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Nashville is a vibrant city made up of live music, rich history, fabulous restaurants, and Southern hospitality. But sometimes, even Nashville locals want to get out of town and explore their surroundings. Luckily, the state of Tennessee is packed with cool cities and points of interest that are all just a couple of hours away from Nashville. If you need road trip ideas from Nashville, you’re in luck. Check out these seven day-trips that can add to an exciting experience in Tennessee.

  1. Stones River National Battlefield

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    The battle that occurred on this historic battlefield is said to have been the bloodiest of all Civil War conflicts. Most historians agree that the Union gained crucial military advantages at the end of this battle. To learn about this important turning point of the Civil War as well as other fascinating tidbits about history, drive less than an hour south to Stones River National Battlefield. You can take a self-guided auto tour or walk the trails to explore the events of the battle. A visitor center is on the grounds, so you can also see exhibits, watch a film, or buy books in the bookstore.

  2. Franklin, Tennessee

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    Franklin is less than an hour drive from Nashville, so it may seem more like a staycation than a weekend getaway, but if you’ve never spent much time here, it’s time to pack up the car and take that quick drive south on I-65 so you can enjoy this amazing historic town. Go online and check out the town calendar before you make your travel plans, as you may catch live music events, a parade, or a festival such as Pumpkinfest or the Main Street Festival.

    History buffs ⁠— especially those into the Civil War ⁠— should find Franklin particularly interesting considering the town played a major role in the big battle. Enjoy a trip to the Carnton Plantation, which served as a field hospital for Confederate troops. Nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers are buried nearby. Additionally, other historic sites include the Carter House and Lotz House to check out the informative museums in the area.

  3. Cumberland Caverns

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    Imagine exploring roughly 30 miles of passageways and caves hidden beneath Tennessee at Cumberland Caverns! The drive from Nashville to Cumberland Caverns typically takes less than two hours. Guided walking tours are available, but you could also opt for an overnight adventure tour if you’re looking for a darker, more immersive experience. Or for the most unique night in the caves, check out Cumberland Caverns Live, where artists put on musical performances 300 feet below the surface!

  4. Chattanooga, Tennessee

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    If you can’t get enough of Tennessee’s caves, you can head further south to the border of Tennessee and Georgia to visit Ruby Falls. There, you’ll find an astonishing 145-foot underground waterfall inside Lookout Mountain. To catch a glimpse of Ruby Falls, you have the option to go with the classic waterfall tour, or an after hours lantern tour. Other activities on Lookout Mountain include a zip line adventure, riding the Incline Railway to witness “America’s most amazing mile,” and the magical beauty of Rock City.

  5. Land Between the Lakes

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    The Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is about an hour and a half northwest of Nashville, on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee. As the name suggests, the more than 170,000 acres of underdeveloped forests, wetlands, and other natural areas sit between two major lakes: Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

    If you’re a fan of spotting wildlife, you’ll want to check out the Elk and Bison Prairie, allowing you to drive through a 700-acre enclosure. Other popular attractions at the park include the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm that’s great for history buffs, the Gold Pond Planetarium & Observatory, and the Woodlands Nature Station. You can also hike, camp, swim, picnic, go target shooting, boating, fishing and take part in many other outdoor activities.

  6. Hurricane Mills, Tennessee

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    Better known as Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, Hurricane Mills is about an hour and a half west of Nashville, and it’s the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a good time and are a fan of country music. While the scenery alone is enough to take your breath away, there are also five museums you can visit on the grounds: the Grist Mill Museum, the Native American Artifacts Museum, the Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum, Loretta’s Frontier Homestead, and the Doll & Fan Museum. Then, get a gorgeous glimpse of Hurricane Creek from an observation deck, or visit the stables for a tour on horseback.

    Before you leave, be sure to stop by Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen to enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet, country music, and movie memorabilia from Lynn’s career, in addition to a souvenir shop. Plus, be on the lookout for ghosts! The Loretta Lynn herself claims the ranch is haunted.

  7. Smithville, Tennessee

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    Situated about an hour and a half east of Nashville, Smithville is a small, charming Southern town that will make you feel like you’re a million miles away from the big city. The local community really comes alive every the summer when the annual Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree lights up. Since 1971, the festival has attracted thousands of visitors to enjoy live music, dancing, food, homemade crafts, and a dose of Appalachian culture. It’s been dubbed the official festival for the state of Tennessee since 1997. In 2020, the 49th annual festival is scheduled to take place during the week of 4th of July. If you’re visiting during another time of year, art enthusiasts can head over to the Appalachian Center for Craft to check out exciting galleries and exhibits, featuring the work of over 100 artists.