Nashville, Tennessee's beautiful capital, has a rich cultural and musical heritage that draws visitors from all over the globe. The city of BBQ, country music, friendly locals, and honky tonks is just a few of the things Nashville has to offer. In this city, there is so much to see and do, but venture just outside Nashville, and be prepared for some surprising treasures waiting to be discovered. Check out some fantastic Tennessee destinations worth taking a day trip from Nashville for. These locations guarantee to amaze and capture any explorer. Visitors will not be disappointed, whether they yearn for the beauty of small towns, the peace of national and state parks, or the attraction of historic landmarks and wineries. Hop in the car, throw on some Dolly Parton, and explore these tantalizing southern destinations.
Franklin is a historic town located just 30 minutes south of Nashville. Explore the area's rich Civil War history while strolling down Main Street, studded with charming stores and restaurants. Merridee's Breadbasket offers delicious pastries and coffee for a quick nosh. The 16-block historic downtown area is particularly lovely during the holidays, with twinkling lights and live performances on weekends in November and December. If visiting Franklin in the summer, rent a kayak and explore the Harpeth River. The town looks particularly charming from this perspective. Finish the day with a delicious dinner at the historic McConnel House on Bridge Street. Franklin’s unique fusion of history, culture, and entertainment makes for a fantastic day trip.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Voted the most beautiful place in Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park is a truly stunning destination. Located about an hour and a half drive from Nashville, this national park will enchant and enthrall any visitor. With over 400 miles of underground corridors, it is the longest-known cave system in the world. Join a guided tour and witness towering stalagmites, exquisite gypsum flowers, and underground rivers. Learn about the cave's rich cultural history. Mammoth Cave has been inhabited for nearly 6,000 years. Wildlife, including bats, salamanders, and river otters, can be found at Mammoth Cave. Birdwatchers can also see several migratory birds there. The park offers kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, and stunning waterfalls. Recently the park has become a Dark Sky Park, making it a wonderful place for stargazing. Mammoth Cave National Park is a must-visit destination and the perfect place for a day trip from Nashville for any adventurer or nature lover.
Just 30 minutes outside Nashville is a beautiful family-run vineyard. Surrounded by scenic rolling hills, Arrington Vineyards has become a staple for anyone planning a day trip from Nashville. Drive up Patton Road in Arrington and tourists will find this stunning winery! Happy visitors can tour the grounds, picnic in the picturesque picnic area, and sample some delicious wines. You will not find a restaurant on the grounds but there are tasty snacks available. These snacks include cheeses, sausages, olives, and delicious chocolate truffles for dessert. The winery hosts many events throughout the year and can host private events like weddings or parties. Arrington Vineyards is a perfect Nashville day trip for anyone looking for romance and luxury in nature!
Radnor Lake State Park
Radnor Lake State Park is located just south of the city and is a short 30-minute drive from downtown Nashville. A day trip to visit this park is an ideal way to spend the day surrounded by nature. The park is a protected natural area with over 1,368 acres to explore. There are beautifully maintained hiking trails, a picnic area, and Radnor Lake itself, just keep in mind there is no swimming in the lake. Take the Radnor Lake loop for an easy 2.4-mile hike. Be sure to watch out for all kinds of local wildlife as visitors might spot frogs, lizards, turtles, and even deer frolicking near the shoreline. The local flora is on full display, no matter what time of year. Wildflowers, mosses, ferns, fungi, and many other plants make Radnor Lake State Park a perfect place for nature photography. Pack a picnic and a pair of walking shoes and drive over to Radnor Lake State Park for a relaxing day out in nature.
Drive an hour and a half southeast of Nashville to Moore County and visitors will find Lynchburg, Tennessee. Lynchburg is most famous for being the home of the Jack Daniel's distillery. Every year, thousands of visitors come to Lynchburg to tour the facility and taste the world-renowned whiskey at the place it is made. Lynchburg is small, with 6,000 residents, but the distillery is not its only draw. Two very famous Americans called Lynchburg home, legendary rock and roll singer Little Richard and rugged pioneer Davy Crocket. For visitors who want to learn more about the history of this charming Tennessee town, there is the Lynchburg Museum. The town has many cafes, shops, and restaurants, all worth visiting. After visiting the distillery and the museum, visitors can relax at David Crockett Birthplace State Park. Lynchburg may be a small town, but it is certainly worth the drive from Nashville especially for whisky lovers.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park
A short drive east of Nashville lies Cedars of Lebanon State Park, an ideal day trip for nature lovers. The park is in Wilson County and covers 2,800 acres. This park has an unusual ecosystem. Some plants and animals cannot be found elsewhere. What makes the environment so special is limestone, which is close to the surface, and cedar trees, which are grown in the park. Much of the limestone and other rock formations in the park are covered in vegetation and mosses, which gives the park a magical quality. Weathering in the limestone has created sinkholes and streams, which flow under the ground. There are 19 plant species unique to the world in the park. There are numerous hiking trails, fishing spots, and camping sites. Birders and wildlife enthusiasts will find so much to see in the park like wild turkeys, deer, foxes, salamanders, and more. This is a beautiful and unique park and should be on the list of anyone wanting to explore unusual natural environments.
Just over an hour southeast of Nashville, travelers will find Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Folks are drawn to Bell Buckle because of its southern charm and unusual name! No one knows why the town is called Bell Buckle though legend has it that a settler saw a cowbell and belt carving in a tree. This was presumably left there for Native Americans as a warning that settlers were coming. Today, visit neighborhood art galleries and craft stores, and indulge in homemade delights at the Bell Buckle Cafe. The town is famous for selling quilts, antiques, and handicrafts. Check out the summer concert schedule in Bell Buckle Park. Don't miss the town's annual RC Cola and MoonPie Festival, which honors its devotion to the well-known dessert. Walk down Main Street, dotted which is with protected Victorian buildings, and take in the relaxed atmosphere of the town. Bell Buckle provides a pleasant respite from the big city and gives travelers a look at small-town life in Tennessee.
Beyond Nashville's borders, there is so much to see and explore. Lakes, caves, mountains, historical towns, and charming wineries beckon visitors from far and wide. Discover Franklin's historical gems, the cavernous wonders of Mammoth Cave, or the calm of Radnor Lake State Park. Enjoy the charm of Arrington Vineyards or immerse yourself in Lynchburg's whiskey history. These day trips from Nashville include a wide range of attractions, satisfying any visitor's interests. Explore the treasures around Nashville by setting out on an expedition beyond the city limits and explore the mesmerising beauty of Tennessee.