Tennessee is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting incredible mountain ranges, winding rivers, lush forests, and breathtaking views. But there’s more to the Volunteer State than just picturesque scenery – its cities and towns offer various frolicking attractions, activities, and experiences that would swoon any traveler.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing, fun-filled getaway, an adrenaline-pumping adventure, or a dreamy vacation in nature, Tennessee fancies all. You could plan a month-long holiday here exploring the mountains and lakes, visiting historical sites, participating in cultural festivals, or simply soaking up the local flavor.
However, you’d still be unable to see it all since Tennessee is a state steeped in culture, music, and hospitality.
From the charming streets of Pigeon Forge and the music of Memphis to the exotic wildlife and nature parks, there is plenty to do and see here. We’ve rounded up some of the best activities in Tennessee for you to enjoy.
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Snow tubing in Pigeon Forge
Ever tried snow-tubing before? It is an exhilarating experience to add to your Tennessee bucket list that will get your adrenaline pumping.
Pigeon Forge is home to some of the best snow tubing spots in the U.S. A simple lookup for snow tubing Tennessee will direct you to one of the most popular spots for snow tubing — Rowdy Bear’s Smoky Mountain Snow park.
This tubing hill is the largest in the state, boasting 500′ long tubing lanes with a 70’ drop. You can choose to race down the hill solo, or connect your tubes with friends or family to enjoy the experience together. Two magic carpet conveyors take you to the top of the hill to snow tube your way down, so you don’t have to worry about walking to the top.
Located less than 2 miles away, you’ll find SkyLand Ranch, where you can enjoy a scenic chairlift, the longest mountain coaster in the Southeast, daily entertainment, food trucks, and so much more. We recommend dedicating a whole day to snow tubing at Rowdy Bear and experiencing all that SkyLand Ranch has to offer.
Stroll through the Iconic Broadway Street
Broadway Street in Nashville is undoubtedly one of the most iconic locations in Tennessee. This vibrant street is filled with colorful storefronts, live music, and many attractions for visitors to explore.
Everywhere you look, you’ll find something new to discover, from dive bars that play classic country tunes to upscale restaurants serving some of the best food in the city.
Broadway Street is the perfect place to take a leisurely walk and get lost in the energy of one of America’s most beloved cities. Walk around and take it all in, from the bustling crowds to the live music that echoes through the streets.
Whether you spend just a few minutes or an entire day, the vibrant atmosphere of Broadway Street will leave you feeling inspired and energized.
Explore the Craighead Caverns
This is an underground cave system located between Sweetwater and Madisonville, Tennessee. It is an astonishing geological wonder to explore with its multiple levels of underground chambers and winding pathways.
The Craighead Caverns are home to incredible formations of stalactites, stalagmites, and mesmerizing waterfalls. It also contains the world’s second-largest and United States’ largest subglacial underground lake, the Lost Sea.
You’ll find yourself surrounded by stunning colors and formations as you journey through the caverns. Make sure to take advantage of the guided tour, which will provide you with more insight and knowledge about this incredible geological phenomenon.
Discover the Synchronous Fireflies
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great place to explore nature, and one of its most fascinating attractions is the synchronous fireflies that light up in harmony. Every year, from mid-May to late June, thousands of these lightning bugs congregate in the park and light up the night sky with a magical show.
The fireflies start flashing in unison, one after the other, and their lights create a mesmerizing spectacle. At least 19 species of fireflies are found in the park, and you can watch them along trails like Elkmont or Cades Cove.
The best way to witness this incredible sight is by taking a guided tour, where you can learn more about these mysterious bugs, how fascinatingly they work together, and how you can protect fireflies and their habitat.
Enjoy white water rafting on the Ocoee River
The Ocoee River offers an unforgettable experience for thrill seekers, as it is known for its turbulent rapids. This 37-mile stretch of the majestic river is located in Eastern Tennessee and is a short drive from Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Knoxville.
The journey starts with class II rapids, suitable for beginners, but becomes more intense and challenging. The higher you go, the bigger the rapids become.
As you navigate this wild river, you’ll witness cascading waterfalls, sheer rock walls, and beautiful scenery. Make sure to bring a camera to capture the sights and experiences!
Relax at the Memphis Riverfront
What’s better than soaking in the beauty of the Mississippi River? That’s right – nothing. The Memphis Riverfront offers an unbeatable spot to watch the sunset and enjoy a peaceful evening. The mesmerizing view of the river with its gentle flow and the city skyline create a stunning view.
You can lie down on the grass, walk down the riverfront, visit one of the many restaurants or bars, or sit on the river banks and take in all the views. Bring a blanket and good company, and set up a perfect picnic for the evening.
After relaxing on the riverfront, you can head to Beale Street for some late-night entertainment and live music. This is a great way to cap off your day in Memphis!
Take a drive down “The Tail of the Dragon” – Deals Gap
Located along the North Carolina/Tennessee border, Deals Gap is one of the most popular motorcycle routes in the country. This 11-mile stretch of U.S. Route 129 has 318 curves and is said to be one of the most fun, thrilling rides you can take.
Lush greenery, rolling hills, and stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains surround the route. Motorcyclists from around the country flock to this area for the unique opportunity to ride through this curvy stretch of road, with some even completing it multiple times!
Whether you’re a motorcyclist or not, the Tail of the Dragon is worth a visit. With its beautiful scenery and challenging curves, this route offers an unforgettable experience that can’t be found anywhere else.
Tennessee is a treasure trove of sights and attractions. From music to history and nature to culture, there is something for everyone in this breathtakingly beautiful state.
Whether you plan on spending a few days or weeks, there are plenty of activities to enjoy and explore. Make sure to go snow tubing in Pigeon Forge, stroll through the iconic Broadway Street for some live music, catch the synchronous fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and drive down the Tail of the Dragon for an unforgettable experience.
If you love water, go white water rafting on the Ocoee River or take a relaxing break at the Memphis Riverfront. Every day will be filled with adventure if you budget accordingly and make the most of your time. So, go ahead and plan the perfect vacation in Tennessee.
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