Tennessee Tourist Department
In case you haven't heard, the reviews are in! People all over the world have discovered that Tennessee sounds good to them. Blessed with four distinct seasons and a relatively mild climate, the state is a perfect vacation spot at any time of year. Between the mighty Mississippi and the Great Smoky Mountains lie 500 miles of breathtaking scenery, historic treasures and 'fun' family adventures. Of course, mile after mile you will hear some of your favourite music, from country to blues, bluegrass to soul - not to mention Elvis.
Strolling through the state's beautiful wilderness areas, sounds of clear mountain waterfalls and burbling streams and brooks ride the wind. The cries of eagles and the melodies from the many songbirds native to Tennessee add their notes of cheer. Hikers murmur in soft, awed voices as they survey a picture-perfect view. Exclamations of delight as families navigate whitewater rapids fill the air. And the splendid stillness of a glorious Tennessee sunset touches each lucky witness.
As the sun goes down, our cities turn up their lights and crank up the music - from Beale Street to Music City's lively downtown area, 'The District' - city streets reverberate with exhilarating sounds. Fun seekers are drawn to Tennessee by boot scootin' boogie clubs, the sounds of music, rides and laughter in the Smokies' gateway cities, symphonies on the lawn, railroad ballads and the rejoicing of the hallelujah choirs!
Small towns have their own particular style of fun with festivals and events. Fiddling and old-time bluegrass bring life to Appalachian crowds. Wait till you hear the down-home routines of Jack Daniel's local guides or capture the excitement at Knoxville's Dogwood Arts Festival or Roan Mountain's Rhododendron Festival. And sometimes it is the sound of one voice that draws a crowd, because in Tennessee we love to celebrate the art of storytelling - one of our oldest traditions. But then we love to celebrate a lot of traditions - the American Bald Eagle, catfish, poke sallat, white squirrels, mules, Tennessee's Walking Horse, rivers - the list is endless. You can be as laid back or as up tempo as you want. There is enough fun spread out across the year and the miles to bring a smile to anyone's face.
In Tennessee, we even make education sound fun! 'Oohs' and 'ahhs' escape from giggling children at the state's may kid friendly attractions. Being face to face with an alligator or a giant catfish at Chattanooga's Tennessee Aquarium is sure to elicit squeals of joy from delighted children. Zoos and science museums crisscross our 500 miles. A warm welcome will greet you from friendly folk all across the state - and in case you didn't know Nashville and Memphis were voted among the friendliest cities in America. From the creak of rocking chairs on the front porch of a country inn to a rocking Saturday night, you will love the sounds of Tennessee.
Nights full of music and days full of sun. Easygoing natives and outdoor fun are hard to beat. Big city excitement and small town charm. With all that's going on, it's really now wonder visitors are saying 'Tennessee sounds good to me!'
Places of interest and things to do
Appalachian Trail: Smoky Mountains
America's most famous hiking trail crosses the width of the Great Smoky Mountains National park on its 2,000 mile course from Georgia to Maine. Some of the trail's most spectacular scenery lies within the Great Smoky Mountains.
Athens of the South
The story of the Parthenon, an exact-sized replica of the famous Parthenon of Greece constructed for Tennessee's Centennial Celebration in 1896 in honour of Nashville's reputation as 'The Athens of the South'. The Parthenon now houses Athena, the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western world.
Beale Street, Memphis
In the 1920s and 1930s such musicians such as WC Handy made Beale Street internationally famous as a centre of music and nightlife by creating a uniquely American form of music known as 'the blues'.
Bell Buckle is a success story for both preservationists and craftspeople. Once almost a ghost town, the village now thrives as an arts and crafts centre and is famous for producing exquisite handmade quilts.
Long know as 'the Queen of Tennessee Plantations', Belle Meade was once one of the most famous thoroughbred horse farms in America and is an outstanding example of the state's antebellum plantations. Many modern-day thoroughbreds trace their ancestry back to Belle Meade's Iroquois, the first American winner of the English Derby (1881). Outbuildings include a carriage house containing 19 beautifully restored 19th Century carriages.
Shiloh, one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War occurred on the banks of the Tennessee river near Savannah in April 1862. Several landmarks, including a log cabin, are in the national military park. The park HQ features an excellent museum and visual presentation on the battle.
The Hiwassee, Sequatchie, Buffalo, Duck, Elk, Harpeth, Obed and Conasauga are all popular float rivers where canoes may be rented and group tours organised.
Chattanooga's Lookout Mountain
Includes the history and attractions of one of Tennessee's most famous landmarks including Rock City Gardens, Ruby Falls, The Incline Railway, Point Park and Reflection Riding.
Red Clay was the last capitol and council grounds of the Cherokee Indian Nation in the eastern United States and the beginning point of the Trail of Tears during the Indian removal in 1838. The Red Clay State Historic Area contains a replica of a Cherokee farm and council house. Nearby are the gravesite of Cherokee heroine Nancy Ward and Old Fort Marr, an original blockhouse built around 1814 and part of the stockade used to house the Cherokees during the removal.
Cherokee National Forest
Some of Tennessee's most beautiful mountain scenery and a wide variety or recreational opportunities lie in the 620,000 acre Cherokee National Forest covering much of eastern Tennessee, from Bristol south to Chattanooga. The forest offers scenic drives, backpacking, camping, cycling, horseback riding, nature photography, swimming, boating, canoeing, whitewater rafting and cross-country skiing.
Country music's treasure house
Situated in Nashville, this museum details the history of country music and is also the world's largest resource centre on the subject of country music.
A fascinating glimpse of the lifestyle of entertainer Elvis Presley at the walled estate which served as his HQ throughout his career. Stage costumes, musical instruments, personal possessions and Presley's incredible collection of gold and platinum records are highlights of the public tours of the mansion and the adjacent Meditation Garden where he is buried next to his parents.
The quaint town of Lynchburg is the home to Jack Daniel's famous distillery. As the first registered distillery in the US (1866) it is designated as a National Historic Site. Free daily tours include many of the old buildings, including Mister Jack's own office.
Museum of Appalachia
John Rice Irwin's incredible collection of more than 200,000 artefacts of Appalachian mountain life includes some 30 authentic log cabins and buildings ranging from the early to mid-1800s.
Trail of Tears
The story of the Cherokee Indian Removal to Oklahoma in 1838 is illustrated on the Trail of Texas State Historic Route which includes many of the landmarks of the infamous trail. A map of the route is available.