It’s an amazing city to live in and to visit, but there are so many interesting weekend getaways from Nashville. In just a couple hours or less, you can be exploring the Great Smoky Mountains, checking out a charming small town, or visiting a major city in another state.
Weekend getaways from Nashville are the perfect way to see everything the region has to offer. As a Nashville local, I can help guide you to the best places to visit in Tennessee and in the surrounding area.
Here are some of my favorite weekend getaways from Nashville.
Table of Contents
- 27 Best Nashville Weekend Getaways
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Mammoth Cave National Park
- Gatlinburg, Tennessee
- Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
- Knoxville, Tennessee
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Huntsville, Alabama
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Jackson, Tennessee
- Rock Island State Park
- Oxford, Mississippi
- Tupelo, Mississippi
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Elizabethtown, Kentucky
- Lynchburg, Tennessee
- Franklin, Tennessee
- Sewanee, Tennessee
- Clarksdale, Mississippi
- Cleveland, Mississippi
- Lexington, Kentucky
- Fall Creek Falls State Park
- Bowling Green, Kentucky
- Florence, Alabama
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- FAQs about Nashville Getaways
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27 Best Nashville Weekend Getaways
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
🗺️ Distance from Nashville: 3.5 hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Booking
For a beautiful weekend getaway, visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This popular destination is the most visited US National Park and, at over half a million acres, it’s also one of the largest.
Here the adventurous visitor will find hundreds of miles of trails. It has more than enough to fill a weekend spotting white-tailed deer and maybe even a black bear (from a safe distance). If you’d rather enjoy the stunning scenery without the physical effort, Great Smoky Mountains National Park also has scenic drives like Cades Cove Loop Road.
Mammoth Cave National Park
🗺️ Distance from Nashville: 1.5 hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels near Mammoth Cave National Park on Booking
Located less than 100 miles north of Nashville in Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park is a unique weekend trip. The park contains over 400 miles of underground caves and is the longest cave system in the world.
There is a short self-guided tour option, but guided tours are the best way to experience Mammoth Cave. This is a great summer weekend getaway because the temperature inside the cave stays around 54 degrees Fahrenheit even on a scorching August afternoon.
If you enjoy hiking, you can also explore some of the trails around Mammoth Cave National Park. My family likes to walk the trails during our trips because they aren’t usually busy.
One of East Tennessee’s mountain towns, Gatlinburg is sometimes called the gateway to the Smoky Mountains. Of course, there are plenty of things to do in Gatlinburg itself! View the mountains from the 400-foot observation tower at the Gatlinburg Space Needle or soar over Crockett Mountain at the Gatlinburg Skylift Park.
The touristy town also has other attractions like fun mazes, dinner shows, and an aquarium. Gatlinburg is a good area for families to visit, but it also makes a great base for anyone who wants to explore Tennessee’s mountains.
If you want to see the mountains with someone who can show you how to avoid crowds and find the best scenic views, check out this guided hiking tour.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Pigeon Forge is another popular weekend trip, especially for families. This town, located right between Gatlinburg and Sevierville, is full of attractions. The area gets crowded and is definitely kitschy, but it’s a lot of fun to visit.
In Pigeon Forge, you’ll find all kinds of entertainment – usually featuring country music, a patriotic theme, and maybe some gospel as well. The Dolly Parton Stampede is my favorite dinner theater in Pigeon Forge.
For thrill-seekers, you can ride a ball down a hill at Outdoor Gravity Park, go indoor skydiving at Flyaway, and check out the SkyFlyer at The Track. Don’t worry, there are tamer activities in Pigeon Forge, too. You really can find something for everyone here.
Knoxville is definitely one of the coolest cities in Tennessee and one of the best weekend getaways from Nashville.
Knoxville is located in East Tennessee near the Tennessee River. The city has a cool downtown with lots of shopping and dining options. Market Square is a popular place to be, and it seems like there is always some festival happening here.
Even when there are no special events happening, there are still plenty of things to do in Knoxville. If you have time during your weekend trip, be sure to stop at the World’s Fair Park, which was constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair. You can head up to the 4th floor of the Sunsphere to get a beautiful view of the city, the river, and the Smoky Mountains.
Plus, in the Knoxville Urban Wilderness, visitors can enjoy a 1000-acre area offering hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and swimming without having to leave the city. It’s a must-visit for anyone who loves the outdoors.
