Tennessee really lives up to its constant reminder that it is “the Volunteer State”.
Whether you’re an adventurer looking for a rugged outdoors experience, a music lover come to soak in the musical history, or just happen to be passing through and looking for some fun activities, Tennessee has something exciting to offer everyone.
From eating at delicious BBQ restaurants and exploring unique attractions like Graceland & the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, to admiring the beauty of lush hiking trails of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
There’s plenty of adventure and amazing memories waiting around every corner. Get ready. I’ve created the ultimate guide with 31 best & fun things that you must do while visiting this great southern state.
31 Best & Fun Things To Do In Tennessee
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder, straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.
As America’s most visited national park, it offers over 800 square miles of stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and countless outdoor recreational opportunities.
With over 150 hiking trails, visitors can explore dense forests, rushing waterfalls, and panoramic mountain vistas.
The park is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including black bears, deer, and over 200 species of birds.
Moreover, due to its natural beauty, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a rich cultural heritage, with preserved historic structures, including log cabins, churches, and gristmills, providing a glimpse into the lives of early Appalachian settlers.
For a truly unforgettable experience, don’t miss the synchronized firefly display in late spring or the vibrant display of autumn foliage.
2. Dollywood (Pigeon Forge)
Dollywood is an amusement park located in the scenic town of Pigeon Forge. It is famous worldwide for celebrating the music, culture, and essence of the Smoky Mountains.
Co-owned by country music legend Dolly Parton, this 150-acre theme park features thrilling rides, live entertainment, and unique attractions that cater to all ages.
From adrenaline-pumping roller coasters like the Wild Eagle and Lightning Rod to family-friendly rides and interactive play areas, there’s something for everyone at Dollywood.
The park also boasts an impressive lineup of live shows, featuring world-class performers showcasing the best of country, bluegrass, and gospel music.
In addition to the main park, Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park offers a refreshing retreat during the hot summer months with a variety of water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers.
3. Graceland (Memphis)
Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley, is an iconic attraction located in Memphis, Tennessee.
This sprawling estate offers an intimate glimpse into the life of the King of Rock and Roll, showcasing his personal style, passions, and accomplishments.
Visitors can tour the mansion, which has been preserved as it was during Elvis’s time, featuring opulent interiors, a vast collection of memorabilia, and the famous Jungle Room.
The Meditation Garden on the property is a serene space where Elvis, his parents, and grandmother are laid to rest.
Graceland also houses several exhibits, including the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum and the Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum, which chronicle his extraordinary career and display his dazzling jumpsuits, awards, and iconic vehicles.
A visit to Graceland is a must for music fans and those looking to pay tribute to one of the most influential artists in history.
4. Ryman Auditorium (Nashville)
Ryman Auditorium, affectionately known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” is a must-visit landmark in Nashville, Tennessee.
This historic venue, originally built as a tabernacle in 1892 by Thomas G. Ryman, has played a pivotal role in shaping American music history.
The Ryman Auditorium was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, hosting countless legendary artists, from Hank Williams to Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley to Dolly Parton.
Visitors to the Ryman can immerse themselves in the rich history and cultural significance of this iconic space by taking a guided tour or attending a live show.
The venue’s exceptional acoustics and intimate atmosphere make it the perfect setting for concerts spanning various genres, including country, bluegrass, Americana, and more.
The Ryman hosts the popular “Opry at the Ryman” series, offering fans a unique opportunity to experience the magic of the Grand Ole Opry at its original home.
5. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (Nashville)
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the most iconic and well-known attractions in Nashville, Tennessee.
Established in 1961, the museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history and legacy of country music, one of the most important genres in American musical history.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is home to some of the most valuable and significant artifacts in the music industry.
The collection includes over 2.5 million exhibits, including photographs, recordings, costumes, and musical instruments.
Visitors can enjoy interactive exhibits, live performances, and educational programs that showcase the artistry and evolution of country music.
Another attraction that visitors can enjoy is the Hatch Show Print, which is a historic letterpress print shop that has been producing posters and prints for over 140 years.
Hatch Show Print has created artwork for artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton.
Visitors can see firsthand how these iconic pieces of art are produced and purchase their own print to take home as a unique souvenir.
