Downtown McMinnville, Tennessee

Bluegrass, beauty and barbecue in McMinnville, Tennessee

How to spend a weekend full of adventure and bluegrass in McMinnville, Tennessee

McMinnville is almost an hour and a half away from Nashville. It's a perfect day trip or weekend getaway to experience incredible scenery, a few waterfalls, delicious food and outdoor activities. Spend a weekend in a boutique hotel that has a private waterfall onsite and explore the downtown area for history and a relaxing day of popping in and out of the shops. Here are five ways to experience McMinnville if you're an avid outdoorsperson. 

Where to Stay

Evins Mill

Evins Mill is the picturesque boutique resort you’ve dreamed of but haven’t experienced just yet. Book a stay to experience all the luxurious amenities of a resort in an intimate setting. With breathtaking views, rooms where you can fall asleep listening to the bubbling creek, and delicious meals, you’ll fall in love with this tucked away property. Wake up the next morning to Chef Evans’ wonderfully-prepared biscuits and gravy, fruit, and of course, bacon before heading out to the hiking trails exclusive to overnight guests. Be sure to pick up a curated picnic to enjoy in nature.

Where to Explore

Cumberland Caverns 

Start your day off with a journey under the earth in Tennessee's largest show cave. Cumberland Caverns stretches more than 32 miles and hosts daytime caving tours and even overnight caving expeditions. Tours vary from the leisure explorer to the adventurer who likes to get dirty.

Suter Falls 

McMinnville is a great, central location to go hiking to some of Tennessee's best waterfalls. Explore the lesser-known secret spot of Suter Falls on the West Collins Gap Trail in the stunningly gorgeous Savage Gulf State Park. A more difficult one-mile, round trip hike will lead you to see a large trail along an alcove with Suter Falls pouring over.

Expel some energy on the two-and-a-half-hour, self-guided course at the Canopy Challenge Course at Fall Creek Falls State Park. You'll get thorough instruction at Ground School and then can choose six different routes from easy to difficult. Certified guides supervise on the ground below as you maneuver the challenges of each course. Take in the scenery and learn about the wildlife simultaneously in this hands-on way to experience one of Tennessee's most popular state parks.

Smooth Rapids Outfitters

Have fun on the water with Smooth Rapids Outfitters. They can equip you with all you need for a great day on Tennessee's waterways. Book an hour or two for a short cruise in a boat or tube where you'll be equipped with a paddle, life vest and shuttle to and from the launch area. You can also do a longer float, a 4.5-hour adventure or an 8-mile, 5.5-hour excursion. After your float, enjoy a hand crafted burger, salad, wings or blackened shrimp tacos at The Grill at Smooth Rapids.

Where to Eat

Cumberland Biscuit Company 

If you're craving eggs Benedict, French toast, buttermilk pancakes, and country gravy and fluffy biscuits, go to Cumberland Biscuit Company where breakfast and brunch are served as well as Saturday night dinner 4:30-7:30 p.m. On Saturday nights, you can dine on shrimp and grits, salads and burgers like The Bamboshka - a 2/3 lb. beef patty topped with bacon, gouda, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and spicy mayo. Save room for dessert which includes an apple tart, cheddar cheese apple pie and Baileys Irish Creme brownie topped with vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate sauce and white chocolate rum sauce.

Collins River BBQ & Cafe

Have a hearty meal of barbecue, sandwiches and salads.
Photo Credit: Melissa Corbin

Hiking and playing outdoors makes you quite hungry, so head to downtown McMinnville to grab some barbecue because this is Tennessee, after all and a brew at Collins River BBQ & Cafe. Baby back ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket and hickory smoked wings are waiting to be devoured. Along with mouth-watering barbecue, Collins River also offers salads, veggie wraps, homemade chicken salad and much more. The menu is also kid-friendly with grilled cheese, crispy chicken or pulled pork sliders, chicken tenders and mini corn dogs. 

Get active in McMinnville for a memorable outdoor vacation. Explore even more places and things to do in this adventure town.

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