50+ Best Things to do on Day or Weekend Road Trips from Nashville Tennessee

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50+ Best Things to do on Day or Weekend Road Trips from Nashville Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee, is a beautiful city with loads of things to do, but sometimes you need to get out of town.  If you’re looking for a fun day or weekend road trip, here are more than 50 great options for things to do.  From the beaches of Alabama to the hills of West Virginia, there’s something for everyone!  So pack your car and get ready for some fun.  Just don’t forget to bring sunscreen and your camera!

Alabama Beaches

When most people think of Alabama, they picture the beaches.  And for good reason – the Alabama coastline is breathtaking.  But many people don’t know that there are several different beaches in Alabama, each with its own unique character.

For example, Gulf Shores Beach in southern Alabama is about a six-hour drive from Nashville.  This beach is known for its crystal clear water and white sand beaches.  Visitors can enjoy activities like swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and kayaking.

On the other hand, Ortega Beach is located in central Alabama and is only about a two-hour drive from Nashville.  This beach is known for its relaxed atmosphere and stunning views.  Visitors can enjoy activities like hiking, picnicking, and canoeing.

Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or have fun, there’s an Alabama beach perfect for you and just the right distance from Nashville.

State Parks Near Nashville

Do you love the great outdoors but don’t want to drive for hours to get there?  Luckily, several state parks lie within a short distance of Nashville.  Radnor Lake State Park is located just 10 miles from downtown Nashville and is a popular spot for hiking, bird watching, and picnicking.

For a longer hike, head to Percy Warner Park, located 12 miles from Nashville.  With over 10 miles of trails to explore, Percy Warner Park is perfect for a day of hiking or horseback riding.

Or, if you’re looking for something more adventurous, check out Rock Island State Park, located about an hour from Nashville.  In addition to hiking and camping, Rock Island State Park offers canoeing, fishing, and even zip-lining!

Whether you’re looking for a quick day trip or a weekend getaway, one of the state parks near Nashville will be perfect. Dive deeper into all the state parks in Tennessee with this State Park Finder tool.

Vineyards Near Nashville

Nashville is located in the middle of Tennessee and is known for being the home of country music.  However, many people don’t know of the several vineyards located within a short drive of the city.

The closest vineyard to Nashville is in Murfreesboro, about a 30-minute drive from the city center.  This vineyard, called Chateau Laughing Stock, offers a variety of wine tastings and tours.

For a more scenic experience, look for one of the several vineyards in the nearby mountains.  Lebanon is home to Arrington Vineyards, about an hour’s drive from Nashville.  This vineyard offers beautiful views of the mountains and a variety of wines to taste.  Visitors can also take advantage of the nearby hiking trails.

For those looking for a truly unique experience, Nashville also has its own urban winery, called Tenn South Distillery.  This winery produces small-batch wines using locally sourced ingredients.  Visitors can tour the facility and taste the different types of wine produced on site.

Vineyards near Nashville offer visitors a chance to escape the city and enjoy some beautiful scenery while enjoying a glass of wine.  With so many options to choose from, there’s sure to be a vineyard that’s perfect for you.

Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Located in the northwestern corner of Alabama, Muscle Shoals is just a stone’s throw from the Tennessee border.   It’s about an hour’s drive from Nashville, so if you’re looking for a quick getaway, this is the perfect spot.   There’s plenty to do in Muscle Shoals, from hiking and camping to fishing and golfing.  And of course, you can’t miss the world-famous Muscle Shoals sound studio, where some of the biggest names in music have recorded hits like “Brown Sugar” and “I’ll Take You There.” So whether you’re looking for a little R&R or a chance to rock out, Muscle Shoals is the place to be.

West Virginia

Located in the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia is about 500 miles from Nashville.  The state is home to various outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, and fishing.  There are also several historical sites, such as the West Virginia State Museum and the West Virginia Railroad Museum.  For those looking for a more adrenaline-filled experience, West Virginia offers several zip lines and rafting trips.  No matter your interests, you’re sure to find something to do in West Virginia.