6. Beale Street (Memphis)
Beale Street, located in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee, is a vibrant and historical destination that attracts millions of visitors annually.
This iconic entertainment district is a must-visit destination for music lovers, history buffs, and food enthusiasts alike.
Stretching for about 1.8 miles, Beale Street offers a unique blend of history, culture, and fun, making it one of the best places to experience the true spirit of Tennessee.
As the birthplace of blues music, Beale Street is home to several legendary music venues such as B.B. King’s Blues Club, Rum Boogie Café, and the New Daisy Theatre.
These venues feature live performances by local and international musicians, showcasing the rich musical heritage of the region.
Take a stroll down the street to admire the impressive neon signs and historical markers that highlight the street’s significance in American music history.
Food lovers will find a variety of dining options on Beale Street, from traditional Southern comfort food to mouth-watering BBQ joints.
Stop by the famous Blues City Cafe for their delicious ribs, or indulge in a juicy burger at Dyer’s Burgers. Make sure to also try some authentic Memphis-style BBQ at the renowned Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous.
7. Tennessee Aquarium (Chattanooga)
The Tennessee Aquarium, located in downtown Chattanooga, is a world-class facility that provides an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
Spread across two buildings, the River Journey and the Ocean Journey, the aquarium is home to more than 12,000 animals representing over 800 species.
The River Journey building takes you on an incredible adventure through the ecosystems of the Tennessee River, from its headwaters in the Appalachian Mountains to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico.
Encounter river otters, alligators, turtles, and numerous fish species as you explore this fascinating freshwater world.
The Ocean Journey building transports you to the depths of the ocean, where you’ll come face-to-face with sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, and other mesmerizing marine creatures.
The highlight of this building is the massive Secret Reef exhibit, which features a 618,000-gallon tank filled with various species of sharks, sea turtles, and tropical fish.
The Tennessee Aquarium also offers unique experiences such as behind-the-scenes tours, sleepovers, and animal encounters, where you can get up close and personal with some of the amazing creatures that call the aquarium home.
The aquarium is dedicated to conservation and education, with numerous programs designed to inspire a love for nature and protect our planet’s precious aquatic resources.
8. Ruby Falls (Chattanooga)
Ruby Falls, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is an awe-inspiring natural wonder that attracts thousands of visitors each year.
This breathtaking underground waterfall is a geological gem, plunging 145 feet into the heart of Lookout Mountain.
As you embark on a guided tour through the caverns, you’ll be immersed in a world of spectacular rock formations, shimmering pools, and ancient geological history.
The tour leads you along a winding pathway, unveiling the many secrets of the cave system as you descend further into the mountain.
Marvel at the stalactites, stalagmites, and other fascinating formations, some of which are thousands of years old.
The journey culminates with the magnificent Ruby Falls, a sight that will leave you spellbound as the water cascades down in a misty veil, illuminated by colorful lights.
Apart from the captivating cave tour, Ruby Falls also offers a variety of outdoor activities for the whole family.
Enjoy panoramic views of the Tennessee Valley from the Lookout Mountain Tower, conquer the treetop adventure course at the High Point ZIP Adventure, or simply relax and take in the natural beauty of the area.
9. The Parthenon (Nashville)
The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee is an impressive replica of the ancient Greek temple.
The structure, which is located in Centennial Park, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city.
It is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to experience the rich history and culture of Tennessee.
The Parthenon was originally built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897 as a temporary structure made of plaster.
However, due to its popularity and historical significance, it was converted into a permanent building in 1931.
The structure was designed to be an exact copy of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It is almost 42 feet tall and sits atop a limestone pedestal.
The Parthenon houses an impressive collection of artwork, with a particular focus on the arts of ancient Greece.
The centerpiece of the building is a colossal statue of the Greek goddess Athena, which stands 42 feet tall and is made of gold-plated bronze.
The statue is the largest indoor sculpture in the western hemisphere, making it a must-see attraction for visitors to Tennessee.
10. Lookout Mountain (Chattanooga)
Situated on the border of Tennessee and Georgia, Lookout Mountain offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and thrilling outdoor adventures.