Located in East Tennessee near the Tennessee River, Chattanooga has been a popular tourist destination and day trip from Nashville for years. As far back as the early 1900s, people came to Chattanooga to see nearby Lookout Mountain. Rock City Gardens and Ruby Falls still attract visitors to the mountain today.
If you’re looking for family-friendly getaways, Chattanooga is a perfect choice. The Chattanooga Zoo and the Tennessee Aquarium are fun for all ages. The city is also home to the Creative Discovery Museum, which is one of the best children’s museums in the United States.
Visitors can easily get around Chattanooga using the public transportation system and downtown is pretty walkable.
Nashville may be nicknamed Music City, but it’s not the only place in Tennessee with a rich musical legacy.
Located about 3.5 hours west of Nashville, Memphis is the perfect weekend trip for any music lover thanks to sites like Elvis’ Graceland, Sun Studio, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Memphis is known as the Home of the Blues, but it nurtured all kinds of artists from country music to rock ‘n roll as well.
No visit to Memphis is complete without a somber visit to the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum includes the Lorraine Motel site – the room where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stayed has been left exactly as it was on April 4, 1968.
Memphis is also known for its food, especially its barbecue. Try out favorites like Rendezvous, A&R Bar-B-Que, and the Bar-B-Q Shop for that signature Memphis tang. To enjoy as much of the food in Memphis as possible, book this guided Downtown Memphis Food Tour. You’ll learn about the city’s rich history while also sampling some delicious dishes.
Get planning your Memphis weekend getaway now with my guide to the best things to do and see in Memphis.
With more than 50 million visitors every year, Atlanta is one of the best Nashville weekend getaways for those who want to enjoy a bustling city full of excellent museums, a great restaurant scene, historic landmarks, and beautiful outdoor attractions. The city really does have it all.
One of the biggest visitor attractions in Atlanta is the Georgia Aquarium. Here you’ll find sharks, penguins, otters, and lots of other interesting aquatic species. Other well-known attractions include the World of Coca-Cola, the Atlanta Braves, and Six Flags.
There are entirely too many things to do in Atlanta to list them all. If there’s something you’re interested in, there’s a good chance it’s happening somewhere in Atlanta.
📚 Related Reading: Driving in Nashville for Visitors | Rules & Tips
Just a 2-hour drive from Nashville, Huntsville (AKA Rocket City) is typically associated with space travel, engineering, and technology. The city is a great place to go if you’re interested in those fields, but there’s a lot more to do in Huntsville as well.
Attractions include the U.S. Space and Rocket Center along with the Huntsville Museum of Art, Lowe Mill ARTS and Entertainment, and the Huntsville beer trail. Visitors might be surprised to find out that the city has a foodie scene as well. There are hundreds of great dishes to try from burgers to tacos, blue plate specials, and fried sandwiches.
Huntsville is also a great weekend trip for couples.
Bourbon lovers should definitely make the 3-hour drive from Nashville to Louisville. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail begins at the Frazier History Museum, and visitors can make their way to several distilleries all located in the city.
Pair your drinks with dishes from Louisville’s up-and-coming food scene. The city has multiple James Beard awarding-winning chefs and dining establishments. There’s also a good selection of brunch spots in Louisville.
About halfway between Nashville and Memphis, Jackson makes a good weekend trip on its own or as a stopping point between the two larger cities in Tennessee.
Jackson’s growth was originally tied to the railroad boom during the 19th century. Many of the city’s attractions, like the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum, reflect that part of the city’s history.
The welcoming destination has a small-town feel, especially in contrast to Nashville and Memphis. You can spend the morning exploring charming attractions like Century Farm Winery or birdwatching at Cypress Grove Nature Park. Jackson is the perfect place to enjoy a rural retreat.
Rock Island State Park
🗺️ Distance from Nashville: 1.5 hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels near Rock Island State Park on Expedia
Tennessee’s state parks are some of the best places to enjoy the natural wonders of Tennessee. While all the parks are great, Rock Island State Park is one of the most popular state parks within driving distance of Nashville.
Just 1.5 hours from Nashville, Rock Island State Park has multiple hiking trails with ratings from moderate to strenuous. If you want to see waterfalls, check out Great Falls and Twin Falls. In fact, the Twin Falls and Down River Trail are in my guide to the best hiking trails near Nashville.
