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 exciting points of interest that are all just a couple of hours away from Nashville. If you are looking for inspiration for trip ideas from Nashville, you’re in luck. Check out these seven-day trips that can add an exciting experience whether you are a Tennessee resident or visiting from out of state.
Stones River National Battlefield
Drive time from Nashville: 35 minutes
We love to recommend this location to history buffs. 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, take a trip to Stones River National Battlefield. Opt for 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.
Drive time from Nashville: 30 minutes
Being so close to Nashville, Franklin acts as the perfect place to hit the road and visit for the day. Take a quick drive south on I-65 and 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.
Another one for the history buffs, especially those into the Civil War, will 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.
Drive time from Nashville: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Explore 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. For the most unique night in the caves, check out Cumberland Caverns Live, where artists put on musical performances 300 feet below the surface!
Drive time from Nashville: 2 hours
If you can’t get enough of Tennessee’s natural caves, head further towards the border of Tennessee and Georgia to visit Chattanooga. Make sure to visit Ruby Falls. There, you’ll find an astonishing 145-foot underground waterfall inside Lookout Mountain. For 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.
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Fest
Drive time from Nashville: 1 hour
Music and art lovers can enjoy a world-known music festival just a short drive from the city. Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is a major festival featuring many famous headlining acts throughout the years. The festival has been going since 2002 with a brief break for Covid-19 but has plans to kick back up again for 2022 for a 20 year anniversary. Nashville locals are lucky to have this event in their backyard as many attendees travel to this music festival from all over the world. Either attend all 4 days or just for one, we guarantee going to Bonnaroo will be a great time.
Hurricane Mills, Tennessee
Drive time from Nashville: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Or better known as Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, Hurricane Mills is west of Nashville, and the perfect place to go if you’re a fan of country music. While the scenery alone is enough to take your breath away, there are also many museums you can visit on the grounds. Catch 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! Loretta Lynn herself claims the ranch is haunted.
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 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. 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.