This stunning mountain destination is home to three world-famous attractions: Rock City, the Incline Railway, and Point Park.
At Rock City, you’ll wander through lush gardens, explore ancient rock formations, and cross the Swing-A-Long Bridge, all while enjoying panoramic views of seven states.
The Incline Railway, known as “America’s Most Amazing Mile,” takes you on a scenic ride up the mountain’s steep incline, providing awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscape.
Point Park, part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, commemorates the Civil War’s Battle of Lookout Mountain.
Take a stroll through the park to admire its historical monuments, markers, and breathtaking vistas of the Chattanooga Valley below.
Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or adventure seeker, Lookout Mountain offers a diverse range of activities that will leave you with unforgettable memories of your visit to Tennessee.
11. Sun Studio (Memphis)
Sun Studio, the iconic recording studio located in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee, is a must-visit destination for music lovers of all ages.
Often referred to as the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Sun Studio has played a significant role in the history of American music since its establishment in 1950.
Not only did it witness the beginnings of legendary musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, but it also served as a melting pot for the fusion of blues, country, and gospel that would eventually evolve into rock ‘n’ roll.
Visitors to Sun Studio can embark on a guided tour, which provides fascinating insights into the history of the studio and the talented artists who recorded there.
Guests can stand in the very spot where Elvis recorded his first single, and marvel at the vast array of original recording equipment and memorabilia on display.
Throughout the tour, knowledgeable guides share captivating stories and play famous tracks, transporting visitors back to the heyday of this iconic studio.
12. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park (Gatlinburg)
Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is a must-visit attraction for anyone seeking adventure and breathtaking views in Tennessee.
This family-friendly park offers a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. Begin your journey with a scenic chairlift ride that takes you 1,800 feet up Crockett Mountain, where panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and the charming town of Gatlinburg await.
At the summit, visitors can explore the SkyDeck, an expansive observation area perfect for capturing stunning photos, and the SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.
Spanning 680 feet, the SkyBridge provides a thrilling walk above the treetops with glass-floor panels offering a heart-pounding glimpse of the forest below. As you stroll along the bridge, be sure to take in the awe-inspiring views of the Smoky Mountains.
The Gatlinburg SkyLift Park also features the SkyCenter, where you can relax, grab a snack, and shop for souvenirs.
Throughout the year, the park hosts seasonal events such as the “Lights Over Gatlinburg” winter lights display and the “Autumn Colors Celebration,” making every visit unique and unforgettable.
Discover the magic of the Great Smoky Mountains at the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park.
13. The Island in Pigeon Forge (Pigeon Forge)
The Island in Pigeon Forge is a vibrant entertainment complex that offers endless fun and excitement for the entire family.
This lively destination boasts over 60 retail and specialty shops, a diverse selection of restaurants and eateries, and a multitude of attractions and entertainment options, all set against the picturesque backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Some of the most popular attractions at The Island include the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel offering breathtaking views, and the Island Ropes Course, a thrilling adventure for those seeking a challenge.
Kids will love the interactive fountains, the bumper cars, and the ThunderDome, an exhilarating indoor trampoline park.
The Island also hosts live music and performances throughout the year, ensuring there’s never a dull moment.
From unique shopping experiences and delicious dining options to adrenaline-pumping attractions and enchanting shows, The Island in Pigeon Forge guarantees an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
14. Rock City Gardens (Lookout Mountain)
Perched atop Lookout Mountain, just six miles from downtown Chattanooga, Rock City Gardens is a majestic natural wonder that boasts a unique combination of enchanting geological formations, breathtaking panoramic views, and lush gardens.
A visit to Rock City is an immersive experience as you meander along a winding path that leads you through ancient rock formations, across the Swing-A-Long Bridge, and up to Lover’s Leap, where you can take in awe-inspiring views of seven states on a clear day.
Rock City Gardens also features the Fairyland Caverns, a whimsical underground experience filled with colorful, black-lit scenes depicting classic fairy tales and folklore.
The gardens themselves are adorned with over 400 species of native plants, trees, and shrubs, providing a vibrant and ever-changing landscape that invites exploration and appreciation of nature’s beauty.
