the scale of the original. Highlights of the museum include more than 400 authentic Titanic artifacts in over 20 unique galleries that are designed to create the feeling of being on the ship. More of an experience than a typical museum setting, if you have a chance this is a can’t miss gallery.
Museum Of Appalachia – Clinton2819 Andersonville Hwy, Clinton, TN 37716
The Museum Of Appalachia is a Smithsonian Affiliate museum that brings history to life and enables visitors to explore a pioneer mountain farm village. This living history museum allows you to explore the voice of the people of southern Appalachia through both artifacts and stories. You can wander through 35 log cabins, barns, churches and schools as you discover what it was like to live in a pioneer village. There are tens of thousands of artifacts to take in as you stroll through the village.
Loretta Lynn’s Ranch – Hurricane Mills8000 Highway 13 South, Hurricane Mills, TN 37078
About an hour west of Nashville, you’ll find the 3,000 acre Loretta Lynn’s Ranch filled with nature in the beautiful hills of Tennessee. You can stay at the Ranch in one of 3 campgrounds that also offer cabins. Take a tour of the ranch or explore at your own pace by strolling through the Western Town. Make sure to take in some of the amazing artifacts from Loretta Lynn’s decades as a top country music performer. Or enjoy a concert or festival at the Ranch for some good old fashioned southern fun!
Country Music Hall Of Fame – Nashville225 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203
The Country Music Hall Of Fame is something to see on your next trip to Nashville. This museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the ever evolving country music industry. Discover everything from the roots of country music in the 19th century to the vibrant music scene today. Check out the thrilling exhibits, many public programs, and educational initiatives that the Country Music Hall Of Fame has to offer.
Jack Daniels Distillery – Lynchburg 280 Lynchburg Hwy, Lynchburg, TN 37352
Tennessee is famous for its whiskey and moonshine production, so you’ve got to check out at least one distillery when you visit Tennessee. This is both a historical and tasty experience that you can’t pass up. Even if you don’t partake, the distilleries lead fascinating and educational tours on the process of whiskey and moonshine making. There are dozens of distilleries throughout the state. Jack Daniels is one of the most famous and one of the best to visit for tours and tastings. Cheers!
These top sights to see when you visit Tennessee are a great place to start when planning your next trip to the Volunteer State. What do you most want to see when you visit Tennessee?