For those who’d prefer a less active weekend getaway, Rock Island State Park is home to Center Hill Lake, which has a natural sand beach. You can swim here, but be aware that there is no lifeguard.
Located about an hour south of Memphis, Oxford is a charming college town in Mississippi. While the town gets most of its visitors on game day during football season, there’s a lot more going on here. Literary enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Rowan Oak, home of the classic American author William Faulkner.
The downtown area around the courthouse is called The Square. It’s filled with adorable boutiques, restaurants, and bars. I might be biased as a graduate of the University of Mississippi, but I’m convinced that Square Books is one of the best bookstores in the United States.
Tupelo is one of the best weekend getaways from Nashville for fans of Elvis Presley. While the music icon’s Graceland mansion is located in Memphis, Elvis’ roots in Tupelo are a bit more humble. Here you can see the two-room house where Elvis was born and lived with his family for the first 13 years of his life.
Besides sites dedicated to the King of Rock ‘n Roll, Tupelo is worth visiting for its food. Kermit’s Soul Kitchen, King Chicken Fillin’ Station, and Crave are just a few of the establishments you’ll want to stop by while you’re in Tupelo.
Asheville, North Carolina
The nearly 5-hour drive from Nashville to Asheville in North Carolina is one of the longest drives of our weekend getaways from Nashville. But, this artsy mountain town is worth the long car ride. With lots of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, rock climbing, and fishing, this is the perfect place for active visitors.
There are plenty of unique things to do in Asheville. One of my favorite attractions there is Biltmore House, a historic mansion and estate. The city also has a cool local art scene. You can visit art galleries, check out the city’s many breweries, go antique shopping, or browse the farmer’s markets.
History buffs will enjoy visiting Elizabethtown. Abraham Lincoln was born in nearby LaRue County, and Elizabethtown is the site of the Lincoln Heritage House. One of the cabins on the property was originally built by Abraham Lincoln’s father, Thomas Lincoln.
In Elizabethtown’s Freeman Lake Park, you’ll find the Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln Memorial Cabin. This is a replica of the cabin where Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother lived.
Besides historic sites, the town also has beautiful outdoor spaces. Visitors can enjoy Elizabethtown’s Greenspace Hiking Trails.
Located just 1.5 hours south of Nashville, Lynchburg is a very small town, but it’s home to one of the most recognized names in the world. Jack Daniel’s headquarters is located in Lynchburg. Visitors are able to tour the distillery to see how the whisky is made.
Most people come to Lynchburg for distillery tours, but there’s more to do in this charming small town. You can easily spend a leisurely weekend visiting the local shops, antique stores, and restaurants.
Dollywood is located in Pigeon Forge, but the unique theme park deserves its own mention as one of the best weekend trips from Nashville. The park is partly owned by country music icon Dolly Parton, and the entire park is themed around the culture of the Smoky Mountains. Visitors can enjoy all the rides you’d typically find at theme parks. You can even ride about 5 miles through the Smoky Mountains on a steam engine from the 19th century.
In addition to the rides, the food and the music are part of the draw for Dollywood. Some of the dining options feature delicious southern fare. The cinnamon bread at the Grist Mill has a devoted following. Fans of Dolly Parton will love seeing the museum dedicated to the singer at the park.
To make your trip to Dollywood even more magical, consider staying at the DreamMore Resort. You’ll get transportation from the resort to the park. Dollywood souvenirs are sold at the resort, so you don’t have to carry as much around all day.
Only a short drive south of Nashville, Franklin is a charming small town with historic sites, a beautiful town square, and lots of great shopping. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here.
History buffs who are interested in the Civil War will enjoy visiting the Carter House and Carnton Plantation. Families will like all the parks and activities for kids to do in Franklin. One of my favorite things to do in Franklin is visiting Arrington Vineyards, especially on weekends when there’s live music.
If you want a weekend getaway from Nashville without spending too much time on the road, Franklin is a great choice.
Perched right on top of Monteagle Mountain, Sewanee is one of the best weekend getaways from Nashville. The tiny town has a population of around 2300 residents and is home to the University of the South. The school’s campus has beautiful gothic architecture dating back to the 1850s. While exploring, stop by All Saints’ Chapel to see the mosaics.
