As a kid, family vacations are one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. Fond memories of waking up early in the morning, bundling everyone into the car and setting off on the journey to this year’s destination are treasured by almost all adults that took vacations as children, and your kids will likely be no different!
Of course, the trip itself isn’t the only thing that leaves memories in the minds of your children. Where you choose to go and what you choose to do also has a significant impact on them! If you choose a less-than-memorable vacation location, they might not remember it quite so fondly. If you choose well, they’ll treasure that memory for the rest of their lives!
So, you’re looking to choose a place to visit. You’ve looked at the Disney World in Orlando FL, but it’s too expensive. You’ve checked out a simple vacation in one of the national parks, but that’s too laid back. There are ways to make both of these vacation ideas work, sure, but what if you want an entirely new destination that is guaranteed to put a smile on your kids’ faces? Then you’ll want to visit the beautiful state of Tennessee!
Tennessee: unexpectedly perfect for kids
Now, when you’re thinking of kid-friendly vacation destinations that the entire family will enjoy, Tennessee isn’t necessarily one of the first states that pops into mind. With its rugged mountain ranges and beautiful but forbidding landscapes, it’s hardly surprising that most people perceive it as little more than a hideout for country hicks. Truth be told, there are plenty of backwoods hick types around, but there’s also plenty of great, kid-friendly attractions!
Now, the question that we’ve arrived at and will do our best to answer is this: what is there to do in the state of Tennessee that the whole family will enjoy? Luckily, there’s no shortage of attractions that fit the bill here. As we mentioned before, there are plenty of family friendly things to see and do here. With no further ado, let’s take a look at some of them!
Dollywood – Pigeon Forge, TN
For those of you that grew up listening to country music, Dolly Parton is an icon. Seamlessly blending impressive performances and catchy tunes with a uniquely sincere songwriting approach, Dolly Parton and her music are a huge part of the country music scenes of both the past and present.
If you love Dolly as much as we do, then there’s no better place in Tennessee to visit than Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. This unique theme park has everything you’d expect from a similar attraction, from pulse-pounding rollercoasters to slower-paced rides and themed attractions. Add to that the charming aesthetics of the rural way of life and you have a winning combination!
In addition to everything there is to do at the park, there’s also a wide array of options when it comes to places to stay. Dollywood includes several hotels, each with their own unique theme and atmosphere, where families can enjoy a wide array of amenities and activities. If you’d rather swing for something a little more inexpensive, there are plenty of hotels and AirBnB’s in nearby Pigeon Forge. If you’re in town, Dollywood is a must-see!
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – Gatlinburg, TN
As a landlocked state with no access to any of America’s coastline, Tennessee is not the first state you’d imagine to have a massive and diverse aquarium; nevertheless, it does! At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, you can marvel in dismay at a jaw dropping array of marine life from all over the world, all presented in a family-friendly setting!
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is located near one of the most beautiful cities in the state, Gatlinburg TN. After you’ve explored the aquarium and had a chance to gawk at its collection of over 10,000 unique and exotic sea creatures, you can head into town for a bit to eat at one of its many delicious restaurants.
After that’s taken care of, you could find a hotel and turn in for the night; but why not get a little more adventurous with it? Gatlinburg is the perfect place for a family camping trip, with plenty of immaculate campgrounds and other outside-the-box lodging options. If you’d rather stay in a rental home for your time here, why not get in touch with one of the real estate agents in Gatlinburg TN? They’ll get you just what you need!
The Fire Museum of Memphis – Memphis, TN
You can search high and low the whole world over, but your chances of finding a kid that doesn’t love fire trucks are slim at best. These brightly coloured, noisy vehicles careen back and forth between the station and homes of distressed citizens, carrying water, valiant firemen and the supplies to help those in trouble. Even as an adult, there’s something uniquely compelling about these magnificent vehicles and the service they provide!
If you or one of your kids is interested in firefighting, then there’s one place in Tennessee that you simply must visit: the Fire Museum in Memphis, TN. This fascinating museum offers kids and adults of all ages a chance to peer behind the curtain and get a glimpse of what makes this lifesaving service tick. Featuring fire engines from all historical periods, fascinating exhibits of firefighting equipment and real, live firefighters, there’s no way someone could not enjoy this!
The best part about this incredible museum is that it’s one of the most inexpensive attractions on this list! With a ticket price of a mere $10, you can explore the museum to your heart’s content, while contributing to the cause of helping others learn about fire safety. There’s literally no downside!
Graceland – Memphis, TN
Over the course of the last half century or so, no musician has shaped the course of music history quite like Elvis Presley. With his flamboyant outfits, bad-boy attitude and forward-thinking musical innovations, Elvis was ahead of his time in many more ways than one. There’s a reason they call him the King of rock and roll, after all!
Whether you’re an Elvis enthusiast or not, his home-turned-theme-park is sure to have something that appeals to you and your kids! This delightful estate features relaxing gardens, exhibits with personal effects, instruments and signed memorabilia from the King, as well as a number of interactive displays. While you’re experiencing all of this, you’ll be listening to the greatest hits and sleeper gems that the King ever produced!
If you’re looking to get the full graceland experience, there are two ways you can stay at this delightful place: the guest house and the campground. The guest house is a fully furnished and staffed Elvis themed hotel, while the campground offers many of the same upsides at a lower cost; the only caveat is that you have to bring a tent or RV!
Well, there you have it: some of the best, most family friendly attractions in the state of Tennessee. Don’t get it wrong though, there’s plenty more to see and do in this state, regardless of your age or who you’re bringing. Put simply, this is one of the most lively states in the country, and that’s something we don’t think it gets enough credit for!