Nashville sits near the waistline of the contiguous 48, making it a great launching point for a road trip in any direction. To the east lie the ancient, foggy Appalachian mountains. To the west, America’s other “Music City”, Memphis. There are also plenty of “Deep South” escapes to explore, such as northern Alabama and Mississippi. And for those looking to switch up their skyline, Atlanta is only a 4-hour drive away. Check out some of our top picks for road trips from Nashville.
Space Out on the North Alabama Rocket Trail
2 hours from Nashville
This collection of aerospace memorabilia stretches across several locations in northern Alabama. From the Saturn 1B-Launch Vehicle at the Department of Transport Welcome Center, to the first American-made guided missile, to the space station connecting node in the Huntsville Botanical garden, this “trail” is made up of several locations and museums scattered across northern Alabama. The star attraction for rocket lovers is the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, an expansive museum with an extensive collection of exhibits, space memorabilia, and interactive flight simulators both kids and adults will love. The museum contains over 27 missiles and rockets from our nation’s history of spaceflight.
Skim Across “The Lost Sea” in Sweetwater, TN
3 hours from Nashville
140 feet below Sweetwater, Tennessee lies the northern hemisphere’s largest underground lake. This 70-foot deep azure oddity sits at a constant 56 degrees and contains about 300 rainbow trout that can be seen swimming serenely beneath its’ luminous surface. The cave system that includes the lake was used as a shelter by Native Americans and even civil war soldiers. Visitors to The Lost Sea Adventure can take an hour-long boat ride across the surface and gaze at the unique cave features formed by thousands of years of geologic processes.
Groove on Down Beale Street
3 hours from Nashville
Music lovers will absolutely want to make the trip to Beale Street in Tennesse’s other “Music City”, Memphis. Whereas Nashville is the home of country music, Memphis is the home of Blues. By day, tourists shuffle in and out of quaint shops and restaurants. At night, neon signs illuminate the way for throngs of live music fans, hoping to catch an unforgettable blues concert or musical legend jamming in an intimate Memphis dive bar.