Last updated: 01:33 PM ET, Tue August 30 2022
Nashville, Tennessee, USA downtown skyline on the Cumberland River. (photo via SeanPavonePhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)


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Cane Creek Falls in Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee. (photo via RichardBarrow / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Cane Creek Falls in Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. (photo via RichardBarrow / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Whether it’s blues and barbecue on Beale Street, the Grand Ole Opry or Graceland, Tennessee has the Southern heart and soul to make a truly memorable vacation. When traveling in Tennessee, you’ll get the best of food, music, exciting attractions and breathtaking natural scenery. From Nashville to Memphis and Chattanooga to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a guaranteed good-time getaway.

As the state’s capital, Nashville is home to one of the oldest still-running capitol buildings in the nation, as well as a full-scale replica of the Parthenon. Known as “Music City,” Nashville also has the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as the Grand Ole Opry House, which holds concerts and performances several times a week. In downtown Nashville, you’ll find Honky Tonk Row -- bars and music venues where aspiring and famous country music artists perform live.

Memphis, the largest city in Tennessee, is where Southern cuisine, music and American culture all meet up for a carnival for the senses. Memphis is also home to Graceland, Elvis Presley’s former estate-turned-museum, where fans, tourists and travelers can visit both the mansion and gravesite of the late King of Rock and Roll. Memphis is also world renown for its barbecue. The mouth-watering ribs, pulled pork and chicken have become a local culinary tradition, and one that attracts foodies and BBQ lovers from all over the globe. Also a significant destination in the history of blues and rock and roll, Beale Street is a nearly two-mile street that’s packed with restaurants, bars, clubs and music venues of all sizes. Local and traveling blues and rock musicians flock to Beale Street to play for crowds until the early morning hours.

Nashville, Tennessee, USA downtown skyline on the Cumberland River. (photo via SeanPavonePhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Nashville, Tennessee skyline on the Cumberland River. (photo via SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Located in Southeastern Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is part of the International Biosphere Reserve. As the most visited national park in the United States, it attracts more than 9 million visitors a year. With a diverse wildlife population, majestic mountain views and wild terrain, the Smokies attract travelers and nature-enthusiasts from far and wide. While in Eastern Tennessee, diehard country music fans will want to check out Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. This all-American theme park created by Dolly Parton features rides, a water park, a variety of concerts and local crafts.

When it comes to the cuisine of Tennessee, barbecue and Southern comfort food is the name of the game. Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous in Memphis is possibly the most legendary rib joint in the state -- and for good reason. Though the menu has just about every BBQ item imaginable, people flock here for the charcoal pork ribs. For Southern specialties in Nashville, tourists need go no further than the Loveless Café. In Chattanooga, check out The Acropolis for some cheap Mediterranean eats like lamb kebobs, spanikopita and moussaka.

Tennessee is home to several major airports, the largest of which are Memphis International (MEM), located eight miles outside the city, and Nashville International Airport (BNA). Memphis International is a regional hub for Delta Airlines, and serves most major domestic and international carriers. Public bus systems can be found in the larger cities, but like in many American states, traveling by car is the most efficient and primary means of transportation.

With warm summers and mild winters, Tennessee generally maintains a temperate climate. However, due to its varied topography and proximity to the Gulf Coast, there can be more than one climate range within the state. Memphis has an average winter temperature of 40° F (4.4° C) and 83°F (28.3° C) in the summer months. The Memphis area, along with the Central Basin and Gulf Coastal Plain, are usually the warmest areas, while the mountainous regions will receive the most snowfall. Spring and autumn are the best times of year to visit due to the pleasant temperatures and dry seasons.