Throughout the year, Rock City hosts special events such as the Enchanted Garden of Lights, a stunning holiday light extravaganza, and the Southern Blooms Festival, which showcases the gardens in full bloom.
Rock City Gardens is a must-visit attraction that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, adventure, and wonder, making it an unforgettable destination in Tennessee.
15. Tennessee State Museum (Nashville)
The Tennessee State Museum, located in Nashville, is a treasure trove of the state’s rich history and cultural heritage.
This expansive museum spans over 137,000 square feet, and its exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from the state’s natural history to its involvement in the Civil War.
One of the best and most fun things to do in Tennessee, the museum offers an engaging and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Upon entering the museum, guests are greeted by the colorful displays that tell the story of Tennessee’s early settlers, its Native American tribes, and the state’s pivotal role in the formation of the United States.
The museum also features an impressive collection of artifacts, including fossils, textiles, and military equipment, which provide a tangible connection to the past.
For those who prefer a more interactive experience, the museum offers hands-on exhibits and educational programs that cater to both children and adults.
These activities allow visitors to delve deeper into the history of Tennessee and have a personal encounter with the stories and events that shaped the state.
16. The National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis)
Located in Memphis, the National Civil Rights Museum is a powerful and inspiring tribute to the American Civil Rights Movement.
Housed in the historic Lorraine Motel, the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, the museum offers a profound journey through the struggle for civil rights, from the early days of slavery to the present-day fight for equality.
The museum’s exhibits showcase a wealth of artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays, presenting a vivid and moving portrait of the struggle for civil rights in America.
Visitors can walk through a replica of a segregated bus, stand on the balcony where Dr. King was shot, or explore the motel room where he spent his final hours.
One of the most poignant and unforgettable experiences at the National Civil Rights Museum is the multimedia presentation that transports visitors back to the tumultuous events of the Civil Rights Movement.
This immersive exhibit allows guests to witness firsthand the bravery and determination of those who fought for justice and equality.
A visit to this museum is a powerful reminder of the ongoing fight for civil rights and an unforgettable experience for all ages.
17. The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson (Nashville)
Step back in time and experience the life of America’s seventh president at The Hermitage, the historic home of President Andrew Jackson.
Located just outside of Nashville, this beautifully preserved mansion and its surrounding grounds provide a fascinating glimpse into the world of early 19th-century America.
Visitors can explore the stately rooms of the mansion, adorned with period furnishings, artwork, and personal belongings that once belonged to President Jackson and his family.
The Hermitage also features a variety of interactive exhibits and displays, allowing guests to learn more about the life and legacy of this controversial figure.
The sprawling grounds of The Hermitage encompass over 1,100 acres, featuring meticulously maintained gardens, walking trails, and even the original log cabin where Jackson lived before the mansion was built.
Don’t miss the opportunity to pay your respects at the tomb of President Jackson and his wife, Rachel, located in the serene garden.
18. The Memphis Zoo (Memphis)
The Memphis Zoo, located in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee, is a world-class zoological park and one of the top attractions in the state.
Spanning over 70 acres, the zoo is home to more than 4,500 animals representing over 500 different species.
Since its inception in 1906, the Memphis Zoo has been committed to conservation, education, and providing an exceptional experience for visitors of all ages.
One of the most unique features of the Memphis Zoo is its dedication to creating naturalistic habitats that mimic the animals’ native environments.
The zoo is divided into several thematic zones, such as Cat Country, Primate Canyon, and the immersive Zambezi River Hippo Camp, where you can observe hippos and crocodiles in a stunning underwater viewing area.
The Northwest Passage, an Arctic-themed exhibit, is home to polar bears, sea lions, and bald eagles, while the Teton Trek showcases grizzly bears, elk, and wolves in a setting reminiscent of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Throughout the year, the Memphis Zoo offers various special events and programs, such as animal encounters, educational workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours.
With its diverse collection of animals, engaging activities, and beautiful grounds, the Memphis Zoo is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Tennessee.
19. The Grand Ole Opry (Nashville)
The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, is a legendary live music venue and a cornerstone of American country music history.
Since its inception in 1925, the Opry has been showcasing the very best in country, bluegrass, folk, and gospel music, and has helped launch the careers of countless music icons, such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn.
