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Tennessee Famous (And Not So Famous) Places to Visit

Tennessee is full of famous and lesser-known wonders. One of the nation’s premier whitewater recreational rivers, The Ocoee River, rushes through a picturesque gorge in the state's southeastern corner. Just minutes from Chattanooga, seven states can be seen from the summit of Lookout Mountain. Did you know The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, and Graceland is the second most visited house in the country? Amidst the peaks and valleys of Gatlinburg, the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort boasts the world's largest artificial skiing surface. In contrast, beneath the surface, Tennessee proudly claims the highest number of recorded caves in the United States. From roaring rivers to majestic mountaintops and cultural icons, we invite you to make plans to visit some (or all!) of these Tennessee destinations.

The Ocoee River

The Ocoee River has earned a reputation as one of the premier whitewater recreational rivers in the United States. Its thrilling rapids, scenic beauty, and rich history have captivated adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts for decades. The Ocoee River's classification as a top-tier white water destination stems from its exceptional rapids and challenging stretches. Its rapids range from class III to class IV, offering an exhilarating experience for both novice and experienced paddlers. In 1996, the Ocoee River gained international recognition when it was chosen to host the white water canoe/kayak competition during the Summer Olympics held in Atlanta. The world's top athletes converged on the river, showcasing their mastery of the sport and competing for gold. Beyond its Olympic legacy, the Ocoee River continues to draw visitors from far and wide. Rafting companies offer guided trips, allowing adventurers to experience the thrill of navigating the rapids firsthand.

Lookout Mountain 

Lookout Mountain, located near Chattanooga, offers a breathtaking vantage point that allows visitors to witness a truly awe-inspiring sight. On a clear day, one can see a remarkable panorama that encompasses seven different states. Visitors atop Lookout Mountain can see Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The most visited National Park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, attracts twice as many visitors each year as the second most-visited national park, the Grand Canyon! Named for the smoke-like bluish haze which often envelops these mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park spans over 500,000 acres between the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina and showcases the unparalleled beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. One of the reasons for the park's immense popularity is its accessibility. Located within a day's drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers over 800 miles of trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, as well as opportunities for camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, and enjoyment of the majestic views.


Located in Memphis is Graceland, the iconic home of the King of Rock' n' Roll, Elvis Presley. Graceland's significance goes far beyond being just a residence; it has become a symbol of Elvis's life and career, attracting fans and visitors worldwide. As the second most visited house in the country (second only to The White House), fans and enthusiasts flock to Graceland to pay homage to the legendary musician, to walk in his footsteps, and to get a glimpse into his personal life. Graceland offers visitors an intimate and immersive experience, allowing them to explore Elvis's former residence and see firsthand the rooms, artifacts, and memorabilia that embody his unique style and taste. Graceland provides a captivating journey through Elvis's life and career, from the opulent Jungle Room to the Trophy Building filled with awards and accolades. The preservation of Elvis's home and the meticulous care taken to maintain its original charm make it an extraordinary place for fans and music enthusiasts.

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort

Nestled in Gatlinburg, the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort boasts a remarkable feat of engineering and recreation—the world's largest artificial skiing surface. Spanning an impressive 5 acres, this artificial ski surface offers skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to hit the slopes regardless of weather conditions. The innovative technology behind the artificial skiing surface is meticulously designed to mimic the texture and feel of real snow, providing skiers and snowboarders with an authentic skiing experience. It allows beginners to learn and practice their skills while also catering to more experienced riders who can test their abilities on the slopes.

Tennessee Caves

According to the Tennessee Cave Survey, Tennessee has more than 10,000 caves, which is the highest number of recorded caves for an individual state in the United States and accounts for 20% of all known caves in the country. Tennessee's underground wonders offer adventure seekers and nature lovers a unique experience. These underground marvels feature stunning formations, intricate passages, and hidden chambers. Tennessee caves are a source of natural beauty and are vital to scientific research and conservation. These subterranean ecosystems provide a habitat for unique species, some only found in Tennessee. Moreover, Tennessee's caves have cultural significance, with several cave systems having historical and archaeological importance. Many caves have served as shelters, meeting places, and ceremonial sites for Native American tribes throughout history. From the stunning formations of stalactites and stalagmites to the mysterious darkness that beckons exploration, Tennessee's caves are a haven for spelunking enthusiasts and cave explorers alike.