Traveling is one of the best ways to explore and see everything a place offers. So if you’re planning a road trip, you’ll want to make sure you have an awesome itinerary to make the most of your trip.

According to Country Living, the best road trip in Tennessee takes you through some of the state’s most beautiful and historic sites. The journey begins not far from Nashville, the state capital, and takes you through the scenic Great Smoky Mountains. You’ll visit Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge, ending your trip to Knoxville.

This road trip itinerary will take you through some of Tennessee’s most popular tourist destinations and some lesser-known gems. You’ll experience the state’s natural beauty, learn about its history and culture, and enjoy some of its best food and drink. So buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable road trip through the Volunteer State! 

Read on to explore the best Tennessee road trip itinerary.

1. Pigeon Forge

The town is in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It is home to various attractions, including Dollywood, the Titanic Museum, and the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. The best part about Pigeon Forge is that it’s just a short drive from Gatlinburg, so you can easily visit both towns in one day.

There are plenty of things to do in the town, including many outdoor and indoor activities. There are dinner shows in Pigeon Forge, such as the Hatfield & McCoy dinner feud, and you can also use the town as your gateway to the Smoky Mountains. Remember to pack your camera, as you’ll want to take plenty of pictures of the scenic Smoky Mountains.

2. Nashville

Next, you may want to head towards Nashville, the capital of Tennessee. This vibrant city is known for its music scene, and you can find live music venues on just about every corner. If you’re a country music fan, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Other popular attractions in Nashville include the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Hermitage, the former home of President Andrew Jackson.

Tennessee Road Trip Itinerary
Nashville. Photo by Tanner Boriack on

You cannot miss the food scene in Nashville. Hot chicken is a must-try, and you can find this dish at many of the city’s eateries. Then, sample some of the world-famous Nashville Goo Goo Clusters for a sweet treat. And be sure to wash it all down with a cold beer from one of the city’s many breweries.

For more things to do in Nashville – check out this video:


3. Chattanooga

From Nashville, you need to head east to Chattanooga. This city is located in the scenic Tennessee River Valley. It is home to some of the state’s most beautiful scenery. Be sure to visit Lookout Mountain, where you can see seven states from the top of the Observation Tower. Other popular Chattanooga attractions include the Tennessee Aquarium, Ruby Falls, and Rock City.

Chattanooga has many outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and kayaking. And don’t forget to try the city’s famous Chattanooga-style chicken! Also, it would be best to visit the place where “The Incredible Story of the Great Train Robbery” took place, which is none other than the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

4. Gatlinburg

Continue your journey east to Gatlinburg, one of Tennessee’s most popular tourist destinations. This mountain town is located in the Great Smoky Mountains and is home to various shops, restaurants, and attractions. Be sure to visit the Gatlinburg Space Needle, Ober Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

There are also several hiking trails in Gatlinburg, so bring your hiking shoes! You would love the destination so much that you might not want to leave. 

5. Knoxville

Knoxville is the third-largest city in Tennessee. This city is located in the eastern part of the state. It is home to a variety of historical and cultural attractions. Be sure to visit the East Tennessee History Center, the Knoxville Zoo, and the Sunsphere. This iconic structure was built for the 1982 World’s Fair.

End your road trip in Knoxville with a visit to the University of Tennessee, the Volunteers’ home. This campus is one of the most beautiful in the country and is home to various historical buildings. If you’re a sports fan, be sure to catch a game at Neyland Stadium, one of the largest stadiums in the country.

And here are some of the best things to do in Knoxville:

6. Memphis

No road trip through Tennessee would be complete without a stop in Memphis. This city is located in the western part of the state. It is home to a variety of historical and cultural attractions. Be sure to visit the National Civil Rights Museum, the Memphis Zoo, and Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley.

Also, you cannot miss Beale Street, which is a must-visit in Memphis. It is where you can find live music, and it is also the birthplace of blues. Finally, don’t forget to visit the Memphis Pyramid, one of the city’s most iconic structures.

7. Tullahoma

Tullahoma is a small city located in the middle of Tennessee. This city is home to a variety of shops and restaurants. Be sure to visit the Tullahoma Art Center, the Tullahoma Historic District, and the George Dickel Distillery. Also, don’t forget to try the city’s famous Tullahoma-style chicken! Remember to pack your camera to capture the memories and the natural beauty.

8. Bays Mountain Park

Bays Mountain Park is a state park located in the eastern part of Tennessee. This park is home to various hiking trails, a lake, and an animal preserve. Be sure to visit the Bays Mountain Trail, the Bear Hollow Trail, and the Wolf Ridge Trail. You must also see the animals at the Bays Mountain Animal Preserve. Finally, end your road trip with a visit to the Bays Mountain Observatory, one of the largest telescopes in the state.


Traveling through Tennessee is an incredible experience that will take you through some of the country’s most beautiful and historic sites. There are plenty of things to see and do in each of these five cities, so plan your trip accordingly. And don’t forget to enjoy some of the state’s best food and drink along the way! Whether you’re looking for historical sites, natural beauty, or a lively music scene, you’ll find it all on this road trip through Tennessee. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

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