Visiting the Grand Ole Opry is an unforgettable experience, as you immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere and rich tradition of this iconic venue.
Attend one of the famous live radio shows, which feature both legendary performers and up-and-coming artists, or take a backstage tour to learn about the Opry’s storied past and its role in shaping American music history.
The Opry’s current home is the spectacular Opry House, which boasts state-of-the-art acoustics and comfortable seating for over 4,000 guests.
While in Nashville, also explore the nearby Opry Mills shopping center, the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Resort, and the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Opry’s former home.
The Grand Ole Opry is an essential destination for music lovers visiting Tennessee.
20. The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)
The Lost Sea Adventure, located in Sweetwater, Tennessee, is a unique and thrilling subterranean attraction that invites visitors to explore America’s largest underground lake.
Discovered in 1905, the Lost Sea is part of the extensive Craighead Caverns system and has been fascinating visitors for generations.
Embark on a guided tour of the fascinating cave system, where you’ll encounter awe-inspiring geological formations, such as stalactites, stalagmites, and rare anthodites.
Learn about the caverns’ rich history, including its use by Native Americans, Confederate soldiers, and moonshiners.
The highlight of the Lost Sea Adventure is undoubtedly the glass-bottom boat ride on the crystal-clear lake, offering a unique perspective on the caverns’ remarkable underwater life and geological features.
In addition to the cave tour, the Lost Sea Adventure also features a nature trail, a butterfly habitat, and gemstone panning.
With its combination of natural beauty, intriguing history, and family-friendly activities, the Lost Sea Adventure is a captivating and enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages in Tennessee.
21. Titanic Museum Attraction (Pigeon Forge)
The Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge is an extraordinary interactive exhibition that pays homage to the ill-fated RMS Titanic and its passengers.
Spanning over 30,000 square feet, this museum is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and curious minds alike.
Upon entering, visitors receive a boarding pass that represents a real passenger or crew member, allowing them to follow their personal story as they explore the museum.
The attraction features various exhibits that delve into the construction, voyage, and tragic sinking of the Titanic.
Visitors can marvel at over 400 authentic artifacts, scale a replica of the Grand Staircase, and even touch a frozen surface mimicking the iceberg that led to the ship’s demise.
The museum’s dedication to accuracy and detail is evident in the meticulously recreated first-class staterooms, crew quarters, and dining areas.
Throughout the museum, you’ll encounter interactive exhibits and engaging displays, making it a fun and educational experience for all ages.
22. The Caverns (Pelham)
The Caverns, located in Pelham, Tennessee, offer visitors an otherworldly experience as they explore the depths of the underground world.
These enchanting subterranean landscapes provide a unique setting for live music performances, making them a must-visit destination for music lovers and adventure seekers alike.
Descending into the caverns, you’ll be greeted by mesmerizing formations of stalactites and stalagmites that have taken millennia to form.
The natural acoustics within the caves create an unparalleled audio experience for guests, who can attend concerts featuring an eclectic mix of genres such as bluegrass, rock, and classical music.
The Caverns not only offer spectacular concerts, but also provide guided tours that showcase the geological and historical wonders hidden within.
The knowledgeable guides will lead you through the vast chambers, sharing fascinating stories of the caves’ formation and their rich history.
The Caverns are also home to the world-famous PBS television series, “Bluegrass Underground,” which features live performances from renowned artists in this surreal setting.
For an extra dose of adventure, visitors can partake in the thrilling “Adventure Cave Tours,” which include climbing and crawling through rarely-seen sections of the cave system.
No matter your interests, The Caverns offer a remarkable experience that you’ll never forget.
23. The Chattanooga Choo Choo (Chattanooga)
The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a historic train station turned entertainment complex located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This iconic landmark is a delightful tribute to the city’s rich railway history and offers a plethora of fun activities for visitors of all ages.
The complex houses the famous Terminal Station, a beautifully preserved example of early 20th-century architecture, which now serves as a hotel with train-car accommodations.
Guests can sleep in meticulously restored Pullman train cars, each adorned with vintage furnishings and modern amenities, offering a unique lodging experience.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo is not only a hotel but also a hub for entertainment and dining.
