Enjoy the Volunteer State
Land of Country Music, Southern Soul Food
Ride the River Rapids Through the Appalachian Landscapes
Get To Know Tennessee
History and culture saturate the beautiful state of Tennessee, where good food and soulful music go hand in hand. Head off on a thrilling adventure through the Great Smoky Mountains one day, then catch a show at the iconic Ryman Auditorium the next. There’s a whole world of excitement worth exploring in Tennessee. Learn more about why you should make the Volunteer State the destination of your next bus adventure.
A Brief History of Tennessee
Before and after its inception as a state in 1796, the territory now known as Tennessee served as the grounds for many significant historical events during the Revolutionary War and Civil War. Many battles were fought throughout its Appalachian landscapes. More recently, Tennessee has garnered fame for its history with rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and country music.
There's no shortage of things to do in Tennessee.
A Look at Culture in Tennessee
A diverse mix of English, African American, and Scotch-Irish people have contributed to the unique southern and midwestern culture of Tennessee, where food and music are at the forefront of state tradition. In the city of Nashville, country music reigns supreme. Here, establishments like the Grand Ole Opry House represent Nashville’s deeply rooted history with the country-western genre. Further west of the state, country music takes a backseat to blues and rock music in the city of Memphis. The friendly folks of Tennessee are also known for their trademark Southern hospitality and delicious down-home cooking with dishes like Nashville hot chicken and Memphis BBQ.
Must See List
- Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium
- Bald River Falls
- Country Tonite Theatre
- Dollywood & Splash Country
- Falcon Rest Mansion & Gardens
- First Art Museum
- Kingsport Aquatic Center
- Museum of Appalachia
- Oaklands Mansion
- The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
- The Old Mill Pigeon River Pottery
- Discovery Park of America
- Johnsonville State Historic Park
- Smokey Mountain Outdoors Rafting
Top Cities To Visit in Tennessee
The most obvious place to start when talking of Tennessee travels is the city of Nashville. Not only is Nashville the capital of Tennessee, but it is also famously known as the capital of country music — home to iconic country music institutions such as the Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium, and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Hungry musicians from all over the country travel to Nashville to play in the many honky-tonks where you can sit back with a beer and listen to the next Johnny Cash. Not just a country music hub, Nashville is at the forefront of food and fashion trends, offering no shortage of boutique shops and hip restaurants. While there, make sure to try some Nashville hot chicken at eateries like local favorite Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.
Fans of music, food, and nightlife shouldn’t miss spending time in the city of Memphis. Located on the Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee, this swanky city’s roots in blues and rock ‘n’ roll run deep. Immerse yourself in the music culture of the city at places like Graceland, the famous home of the late King of Rock ‘n’ Roll Elvis Presley or at Sun Studio, where Elvis, Johnny Cash, and B.B. King recorded albums. If a lively social atmosphere is your thing, head to Beale Street, where the flashing neon signs of the many bars and music joints entice you for a thrilling night out. There are endless things to do and see in the city of Memphis, but whatever you do, don’t let the opportunity to try some authentic Memphis BBQ pass by. Head to Central BBQ in Midtown Memphis for a smorgasbord of succulent smoked meats and southern sides.
Nestled at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains along the Tennessee River is the city of Chattanooga. Rich with history, art, and breathtaking landscapes, Chattanooga serves an ideal gateway to the great outdoors. Spend your day hiking at Rock City Gardens or marveling at the striking beauty of Ruby Falls — a 145-foot cascading waterfall inside a vast cavern under the ground. After a full day of mountain adventures, take a stroll through the Bluff View Art District, where a plethora of cafes and galleries can be found.
Located in the eastern region of the volunteer state and nestled on the Tennessee River is the city of Knoxville. What many consider a hidden gem, Knoxville often finds itself in the shadow of cities like Nashville and Memphis. Seasoned Tennessee explorers, however, know that Knoxville is a city rich with history and culture — as well as offering a diverse bouquet of attractions and activities to indulge in. At the heart of the city, in downtown Knoxville, 19th-century architecture paints the aesthetic of the Market Square District, which is filled with shops and restaurants. History buffs tend to gravitate towards the Museum of East Tennessee History or James White’s Fort — a revolutionary-era landmark.
Nicknamed by locals as “Hub City” due to its midpoint location in the west of Tennessee — the city of Jackson stirs with a deep history and influence in the world of country music and soul. It’s known as the home of rock-a-billy music, and was the focal point of Johnny Cash’s famous song “Jackson”. Today, Jackson still sticks proudly to its roots. The quaint and rustic qualities that give Jackson its own unique version of southern culture are prominent throughout the city, giving visitors a memorable experience capped with southern hospitality. Whether it’s an insightful trip to the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame or adventurous exploitation of Knoxville’s many woodland walks and nature trails — you’ll never find yourself bored in the sweet southern escape.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
A trip to Tennessee wouldn’t be complete without a full day enjoying the magical landscapes for which the state is known, and there’s arguably a no better place for that than Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sitting at the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, this expansive park contains lush forests, waterfalls, and year-round blooming flowers that decorate the mountains. Spot some wildlife and tour historic homesteads in the isolated valley of Cades Cove or head to the observation tower at the top of Clingmans Dome, the highest peak of the area offering stunning views of the mountains
When to Go
Fortunately, Tennessee is a great year-round vacation destination. The best time for travel, however, is April through October because these months offer warm weather that brings the bustling southern cities to life. Winter can get pretty chilly, with temperatures somewhere between the 20s and 40s. Traveling during the winter months will reward you with cheaper hotel rates and the opportunity for skiing.
Places to Go and Things to Do
When planning your bus trip to Tennessee, you’ll quickly discover the great wealth of beautiful destinations worth exploring. With all that there is to do and see, it can be a little overwhelming when planning your travel itinerary. Here are a few amazing Tennessee locations to help get you started.