If you are looking for the best day trips from Nashville, you have come to the right place! Nashville has great good, an amazing country music scene, and so much culture! But as the capital and most populous city of Tennessee, sometimes it is nice to get out of town and explore somewhere new! Whether you’re looking for a new city, scenic views, fun and interesting things to do, or charming small towns, this list will have the perfect place for you!
The destinations below are categorized by how long it will take you to get there, less than an hour, 1-2 hours, etcetera. These trips can be done in a day, but some of them deserve a couple days to fully explore and enjoy! The list of things to do outside of Nashville would be remiss if we didn’t include the best weekend trips from Nashville!
The area surrounding Nashville is beautiful and although our destinations are amazing, the journey is worth your time as well! So fill up the car, pack some snacks, and get ready to see some of the best short trips from Nashville, Tennessee!
Best Nashville Day Trips Within 0-1 hours
Franklin [35 minutes]
Only a 35 minute drive south from Nashville, Franklin is one of the best short trips from Nashville! This small, historic town is the perfect destination if you’re looking for somewhere to slow down and experience that famous southern hospitality! You are going to want to put this on your Weekend In Nashville Itinerary!
Named one of the “50 Best Places to Travel in 2022” by Travel + Leisure, Franklin is a special spot. Their Main Street is nationally recognized for its historic significance. Both Center House and Carnton Plantation are key sites to the American Civil War’s 1864 Battle of Franklin!
Boutiques, distilleries, over ten murals scattered throughout the town, Franklin is one of the great Nashville day trips!
Cedars of Lebanon State Park [35 minutes]
A quick 35 minute drive east will take you to Cedars of Lebanon State Park, one of the best dog friendly day trips from Nashville. Named for the eastern red cedars found throughout the property, early Americans were reminded of the Biblical cedars that grew on Mount Lebanon, hence the name Cedars of Lebanon.
Sprawling over a thousand acres, Cedars of Lebanon has over ten miles of hiking trails where hikers often see fox, deer and other wildlife. Dogs are allowed on the trails and on campsites, but must be leashed or caged at all times!
The park is also a big spot for birders and herbalists as there are 19 different endangered plants within the park. Cedars of Lebanon State Park is a great outdoorsy day trip from Nashville.
Nolensville [29 minutes]
Nolensville is the perfect place to escape for an afternoon. With cozy boutiques and small town vibes, Nolensville is one of the best things to do outside of Nashville TN! This is also the perfect place to go if you are having your bachelorette party in Nashville!
At Serendipity, you can pick out and paint pottery for your own home. With the short drive, picking it up after it’s been fired in the kiln will not be a problem! Whether its a custom ornament for a gift, or painting your own dishware for future entertaining, painting your own pottery is a memory to last a lifetime!
The Nolensville Feed Mill and The Amish House have handcrafted Amish furniture, food, candy, and other locally made products. Nolensville is definitely one of the craftiest short trips from Nashville!
Day Trips From Nashville between 1 -2 Hours
Cummins Falls [1.25 hours]
A little over an hour east from Nashville will take you to Cummins Falls State Park! This adventurous day use park is just shy of 300 acres and is one of the most dog friendly day trips from Nashville!
Cummins Falls is named for their 75 foot waterfall that locals have been swimming in for the last 100 years! The waterfall is Tennessee’s eighth largest waterfall in terms of volume and it is absolutely breathtaking. There are two hikes into the gorge; one is a mile and the other is a mile and a half. Both routes are steep with uneven terrain so its best to bring proper footwear!
Pack a picnic, grab your pup and swimsuit, and spend a wonderful day at Cummins Falls State Park, one of the more outdoorsy short trips from Nashville!
Waverly [1.25 hours]
With a population of only 4000, Waverly gives small town vibes while still full of so much to do! From history to the arts, Waverly is one of the best day trips near Nashville, Tennessee!
Perhaps the most visited attraction in Waverly is country music star Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and Campground. On property there is camping, cabin rentals, canoeing, fishing, hiking trails, a western town and gift shop, as well as Loretta and Mooney’s century old plantation home.
Also in Waverly are state historic areas, a wildlife refuge, and the Blue Creek Nature Center. Waverly has a little bit of everything depending on what you’re looking for and would make a great day trip from Nashville for families! This is truly one of the best places for camping near Nashville!
Pulaski [1.25 hours]
Pulaski is one of the best short trips from Nashville because it has everything. There are plenty of options to play, learn or dine!
One of the most fun attractions is the Milky Way Farm which was founded by the creator of Mars Inc. (that’s right, the candy bar company Mars Inc!). The twenty bedroom and 14 bath manor has secret doorways that lead to secret passageways and has left guests mystified for years! The house itself with American Chestnut beams and a custom built forty seat table, the manor is a work of art.
There are coffee shops, vineyards, bbq joints, delis, and restaurants galore in this charming town of the South. Pulaski is one of the most entertaining day trips from Nashville for families!
Lynchburg [1.5 hours]
There are plenty of reasons to make the hour and a half drive to Lynchburg, but the biggest reason is for the Jack Daniels Distillery! Lynchburg is one of the most fun day trips near Nashville for adults!
This small town of 5,500 residents draws 250,000 visitors every year. Tucked in the hills of Moore County, the Jack Daniels Distillery is the oldest registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Every ounce of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey is till produced there. To tour the distillery is free and for guest who are 21 and over, a tasting tour is only $10!
