Aerial view of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

7 Breathtaking Towns to Visit in the Mid-South

The Mid-South region of the US includes many picturesque states ranging from the Bluegrass state of Kentucky and the country music epicenter of Tennessee to portions of Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Georgia. These states have many breathtaking views of mountains, national parks, and water bodies. With mountain ranges such as the Appalachian Mountains and the Ozark Mountains, these states are must-see destinations you should visit the next time you are going on a road trip. Here are seven small towns in the Mid-South with the most breathtaking views you can visit today.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The main street in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
The main street in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Image credit Dawid S Swierczek via Shutterstock

When looking for beautiful views, few can match the serene beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains that runs through Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This town is the gateway to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, renowned for the mists that circle the mountain tops. There are many picturesque views in the park, such as at Clingman's Dome, Laurel Falls, or Chimney Tops. You can also go black bear watching at Cade's Cove.

For stuff to do in town, consider visiting Hollywood Star Cars Museum, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokey's, or the Moonshine Mountain Coaster. The town is famous for its many moonshine distilleries, which you can sample. Gatlinburg is also close to Pigeon Forge, the home of Dollywood, an amusement park run by famed country musician Dolly Parton.

Arrow Rock, Missouri

Historic tavern from the 1800s in Arrow Rock, Missouri, photographed on medium format film.
Historic tavern from the 1800s in Arrow Rock, Missouri. Image credit Logan Bush via

This village is a restored National Historic Landmark that provides a beautiful picture of the past. First founded in 1829, today Arrow Rock is a treasure trove of historic buildings to explore, such as the Shelly Log Cabin from 1830, the Masonic Lodge Hall and Craft Shop from 1868, and The Sanders AH Townsend House built in the Greek Revival cottage style in 1860. You can explore the town yourself on the Arrow Rock River Landing Trail or go off into the woods with the Pierre a Fleche Trail. There are also many museums in the town, such as the Arrow Rock African-American Experience Museum, which you can visit to learn more about the history of the area.

Slade, Kentucky

Skylift in Slade, Kentucky.
Skylift in Slade, Kentucky. Image credit CiEll via

Kentucky is most well known for the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, but it also hides many hidden treasures, and Slade is one of them. This small town is nestled in the Red River Gorge Geological Area, filled with sandstone cliffs, hiking trails, waterfalls, and more. The best site to see is the Natural Bridge, a natural sandstone bridge that offers gorgeous views of the surrounding area. Slade also hosts the Red River itself, which you can explore with a kayak or canoe.

For the truly adventurous, try out the Torrent Falls Climbing Adventure for rock climbing and rappelling. The Red River Gorge also provides ziplining over the trees so you can take in the views at high speeds.

Franklin, Tennessee

Memorial to the confederate solders of the American Civil War along Main Street in Franklin, Tennessee.
Memorial to the confederate solders of the American Civil War along Main Street in Franklin, Tennessee. Image credit Fotoluminate LLC via Shutterstock

This charming Mid-Southern town founded in 1799 is filled to the brim with historic architecture and scenic locales to take in. The town of Franklin is most well known for being the site of the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864, in the American Civil War. You can visit the site of the battlefield and see three historic homes. Downtown Franklin's Main Street has been called the Great American Main Street for its position on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you want to get a hike in while exploring historic buildings, make sure to visit the Marcella Vivrette Smith Park, featuring six miles of trails through the forests around the Ravenswood Mansion, first built in 1825.

Black Mountain, North Carolina

Small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina
Downtown Black Mountain, North Carolina. Image credit Derek Olson Photography via Shutterstock

Located just outside of Asheville, the small town of Black Mountain hosts just over 8,500 people. Black Mountain has amazing views of the Appalachian Mountains and cute artsy boutiques in the downtown area. The trails in the area offer incredible views, such as Graybeard Trail, which brings you up the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Lookout Trail, which overlooks the Seven Sister mountain range. For a view from below the mountains, nearby Lake Tomahawk offers a half mile loop a short distance away from the downtown area.

No trip to Black Mountain would be complete without visiting its many galleries, such as Red House Studios, Seven Sisters Gallery, and the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. While enjoying the mountain views, kick back and enjoy a beverage at Black Mountain Ciderworks + Meadery.

Blue Ridge, Georgia

The rail track, Blue Ridge, Georgia.
The rail track, Blue Ridge, Georgia.

This mountain town in Northern Georgia is an ideal spot to hike, fish, or relax in the Appalachian Mountains. For hiking, Blue Ridge is close to 106,000 acres of mountains in the Chattahoochee National Forest. It's a fantastic spot for boating or kayaking on the scenic Lake Blue Ridge. Blue Ridge is known as the Trout Fishing Capital of Georgia for its large trout population on the Toccoa River.

One of the best ways to see the area is to take the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway on a four-person electric Railbike. With this railbike, you can pedal through an 11-mile trip through the mountains. Before you finish your journey through Blue Ridge, consider stopping at Mercier Orchard to pick and eat locally growth fruit.

Mountain View, Arkansas

Folk Music Capital of the World, Mountain View, Arkansas.
Folk Music Capital of the World, Mountain View, Arkansas. Image credit Travel Bug via

This small town of just under 3,000 people is a beautiful spot to visit in the Ozark Mountains. Mountain View is a mecca for bikers as it is home to the world-famous Syllamo Mountain biking trails, which feature several trails running for miles through the scenic mountain countryside. The area is also a fantastic place to go trout fishing, as the nearby White River has more than 100 miles of beautiful water to try your hand at catching brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. The best-hidden treasure near Mountain View is Blanchard Springs Cavern, featuring beautiful cave formations such as flowstones, stalagmites, and stalactites.

There is more to the Mid-South than Nashville and Memphis. The Mid-South region has many picturesque locales and vistas that can't be beaten by the big city. Whether you want to go for a zipline through the trees, go for a hike through the Smoky Mountains, relax on the lake, or try your hand at fishing for trout, you will never lack breathtaking views in the Mid-South. And best of all, you can enjoy all of these amenities without having to deal with the hustle and bustle of the big city.

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