Hit the open road, crank up the radio, take in the beauty and history, explore charming towns, mom-and-pop eateries, hidden gems and adventure that make Tennessee “The Soundtrack of America.” Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways driving tours take you off the beaten path for authentic experiences. Pick up maps at welcome centers and look for the brown signs across the state.
Trace stories from cotton fields to music legends following West Tennessee’s country roads on the Cotton Junction Trail. Stop to explore the West Tennessee Agricultural Museum. Discover hidden passages and trapdoors at the Slave Haven Underground Museum in Memphis used by slaves during their escape for freedom. Visit Casey Jones Village in Jackson, named for the legendary train conductor who gave his life to save his passengers in the early 1900s. Take home the bacon from Tripp Country Hams in Brownsville, curing award-wining hams and bacon from a secret family recipe. Still hungry? Snag a specialty burger from The Grind Mac & Cheese Burger Bar in Martin. The Cotton Museum in Bells shows how cotton shaped the area’s culture and commerce. Visit the Tina Turner Museum and immerse yourself in blues culture at West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. See the world’s largest teapot collection at the Teapot Museum in Trenton. Walk the winding boardwalk through Cypress Grove Nature Park in Jackson.
The Great River Road Trail is full of history, high bluffs and wildlife. Visit the Chucalissa Archaeological Museum and preserved dig site. Relive WWII history at the Veteran’s Museum in Halls on the former B-17 Flying Fortress Training base. Stroll Ripley’s town square with its 1930s art deco courthouse. Stop at roadside farm stands cruising Highway 51 and stop at the Lauderdale County Tomato Festival during the summer. Pick your own fruit or get lost in a corn maze at Jones Orchard & Market in Millington, which sells homemade jellies and pies. See Roots’ author Alex Haley’s childhood home in Henning. Spot a bald eagle at Reelfoot Lake State Park. Browse local art or lay down a track in the nursery’s recording studio at Soleil Garden Center in Union City.
Relive the stories of larger-than-life legends on the Walking Tall Trail such as railroad legend Casey Jones, and blues and rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, B.B. King and W.C. Handy. Learn about the legacy of McNairy County Sheriff Buford Pusser at his home and museum in Adamsville, including the room where Elvis Presley is said to have mourned during the sheriff’s funeral. Browse the selection of homemade goods and creamy cheeses at Ada’s Unusual Country Store in Bethel Springs. Take the family camping in Pickwick Landing State Park. Find Jack Martin crafting broomcorn in his shop using methods passed down from his great-grandfather atHockaday Handmade Brooms in Selmer. Stop for a slugburger at the nearby Pat’s Café. Scoop up a slice of blackberry cobbler at Wolf River Café in Rossville. Walk along the charming Collierville Historic Square, lined with local businesses - coffee shops, restaurants and bookstores. Walk in the footsteps of legends at Sun Studio.
Middle & West Tennessee
Hike. Canoe. Birdwatch. Fish. Stop in historic towns and learn about Loretta Lynn at her famous plantation home and museum in Hurricane Mills along the Tennessee River Trail. Green River Stables in Waynesboro offers access to 2,700 acres of trails on ponies or horses. Float the Buffalo River by canoe. Hike and spot rare plant species in Carroll Cabin Barrens State Natural Area. Experience the World’s Biggest Fish Fry in Paris, home to a replica of the Eiffel Tower. Sip wine tastings during summer concerts or have dinner at Paris Winery’s Italian bistro. Take in breathtaking views of the Duck River Bottoms Overlook. Relax in the remodeled Commodore Hotel in Linden. Take a 10-mile, self-guided tour through Shiloh National Military Park. Listen to stories of Savannah’s heritage and Civil War history with a walking tour of the riverside town. Don’t miss out on dinner at Hagy’s Catfish Hotel Restaurant, one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in the U.S. Explore the local cultural heritage on Quilt Trails through Houston, Stewart and Benton counties. Many quilt patterns have been passed down through generations.
Retrace footsteps of pioneers and discover unique treasures on the Promised Land Trail. Hike and horseback trails at Burgess Falls, Rock Island and Edgar Evins State Parks. Satisfy your yearning for pit style barbecue at Timberloft Restaurant in Gordonsville. Catch live bluegrass every Saturday night at Granville’s Sutton Ole Time Music Hour or watch a movie under the stars at Stardust Drive-In in Watertown. Make plans to attend the Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree in early July. Walk through history at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. Browse stores on Lebanon’s Historic Square. See how sweet sorghum is made at Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill and be sure to stop by the general store. Join the locals at Foglight Foodhouse, a Rock Island hidden treasure with an eclectic menu. Enjoy a glass of vino at DelMonaco or Stonehaus Wineries. Sample specialty cheeses at Simonton’s Gourmet & Cheese House in Crossville.
