Family Fun in Tennessee
Tennessee is full of activities for the entire family at many destinations throughout the state, suitable for children of all ages. Some of Tennessee’s major attractions include Memphis Zoo, Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga and Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.
If you are after some outdoor adventure then Tennessee has a variety of activities exploring nature at its best, including camping on Mud Island in Memphis. There’s hiking in Tennessee State Parks, whitewater rafting on challenging rivers including the Ocoee River or visit caves and caverns at Ruby Falls in Chattanooga.
Tennessee has recently become one of the premier rock-climbing destinations in the Eastern United States, and biking in Tennessee also provides a fun day out – whether it’s a casual 5 mile ride along the Mississippi River in Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park or through woods over roots and rocks in the Tennessee Overhill near the Ocoee River.
Opening in Autumn 2018, Soundwaves is a sprawling luxury water park adjacent to Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville. Resort guests will have access to three levels of indoor water attractions like a slide tower, rapid and lazy rivers and an activity pool with rock climbing. The additional 106,000 square feet of seasonal outdoor water amenities includes a wave pool with a giant LED movie screen.
Gatlinburg's newest family-friendly destination is tucked into the landscape of the Smoky Mountains, where it seamlessly blends whimsical architecture with East Tennessee's natural beauty. Anakeesta offers aerial activities like ziplining, a children's treehouse village and a magnificent tree canopy walk with 14 platforms and six suspension bridges that provide a bird's-eye view of the forest floor.
With more than 1,300 lakes it's mean water-skiing, kayaking and fishing are around every corner in Tennessee. Reelfoot, a 205-year old West Tennessee lake, was created by earthquakes ("the time the Mississippi flowed backwards"). Tours include everything from bald eagles to bald cypress trees. Lazy float or long canoe, McMinnville's Barren Fork River works for the whole family. The scenic Douglas Lake in Danbridge is surrounded by mountains and is the perfect place for boating, fishing and swimming.
There are 8,500 caves to explore in Tennessee so caving is an adventure in a class all on it's own. Ride a glass-bottom boat into the cave at The Lost Sea in Sweetwater, the largest underwater lake in the country. From May to November, venture on a ranger-led tour of Lost Cove Cave, also known as Buggytop, part of the Carter State Natural Area and South Cumberland State Park near Sewanee and Sherwood. See sparkling formations, natural chimneys and more at Sevierville's Forbidden Caverns or Townsend's Tuckaleechee Caverns.
Ever wonder what it feels like to fly? Go soar through forests on the many ziplines throughout the Tennessee. Sevierville's Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park has the Goliath, said to be the highest, longest and fastest zipline in the Smokies. Ocoee Zipz in Benten has a Land of Oz-themed option, while Off The Grid Mountain Adventures in Elizabethton has dual 60mph ziplines. You can also get your adrenaline rush on ziplines at Arbortrek Canopy Adventures at Fall Creek Falls (in the state park, Honeysuckle Hill Farm in Springfield and Navitat in Knoxville.
You're definitely not going to run out of fun at Dollywood's Splash Country Water Adventure Park in Pigeon Forge. The park has 35-acres of attractions, including a 1,500 foot lazy river, the state's tallest twin speed slides, several water slides, a 25,000-sq foot wave pool and an 8,000-sq. foot lagoon style pool. Dollywood's Plash Country Water Adventure Park also lays claim to RiverRush, the first and only water coaster in Tennessee, and SwiftWater Run, which is a thrill ride that takes you through a corkscrew tunnel.