The sprawling complex features a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as a stunning indoor garden with a model railroad display.
Live music, comedy shows, and other events are regularly hosted at the venue, ensuring a lively atmosphere and endless entertainment options.
A visit to the Chattanooga Choo Choo is an unforgettable journey into the past, providing a perfect blend of history, culture, and entertainment.
24. The Frist Art Museum (Nashville)
Located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee, the Frist Art Museum is a must-visit destination for art lovers and culture enthusiasts.
Housed in a stunning Art Deco building that was once the city’s main post office, the museum boasts a collection of works spanning various periods and artistic styles.
As one of the best and most fun things to do in Tennessee, the Frist Art Museum promises an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.
The Frist Art Museum focuses on presenting diverse, high-quality exhibitions from regional, national, and international sources, rather than maintaining a permanent collection.
This approach allows the museum to showcase a wide range of artistic styles and themes, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to discover.
From ancient artifacts and Old Masters to contemporary art and interactive installations, the Frist Art Museum offers a truly eclectic and engaging experience.
In addition to its rotating exhibitions, the Frist Art Museum also hosts various educational programs, workshops, and events for visitors of all ages.
The museum’s ArtQuest gallery is a popular destination for families, featuring hands-on activities that encourage creativity and exploration.
25. The Johnny Cash Museum (Nashville)
Dedicated to the life and legacy of one of America’s most iconic musicians, the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, is a must-visit for music fans and history buffs alike.
Featuring an extensive collection of memorabilia, personal artifacts, and interactive exhibits, the museum offers an in-depth look into the life and career of the legendary “Man in Black.”
The Johnny Cash Museum takes visitors on a journey through the singer’s life, from his humble beginnings in Arkansas to his rise to fame as a groundbreaking artist.
Highlights of the museum include stage costumes, instruments, handwritten lyrics, and rare photographs, providing an intimate glimpse into Cash’s creative process and personal life. Interactive exhibits also allow visitors to dive into his discography, watch interviews, and explore his influence on American music and culture.
In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Johnny Cash Museum hosts special events and temporary exhibits that celebrate the singer’s enduring legacy.
26. Ijams Nature Center (Knoxville)
The Ijams Nature Center, located in Knoxville, Tennessee, is a breathtaking 315-acre wildlife sanctuary and nature reserve that provides visitors with a unique and exciting adventure.
A must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, the center features diverse ecosystems, including forests, meadows, wetlands, and even a stunning section of the Tennessee River.
One of the best aspects of Ijams is its extensive network of over 12 miles of well-maintained trails that cater to hikers, runners, and mountain bikers of all skill levels.
Whether you want to enjoy a leisurely stroll or challenge yourself on rugged terrain, Ijams has something for everyone.
While exploring, visitors will encounter an array of flora and fauna, including rare species that call the nature center their home.
Family fun is abundant at Ijams, with engaging and educational programs available for kids and adults alike.
The center frequently hosts events such as bird-watching walks, guided nature tours, and even night hikes.
The Navitat Knoxville Canopy Experience is another attraction worth mentioning – an exhilarating tree-based adventure park that offers zip-lining, aerial obstacle courses, and climbing experiences.
27. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (Chattanooga)
Experience the golden age of rail travel at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This living museum is a treasure trove of history and an ideal destination for train enthusiasts and families looking for a fun and educational day out.
At the heart of the museum is a collection of meticulously restored vintage locomotives and railroad cars, including steam engines, diesel-electric locomotives, and passenger coaches.
Visitors can climb aboard and explore these historic trains, learning about their unique features and the role they played in American history.
One of the museum’s highlights is the opportunity to ride the rails aboard a historic train.
The Tennessee Valley Railroad offers several excursion options, ranging from a short, scenic trip to a full-day adventure.
These nostalgic journeys offer picturesque views of the Tennessee countryside while passengers enjoy the charm and elegance of rail travel from a bygone era.
Interactive exhibits, guided tours, and special events ensure a dynamic experience for visitors of all ages.
The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of rail transportation in the Tennessee Valley and providing a hands-on experience that is both enjoyable and informative.
