Top 12 Nashville Day Trips

I love Nashville, but once in a while it’s nice to get out of the hustle and bustle, or really just get away from the crowds and escape the insta-worthy murals for a minute. I have provided my Nashville folks and travelers some of my favorite day trips, all within about a 2 hour drive of Nashville and particularly great for outdoor activities, like hiking.

I was planning to give you a top 10 list of my favorite Nashville day trips, but I couldn’t narrow it down, so you get a dozen!

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1. Leiper’s Fork

Distance from Nashville: 45 minutes

  • Start off by site seeing the Natchez Trace Parkway bridge, take a drive, a hike or a bike ride along this beautiful scenic road
  • Then head over to my favorite The RedByrd Coffee, get the Mama Bryd, it’s a delicious Vanilla Lavender Latte
  • Don’t forget to grab lunch and live music at Puckett’s (Meat and three) and walk throughout the small shops nearby

2. Bell Buckle

Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • The perfect small town to walk around in and get some RC Cola, Moon pies or some vintage shopping in
  • Make sure to get a table at Bell Buckle Café early to beat the lunch crowds
  • Don’t miss out on their Annual Moon Pie Festival in the summer either

3. Tims Ford State Park

Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • If you don’t have a boat, maybe rent a kayak or canoe at the Fairview Campground
  • Enjoy a hike, perhaps the Lost Creek Overlook Trail from the visitor center
  • Take an extra stop over at Sewanee The University Of The South, you will not be disappointed at the beautiful Gothic style buildings all over campus. Grab some lunch at The Blue Chair Cafe & Tavern

4. Burgess Falls State Park  

Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • The hike is only 0.5 miles one way to overlook the incredible waterfalls, but it’s worth the drive
  • Add in a half day of a Canoe or Kayak adventure on the Caney river with Canoe the Caney 

5. Mammoth Cave National Park

Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world, a World Heritage Site and a must see day trip from Nashville. Book your tickets before you go to guarantee a cave tour

6. Lynchburg, TN

Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • Take a tour of the world famous Jack Daniels Distillery and taste some Tennessee Whiskey in this uniquely dry county

7. Cummins Falls State Park

Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 35 minutes

  • Pack a lunch and enjoy a long hike to swim in the beautiful Cummins Falls. You now need Gorge Access Permits, so plan ahead and visit their website. Make sure to wear water shoes because you will be walking on slippery rocks and you will fall on your butt at one point, so be prepared! Do not bring young children unless they are confident hikers with a life jacket. Always follow local guidelines and do NOT go if there is a chance of storms or water level rising, flash following has led to serious injury.
  • Don’t forget to check out the Overlook Trail

8. Rock Island State Park

Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 45 minutes

  • Take a stop at Short Mountain Distillery on your way, take a tour and enjoy samples of some fine Tennessee Whiskey
  • Enjoy a picnic at the Rock Island State Park Beach
  • Take a drive over to the waterfall trail to see the epic Twin Falls via the Downstream Trail, a 1.6 mile flat loop hike

9. South Cumberland State Park

Distance from Nashville: 1 hour 45 minutes

  • I only recently discovered this one and it looks like there is a lot more to explore here, I recommend the 3 mile Laurel Trail for a beautiful overlook. Make sure to park at the Stone Door Ranger Station 
  • Enjoy a picnic and then drive over to the Greeter Falls trailhead. Take a swim after the half mile hike to the falls

10. Chattanooga

Distance from Nashville: 2 hours 10 minutes

  • Don’t forget the time change from Central to Eastern
  • Rock City can be a full day trip and worth the experience in its own
  • For a cheaper option, but same view, hike the out and back 3 mile Sunset Rock via Cravens House Trail
  • Check out Point Park
  • Grab lunch at Sticky Fingers for some delicious BBQ, walk around downtown, enjoy the riverfront and maybe even stop into the Aquarium

11. Cloudland Canyon State Park

Distance from Nashville: 2 hours 15 minutes

  • Don’t forget the time change from Central to Eastern
  • This may be one of my favorite secret day trips. Hike the award winning West Rim Loop Trail (5 miles), you will not be disappointed
  • Take some time to dip your feet into the waterfalls via the Waterfalls Trail

12. Fall Creek Falls State Park

Distance from Nashville: 2 hours 15 minutes

  • Take a walk around the visitor center and village full of outfitter shops and snacks
  • Rent a Canoe or Kayak to enjoy on the lake
  • Enjoy the multitude of hike or bike trails. Don’t miss out on the 0.65 mile Overlook Trail for views of the waterfalls or the 1.3 mile paved Lake Trail to take in the views of the lake

What are some of your favorite Nashville day trips? Leave a comment or message me below.

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