Nashville is also known as "Music City" due to its rich country music history. Walking down the streets to the tune of live music is nothing new for nearly 700,000 residents that call this Tennessee city home. Nashville lies on the Cumberland River in the middle Tennessee region.
The city is well known for historic sites like the Johnny Cash Museum and collegiate campuses like Vanderbilt University. Residents know and love the Nashville culture and its unique southern landmarks. So, this article caters to families residing in the downtown Nashville area to suggest close-to-home day trips appropriate for the whole family.
There are many options for full-day, family-friendly trips to get out of the city in and around the state of Tennessee: The Smoky Mountains are just four hours away from the capital. Huntsville is a short drive across the border of Alabama and offers great craft beer and good times. And don't forget Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House in nearby Lynchburg! Other areas of interest often include states like Kentucky, Alabama, and Missouri.
But the Nashville area is the state's crown jewel. The capital city of Tennessee offers a little bit of everything, from small towns with important landmarks and cultural centers to state parks for outdoor activities.
Families from Music City don't have to travel too far to feel like they've strayed from their routine and into an enjoyable family getaway. Before the journey out of Nashville, readers must consider the following travel guide to find the best day trips for families.
Day Trip Ideas from Nashville to Excite the Whole Family
1. Franklin, TN
Franklin, Tennessee, is just half an hour away from the Nashville metro area and makes for a great family road trip. Franklin is home to historic landmarks like the Carter House, Carnton Museum, and the Lotz House Museum. For example, the Carter House details the last battle of the American Civil War, which was fought in Franklin. Each of these landmarks showcases Confederate as well as African American history.
Franklin's downtown and Main Street are lined with cultural sites like the Franklin Theatre, art galleries, and antique shops. Franklin has some excellent options for kid-friendly activities like the SOAR Adventure Tower and Pinkerton Park. After soaking up these experiences and rich history, families must try one of the town's BBQ joints—a type of food that Tennessee residents are most familiar with.
2. Lynchburg, TN
Families from Nashville often find themselves visiting Lynchburg, Tennessee. This small town is home to the famous Jack Daniels Distillery, which was established in 1866. The distillery used mineral water from the Cave Spring Hollow found next to the site. Families headed to Lynchburg should also check out Tims Ford State Park and Tims Ford Lake.
Guests going to this Tennessee state park can plan to camp in tents or out of their RV. Tims Ford State Park facility offers other activities like boating, fishing, golfing, swimming, hiking, biking, and more. Families in the Nashville area need only drive an hour and a half south for a great day trip out of the city.
3. Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
The city of Nashville is a two-hour drive away from Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. This national park shows visitors where Union and Confederate forces clashed for control of the "Gateway to the Deep South" in 1863. This area sits directly on the border of Tennessee and Georgia, making it a destination where Nashville families can explore Chattanooga (part of their home state) and Northern Georgia on the same day.
Chattanooga is home to natural sites like Lookout Mountain, Raccoon Mountain Caverns, and Ruby Falls. Families can also head to this city to visit the Chattanooga Zoo or the Tennessee Aquarium. On the Georgia side, tourists might look into the Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park or Rock City Gardens.
4. Cathedral Caverns State Park
This is another two-hour drive from Nashville. Instead, visitors will be headed to the small town of Woodville, Alabama, to see Cathedral Caverns State Park. Families headed to this destination should look to receive a guided tour of this massive, natural cave.
This area is perfect for hiking and sightseeing. The views are made up of stalagmites, stalactites, waterfalls, and gemstone mines. Guests of this area might also look into visiting other natural wonders like Stephens Gap Callahan Cave Preserve or Keel Mountain.
5. Loretta Lynn's Ranch
Families living in Nashville can widen their knowledge of country music history by visiting Loretta Lynn's Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. The 18,000 square foot museum was the ranch and home of this celebrated country music icon. Country music fans can explore Lynn's memorabilia, personal items, and various awards. Guests should try to plan their visit with events and entertainment that go on in the ranch theatre.
Otherwise, the ranch offers accommodations for camping, fishing, and boating. What's more, this area is home to other nearby sites such as the Frontier Homestead, the Native American Artifact Museum, and the Grist Mill Museum. The adventure to Hurricane Mills is just an hour away, making it another excellent day trip location for families in Nashville.
When traveling to these close-by destinations, a family from the Nashville metro area is liable to have the best day with their loved ones.
Any family-friendly road trip ideas of your own? Share your adventure at our Wide Open Roads Facebook!
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