It’s hard to find a place that combines natural beauty, storied history, incredible culture and great food like the Volunteer State does. For RVers, the state’s beautiful natural scenery makes driving from one destination to the next just as enjoyable as the trip. With so many exciting things to see and do in Tennessee, it can be hard to put together a trip without missing a few spots. Check out the 5 best RV destinations in Tennessee from Lazydays RV.
An RV trip to Tennessee isn’t complete without a stop in Nashville, the state capital of Tennessee. Famously known as Music City, Nashville is most popular for being the home of country music. What Hollywood is for aspiring movie stars, Nashville is for country musicians. The city is home to dozens of famous theaters, honky-tonks, museums and studios that celebrate the rich history of country music.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is a great place to learn more about the genre’s origins and past stars. For a glimpse at the future of country music, stroll through Lower Broadway and stop into one of the dozens of honky-tonk bars. You may just see the next big country star gracing the stage, and you’ll be dancing the night away. Finally, seeing a performance at the Grand Ole Opry is a must for any country music fan. The historic theater has hosted legendary artists like Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, as well as modern country’s biggest stars like Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley
Country music might be what Nashville is known for, but it doesn’t define it. The city has a great food culture steeped in traditional soul food and barbeque. One of the city’s signature delights is hot chicken, which is fried chicken rubbed in an eye-watering mix of spices.
The city boasts a couple of professional sports team, the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. Despite being about as far from Canada as a hockey team can be, Predators fans are some of the most passionate in the league and games have a rowdy concert atmosphere to them. Nissan Stadium sits right on the Cumberland River, making for a great game day atmosphere just a mile from downtown.
Situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, Memphis is a city rich in great music, food, and history. Like the state capital, Memphis has a storied musical history. Best known as the hub for Delta Blues, Memphis’ musical legacy includes legendary artists like Elvis Presley, BB King, Otis Redding and Jerry Lee Lewis. What Lower Broadway is to Nashville, Beale Street is to Memphis.
Visit the many bars and clubs along Beale Street to see live blues, jazz, rock and other rich sounds of the city. Visitors can take a shuttle from the city to the iconic Graceland Mansion, the home of Elvis Presley. Fans of Rock ‘n’ Roll will have to visit Sun Studio, where artists like Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Elvis were discovered.
Another Memphis staple is its barbeque. Memphis-style barbeque favors pork, served either in ribs on a slab or pulled. The city is best known for its dry rubs made from a combination of spices and other ingredients like paprika, cumin and garlic. Memphis sauce is typically on the lighter side and has a tangy, sweet flavor. There are hundreds of barbeque places to choose from in Memphis so exploring the city and walking into a spot is often the best choice.
Knoxville sits in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains and is Tennessee's third-largest city. Home to the University of Tennessee, attending a Volunteers football game offers some of the best tailgating and game day experiences in the country. In the SEC, the tailgating experience is as important as the game itself and RVs are the ultimate way to tailgate. With the right set-up, you’re sure to make plenty of new friends no matter where you park. If you’re looking to enjoy game day without hosting, the Vol Navy is another unique way to tailgate. Dozens of boats gather on the Tennessee River to create a one-of-a-kind tailgate party.
Besides enjoying the thrill of a Volunteers football game, Knoxville offers tons of great activities for RVers to enjoy. World’s Fair Park is a great place to go for a walk during any time of day, while the McClung Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich natural history of Tennessee. The Knoxville Zoo is a great day trip for the whole family, while a night in the Old City (AKA Downtown Knoxville) is perfect for couples. Sports fan should check out the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which is the only facility of its kind. A Lady Vols game is another must-see event in Knoxville, as Tennessee fans are some of the most passionate in the country.
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on the Tennessee/Mississippi border, Chattanooga is an up-and-coming city that is a perfect stop on an RV road trip. The city offers a mix of outdoor adventure and small-town charm that blends the cultures of Southern Appalachia and the Deep South. One of the best attractions in town is the Tennessee Aquarium, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of creatures that include the country’s largest salamander, as well as piranhas and sharks.
Head to Ruby Falls to enjoy cave tours that include views of a 145-foot underground waterfall, incredible panoramas from Lookout Mountain and adrenaline-fueled ziplining. Music fans can check out the staggering collection of vintage guitars at the Songbirds Guitar Museum. The Southside Historic District includes fabulous architecture, unique restaurants and fun shops. Finish your trip off with a relaxing stroll or bike ride through Coolidge Park and over the Walnut Street Bridge.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fun fact: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in America. An RV trip to Tennessee should include a stop. Gatlinburg is the easiest access from the Tennessee side of the park and is a great place to visit itself. The town has great dining options, plenty of outdoor activities and fun museums. A stop in Gatlinburg for a few days is well worth your time before checking out the wonders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Following a stop in Gatlinburg, the Great Smoky Mountains feature a dazzling array of natural wonders and wildlife. Ramsey Cascades and Grotto Falls are a few of the parks gorgeous waterfalls worth checking out, and a sunrise or sunset hike to the top of Mt. LeConte comes with some of the most incredible views in the state. Along your adventure in the Smokies, RVers may catch a glimpse of all sorts of wildlife including black bears, wild turkeys and elk. Over 1,600 species of wildflower and 100 species of trees can be found in the park.