28. The Knoxville Zoo (Knoxville)
The Knoxville Zoo, situated on 53 acres in Knoxville, Tennessee, is a remarkable wildlife sanctuary and conservation center that offers fun and excitement for the whole family.
The zoo is home to more than 800 animals representing over 200 species from around the globe, providing visitors with an opportunity to connect with wildlife while learning about the importance of conservation.
As you wander through the zoo’s beautifully landscaped grounds, you’ll encounter a variety of immersive exhibits that transport you to different habitats.
From the African Plains, where you’ll observe majestic giraffes and zebras, to the Asian Trek, featuring Malayan tigers and white-naped cranes, each exhibit is thoughtfully designed to replicate the animals’ natural environments.
Children will be captivated by the Clayton Family Kids Cove, a play area complete with animal-themed playground equipment, interactive water features, and even opportunities to interact with some of the zoo’s smaller, friendly inhabitants.
The zoo also offers a range of educational programs, keeper talks, and animal encounters that engage and inspire visitors of all ages.
29. The American Museum of Science and Energy (Oak Ridge)
The American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is a treasure trove of scientific history and innovation.
As one of the best and most fun things to do in Tennessee, this museum offers a fascinating journey through the world of science and the pivotal role the Oak Ridge community played in the Manhattan Project during World War II.
At AMSE, you can immerse yourself in interactive exhibits that showcase various scientific principles, including nuclear science, energy production, and environmental science.
The museum hosts a range of engaging displays and artifacts, such as a replica of the world’s first nuclear reactor and a model of the Oak Ridge cityscape during the 1940s.
Visitors can also delve into the fascinating history of the Secret City, learning about the people who lived and worked there during the war, and the incredible scientific advancements that took place.
The museum offers educational programs, guided tours, and special events throughout the year, providing fun and entertainment for people of all ages.
The AMSE is not only an excellent destination for science enthusiasts, but also for families and history buffs who want to explore a unique aspect of Tennessee’s past.
30. The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park (Nashville)
Located in the heart of Nashville, the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is a 19-acre urban oasis that celebrates Tennessee’s rich history and natural beauty. As one of the best and most fun things to do in Tennessee, the park features numerous monuments, fountains, and green spaces, making it an ideal destination for families, history lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Visitors can explore the park’s unique Tennessee Map Plaza, which features a 200-foot-long granite map of the state, or admire the picturesque carillon bells that play Tennessee-themed melodies. The park’s 31 fountains represent the state’s major rivers, and the impressive Tennessee World War II Memorial is a poignant tribute to the state’s veterans.
For nature lovers, the park offers a variety of native plants and trees, as well as a picturesque walking path that encircles the grounds.
Throughout the year, the park hosts various events, including concerts, festivals, and historical reenactments, providing a lively and entertaining atmosphere for all who visit.
31. The Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum (Jackson)
Last things, step back in time and experience the golden age of railroading at the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum in Jackson, Tennessee.
This interactive museum and historical site is dedicated to the legendary railroad engineer Casey Jones, who became a folk hero after his heroic efforts to save passengers during a train wreck in 1900.
At the museum, visitors can explore the authentic 19th-century home of Casey Jones, which has been meticulously preserved to provide a glimpse into the life of this American icon.
You can also browse a vast collection of railroad memorabilia, including historic photographs, uniforms, and artifacts, as well as explore a fully-restored vintage train car.
The museum’s centerpiece is a magnificent steam locomotive, where visitors can climb aboard and imagine themselves in the shoes of Casey Jones himself.
The Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum offers fun and engaging activities for all ages, making it a must-visit destination for train enthusiasts, families, and history buffs exploring the best of Tennessee.
Tennessee is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty just waiting to be explored.
From the lively music scene of Nashville and Memphis to the breathtaking landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Volunteer State offers a wealth of activities that cater to every traveler’s taste.
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking adventure, a history buff eager to learn about the past, or a music lover on the hunt for the best live performances, Tennessee is an unforgettable destination that promises to deliver a myriad of memorable experiences.
As you plan your trip to this diverse and vibrant state, be sure to include a mix of its top attractions to fully immerse yourself in everything Tennessee has to offer.