The problem: Spring Break is here, and you don't have plans to leave the state. The good news: There are plenty of action-packed staycation ideas right here in Middle Tennessee that don't require going far at all. We've rounded up a few of our favorite ideas that are bound to keep you busy the next couple weeks while school's out.
* All photos provided by Camels & Chocolate unless otherwise noted.
1. Take a stroll through history in downtown Nashville. If you're like many locals, you don't make an effort to explore the attractions in your own backyard—and now's as good a time as any to hit up all those famed stops your friends want to see every time they're visiting. Start at the Goo Goo Shop on 3rd Avenue—the home to the century-old candy cluster and a new café that just started offering lunch nibbles like grilled Pimento cheese, chicken salad sandwich and a soup of the day—before popping into the George Jones Museum, which opened in 2015 and memorializes the late singer's life through film clips, facts, entertainment and more.
Just around the corner, the Country Music Hall of Fame pays homage to country greats, past and present, and currently has exhibits devoted to Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban's careers. Your musical education continues at the iconic Ryman Auditorium. The famed concert hall, originally built in 1892, was the subject of an extensive expansion that debuted last year with a souped-up experience including a state-of-the-art, 100-seat theater playing Soul of Nashville, a video montage of the Mother Church of Country Music's storied history. End back where you started at the Goo Goo Shop's new dessert bar for a sweet finale in the form of pecan pie, the Honky Tonky Blonde or the sinfully delicious Salty Southerner Shake.
2. Spend a day up on the Domain. One of the nation's most stunning college campuses, the 13,000-acre Sewanee: The University of the South sits conveniently just off of I-24 between Nashville and Chattanooga and is the pride and joy of Monteagle Mountain. Have brunch at The Blue Chair Café & Tavern before you head to the sandstone archway Natural Bridge for a photo stop, then tackle a portion of the 20-mile Perimeter Trail. Wander around the campus, making sure to peek into the magnificent All Saints' Chapel, and have a late afternoon beer at Shenanigans before heading out to the Cross for sunset.
(Courtesy of Nashville Zoo, Amiee Stubbs)
3. Zip through the Nashville Zoo. Coast 110 feet over the grounds via the Soaring Eagle, the zoo's seated zipline that opened just last week. From your lofty perch above the treeline, you'll be able to see a number of Grassmere's residents, such as the giraffes, zebras and primate inhabitants of the jungle gym, and even glimpses of downtown Nashville.
4. Head to the vines in Arrington. On a warm spring day, there's nowhere better to be than on the sloping lawn of Middle Tennessee's own acclaimed winery, Arrington Vineyards. Purchase an arsenal of picnic foods and wine from the gift shop—after doing enough tastings to figure out what suits your fancy, of course—then enjoy them out under the balmy spring sun.
5. Admire the blooms at Cheekwood. The region's own botanical gardens is never prettier than when its 155,000 tulips bloom each spring. The 55-acre Cheekwood also lays claim to a 30,000-square-foot, Georgian-style residence that serves as its resident museum housing an impressive art collection.