best family vacation spots in Tennessee

The 15 Best Family Vacation Spots in Tennessee this 2023

Tennessee has several beautiful alternatives for a pleasant weekend trip with your family. Even though country music comes first to mind when we talk about Tennessee, this place will not turn you down from its breathtaking views to knowledge-driven sites. If you are thinking of a great way to spend the weekends and bond with your family after all the past years, worry no more because we already curated the list of the 15 best family vacation spots in Tennessee this 2023; bon voyage

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1. Knoxville Zoo

Best Family Vacation Spots in Tennessee

The Knoxville Zoo provides everything you need for a fun-filled day with the whole family. If you are on vacation with your kids, this 53-acre zoo is home to over 700 species and is a fun place to visit for your children and animal enthusiasts.

This zoo is a great place for educating kids while having an abundance of fun. The zoo’s red pandas are a big attraction, and they have taken care of more than 100 red pandas than any other site on the planet. Apart from that, one of their missions is to save the wildlife from extinction and inspire everyone to be one with nature.

During Animal Encounters, kids will enjoy hearing from zookeepers up close, and riding camels, or even get wet in the safari water play station. But if you are an adventurous type of family, then for sure you will enjoy a zip-line canopy experience.

The zoo is located at 3500 Knoxville Zoo Drive, Knoxville, TN, and is open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm except on Thursdays, which are open until 8:00 pm.

2. Hands-On! Discovery Center

Best Family Vacation Spots in Tennessee
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The Hands-On! Discovery Center is home to many science-themed activities open for all age levels all year round. Tornado Vortex, Archeology Hall, and Air Rockets are just three of the many activities you can enjoy here, especially with your kids.

Kids love discovering cutting-edge technology on the Stellar STEAM Tour. Children may learn about flora and fauna fossils while on the Fossil Tour, which takes them through the Prehistoric Era. Big Dig is a fun activity for older youngsters, ages 12 to 16, to excavate, screen wash, and study fossils with paleontologists.

Hands-on! Discovery Center is situated at 1212 Suncrest Drive, Gray, TN 31615. You can visit them every Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sundays every 1 pm to 5 pm.

3. Fire Museum

Best Family Vacation Spots in Tennessee

The museum is housed in the historic Old Fire Station No. 1, which first opened its doors in the early 1900s. The facility remained in service until 1973 when it was moved. The Memphis Fire Department wanted to develop an outreach program that teaches fire safety ideas after so many periods of exceptionally high fire-related fatalities in the region.

Moreover, they are dedicated to promoting fire and life safety education to reduce fire-related accidents and further property damage. Apart from that, they also aim to preserve how this fire service contributed to the whole community.

Suppose you want to learn more about how firefighters secured the safety of a community. In that case, you can visit the museum at Fire Engine House No. 1 in Downtown Memphis, 118 Adams Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103. This museum is a perfect destination for kids and especially adults to educate themselves about fire safety and other possible events that may arise because of fire.

4. Cumberland Cavern

Cumberland Cavern

If you are looking for a more adventure-packed experience, the tour of Cumberland Caverns’ 30 miles spectacular crystalline structure and subterranean waterfalls are available.

The hike takes around one hour and thirty minutes and has a moderate difficulty level, perfect for teens and adults. Do not worry if you have kids with you; the “Rocky Topper” excursion is the most manageable tour package, suited for children aged six and above.

If you are with the whole family, you will surely love spelunking and ascend your way deep into the cavern. You will experience climbing off the rocks and ropes with this tour. Moreover, the Legacy Tour is the most difficult of the trips, and it is recommended for children aged 16 and over; interested in this adventure? You can visit Cumberland Cavern at 1437 Cumberland Caverns Rd, McMinnville, TN 37110.

5. Wandering Llamas

Wandering Llamas
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Hiking the magnificent Smoky Mountains with a cuddly, friendly pack of llamas will be a memorable experience for children and families. The farm looks after a thriving herd of 10 lovely and distinctive llamas.

The Hobbit Creek Trail and the Burnett Gap Trail, both in the Cherokee National Forest near Greeneville, Tennessee, are followed by the Wandering Llamas. The treks take you through a variety of environments and scenery. Variations in the landscape include level terrain, hilly meadows, forested woods, mountainous panoramas, and cold water streams.

For those who wish to stay a little longer soaking in the fresh air in the mountains and stunning vistas, the llama farm also offers a treehouse experience for two. Just remember that kids must be at least four years old to go on a trek or stay in the treehouse.