New River Gorge Bridge

Located in the New River Gorge in Fayetteville, West Virginia, the New River Gorge Bridge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state.  Spanning 3,030 feet (924 meters), it is the longest steel arch bridge in the world and offers stunning views of the gorge below.  It is also a favorite spot for BASE jumping and rock climbing.

Visitors can take a scenic drive across the bridge, hike or bike along the many trails in the area, go whitewater rafting or kayaking on the New River, or enjoy the views from one of the many lookout points.  Several restaurants and cafes are nearby, making it a perfect spot to relax and enjoy a meal with friends or family.

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West Virginia State Museum

The West Virginia state museum is in the heart of the state capital, Charleston.  Just a short drive from Nashville, it’s the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring the history and culture of the Mountain State.  And there’s plenty to see and do at the museum, from checking out the exhibits on West Virginia history and culture to taking a tour of the state capitol building.  If you’re heading on a weekend trip to Charleston, add the West Virginia state museum to your list of best places to visit.

Asheville, North Carolina

If you’re looking for a fun road trip from Nashville, head down to Asheville, North Carolina!  Asheville, North Carolina is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about a four-hour drive from Nashville.  The city is home to several interesting attractions, including the Biltmore Estate and the Grove Park Inn.  There are also plenty of great places to eat and drink, and the Asheville Brewing Company offers tours of its brewery.  In addition, the nearby Pisgah National Forest is a great place to go hiking and camping.  Asheville has something to offer whether you’re looking for culture or nature.

Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is in Asheville, North Carolina, about two hours from Nashville.  Built in 1889, the estate includes a large mansion, beautiful gardens, and a winery.  You will also find several shops and restaurants on the property.  Visitors can take tours of the mansion, go on nature walks, or even go horseback riding.  Biltmore Estate is a great destination for a day trip or a more extended vacation with so much to see and do.

Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest is in western North Carolina, about a two-hour drive from Nashville.  The forest covers over 500,000 acres and is home to various animals, including black bears, elk, and wild turkey.  There are also numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks.  Visitors can enjoy camping, picnicking, fishing, horseback riding, and biking.  In addition, the forest offers a variety of educational programs throughout the year.  Pisgah National Forest is an excellent destination whether you’re looking for a day trip or a more extended vacation.

And, of course, no trip to North Carolina would be complete without sampling some of the state’s famous BBQ!

The Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

About 200 miles from Nashville, Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains are home to various outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking.  Visitors will find several historic sites in the park, such as the Appalachian Trail and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  In addition to its natural beauty, the park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, deer, and wild turkey.  There are also several historical sites in the mountains, including the site of the Battle of Gettysburg.  The Great Smoky Mountains are a great place to visit if you want to experience the beauty of nature and the rich history of the United States.

A landscape showing mountains fading into the distance behind the blue smoke.  The great Smoky Mountains

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is located in the eastern United States, stretching from Maine to Georgia.  The trail is about 2,200 miles long, and Nashville is about halfway along the route.  While the trail is best known for hiking, there are also plenty of other things to do along the way.  In Tennessee, visitors can enjoy scenic views of the Great Smoky Mountains, go whitewater rafting on the Nolichucky River, or explore the historic town of Damascus.  Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a relaxing vacation, the Appalachian Trail has something to offer everyone.

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Williamson County, Tennessee

Williamson County, Tennessee, is a fun, family-friendly destination located just a short distance from Nashville.  This picturesque county offers plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, and canoeing.  There are also numerous historical sites, such as the Franklin battlefield and the Carter House.  And, of course, no visit to Williamson County would be complete without sampling some of the area’s renowned cuisine, from Southern-style BBQ to fresh farm-to-table dishes.  So whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a more extended vacation destination, Williamson County is sure to please.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Just a short distance from Nashville, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is located in the Great Smoky Mountains and is home to various attractions, including the Gatlinburg Space Needle, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.  Visitors can also enjoy hiking, biking, and fishing in the nearby Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or an adventure, Gatlinburg is sure to have something for you.

