12 Things to Consider Before Planning a Vacation in Tennessee

In this informative article, let's explore some essential considerations to keep in mind when planning your Tennessee getaway.


Tennessee, a state known for its vibrant music scene, rich history, and breathtaking natural landscapes, is a destination that captivates the hearts of travelers from around the world. From the soulful rhythms of Memphis and Nashville to the serene beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee offers a diverse array of experiences.

Before you pack your bags for the Volunteer State, it’s important to consider a few key factors to make the most of your trip. Whether you’re drawn to the lively streets of its cities, the tranquility of Tennessee mountain cabins, or the adventure of its outdoor spaces, careful planning can ensure your Tennessee vacation is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Let’s explore some essential considerations to keep in mind when planning your Tennessee getaway.

1. Best Time to Visit

Deciding when to visit Tennessee can significantly impact your experience.

  • Summer offers warm weather perfect for outdoor activities and festivals
  • Fall brings stunning foliage, especially in the mountain areas.
  • Winter, especially in the higher elevations, can be magical with snow-covered landscapes, ideal for cozy cabin stays.
  • Spring, meanwhile, is a time of renewal, with wildflowers blooming throughout the state.

Each season in Tennessee has its unique charm and array of activities, so consider what type of experience you’re looking for when choosing your travel dates.

2. Accommodation Options

Tennessee’s diverse range of accommodation options caters to different tastes and budgets. For a more immersive experience in nature, consider staying in one of the many Tennessee mountain cabins, such as those offered by Smoky Mountain Vacation. These cabins have a variety of amenities available, from large indoor pools to cozy mountain-facing decks that are perfect for a night-time get-together.

3. Travel Itinerary

Crafting a well-thought-out travel itinerary is crucial for making the most of your Tennessee trip. The state is packed with attractions, from the music scenes in Nashville and Memphis to the outdoor adventures in the Smoky Mountains. Prioritize what you most want to see and do, and plan your route accordingly. Remember to allow some flexibility in your schedule for spontaneous explorations.

4. Transportation

While major cities in Tennessee offer public transportation options, having a car is beneficial for exploring more remote areas, especially in the Smoky Mountains. Consider renting a car for the duration of your stay if you’re flying in. This will give you the freedom to explore at your own pace and venture off the beaten path.

5. Local Cuisine

Exploring Tennessee’s culinary scene is a must. The state is famous for its barbecue, especially in Memphis, so make sure to try some authentic slow-cooked ribs. Nashville’s hot chicken is another must-try for spice lovers. And don’t forget to indulge in classic Southern comfort food like biscuits and gravy, country ham, and sweet tea.

6. Budgeting

Your budget will influence many aspects of your trip, from where you stay to the activities you choose. Tennessee offers a range of experiences that can fit various budgets. Planning and researching in advance can help you find the best deals on accommodations and attractions. Also, consider visiting some of the many free attractions, like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to make the most of your budget.


7. Outdoor Adventures

Tennessee’s varied landscape is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re an adventurer at heart, plan for activities like hiking in the Smoky Mountains, biking along scenic trails, or fishing in the abundant rivers and lakes. The state also offers unique experiences like caving and rock climbing for those looking for something different. Don’t forget to pack appropriate gear and check for any permits or reservations that might be required for certain activities.

8. Cultural Etiquette

Understanding and respecting local customs and traditions can enhance your experience in Tennessee. The state is known for its Southern hospitality, so expect warm greetings and friendly conversations. It’s customary to reciprocate this kindness and respect, whether you’re interacting with locals in a small-town diner or attending a cultural event. Remember, politeness and courtesy go a long way in making lasting connections during your travels.

9. Music Scene

Tennessee’s rich music heritage is a central part of its identity. If music is your passion, delve into the state’s vibrant music scene. Explore the honky-tonks of Nashville, the blues clubs of Memphis, and the mountain music venues in East Tennessee. Check out local event calendars for live music performances and possibly plan your visit around a music festival to fully experience Tennessee’s musical soul.

10. Packing Essentials

Packing for a trip to Tennessee requires some thought, especially if you plan to indulge in a variety of activities. Essentials include comfortable walking shoes for exploring cities and hiking boots for outdoor adventures. Weather can be unpredictable, so pack layers and be prepared for both warm days and cool nights. Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, a hat for sunny days, and a rain jacket just in case.

11. Local Events and Festivals

Tennessee hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from music and food to history and art. Researching and planning to attend these events can offer a deeper insight into the state’s culture and provide unique experiences. Whether it’s a barbecue championship, a historical reenactment, or a craft fair, these events are often highlights for visitors.

12. Health and Safety

Prioritize your health and safety while traveling in Tennessee. Familiarize yourself with local healthcare facilities and emergency numbers. If you have specific health concerns or allergies, carry the necessary medications and inform your accommodation in advance. When participating in outdoor activities, ensure you follow safety guidelines and stay informed about weather conditions.


Planning a vacation in Tennessee requires consideration of various factors to ensure an enriching and memorable experience. From choosing the best time to visit and finding the perfect Tennessee mountain cabin to exploring the local music scene and indulging in Southern cuisine, every aspect of your trip should reflect what you want to get out of your Tennessee adventure. With its blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality, Tennessee is a destination that promises something special for every traveler. So, start planning, pack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable journey in the heart of the South.

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