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7 Ways To Make Your Family Trip To Tennessee Memorable

Did you know that Tennessee attracted over 141 million visitors in 2022? This state, known for its vibrant music scene, stunning natural landscapes, and family-friendly attractions, offers a wealth of activities for travelers of all ages. However, planning a family trip that is both fun and memorable can be challenging. You want to ensure everyone has a great time and get the chance to create lasting memories. 

7 Ways To Make Your Family Trip To Tennessee Memorable

Today, we will highlight some exciting activities that will make your family trip to Tennessee unforgettable. Whether you’re looking for adventure, education, or relaxation, Tennessee has something special in store for you.

#1 Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, and for a good reason. Families can embark on scenic hikes that cater to all skill levels, from easy trails suitable for young children to more challenging paths for the adventurous. The park is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and over 240 species of birds. Educational programs and guided tours provide insights into the park’s rich history and diverse ecosystems. Don’t miss the chance to drive along the scenic Newfound Gap Road, which offers breathtaking views and numerous pull-offs for family photo opportunities. A visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park promises a perfect blend of exploration and education, making it an essential stop on your Tennessee itinerary.

#2 Go White Water Rafting

White water rafting on the Pigeon River is a must-do activity for families. This is where Smoky Mountain Outdoors comes in. The company offers white water rafting near the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge. 

Available from May through September, their extreme upper river rafting trip is perfect for those looking for an adrenaline rush. This adventure features smaller boats, which means your group will encounter more rapids, making the ride down the river even more exciting. The fast-paced waters and challenging rapids will have your heart racing and provide an unforgettable experience.

#3 Visit Dollywood Theme Park

No family trip to Tennessee is complete without a visit to Dollywood, a theme park owned by the legendary Dolly Parton. Located in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood offers a mix of entertaining shows and unique attractions that appeal to visitors of all ages. The park is divided into themed areas, each offering its own distinct experience. Dollywood also hosts seasonal events and festivals, such as the Smoky Mountain Christmas, which features dazzling light displays and festive entertainment. With a variety of dining options and shops, Dollywood ensures that every family member finds something to enjoy, making it a highlight of any Tennessee vacation.

#4 Discover Music History in Nashville

Nashville, known as Music City, is a must-visit destination for music lovers. The city offers numerous attractions that celebrate its rich musical heritage. Start your journey at the Country Music Hall of Fame, where you can explore exhibits that showcase the evolution of country music and its iconic artists. A visit to the historic Ryman Auditorium, often referred to as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” provides a glimpse into the venue that helped shape Nashville’s music scene. For a more interactive experience, head to the Johnny Cash Museum, where you can learn about the life and career of this legendary musician. Don’t forget to catch some live music at one of Nashville’s many venues, where talented performers play everything from country and blues to rock and jazz. Nashville’s vibrant music scene and rich history make it a captivating destination for the whole family.

#5 Enjoy the Scenic Beauty of Gatlinburg

Nestled at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a charming town that offers a wealth of family-friendly activities. Strolling down the Gatlinburg Strip is a must-do activity. This bustling street is lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options that cater to all ages. From mini-golf and arcades to unique boutiques and local eateries, there’s something for everyone in Gatlinburg. The town’s blend of natural beauty and lively attractions makes it an ideal spot for creating lasting family memories.

#6 Take a Journey on the Tennessee Valley Railroad

This historic railroad offers a variety of excursions that showcase the scenic beauty and rich history of the region. The Missionary Ridge Local is a popular choice, taking passengers on a six-mile round trip through the picturesque landscape, including a brief stop to watch the locomotive being turned on a turntable. For a more immersive experience, consider the longer trips, such as the Summerville Steam Special, which includes a lunch stop and time to explore the charming town of Summerville, Georgia. This is perfect for families, providing a unique and enjoyable way to experience Tennessee’s scenic countryside.

#7 Visit the Adventure Science Center in Nashville

The Adventure Science Center in Nashville is a fantastic destination for families interested in hands-on learning and interactive exhibits. The center features a wide range of exhibits that cover various aspects of science, from biology and chemistry to physics and space exploration. One of the highlights is the Sudekum Planetarium, where visitors can enjoy immersive shows that explore the wonders of the universe. The Adventure Tower, a multi-story exhibit, offers interactive displays and activities that challenge visitors to think critically and creatively. Special programs and workshops, such as robotics and engineering challenges, provide additional learning opportunities for children. With its engaging exhibits and educational programs, the Adventure Science Center is a perfect place for families to explore and learn together.


Tennessee offers a wealth of activities and attractions that make it an ideal destination for a memorable family trip. From the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and the excitement of white water rafting on the Pigeon River to the fun-filled experiences at Dollywood and the educational adventures in Nashville, there is something for everyone. By exploring the scenic wonders, engaging in thrilling activities, and immersing in the rich history and culture of the state, you can create lasting memories with your family. Start planning your Tennessee adventure today to ensure a fun and unforgettable experience that will be cherished for years to come.

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