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee, is located in the state’s southwestern corner, just a short distance from Nashville.  The city is best known for its lively music scene, and there are plenty of places to enjoy live performances or catch a recording artist in action.  Memphis is also home to several museums and historical sites, including the National Civil Rights Museum and Elvis Presley’s Graceland.  Visitors can explore the city’s rich cultural heritage and enjoy its many excellent restaurants.  You can even choose your favorite gift shop.  Whatever your interests, Memphis has something to offer.

National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum is in Memphis, Tennessee, just a short distance from Nashville.  The museum chronicles the history of the civil rights movement in the United States, focusing on the role that Memphis played in this critical moment in history.  Visitors can explore exhibits on topics such as desegregation, voting rights, and the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, as well as learn about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  The museum also features a sizable collection of civil rights photographs and artifacts.  Whether you’re a history buff or just looking to learn more about this critical time in our nation’s past, the National Civil Rights Museum is worth a visit.


Graceland is the historic home of Elvis Presley, and it is now a museum dedicated to his life and work.  The Graceland estate is in Memphis, Tennessee, about a four-hour drive from Nashville.  The property includes the main house where Elvis lived with his family, as well as a pool house, a garage, and a studio.  Visitors to Graceland can tour the main house and see some of Elvis’ personal belongings, including his cars and favorite possessions.  The Graceland property also hosts many events throughout the year, including concerts and fan conventions.  For Elvis fans, Graceland is a must-see destination.

Beale Street

Beale Street is a historic street in Memphis and home to some of the best blues clubs in the country.  If you want to tap your toes and enjoy some great live music, check out Beale Street.  This historic street is full of great music, delicious food, and interesting shops.  You can spend the day exploring all that Beale Street offers, then head back to Nashville for a night on the town.  Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, continue to New Orleans and the French Quarter for an even more extended road trip.  Either way, you’re sure to have a blast!

Night scene with street sign showing "Beale St."


Kentucky is in the southeastern United States, about midway between Nashville and Atlanta.  The state is known for horse racing, bluegrass music, and bourbon whiskey.  There are plenty of things to do in Kentucky, from exploring the state’s natural beauty to visiting its many historical landmarks.  Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or a place to let loose, Kentucky has something for everyone.

Churchill Downs

Located in Louisville, Kentucky, just over 100 miles from Nashville, Tennessee, Churchill Downs is a historic racetrack that hosts the annual Kentucky Derby.  Churchill Downs opened in 1875 and has been hosting the Kentucky Derby since 1876.  Named for John and Henry Churchill, who owned the track’s land, Churchill Downs is one of Louisville’s most popular tourist destinations.  The track is on Central Avenue in Louisville’s South End neighborhood.  The surrounding area is commonly referred to as “Old Louisville.”  Visitors can tour the facility, watch live racing, and bet on races.  The track also hosts several special events throughout the year, including the Kentucky Oaks and the Breeders’ Cup.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is in central Kentucky, about 70 miles from Nashville.  The park is home to the longest known cave system in the world, as well as a variety of other natural features.  Visitors can explore the caves, hike through forests and meadows, canoe or kayak on the Green River, and camp under the stars.  In addition to its natural wonders, the park also offers a variety of educational programs and ranger-led activities.  Whether you’re looking for an adventure or a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, Mammoth Cave National Park is sure to please.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga is home to some of the best museums in the country, including the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Tennessee Aquarium.  So if you’re looking for an educational weekend getaway, Chattanooga is the place for you.

Chattanooga Choo Choo

The Chattanooga Choo Choo is in downtown Chattanooga, just a short distance from Nashville.  This historic hotel features a variety of things to do, including a visit to the on-site museum, a ride on the miniature train, and a tour of the hotel itself.  The hotel also features an indoor pool, a fitness center, and a variety of local restaurants.  Guests can also enjoy a game of tennis or take a stroll through the gardens.  The Chattanooga Choo Choo is the perfect place to stay for those looking for a unique and historical experience.

