In the past ten years (or so), Tennessee has certainly grown in a unique way. What used to be a glimpse of the Southern lifestyle and country music scene has turned into a sprawling state full of cultural attractions, fitness clubs, and a diverse array of eateries. All this development means there’s loads of opportunities for backpackers to have a memorable trip. Below are Worldgoo’s top tips for backpacking in The Volunteer State.
Explore Knoxville’s markets
Knoxville isn’t just a football city (although visitors say no other place in the country can match the game day experience of Knoxville). It’s also known for its music city, friendly locals and the farmer markets. If you visit Tennessee in May-Sep, and are in Knoxville on a Saturday or Wednesday, head to the historic Market Square to explore the Farmers Market. The market focuses on the efforts of the local community and produce, with all the goods produced or grown by vendors in the East region. Expect to find a diverse range of items from artesian crafts to cappuccinos to scrumptious local eats.
Don’t miss the Country Music Museum in Nashville
Love Country Music? Interested in knowing more about the genre’s history and contributing artists? If you answered yes to either of these questions, do go to Nashville’s Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame. It’s one of the most visited places in the state. The museum building is divided in four levels, and each level shares a different story and era of the past. If you take a hop-on hop-off tour to the place, you might even catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift’s penthouse. The city also has several great restaurants, so you’d have several opportunities to catch a break and enjoy delicious eats.
Enjoy Hands-On Exhibits n Union’s Discovery Park of America
Union, Tennessee, is home to the Discovery Park of America. This is a hybrid of a park and museum with a range of hands-on exhibits. Spanning 50-acres in length, the educational exhibits of the park will educate you on everything you need to know about The Volunteer State’s military, science, nature, art, and culture. The primary attraction of this place is the “Discovery Center.” This is a 100,000 sq. foot attraction featuring 10 exhibit areas and an exclusive exhibit that displays new content every now and then. A few things we recommend from these exhibits include the larger-than-life aquarium, an earthquake simulator, and a human body 60-foot replica with a slide.
For an Adrenaline Rush, Visit Dollywood
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, and love fast roller coasters, it might bee a good idea to visit Dollywood. The entertainer Dolly Patron has a stake in this park. We recommend this site because of its thrill. You can enjoy a ride in the world’s quickest wooden roller coaster, the Lightening Rod. In addition to that, you can spend time watching the seasonable festivals and state performances. The theme park is near the popular DreamMore resort. Though Dollywood is a must-visit attraction year around, it’s especially the place to be during the festive season, when everyone in the Pigeon Forge county focus on the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival.
Speaking of Smoky Mountain, Don’t Forget to Visit the Petting Zoo
Spanning 140-scares near the Smoky Mountain, the Smoky Mountain Exotic Petting Zoo is a must-visit site for animal-loving backpackers. There’s also a deer farm that’ll provide you with the opportunity to interact with animals from the deer family. When it comes to the petting zoo, expect to interact with zebras, kangaroos, donkey, camels, and much more. Every visitor gets the chance to feed and pet the majority of the exotic spices. If you love equestrian, you’ll also love the farm riding stables inside the place. These offer horse-riding opportunities to people of all experience levels and ages. The paths are shaded and offer beautiful views of the nearby Smoky Mountains.
Spend Some More Time in Nashville, Visit The Botanical Gardens
If you like botanical gardens, you’d want to spend some more time in Nashville. The city’s Cheekwood Botanical Gardens are a fantastic site to be in, especially during the afternoon. Visitors can bask in the excellence of the well-maintained lawns and the beautiful display of various flowers. In total, there are 11 display gardens, and each contains a different assortment of flowers. If you happen to visit the Botanical Garden during spring, you can enjoy the Cheekwood in Bloom festival where they display 100,000 tulips simultaneously inside the bloom. Christmas too is a wonderful time to visit the garden. You’ll find Santa, Christmas trees, flowers, trains, and a lot more. Keep your Christmas tree out from underneath your feet at home until next season with these storage suggestions.
For History, Go to The Stones River National Battlefield
Murfreesboro has a Civil War battlefield by the name Stones River Battlefield. One of the bloodiest wars took place on this site. The park, as a result, signifies the losses occurred during the “Battle of Stones” and educates people about the importance of Civil war and that particular fight as a whole. That’s not all; the park also includes a National Cemetery with 5,000+ gravesites, as well as Hazen’s Brigade Monument, the oldest US Civil War monument that’s still intact in its initial location. Volunteers and Park Service rangers provide an interactive tour and walk to people.
End Things with the Bridgestone Arena
End your Tennessee backpacking journey with a visit to the Bridgestone Arena. The site has hosted some of the biggest stars the music industry has to offer, and it’s being doing that since 1996. Names like Rihanna and Adele have all taken the stage here and more than 15 individuals have been present for shows. The capacity is 20,000 for music attendees and up to 17,000 people can fill the place when Nashville Predators make an entrance. The arena was originally called the “Nashville Arena” before private sponsors took over.
As you can see, Tennessee has a lot to offer. Getting around too is easy as the state has done well in the public transportation domain. Google Maps can detect most bus routes in the major cities of Tennessee. Also, you can go to each city’s downtown from a hotel by foot. And if you don’t feel like walking, there’ also the option to take a ride-sharing vehicle to get around.
Visiting the US? Planning to do something different this time around? Tennessee awaits!