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4 of the Quintessential Places to Visit in Tennessee

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Tennessee Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Tennessee calls itself the Volunteer State. It might not seem as glamorous as New York or California, but you’ll find plenty to do there if you take the time to explore. You’ll find both major cities and unspoiled, natural wilderness, and you might enjoy taking a vacation there this summer if you can find the time.

We’ll talk about some of the best places to visit in Tennessee in the following article. Whether you like camping, roller coasters, or high-end bars and restaurants, the Volunteer State has you covered.

Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge has a lot to offer travelers, so it should be on your to-do list if you visit the state. It’s in the eastern section, and it’s a mountain town that doesn’t spare the kitsch. You’ll find Dollywood there, Dolly Parton’s brainchild.

Dolly Parton is a world-renowned country singer, but she’s also an entrepreneur and a brand all to herself. She came up with this Appalachian-themed attraction with many different rides, including roller coasters and tamer rides for younger kids.

There’s an adjoining water park where you can cool off during the summer months, and Tennessee does get pretty hot during the summer. There is also an incredible museum featuring hundreds of the great woman’s costumes and tons of other memorabilia.

You can also find many country music revues there, such as the Smoky Mountain Opry. If you want dinner along with a show, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede should be on your agenda. Your family can watch live animal acts while getting their fill of traditional American favorites. This little town is sure to put a smile on your face.

The Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains comprise one of America’s largest and most impressive regions. You can visit them from several different points, and they’re full of flowers and animals that should fascinate even the most jaded city slicker.

You can find white-tailed deer, black bears, foxes, skunks, possums, raccoons, rabbits, gray squirrels, etc. The streams are full of fish, including lamprey, bass, and trout.

The Smokies have some well-established trails, some of which don’t climb very high or very steep. If you’re not too ambitious, those might seem perfect for you.

You can also find some steeper and more challenging trails. If you camp out in the Smokies, watch out for those black bears. They’re not particularly aggressive, but some associate humans with food if they’ve been around generous campers before. That can lead to some potentially dangerous situations if you’re not careful.

Memphis

Memphis is one of the state’s largest and most impressive cities. It gets quite rowdy on the weekends, with honkytonks lining the main drag and live music pouring out of them.

In Memphis, you can find Graceland, where Elvis Presley lived. It was his little slice of paradise, but now it’s a museum of sorts, where you can stop and pay homage to the king. Like Dollywood, it’s kind of hokey, but it’s hard not to enjoy yourself as you see how opulently this music icon spent his days.

Beale Street should rightly get some of your attention, as it features some absolutely spectacular BBQ restaurants as well as blues joints. The pulled pork BBQ and ribs are the main attractions, though the sides are just as good, like collard greens and mac and cheese.

You can also stop by the location of music pioneering Sun Studios, which cranked out hits that made the city world-famous. Many southern music fans consider this hallowed ground.

The Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman Auditorium, located in Nashville, is also well worth your attention. It seats a little more than 2,300 people, and it was the original home of the Grand Old Opry. It’s still a live music haven that musical acts clamor to book year-round.

It opened in 1885, and the Nashville citizens once called it the Carnegie of the South. Evangelist Sam Jones once used it as a tent revival location because of its amazing acoustics.

Legend has it that Nashville businessman Thomas G Ryman once visited there in the early days and was so impressed by the sermon that he became a Christian. He built the Union Gospel Tabernacle after hearing Jones preach there. After he died, the citizens renamed the place the Ryman Auditorium.

Tennessee has a ton to offer visitors, and a single visit might not do it. You can come back multiple times for the natural splendor, food, pageantry, and hospitality.

 

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