Sights En Route
Places You Can't Miss On Your Way To Nashville
No matter what time of the year you choose to take to the road toward Nashville, the stage is always set for the perfect getaway. A road trip to Music City is filled with awe-inspiring scenic beauty and world-class adventures all along the way.
Whether you're touring big city streets or cruising along country back roads, there's a lasting memory just around the Tennessee bend.
From the Mississippi River in the west, to the Cumberland Gap and the Great Smoky Mountains in the east, Tennessee will engage you like no other state. You don’t just visit Tennessee, you experience it.
Tennessee is the premiere destination to discover the best of America's great musical styles, riveting history, scenic beauty, mouthwatering foods, thrilling outdoor adventures, and great southern hospitality. Tennessee is within a day’s drive of 75 percent of the United States population.
A Tennessee road trip brings the best of all worlds together for the perfect vacation.
So no matter what neck of the woods you're heading here from, let your hair down and grab the wheel to begin an unforgettable journey across Tennessee, where you'll find the stage is set for one great adventure after another.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music is celebrating 50 years of Stax Records and Soul Music. Located at the original site of the legendary Stax Records in the heart of Soulsville USA in Memphis, this 17,000 square foot facility has more than 2,000 cultural artifacts. Featured at the museum are music exhibits, video footage and memorabilia all designed to preserve and promote the legacy of American Soul Music, including tributes to Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes.
Whether you're a long-time Elvis fan or new one, dance on over to Graceland for a peek at the 14-acre estate he called home. Journey through Elvis's life and career and witness a glimpse of exhibits of authentic clothing, personal mementos and a display of The King's gold and platinum awards.
Relive the birthing ground for the blues, rock'n roll and soul music in Memphis' Beale Street Entertainment District. Located in the heart of downtown and considered one of America's most famous musical streets, the area is noted for creating a hit factory that delivered legendary entertainers like Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Jerry Lee Lewis, Al Green, Isaac Hayes and B.B. King. Visit three blocks of more than 30 nightclubs, restaurants and retail shops.
Closer to Nashville (about one hour west) are Loretta Lynn's Plantation Home, Ranch, and Western Town nestled amidst the rolling hills in beautiful Middle Tennessee. The Ranch is complete with a full-service RV Park, log cabin rentals, Grist Mill Museum, Loretta's Fan and Doll Museum, recording studio, and concert pavilion. Tours through Loretta's Plantation Home, simulated Coal Mine, and the Butcher Holler Home place are offered on a daily basis. Plus you wouldn't want to miss Loretta's grand scale, 18,000 square foot "Coal Miner's Daughter Museum."
While you're in Hurricane Mills visiting Loretta's Ranch, be sure to enjoy some of the best home cooking and mile-high meringue pies this side of the Mississippi. The Log Cabin Restaurant – just off of Interstate 40 at Exit 143 – is a personal favorite of the folks at opry.com.
Just an hour's drive Southeast of Nashville in the small town of Lynchburg, you'll find the Jack Daniel Distillery, the oldest registered distillery in the United States. On The National Registry of Historic Places, Jack Daniel's is Tennessee's world famous whiskey distillery. Take the scenic drive south along highway 231 to one of Tennessee's most famous sites. While you're there be sure to take in dinner at Miss Mary Bobo's. Folks gather on the front porch awaiting the dinner bell at one of the big family-style tables. If Tennessee hospitality is new to you or you're a little shy, don't worry. Each table is headed by a Lynchburg hostess who will lead the introductions, encourage conversation and start the process of passing all the dishes to the left. Of course, she's quick to offer seconds and thirds and will make sure all the platters and bowls are kept full.
If you're headed to Nashville from the Southeast, be sure to stop for a bit in Chattanooga. The Tennessee Aquarium, the largest fresh-water aquarium in the world, is the first stop in the tourist-friendly town. They've just added a $30 million Ocean Expansion capturing the majesty and wonder of rare sea creatures. Don't leave Chattanooga without a trip to Ruby Falls or Rock City, celebrating 75 years as a Tennessee tourism icon. Just a short drive away is the pristine Tennessee Overhill Experience with its thousands of forested mountain land, lakes and rivers, including the whitewater rapids of the Ocoee and Hiwassee.
Experience scenery like none other when you drive into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park(roughly three and a half hours East of the Opry). The number one most visited park in America, the Smokies are world-renowned for breathtaking scenery, multiple species of wildlife, and Appalachian culture. In addition, the Great Smoky Mountains is a place for outdoor pursuits ranging from a short stroll in the woods to an extensive hike in the back country. Camping, fishing, picnicking and horseback riding are favorite pastimes.
Thrill to the fast-paced adventures awaiting you at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, including the new $17.5 million Mystery Mine. The steel roller coaster is set in an abandoned coal mine. During Mystery Mine’s 2.5-minute journey, passengers encounter a 95-degree, 85-foot vertical drop in addition to a weightless inversion known as a “heart-line roll”. With a new $6.5 million Timber Tower ride, the first and only ride of its kind in North America, Dollywood offers fun for the whole family. Dollywood's spectacular Smoky Mountain setting provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of exhilarating roller coasters, daring water excursions, mountain crafts and premiere music shows.
The roar of engines and screams of joy abound at the Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway in Bristol. A NASCAR venue, Bristol boasts the world's fastest 1/2 mile track and one of the nation's top three largest sporting arenas. If you can't make it on a day of the race, tours are available which include a bus tour around the track and Dragway, media center, BMS souvenir store and victory lane.