As summer winds down and school bells are ready to ring, soak in the last precious moments of the season with a vacation to Tennessee. Hike through strikingly beautiful scenery; camp in a luxury tree house; and meet some of the world’s most iconic artists. Family memories are just waiting to be made in Tennessee.
Young kids will love exploring and learning in the fun, interactive Children's Museum of Memphis. Dig up bones in the Dinosaur Dig. Explore how an earthquake and tornadoes are formed. Let them try their hook shot and learn about trigonometry at Bankshot Basketball. Climb the Skyscraper, a 22-foot tall vertical maze, and have a strength test on the rock climbing wall on the mountain range.
The world-renowned wax attraction Madame Tussauds, which has been producing life-size, life-like wax figures for 250 years, has put roots down at Opry Mills in Nashville, the city’s No. 1 shopping destination. Known for its interactive wax experience where guests can take photos with their favorite celebrities, Madame Tussauds Nashville plays hosts to guests’ favorite musicians including Justin Timberlake, Minnie Pearl, Bruno Mars and Johnny Cash among many others.
Let your competitive side show at the boutique Maple Hall, an 11-lane bowling alley with leather couches, small plates like chicken tenders, burgers, hot chicken and mac and cheese, and a relaxed atmosphere. Have a family-friendly game - or several - of bowling until 9 p.m. A two-lane private room is available as well as plenty of areas to lounge and watch the one of many surrounding HD TVs.
Explore America’s largest underground lake at The Lost Sea in Sweetwater. Start off with a guided tour of the caverns and learn the fascinating history of the area. Make your way to the bottom of the cave where you’ll board a glass-bottom boat to set sail on the Lost Sea. After the tour, explore the general store, Cavern Kitchen Cafe, gem mine and glassblower.
Journey to South Cumberland State Park in Monteagle that stretches across four counties: Sequatchie, Grundy, Franklin and Marion. The Savage Gulf and Stone Door areas offer 55 miles of hiking. Take your family on this Tennessee adventure to experience waterfalls, historic locations like Stage Coach Road and the beautiful vistas. Stone Door gets its name from a crack in a cliff that looks like a door left open.
See exotic animals up close at Tennessee Safari Park, a drive-thru experience where you can safely feed the animals from your car. Point out animals such as zebras, kangaroos, ostrich, Sika deer, Springbok, Tapir, Warthogs, Wildebeast and camels along the 5.5-mile drive. There's even a walk-through zoo where you can see squirrel monkeys, lemurs, Nigerian dwarf goats, cotton-top tamarins and more.
Camp LeConte - Gatlinburg
Make kids’ dreams come true with a stay in a luxury tree house at Camp LeConte in Gatlinburg. The open air bedroom offers breathtaking views of Mount LeConte and fresh Great Smoky Mountain air. With a queen bed furnished with sheets, blanket and pillow and sleeping loft for two kids with blankets, pillows and sheets, a full private bathroom, covered patio, phone charger outlets and towels, wash cloths, soap, shampoo and lotion provided, it’s the family summer camp out taken to a new level.
The Airstream Glamper at Stillwaters Farm in Henderson is, as they say, “for the rustic hippie in us all.” Have a glamping experience in the Airstream which houses a full-sized bed, queen-sized bed and a twin bed at the collapsible dinette booth. It has high-efficiency heat and air conditioning, new laminate floors and access to the outdoor bathhouse. The bathhouse has a composting toilet, clawfoot tub, LED lighting and tankless water heater. Do laundry at the cottage easily as Stillwaters Farm has basic laundry soap made on-site. Linens, dishes, soap, cookware and appliances are also provided.
Located in the quiet, rolling hills of Leiper's Fork, Pot N' Kettle Cottages are a collection of adorable homes that will instantly make you feel cozy and relaxed. The Coda Cottage, for example, has two bedrooms and one bathroom, a library and large equipped kitchen. Traveling with a group? Rent out Leiper's Fork Inn, a sprawling 3,000-foot home with four beds, two full baths and two half baths. All the cottages are within a short distance of Leiper's Fork with its boutiques, art galleries and Leiper's Fork Distillery.
Hike, explore, learn something new and, most importantly, enjoy special family moments together. Explore more family-friendly attractions and destinations in Tennessee.
Here's what you'll find along the way.