To experience the love from the llamas, you can visit the wandering llamas in 1516 Foxford Rd, Greeneville, TN 37743, United States.

6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

great smoky mountains national park

If you are in search of exploration in the forest with your loved ones, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and several family-friendly treks like the  2.6-mile trek to the 80-foot-high Laurel Falls are waiting for you to enjoy!

You can also try the 1.4-mile trek with your family to Grotto Falls if you want to go behind a waterfall without soaking yourself in the water. Moreover, the Metcalf Bottoms Trail is a good choice and leads to the 1882 Little Greenbrier School.

The 1.3-mile trek to Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains, is a relatively moderate hike with a grand vista. Despite the steepness of the last half-mile, the tower at the summit provides a 360-degree panorama of the whole beauty of the mountain.

7. Dollywood

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A couple of days at Dollywood is one of the most incredible family-friendly Tennessee vacation options. This fantastic community has one of the most fantastic theme parks in the country, complete with water slides, thrill rides, and other attractions.

Even if you’re visiting with a bigger group, this is a fantastic location to visit as it has plenty of souvenirs commemorating the success of Dolly Parton. Aside from that, the village is nestled in the magnificent Smoky Mountain National Park, which offers a few of Tennessee’s finest majestic scenery.

If you want to experience this amusement of a lifetime, you can come to 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863, United States and have fun with your whole family and friends.

8. Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls

The public may visit Ruby Falls, which is the country’s most profound and highest underground waterfall. Approximately half a million people visit the waterfall each year, coming from all around the globe to witness this spectacular view. For more than 89 years, tours into Lookout Mountain’s cavern have been available.

Expert rangers tell the story of the waterfall’s discovery and the fantastic cave structures. Moreover, Ruby Falls has tours of the waterfalls that lasts 75 minutes.

Are you looking for the best family vacation spots in Tennessee? Do not hesitate to add ruby falls to your list! You can find the place at 1720 S Scenic Hwy, Chattanooga, TN.

9. American Museum of Science and Energy

American Museum of Science and Energy

Oak Ridge’s American Museum of Science and Energy provides an exciting experience to observe nuclear energy’s history. Moreover, this museum aims to impart knowledge on the involvement of Oak Ridge in the creation of nuclear weapons and the Manhattan Project.  It is also home to movies, pictures, relics, and papers that help build a portrait of this once massive complex.

This museum also focuses on national security and features replicas of armament, equipment, and the site’s protective gear. Now that you have knowledge of the place and think of visiting them along with your family, the museum is located at 115 E Main Street, Oak Ridge, TN.

10. Titanic Museum

Titanic Museum
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A lot of us might know that the Titanic sank as it hit an Iceberg, but behind all those happenings, many of them left untold behind the event. With that, you may bring your family here to know more about the different sides of everything as it not only gives you a sense of enjoyment, but it will also fulfill your heart and mind.

From this lasting, immersive museum experience, knowledge goes along with what we know and what we did not, with over 400 authentic Titanic Artifacts for us to learn!

For the guests to complete the whole vibes, they are welcomed and given a boarding permit to feel what it is like to be passengers as they arrive at the museum.

The experience will transport guests back in time as they explore nearly 22,000 square feet of instructive history inside the exhibit. You can have the chance to experience twenty galleries with dramatic lighting, swim in 28-degree water, and many other interactive things that will make you feel what it is like to be in Titanic.

Titanic left a significant mark in history and, we want you to learn more from it by visiting this museum with your family at 2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN.

11. Hot Air Balloon Adventures

hot air balloon adventure

If you are looking for a unique way to bond with your family, Middle Tennessee’s Hot Air Balloon Adventures is a great way to go. Indeed it is one of the best family vacation spots in Tennessee.

Bedford family-owned and managed this whole adventure experience, and despite hot air balloon flights scheduled in Nashville, they take off from the remote hamlet of Franklin. The Bedfords are enthusiastic about showing visitors around Tennessee’s magnificent scenery.

Hot Air Balloons freely float gently over dense woods and lush fields where visitors like you may even catch a peek of local floras and faunas in their home. They offer different sizes of baskets to accommodate many people, from three to nine people. From this experience, you and your family will enjoy seeing a bird’s eye perspective of Tennessee’s distinctive landscape.

If you want to ride a hot air balloon, whether, for experience or bond, your family can visit them at Murfreesboro Road, Franklin, Tennessee.