Discover 100 years of Tennessee history, tour the gristmill, blacksmith shop and see the world’s largest cedar bucket in the replica pioneer Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro. Sip and tour distilleries like Jack Daniel, Short Mountain and Prichard’s on The Jack Trail. Sample exciting new varieties of moonshine at Short Mountain Distillery in Woodbury.Satisfy every taste with a refreshing milkshake at the Lynchburg Pharmacy. . Try the Redneck Taco at the original Martin’s Bar-B-Q Joint in Nolensville. Pick up handmade leather goods at Colonel Littleton’s in Lynnville. Discover the beginnings of the nickel candy bar at Milky Way Farm in Pulaski. Don’t miss the RC MoonPie Festival in the charming historic town of Bell Buckle. Listen to free music while sipping wine at Arrington Vineyards. Shelbyville is home to the Tennessee Walking Horse Association. Explore hiking, camping and fishing at Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park, where the museum tells the 2,000-year history of this Native American sacred gathering place.
Uncover stories of Civil War battles, early settlers and picturesque villages on the Old Tennessee Trail. Catch a live show or movie at the renovated 1930s Franklin Theatre. Tour the antebellum Greek Revival Rippavilla Plantation. Columbia’s James K. Polk Home & Museum displays the country’s largest collection of the 11th president’s artifacts. Enjoy a taste of New Orleans at Papa Boudreaux’s Cajun Café in Santa Fe. Plan your tasting tour at Natchez Hills Vineyard, Amber Falls Winery and Keg Springs Winery in Hampshire, close to the Natchez Trace. If Sunday morning was a town, Leiper’s Fork would be it with antique shops, restaurants, farmers market and live music in the Lawn Chair Theater. Serenite Maison in Leiper’s Fork is a treasure trove full of 19th-century European chandeliers, textiles, jewelry and farm tables.
On the Nashville Trace Trail, discover music legends on Nashville’s Music Mile. Delve into the mysterious death of explorer Meriwether Lewis at his Natchez Trace Gravesite. Hike at Lawrenceburg’s David Crockett State Park. End your day at the “Grinder’s Switch Hour” where local musicians sing and tell stories. Stop in for pimento cheese fritters at Mt. Pleasant Grille. . Waynesboro’s Tennessee Fitness Spa includes a historic natural bridge, believed to be the world’s only double-span natural bridge formation – and also where outlaw Jesse James hid from lawmen. Walk through historic downtown Franklin’s shops, restaurants and boutiques and soak in Civil War history at Carnton and the Carter House. Don’t miss the annual Mule Day Festival and parade the first week of April in Columbia.
Music, outdoor adventures and unique cuisine dot the Screaming Eagle Trail. Sample award-winning wines at Beachaven Vineyards and Winery in Clarksville. Shop and eat your way through downtown and see what’s onstage at Roxy Regional Theatre. Appreciate the changing exhibits in Clarksville’s downtown art galleries and Customs House Museum. Catch a performance at the Gaslight Dinner Theater in Dickson’s Renaissance Center. Soak in nature with Blue Heron Cruises on the Cumberland River in Ashland City. Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns is the perfect place to rent a cabin for fishing, hiking or golf getaway. Time travel to pioneer days at the living history museum of historic Collinsville. Fly through the trees on ziplines at Adventureworks in Kingston Springs. While there, fill up with a barbecue quesadilla at the Fillin’ Station.
The Ring of Fire Trail pays tribute to the Man in Black. Pay your respects at Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s gravesites at Hendersonville Memory Gardens. Get an intimate look at where careers of music legends launched at Historic RCA Studio B. Go swimming or boating on Cordell Hull Lake near Carthage. Float the Red River in a canoe near Port Royal State Park, starting in Adams. Tour Bell Witch Cave, called one of the most haunted places in America. Explore 80 miles of shoreline by houseboat on Dale Hollow Lake. Relive stories of early settlers and frontiersmen at historic homes like Rose Mont and Rock Castle. Savor an old-time milkshake at Thomas Drugs’ pharmacy and soda fountain in Cross Plains. Pick up farm fresh milk, vegetables and farm-raised beef at Gammon Family Dairy in Orlinda.
East & Middle Tennessee
Follow in the footsteps of settlers, storytellers and musicians along the Pie in the Sky Trail. Enjoy hikes and spectacular views from Savage Gulf State Natural Area and Lookout Mountain. The Bluff View Arts District in Chattanooga has art galleries, gardens, crafts and cuisine. Dine with a view at Jacob Myer’s Restaurant in Dayton, which overlooks Chickamauga Lake. Enjoy great food for a cause at The Blue Chair Café & Tavern gourmet market and coffee shop in Sewanee. Experience rock formations, waterfalls and the Volcano Room at McMinnville’s Cumberland Caverns. Learn about the legacy of the “Empress of the Blues” at Bessie Smith Cultural Center in Chattanooga. A colorful treasure is sure to catch your eye at Monteagle’s Hallelujah Pottery. Treat yourself to a piece of cookware you can hand down by generation at Lodge Cast Iron Company in South Pittsburg. Finally, drop by the newly renovated Rhea County Heritage and Scopes Trial Museum in Dayton to learn about the famous trial.