After the tour, you can also visit Lynchburg’s 100 year old courthouse, their charming downtown square, antique shopping, and so much more. If the need arises, there are many quaint hotels and bed and breakfasts to choose from. Lynchburg is one of the most fun Nashville day trips!
Mammoth Cave National Park [1.5 hours]
Mammoth Cave National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve! A short drive from Nashville allows you to witness the longest known cave system and thousands of years of human history! Mammoth Cave National Park is one of the more educational day trips from Nashville for families!
Actually located in Kentucky, Mammoth Caves have a rich history. From aiding the United States in the War of 1812 to being worked on by African Americans at all stages of its discovery.
There are many different tours to choose between from wheelchair accessible options to crawling tours. Your group is sure to be amazed and entertained at Mammoth Caves National Park, one of the most adventurous day trips from Nashville!
Chattanooga [2 hours]
Named by Lonely Planet as one of the “10 U.S. Destinations You Need To See” and by the New York Times as one of the “Top 45 Places to Go” in the world, Chattanooga is one of the best weekend trips from Nashville!
Only two hours from Nashville, it does not need to be a weekend getaway, but with so much to do in Chattanooga, we definitely recommend finding a cute hotel and making a mini vacation out of the trip! You can go ziplining, take a ghost tour, visit Ruby Falls, or take a scenic trip with the Chattanooga Riverboat Company! There are museums, zoos, a railroad, and so much more!
Chattanooga has all the makings for one of the best get out of Nashville weekend trips!
Huntsville [2 hours]
Just over the state line into Alabama is a high tech city with a historical legacy! Huntsville is one of the best day trips from Nashville for families!
In Huntsville Alabama you will find the U.S. Space and Rocket Center! With one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia on display, touring the center is a must! There is a planetarium show and an exhibit detailing the science of Guinness World Records! You can also take part in a 20 minute experience aboard the Discovery Shuttle simulator!
Huntsville is a great destination for people of all ages and is one of the most educational things to do outside of Nashville!
Day Trips From Nashville Over 2 Hours
Gatlinburg [4 hours]
Gatlinburg has a little bit of everything and that makes it one of the best day trips from Nashville for families! Since it is a four hour drive, we do recommend making this one into a Nashville weekend getaways!
Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains is always going to be on the list of things to do because they are so beautiful and unique to the South. But if your family or group is looking more to be entertained, Gatlinburg has you covered! SkyLift Park is all in the air! Their SkyLift chairs are 1,800 feet above sea level. The SkyBridge offers unique views of the Smoky Mountains and the town of Gatlinburg.
The Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and Penguin Playhouse will entertain with facts and fun things to experience. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of everything to do in Gatlinburg! Please make this one of the best weekend trips from Nashville!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park [3 hours]
As the most biodiverse of the National Parks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks is one of the best dog friendly day trips from Nashville, Tennessee! Being three hours gives this location the flexibility of being a day trip or one of the best weekend trips from Nashville!
The Great Smoky Mountains offer beautiful views no matter you hiking skill level. The Newfound Gap is accessible through just driving to the parking lot! For more adventurous hikers, Charlie’s Bunion is a popular spot and is reached by an eight mile round trip strenuous hike on the Appalachian Trail! Chimney Tops Trail is also a very popular hike is shorter at only four miles round trip!
No matter which way you decide to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is one of the more beautiful vacation spots near Nashville!
Graceland [3 hours]
This destination is for anyone who loves music, loves rock and roll, or loves people who changed the trajectory of history! Home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, Graceland is one of the most fun weekend trips from Nashville!
Graceland is 120 acres of information about Elvis. Guests can explore his mansion on a tour, see his gold records and jeweled jumpsuits! You will also get the opportunity to see his impressive collection of classic cars! There is also a resort on property if you want to stay in The Guest House at Graceland!
Located near Memphis, it is one of the most American culture type vacation spots near Nashville!
Calhoun [3 hours]
We couldn’t finish this list without a spot in Georgia! At three hours away, Calhoun is one of the best weekend trips from Nashville! There is no shortage of things to do in Calhoun and it is fun for the whole family!
Perhaps the most interesting attraction in Calhoun is The Rock Garden. Put together by the Seventh Day Adventist Church the Rock Garden is considered a place of prayer. They have made castles, archways, little towns, a coliseum, all out of rocks. The surrounding flowers add to the majestic gardens.
Calhoun has a number of wonderful parks for the kids to play, an outlet marketplace to do some shopping, and state historic sites! Calhoun is one of the best day trips from Nashville for families!
Dollywood [3.25 hours]
It is hard to imagine a better day trip from Nashville for families than Dollywood! Dolly Parton wanted to open a theme park in her home town, but she didn’t want to tread on the park already there — Silver Dollar City. The owners reached out in 1986 and proposed a partnership that she quickly agreed to! Dollywood was born!
The theme park portion of Dollywood has over 40 attractions for all ages! Several roller coasters, a carousel, a train and so much more! “Splash Country” waterpark has over 15 attractions and space for the whole family to have a great day in the water. Both parks offer breathtaking views of the Great Smokey Mountains. Both parks advertise entertainment such as dinner shows, stampedes and so much more. The food is amazing as well! Included on property is a resort and cabins should you choose to stay!
Dollywood is definitively one of the best vacation spots near Nashville!