12. Murfree Springs Discovery Center

Murfree Springs Discovery Center
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Through interactive exhibits and activities, the Discovery Center promotes the ease of learning while everyone enjoys it.  For children in and younger than 5th grade, the center serves kids many learning activities to manage, including the Five Senses, Tiny Town, and many more.

Moreover, the Discovery Center offers one-hour activities led by the staff and are suited for children of all ages. The center also organizes a CAMPOLOGY for kids every school break where the days are jam-packed with engaging and hands-on experiences meant to help child development. To let your kids experience these activities, you can visit them at 502 Southeast Broad Street, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

13. Riverboat Company: Chattanooga

riverboat company chattanooga
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The Southern Riverboat launched trips across the Chattanooga River in 1985, intending to share its grandeur and community’s waterside. Different cruises and special events are offered by the Southern Bell that are perfect for family dates.

One of its cruises is the Chickamauga cruise that provides tourists a close glimpse at the Chickamauga Dam’s lock system. Another one is the Sights Cruise that travels around the city line and gives you a view of the best Chattanooga sites.

Located at 151 Riverfront Parkway, Chattanooga is where the Riverboat Company operates. The business provides one hour and thirty minutes sightseeing tours onboard the Southern Belle riverboat, two-hour family dinner trips, and many more. They also serve food on board, so there is no need to worry if your kids went hungry.

14. Lost Sea Adventure

Lost Sea Adventure

Lost Sea Adventure is the largest subterranean lake in America, as per the Guinness Book of World Records. It contains 4.5 acres of the available surface of the water; even though 13 acres are being surveyed thus far, there is no anticipated edge.

The Lost Sea caves were mined for saltpeter, a component in gunpowder, by soldiers during the Civil War. Locals established the Cavern Tavern as a gathering place after the conflict. A guided tour of the caves kicks off your Lost Sea experience. A three-quarter mile tour on wide, sloping paths is required. Our attendants will tell you about the caves’ fascinating background while visiting the tunnels and underground lake. They’ll also go into the intriguing scientific evolution of the massive underground chambers and unusual structures.

The trip takes roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes and is available every day of the year except during some holidays. You may wish to stop by the Lost Sea Village, in which we have numerous stores, or take a stroll on our self-guided Forest Trail. Lost Sea is located at 140 Lost Sea Road, Sweetwater, TN 37874.

15. Soaky Mountain Water Park

Best Family Vacation Spots in Tennessee

Summer in the Smoky Mountains is more exciting than ever due to Soaky Mountain Waterpark launched last summer of 2020. Across its more than 19 attractions, the 50-acre Soaky Mountain Waterpark sprays refreshing thrills while heating excitement.

The delights and enjoyment of Sevierville’s Soaky Mountain Waterpark are suitable for children and adults. Boomer’s Bay features mini versions of the large rides, such as twisting slides and more, for the younger kids. A Mini Mayhem with kid-sized gravity-challenging walls and a large splash finish is also available.

The waterpark’s water facilities have over 3,700 components and cover a distance of more than 1.5 miles. “Blue Mountain Mayhem,” for example, is a five-person raft ride with two gravity-defying cliffs that provide the weightless sensation before plunging into the finale.

Do you want to have fun under the sun? You can visit the Soaky Mountain Water Park at 175 Gists Creek Rd, Sevierville, TN 37876. You may book in advance at their website linked below for faster and hassle-free transactions. Enjoy!

best family vacation spots in Tennessee


Tennessee is home to a wide variety of activities and travel destinations for all ages. Every corner of it offers your family different types of museums, parks, and many other attractions that will feed your eyes and your hearts and brains as a lot of them will bring you lessons while you enjoy.

Being wise over how you use your hard-earned cash is more essential than ever in these unpredictable times brought by the pandemic. Though cost is crucial when preparing for a family vacation, don’t overlook the most vital factor: enjoyment!

You want to go somewhere where everyone will enjoy themselves? Consider these 15 best family vacation spots in Tennessee that we prepared for you. Suppose you’re going to go with your children and spend more time with them, you can do so. Remember, no matter what happens, no amount of money would allow your kids to be happy, and if they’re not having a good time, neither will you.

Don’t get too wrapped up in the worry of where you will go. Make a plan, set a limit, abide by it, and enjoy yourself. It takes time, effort, and eagerness to develop even more memorable moments than you currently have! Bon Voyage!

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