Adventure on scenic byways for breathtaking views on the Tanasi Trail. Take a vintage passenger ride along the Hiwassee River to the historic copper mining town of Copperhill. Whitewater raft on the Ocoee or picturesque Bald River Falls in Tellico Plains. Discover high-quality arts and crafts at the Museum Center at 5ive Points in Cleveland. Take home a souvenir bottle of wine from Savannah Oaks Winery in Delano. Treat your taste buds to Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Madisonville or plan a weekday tour of Mayfield Dairy in Athens. Grab a mug of fresh cider, homemade pies and fritters at Cleveland’s Apple Valley Orchard. Soak up railroad history in the restored 16-room, two-story Victorian passenger station at L&N Depot & Railroad Museum in Etowah.
The Sunny Side Trail echoes the hymn that served as the theme song for the Carter Family, whose careers were launched by the 1927 Bristol Sessions, commemorated at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Travel back in time at Rocky Mount State Historic Site, a 1791 living history museum in Piney Flats. Hike along scenic waterfalls, stunning vistas and rhododendrons at Roan Mountain State Park. Walk the historic district of Tennessee’s oldest town, Jonesborough. In Gray, discover the kid in you at Hands On! Discovery Center. Rev up your engine at Bristol Motor Speedway. Try slow-smoked and dry-rubbed meats at the new Southern Craft BBQ in downtown Johnson City or try a metal or woodworking class at Skillville. Chow down at Blue Circle in Elizabethton, which has been serving its famous Circle Burger since 1931. Journey to historic downtown Greeneville for unique shops, galleries, historic sites and eateries.
Two hundred miles of unique stories are told every day through Appalachian arts and crats, preserved buildings and historic town squares on the White Lightning Trail. Learn more about pioneer life at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris. Local artists display their works at the nonprofit Appalachian Arts Craft Center in Clinton. Learn the history of the miners who lived and died at Coal Creek Mine in Rocky Top. See how “corn licker” is made at Cocke County Moonshine Distillery. Stop for a milkshake at Hoskin’s Drug Store in Clinton. Hike along trails in Cumberland Gap Historical Park near Harrogate, which straddles three states. Enjoy a cozy stay in the 1750s cabin at The Old Mill Inn Bed & Breakfast in Cumberland Gap. Pet the cashmere goats at Mountain Hollow Farm and country store in Tazewell.
Uncover the Top Secret Trail’s WWII history at Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge. Visit one of the utopian towns of Harriman or Rugby, where preserved, historic buildings tell stories of the past. Stop for a chocolate malt at ‘50s-style Rock-A-Billy Café in Clarkrange and drop a coin in the jukebox. The preserved Victorian village of Rugby sits near the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. Sample wines and local cheeses at Highland Manor, Tennessee’s oldest winery in Jamestown. Enjoy a meal with a spectacular view at the floating Sunset Marina Restaurant on Dale Hollow Lake.
Explore America’s most visited national park, The Great Smoky Mountains, along the Rocky Top Trail. Meet the community of craftsmen and artisans by visiting their studios and galleries in Gatlinburg. Discover Appalachian history and culture at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend. Sip tea and grab a salmon burger in the treasured Wild Plum Tea Room. Savor treats at Carver’s Orchard & Applehouse Restaurant in Cosby. Bond with exotic creatures at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or feed zebras and ostriches at Briarwood Auto Safari near Morristown. Learn more about the Cherokee people at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore.
Soak in the scenic beauty and history while driving down winding backroads on Tennessee’s National Scenic Byways: Woodlands Trace , Natchez Trace Parkway, Cherohala Skyway Byway, East Tennessee Crossing and Great River Road.
Learn about the inspiring stories of Americans who fought for racial equality as you follow the new U.S. Civil Rights Trail. Woolworth on 5th in the heart of downtown Nashville is now a restored restaurant and live music venue. Learn about heroes in the Nashville Public Library’s Civil Rights Room. Clayborn Temple is an iconic, historic church that was headquarters for the 1968 Sanitation Workers Strike in Memphis. Stop by the “I Am a Man” plaza, the new public space next to the temple. Discover five centuries of the march for equality at The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. Learn about the courage of the Clinton 12 at Green McAdoo Cultural Center in Clinton. Plan your trip here.
Civil War Trail
The Civil War Trails program installed interpretive markers at sites in Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and North Carolina. The trails guide visitors as they follow in the footsteps of generals, soldiers, citizens and the enslaved. Preserved battlefields and plantation homes tell the stories of the war that tore the country apart, when the sounds of cannons shook the ground and a time when family homes became Civil War hospitals and farmers' fields became battlegrounds. Overlooking the Battle of Franklin sits Carnton, private home-turned-field hospital and provided land for the Confederate cemetery. Step in the shadow of one of the Civil War’s most definitive battles at Shiloh National Military Park. Trace the movements of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga campaigns from Lookout Mountain. Other destinations to add to your travel list include Hartsville Battlefield in Hartsville, Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Dover and Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro.
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