Between vibrant cities, a world-famous music scene and some of the most stunning natural beauty in the United States, there is so much to explore in Tennessee. While there is no shortage of local activities to enjoy here in Pigeon Forge, summer is the perfect time to get in the car, enjoy the scenery, and discover all there is to offer in Tennessee.
Whether you’re looking for history, nature, or nightlife, the Volunteer state has you covered. Here are five of the best day trips in Tennessee, along with the things you’ll need to bring along to make the most of your adventures.
What to Bring on a Day Trip
Before hitting the open road, you want to make sure that you’re prepared for the drive ahead. Make sure that you’ve prepared your day trip essentials so that you’re feeling your best when you arrive at your destination.
- Water. In the summer, temperatures in Tennessee can reach up to 84 degrees fahrenheit. Stock the car with plenty of water to sip along the way. Pro-tip: bring more than you think you need.
- Snacks. There are people who say that snacks are the best part of a road trip. Some car-friendly snacks include fresh fruit, trail mix, protein bars, and cheese strings.
- Sunglasses are essential not only for your comfort, but for your safety; you want to to concentrate on the road ahead and not the sun in your eyes!
- Make sure that you’re prepared for last-minute detours; some of the best memories are made during the pit stops that you didn’t know that you’d end up taking. We recommend everyone in the car brings things like sturdy shoes, a bathing suit, a towel, and hair ties so you can make the most of your spontaneous stops.
- It may seem old fashioned, but it is worth purchasing a map for if your phone loses battery or goes out of service so you don’t get lost.
- Finally, you want to have a great playlist. Before you leave, download some of your favorite songs or a road trip playlist on your favorite music streaming service.
Our Favorite Tennessee Day Trips
The snacks are packed, the playlist is queued, and your map is in the glove compartment. It’s time to start discovering Tennessee. Here are our favorite day trips from Pigeon Forge.
Knoxville is just under an hour’s drive from Pigeon Forge and is perfect for those looking for the energy of a city combined with plenty of small-town charm. Stroll and shop your way through the historic Market Square, eat delicious Southern food, and sip a cocktail at some of the city’s charming speakeasies. Don’t forget to check out incredible public art in Graffiti Alley!
The Lost Sea
Have you ever wondered what an underground lake is like? Drive an hour and a half to Monroe County to explore the Lost Sea, an underground system of caverns with the largest underground lake in the United States. Explore the caves by foot, take a boat tour throughout the lake, and learn about the caverns’ history during the Prohibition era.
Rock City, Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee’s fourth-largest city, is located just two and a half hours away from Pigeon Forge and features plenty of southern charm for those looking to explore a city for a day. However, no trip to Chattanooga is complete without visiting Rock City. With stunning botanical gardens, breathtaking ancient rock formations, and some of the best views in Tennessee, Rock City is a breath of fresh air in Southern Tennessee.
We all know that nature lovers come to Pigeon Forge to explore the Great Smoky Mountain Range. However, you don’t want to miss driving through and exploring the Sequatchie Valley, just under three hours away. Revel in the idyllic farmland views and go swimming in the Nickajack Lake. Sequatchie Valley is also the perfect place for an overnight camping trip if you’re looking for a weekend getaway.
We can’t talk about getaways in Tennessee without mentioning Nashville. We recommend packing your bag for an overnight stay in this world-famous city. However, if you only have one day to visit, don’t let the four hour drive scare you away; Nashville is always worth the trip.
Nashville has something for everyone. Country music lovers need to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Art enthusiasts and history buffs will enjoy their visit to the Parthenon, a replica of the famous structure in Greece, located in the vibrant Centennial park. And, of course, as the home of Blues Music and the Bachelorette Party Capital of the United States, you know that the nightlife is unbeatable.
Enjoy The Best of Tennessee
There are so many adventures to be had this summer in Tennessee. Whether you’re headed to Knoxville for a day or Nashville for a weekend, you’re sure to find something unexpected that you can’t wait to return to.
Check out our post on planning your vacation in the Tennessee Mountains, and make sure you come tell us all about your favorite Tennessee day trips over a glass of wine on the Rocky Top Wine Trail; we can’t wait to hear all about them!