I’m an eternal summer kind of girl. I love being warm, the longer days, and the sunshine. But as much as I resist, fall is coming. Tennessee is a landlocked state but it’s so pretty here in the fall when the trees change. North Carolina, Kentucky, and Georgia are short drives away but Tennessee has some awesome state parks, lake, mountains, and more to enjoy. When the leaves start to turn, hop in your car and take advantage of it! I’m rounding up the top 5 places to visit in the fall in Tennessee.
Top 5 Places to Visit in the Fall in Tennessee
Cheeckwood is a botanical garden outside of Nashville that is fun any time of year. But in the fall it’s extra special because there’s a house made of pumpkins and a full-on harvest. You can look at all the different scarecrows in one area, look at the changing colors in the trees, buy a pumpkin, and more! You’ll find activities and experiences designed to appeal to kids, adults, and families alike, making this six-week celebration the perfect time for a peaceful solo stroll, a crisp fall family day, or an afternoon date. Check out Cheekwood in Harvest from September 17-October 30.
Drive Down the Natchez Trace Parkway
Just you and the open road! Natchez Trace is a beautiful drive but during the fall it’s downright magical. Go get a pumpkin spice drink, put on some music, stick your phone in the glove box, roll down the windows and enjoy the drive. Get out along the way and take in the scenic overlooks too!
Get a Cabin with Friends in East Tennessee
East Tennessee is hands down the best place to be to enjoy the fall foliage. The drive from Nashville to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge is only four hours and you see some beautiful views. If you really want to enjoy the fall, get some friends and rent a cabin in the mountains! You can enjoy the crisp, mountain air, have a bonfire, jump in a jacuzzi and take in the views. Also, go hiking on one of the hiking trails at Smoky Mountains National Park or drive the Roaring Fork Motor Trail or Newfound Gap Road. We stayed at Eagles Ridge Cabin on a romantic getaway to Gatlinburg and they were great.
Cookeville is only an hour from Nashville and perfect for a little day trip! I have a full recap on what to do on your day trip here, but grab a coffee, shop in the square, go on an easy hike to Bee Rock, and then go to dinner. You’ll have the best time walking around and getting out of the city. There are also a ton of cool murals to see and take photos with.
Grab your love and take the three-hour drive to Chatt. They have hiking, breathtaking vistas, culinary tours, do a brew tour, cruise into the Tennessee River Gorge, or jump aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad or Lookout Mountain Incline Railway for a variety of train rides that take you through the beautiful Tennessee valley or straight up Lookout Mountain. There’s so much to see and do and it’s that much better with the changing leaves around you!
A few spots that deserve a mention are Shelby Forest State Park and Poplar Tree Lake in Memphis, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Radnor Lake State Park in Nashville,
Oneida, TN. Enjoy Fork National River while you’re there!
They’re pretty close! It’s about an hour and a half drive. You can also hike between the two in 13 hours.