The town is small, but there are plenty of interesting things to do in Sewanee. You can go shopping at the boutiques in Sewanee Village or try some of the fine dining options.
The scenery here is beautiful. It’s the perfect weekend trip to escape from the noise and busyness in Nashville.
If you’re a fan of Blues music, then take a weekend trip to Clarksdale. The 4.5 hour drive to Mississippi isn’t short, but it’s worth it to see the home of Blues legends like Muddy Waters and Sam Cooke.
One of the top attractions in the town is the Delta Blues Museum. You can also listen to live music at many of the different juke joints and clubs in Clarksdale.
There are other things to do in Clarksdale as well. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can canoe on the Mississippi River or check out the shopping in the Arts & Culture District.
Cleveland is another great weekend trip from Nashville for music lovers. The town is small, but it’s home to the Mississippi GRAMMY Museum, the only one located outside of LA. Cleveland was chosen as the site for the museum due to the rich musical heritage of the Mississippi Delta. Even if you’re more of a casual music fan like me, the GRAMMY Museum’s exhibits are interactive and interesting enough for everyone to enjoy.
Cleveland is about a 40-minute drive from Clarksdale. I’d suggest combining your visit to see the two Mississippi towns on the same weekend.
Known for horse racing and bourbon, Lexington is a fun weekend trip from Nashville for couples or groups of friends. Bourbon enthusiasts will especially enjoy visiting the Buffalo Trace Distillery. The Kentucky city also has a cool downtown full of boutique shops, restaurants, bars, and other establishments.
If you’re a history buff, you’ll enjoy visiting sites like the Henry Clay Estate and the Waveland State Historic Site. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in Lexington.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
🗺️ Distance from Nashville: 2 hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Search Hotels near Fall Creek Falls State Park on Booking
For those who want to spend time outdoors, take a trip to Fall Creek Falls State Park in Spencer, Tennessee. If you want to see waterfalls, this is one of the best weekend getaways from Nashville. There are 10 waterfalls at the park, so there are plenty of waterfalls to chase here.
Besides hiking, visitors can go rock climbing or try a canopy challenge. Fall Creek Falls is the perfect place to explore and enjoy some adventure away from the city limits.
Bowling Green, Kentucky
If you’re looking for weekend getaways with a great food scene, then Bowling Green is for you. The Kentucky city is perhaps most recognized as the city where Corvettes are assembled, but there’s a lot more happening in Bowling Green.
There’s a diverse offering of restaurants here. Sushi lovers should make a point to try some of the best Japanese food in the region at Yuki Japanese Restaurant. While in Bowling Green, you can also visit one of the nearby wineries and sample a wine flight.
For laid-back Southern charm, make your way from Nashville down to Florence, Alabama. Florence was named for the city in Italy, and while it’s very different from its namesake, this Florence does have a cool, artsy atmosphere.
One of the most famous attractions in the city is the Rosenbaum House by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. There’s also a fun downtown area filled with fun eateries and exciting local spots. The college town makes a good romantic weekend trip for couples.
Located on the banks of the Ohio River, Cincinnati has a lot to offer visitors. A few of the most popular attractions in the city are the Cincinnati Zoo, the Findlay Market, and the Great American Ball Park, home to the Cincinnati Reds. Die-hard baseball fans will love this walking tour that shows the key places in the city involved in the 1919 World Series controversy.
If you enjoy breweries, Cincinnati has you covered – there are a lot of unique breweries in the city. You can even try out a cheesecake beer at Dead Low Brewing if that sounds like it would be your thing. When it comes to restaurants, the city has a little bit of everything from old-world Italian restaurants to trendy brunch spots.
Cincinnati has a completely different atmosphere from Nashville, which makes it a great weekend getaway if need to switch things up for a couple of days.
FAQs about Nashville Getaways
What are the best cities within 2 hours of Nashville?
What are the best weekend getaways from Nashville for kids?
What are the best theme parks near Nashville?
Dollywood is one of the best theme parks within driving distance of Nashville. While Nashville itself doesn’t have any theme parks, it does have several water parks – SoundWaves, Nashville Shores, and Wave Country.
Thanks for reading my guide to the best Nashville weekend getaways. Now all you need to do is pack your bags for all your weekend trips. If you’re looking for fun activities without leaving the city, check out my guide to the best things to do in Nashville!
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