Market Square

Market Square is in Chattanooga, about 100 miles from Nashville.  It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for things to do.  There are plenty of shops and restaurants, and the distance from Nashville makes it a perfect day trip.  Market Square is worth checking out if you’re looking for a fun place to visit.

Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a lot of things.  It’s a scenic drive, a historic route, and a great place to go for a hike.  It’s also home to some pretty weird things.  For instance, did you know there’s a lookout tower on top of Lookout Mountain?  There’s also a hotel on the Natchez Trace Parkway that was once used as a hospital for people with smallpox.  Talk about creepy!  If you’re looking for an interesting place to visit, the Natchez Trace Parkway is it.  Just be sure to watch out for lookout towers and hotels.

Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain is a great place to take in the sights and sounds of nature.  The Natchez Trace Parkway runs right through the middle of the mountain, providing visitors with plenty of opportunities to see wildlife.  And, of course, the mountain offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.  But its unique history sets Lookout Mountain apart from other natural attractions.  The mountain was once home to several Native American tribes and was also the site of a major battle during the Civil War.  As a result, the mountain is steeped in cultural and natural history.  Lookout Mountain is sure to please whether you’re looking for a place to hike, camp, or simply relax.

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge is a small town with a big heart located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.  Although it’s only a short drive from Nashville at just over 200 miles, it feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  From The 10 Best Things to Do and See at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge Tennessee to the Titanic Museum, there’s something for everyone in Pigeon Forge.  And if you’re looking for a little more adventure, you can always take a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  So whether you’re looking for relaxation or excitement, Pigeon Forge is the perfect place.

Nashville, Tennessee

Of course, no list of best road trips from Nashville would be complete without including a trip to Music City itself!  Music lovers can enjoy strolling down Broadway, visiting the Grand Ole Opry, or stopping at the Johnny Cash Museum.  There’s plenty to see and do in Nashville.  So whether you’re looking for a musical weekend or just a chance to explore a new city, check out some of these best day or weekend road trips right in Nashville.

Nashville Botanical Gardens

Garden enthusiasts rejoice!  The Botanical Gardens are in the heart of downtown Nashville, just a short distance from all the action on Music Row.  This oasis of green is the perfect place to spend a peaceful afternoon, and there is plenty to see and do.  The gardens feature a wide variety of plant life, including native and exotic species.  There is also a butterfly garden, a beehive, and a pond with koi fish.  In addition, the garden hosts various events throughout the year, such as art shows, concerts, and festivals.  So whether you’re looking to learn about plants or enjoy some time in nature, the Botanical Garden is worth visiting.

Rock Island State Park

Rock Island State Park is in the heart of music city, Nashville, Tennessee.  The park offers a variety of activities for visitors, including hiking, biking, and picnicking, and is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, rabbits, and squirrels.  Rock Island State Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  The park is just a short distance from Nashville, making it an ideal place to visit for a day trip or weekend getaway.

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Country Music Hall of Fame is the perfect place to learn about the history of country music.  From its roots in the Appalachian Mountains to its current status as a global phenomenon, the museum tells the story of country music in an educational and entertaining way.  Visitors can see artifacts ranging from Elvis Presley’s gold records to iconic country instruments, and they can even listen to audio recordings of classic songs.  The Country Music Hall of Fame is a must-visit for any country music fan.

Wrapping it All Up

Nashville may be the city that music built, but don’t forget about all the other great places to explore in Tennessee!  There are many options near Nashville if you’re looking for a weekend trip.  From hiking trails and vineyards to mountain ranges and restaurants, you won’t run out of things to do.  And if you need a place to rest your head at night, there are plenty of hotels and historic sites to choose from.  You will never get bored with things to see and do near and in Nashville, Tennessee!

Have I missed anything near Nashville?  Leave a note in the comments and let me know – I would love to check it out!

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