Elvis to Taylor Swift, Memphis to Nashville, Chattanooga to the Smoky Mountains – visit Tennessee with kids and enjoy a family vacation filled with music, mountains and magic.
I’m not sure which excites me more, the thought of seeing Graceland, or simply walking down Beale Street! And every time I speak to someone who has been to Nashville, it makes me want to visit. However, there is much more to Tennessee than music, and thankfully, you don’t need to leave the kids behind! Most of Tennessee’s top attractions can be enjoyed on a family vacation. I’ve highlighted some of the top things to do in Tennessee with kids below, so get planning your next family trip Stateside!
I have teamed up with Platinum Travel who specialise in tailor-made and bespoke holidays worldwide. Their expert staff have travelled extensively throughout the USA and can design the perfect family holiday to Tennessee to match your interests and your budget.View offers here
Music places to visit in Tennessee with kids
1. Graceland – Memphis
No visit to Tennessee would be complete without visiting Graceland – you simply have to visit the home of Elvis Presley.
Explore the mansion he lived in, gardens he relaxed in, cars he drove and aircraft that he travelled on, as well as iconic costumes from his shows and personal memorabilia. The self-guided audio tour is narrated by actor John Stamos and features commentary from his daughter, Lisa Marie.
Children should enjoy the interactive iPad tour which has a youth version, as well as seeing Elvis’s private planes and cars – including the pink Cadillac!
Top Tips: Add some of Elvis’ greatest hits to your Spotify playlist so the kids are familiar with his music. Follow your visit with a walk down Beale Street, there are some great family-friendly restaurants here, including BB Kings Blues Club, and the Hard Rock Cafe, which has some great Elvis Memorabilia as well as live music.See more here
2. Grand Ole Opry – Nashville
Nashville is the home of country music, and the Grand Ole Opry is it’s ultimate live music experience. Every week top country music artists as well as rising stars perform on one stage.
This world famous show is an authentic music experience and a must visit in Nashville. It is suitable for families too, and discounted tickets are available for children age 4-11.See more here
3. Country Music Hall of Fame – Nashville
Have you any Taylor Swift fans in the house? Then you won’t want to miss this! The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of music in the world, it also features workshops and live performances.
The museum showcases legendary country music singers such as Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, as well as modern superstars like Taylor Swift.
The Taylor Swift Education Centre houses rare memorabilia as well as outfits she wore in music videos. You can perform with her in the interactive karaoke booth, and of course the kids will love the Taylor Swift merch available too!
Top Tip: If you are visiting with a child aged 2-7 pick up a Young Explorer Kit at the Information Desk.See more here
Outdoor places to visit in Tennessee with kids
4. Rock City Gardens & Ruby Falls – Chattanooga
Located just just six miles from downtown Chattanooga, Rock City is simply a must visit in Tennessee. As well as having the opportunity to see seven states – Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, from the top of Lookout Mountain, you will also see massive ancient rock formations and natural wonders.
Kids will love the Fairyland Caverns, Mother Goose Village and the 180ft suspension bridge, and try to time your visit so you can dine at the Big Rock Grill afterwards.See more here
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Why not combine your visit with Ruby Falls – it’s just a 10 minute drive away. This is home to the tallest and deepest underground waterfall that is open to the public in the USA. You descend 26-stories by elevator into the cavern hidden within Lookout Mountain, before walking with a guide to the waterfall to see a lightshow.
5. Gatlinburg Skypark – Gatlinburg
The Gatlinburg SkyPark offers stunning views and wonderful family attractions in East Tennessee. The SkyLift is a chairlift that carries people from downtown Gatlinburg 500 hundred feet into the mountains. Once you reach the top you can walk onto the SkyDeck and take in the panoramic views over Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains.
From there you have the choice to cross the spectacular SkyBridge – which is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. It stretches for 680 feet and has glass-floor panels at the 150-foot-high midpoint! It is not for the faint hearted, but it is certainly one of the most unique things to do in Tennessee and will guarantee family photos to cherish!
The Gatlinburg SkyBridge made Google 2022 “Year in Search” list as one of Top 10 Most Scenic Spots in America.
If you want to extend your stay, there are plenty of walking and hiking trails to enjoy, but a good family-friendly option is the short Gatlinburg SkyTrail. This connects each end of the SkyBridge and is just over one-third of a mile in length and provides great views of the SkyBridge.See more here
6. Anakeesta Park – Gatlinburg
Anakeesta is a mountaintop park that is packed with family experiences in an authentic outdoor setting in the Smoky Mountains.
Walk along the 14 bridge Treetop Skywalk and take in the 360 views from the observation tower, climb and crawl your way through TreeVenture – an interactive challenge course, or enjoy the quaint shops and extensive gardens, with waterfalls, sculptures and plants.
Thrill seekers can purchase tickets for the Zipline Adventure or Rail Runner mountain coaster while families will love the new Enchanted Night Time Walk – Astra Lumina.See more here
Fun things to do in Tennessee with kids
7. Dollywood – Pigeon Forge
The Smoky Mountains should be added to any Tennessee itinerary for families as there are so many great things to do with kids. Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies is a great choice for a rainy day, and Soaky Mountain Waterpark in Sevierville is a must visit during the Summer months, while thrill seekers will love the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. However, no matter what time of year you visit, Dollywood is simply a must do in Tennessee with kids.
Jointly owned by legendary country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge is a top attraction for family holidays in Tennessee.
Home to 50 rides and attractions, including rollercoasters, waterslides and live shows, it is one of the fun things to do in Tennessee with kids. The waterpark was voted one of America’s Top 10 Waterparks by USA Today Readers, so you can expect plenty of thrill and relaxed rides for all the family.
Dollywood also has a daily schedule of live music and shows so if you want to relax after a day in the park, you won’t be left wanting.See more here
8. Adventure Science Center – Nashville
The Adventure Science Center has over 175 hands-on exhibits as well as amazing performances in the state-of-the-art Planetarium. Kids can climb to new heights on the Kinetic Climber, understand aerodynamics while piloting a simulated jet, and learn how to lift a car without breaking a sweat! Don’t miss the Space Chase exhibition where kids can try moonwalking and see what it is like to be an astronaut.
This is a kids paradise, but adults have been known to enjoy it too! This is one of the best things to do in Tennessee with kids.See more here
9. Discovery Park of America – Union City
The Discovery Park of America is a museum like no other. In 70,000 square feet of exhibition space you will find history, science, car and aviation museums over 10 galleries, as well as a large collection of dinosaurs in a glass-floored observation tower, and an aquarium showing underwater life of the region’s lakes.
There is an earthquake and spaceship simulator as well as vintage cars, trains, tractors and even a Wright Brothers plane! There are beautiful gardens to explore too in its 50-acre heritage park.See more here
10. The Island in Pigeon Forge
The Island in Pigeon Forge is a 23-acre entertainment destination with over 80 shops, restaurants and attractions that you can visit day or night. As well as theme park rides, a 200-foot high observation wheel, the Island Show Fountains and Alcatraz East Crime Museum, you will find 40 boutiques and 19 different dining options.See more here
I hope you enjoyed my post on the top things to do in Tennessee with kids and that it will inspire you to book a family vacation there soon. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, attractions are subject to change.
For more information on holidays in Tennessee make sure to contact the specialists at Platinum Travel.View offers here
This post was sponsored by Tennessee Tourism.