Fall Adventure Awaits in Tennessee

Fall Adventure Awaits in Tennessee

Haunted history, pumpkin patches, fall festivals. Made in Tennessee.

There's something special about the fall in Tennessee. The balmy afternoons giving way to the breezy evenings. The roar of crowds filling the SEC stadiums on Saturday afternoons, then spilling out onto the streets (and into the bars) once the game-goers team won (or lost). The pumpkin patches creating swaths of orange across the countryside. The apple-picking season meaning apple pie is on every restaurant menu. What's not to love? 

If you're looking to get out and about to soak up Middle Tennessee in all its fall glory, here are a few ideas for you. 

Bring in the Harvest


Bring in the Harvest

Fall beauty rises to greet you on every mountain and valley kissed with the vibrant colors of leaves dancing in the wind as the autumn’s harvest comes to Tennessee. Experience it first-hand in pumpkin patches, corn mazes and enjoy apples ripe for picking during a perfect day on the farm. 

For a lazy Saturday spent outdoors, there's nowhere better to be than a pumpkin patch, filling your wagon with Jack-o-lantern fodder aplenty. The sprawling Walden Farm in Smyrna doesn't just offer pumpkins, though; it also has gourds, Indian corn and other seasonal harvest items for picking, as well as plenty of kid-friendly activities like a hayride and a 40-foot slide. 

Wander through the rows of scarecrows at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. Nashville's own botanical garden is worth a visit no matter the season, but come autumn, it morphs into a fall fantasyland with its annual Scarecrows exhibit, each one sponsored by a different organization from the community. In addition to the unique straw creations, there's also 5,000 mums on display, pumpkin decorating, model trains and more. 

The double-arched Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge in Franklin, Tennessee. Photo credit: Visit Franklin
The double-arched Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge in Franklin, Tennessee. Photo credit: Visit Franklin

Take a Foliage-Filled Drive   

Cruise down the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile recreational scenic drive through Tennessee that snakes its way through Alabama and Mississippi. Stops along the way include hiking, biking and horseback riding, For optimal fall foliage viewing, make your way to Old Trace Drive (milepost 375.8), Swan View Overlook (milepost 392.5) and a leisurely walk at Fall Hollow (391.9) will showcase the colors.  

Another great way to see the foliage is to explore Tennessee's backroads with the help of Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, a collection of 16 scenic drives that connect Tennessee's cities to its rural communities. Hop on The Jack Trail to cruise through beautiful landscapes that will bring you to the Jack Daniel Distillery, the small town of Bell Buckle, Arrington Vineyards, Cannonsburgh Village and more.  

The Promised Land Trail takes you to Granville, the Sparta Drive-In, Foglight Foodhouse and Edgar Evins State Park. Learn the legend behind the Bell Witch Cave, visit the Port Royal State Historic Park, Wynnewood State Historic Site and more on the Ring of Fire Trail. The Screaming Eagle Trail takes you to Clarksville, music at the Fillin' Station, zip lining at Adventureworks and Loretta Lynn's Ranch.  

Small towns like Lobelville, Linden, Green River Stables and Cajun dishes at Pirate's Lair can be found on the Tennessee River Trail. The Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways also has trails in East Tennessee and West Tennessee.  


Read House, Chattanooga


Spooky Thrills

Ghost stories are woven into Tennessee’s rich history. Explore historic hotels, theaters, battlefields and homes to learn about those first residents who, seemingly, never left. Don’t be surprised if you see a door mysteriously shut or hear a laugh down an empty hallway. It’s time for a haunt in Tennessee.

Begin your spooky journey in East Tennessee by touring Room 311 at the Read House Hotel in Chattanooga, where it’s believed to be haunted by a former guest at the hotel. Drive up to Knoxville to see a show at Bijou Theatre, which was used as a hospital for soldiers during the Civil War then travel on through several other haunted locations like the Christopher-Taylor House in Jonesborough, the Wheatlands Plantation in Sevierville and the Historic Scott County Jail in Huntsville.  

On to Middle Tennessee to experience one of the most haunted places in the U.S. at the Thomas House Hotel in Red Boiling Springs. Built on an ancient Native American Trail, visitors have experienced cold spots and heard disembodied voices. Continue to drive through Adams to experience the Bell Witch Cave, then on to the Lotz House in Franklin and the Cragfront State Historic Site in Castalian Springs.  

Head west to Memphis for the grand finale of our spooky Tennessee tour beginning at the Orpheum Theatre where the spirit Mary has enjoyed theatrical shows from her balcony seat in C5, dances in the hallways and plays pranks on housekeepers. Also in Memphis, tour The Woodruff-Fontaine Mansion where its original mistress continues to haunt the home where she was happiest in her tragic life. And finally, celebrate the end of your tour at Memphis’ Earnestine & Hazel’s, a dive bar that has been named one of the most haunted places in America. 

Can't-Miss Autumn Events


Can't-Miss Autumn Events

Soak in the energy of live music on concert stages across Tennessee at fall music festivals. Marvel at the intricate details a local artisan employs during one of the many fairs happening across the state. Cheer for your favorite football team as they battle for top honors. 

Thousands of artists, music fans and industry professionals from around the world come to Nashville for the Americana Music Festival & Conference for 500 live performances at approximately 60 venues around the city. Panels, seminars and exclusive daytime performances take place for the conference portion of the event. Performers in years past have included Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rosanne Cash, The Milk Carton Kids, Asleep at the Wheel, Joe Purdy, The Lone Bellow, Brandy Clark, The Black Lillies and more.  

Liberty Square Celebration & Lester Flatt Memorial Bluegrass Day takes place in downtown Sparta. The event includes bluegrass performances from artists like Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Becky Buller Band, Blake Williams & Friends, and David Parmley & Cardinal Tradition, food, fireworks and a classic car show. The festival honors Lester Flatt, who's known for his bluegrass guitar style as part of Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. 

Competing anglers will flock to Dale Hollow Lake in Byrdstown for the Dale Hollow Bass Classic. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are fished during this competition to win cash prizes and the $500 Big Fish Winner each day. 

For more Tennessee festivals happening across the state this fall, check out these autumnal events you should attend