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Best day trips in Tennessee

Pack up the family vehicle and get ready to spend a fun filled day in the Volunteer State. From museums to water parks, the whole family will enjoy action packed quality time.

family at aquarium

Mud Island River Park and Mississippi River Museum

Take the monorail to Mud Island River Park where you’ll learn about the mighty Mississippi River. Family members of all ages will enjoy splashing through the Riverwalk, a scale model of the Lower Mississippi River, while also learning about the geology and historic sites along the Mississippi River. Inside the Mississippi River Museum, learn the history of the river from its early settlement to present day through artifacts and relics. There’s also kayaking, canoeing and pedal boating available.

Address: 125 N. Front Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38103

Phone: 901.576.7241


Ruby Falls at Lookout Mountain

At Ruby Falls, take a guided cave tour to the 145-foot underground waterfall. From the Lookout Mountain Tower, take in a breathtaking view of the Tennessee River Valley. Younger family members will enjoy frolicking through the fun Forest Playground. The more courageous will want to take a ride down the Ruby Fall Zip Stream, which includes a suspended obstacle course throughout the treetops of Ruby Falls.

Address: 1720 South Scenic Highway, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37409

Phone: 423.821.2544


Great Smokey Mountains National Park

With over 500,000 acres of flora and fauna, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers unlimited activities for the entire family. Enjoy 700 miles of fishable streams and 800 miles of trails prime for bicycling, hiking or horseback riding. Explore the countless waterfalls, wildflowers and wildlife or simply relish an afternoon picnic. There are also multiple historic sites with a total of almost 80 historic structures.

Address: 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738

Phone: 865.436.7318


Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo

In the beautiful Smoky Mountains, you’ll find one of the most unique and intimate zoos. Get up close and personal with exotic animals and tamed deer. No where else will you be able to pet and feed deer, camels, zebras, donkeys, kangaroos, reindeer and more. Younger family members can go on pony rides and older family members will enjoy horseback riding throughout the scenic trails.

Address: 478 Happy Hollow Lane, Sevierville, Tennessee 37876

Phone: 865.428.3337


Nashville Shores Waterpark

Summer days are prime time to take a trip to Nashville Shores Waterpark, a 385-acre recreation complex with waterpark, lakefront and campground. There are water activities for every age group and activity level, from the water tree house and sprayground to wave pool, lazy river, water slides, pools and beach. Want to enjoy the water without getting wet? Nashville Shores also has cruises around the lake, kayaking and beach volleyball.

Address: 4001 Bell Road, Hermitage, Tennessee 37076

Phone: 615.889.7050


Tennessee Aquarium

Over 12,000 freshwater and saltwater animals call the Tennessee Aquarium home. Walk through the River Journey and see river otters, alligators, turtles and an array of freshwater fish. In the Ocean Journey, get acquainted with penguins, sharks and other tropical and marine life. Catch an awe-inspiring nature or wildlife feature in the IMAX 3D theatre or ride the River Gorge Explorer, a high-speed catamaran, along the Tennessee River Gorge where your tour guide will point out natural wildlife and historic points.

Address: 1 Broad Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402

Phone: 800.262.0695


Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

Allow the Nashville Zoo to transport you to another world where African elephants, giraffes and zebras roam. This 200-acre zoo also features an assortment of birds, fish, reptiles and over a dozen life-size, animatronic dinosaurs in the Dino Trek exhibit. Take a whirl on the Wild Animal Carousel or play on the 66,000-square-foot Jungle Gym. In addition to the array of wildlife, the Nashville Zoo also houses the Historic Croft Home, a 19th century historic home.

Address: 3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, Tennessee 37211

Phone: 615.833.1534

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