Planning a vacation, especially a family one, can be a tough order to fill. You want to pick a location that has something that everyone can enjoy without breaking the bank. Ideally, you would also settle on a location that offers just as much activity as it does relaxation. There needs to be plenty of things to see and do while you are out and about in addition to being the right environment to catch up on some rest and relaxation.
One location that offers all this and more is Chattanooga, Tennessee. From incredible outdoor sites to take in along the Appalachians, to beautiful spots to kick back and relax, there are a number of reasons for you to select Chattanooga as the setting for your next getaway. While you are in the planning process, here are five things near Chattanooga that should definitely make their way onto your itinerary.
1) The Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains are undoubtedly one of the top attractions to see while on a visit to Chattanooga. Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are all activities that are available to you when you pay a visit to this naturally magnificent area. The only thing you will want to be sure of is that you have adequately planned your trip with the idea of taking in as much of the natural beauty of the Appalachians as possible. With that in mind, there is only one perfect way to really see Chattanooga – rent an RV. Renting an RV would provide both flexibility an comfort for you and your family
Once you have reserved the perfect lodging for yourself and your family, it is time to plot out what sites along the Appalachians you are going to see and how. When you are looking for the best sites around Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain will certainly come up as one of the top spots.
This area encompasses some naturally splendid attractions like Ruby Falls and Rock City. When you visit on a clear day, Rock City has a spot that affords a view of seven different states all at the same time. If you are traveling with the family, you must plan a ride on the Incline Railway, which is known as one of the world’s steepest railways available to passengers.
2) The Tennessee Aquarium
No trip to Chattanooga would be complete without a visit to one of the world’s largest freshwater aquariums. Located in downtown Chattanooga, the Tennessee Aquarium is deemed to be one of the top attractions in the area. Penguins, otters, and an array of various types of fish and other water wildlife are at play in this amazing and well-maintained aquarium.
Not only will you be able to see such creatures in their exhibits, but the aquarium also houses an IMAX theater. With regular showings of films that display and inform viewers about some of the most interesting sea life around, such as whales, dolphins, and more, the IMAX experience at the Tennessee Aquarium is something that you won’t want to miss.
3) The Chattanooga Military History Park
The city of Chattanooga has a rich history rooted in some of the most impactful events to have taken place in America. It is renowned for being the setting of some notable clashes during the Civil War and there is a military park that offers visitors a chance to learn more about such a pivotal time in American History.
The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park has an array of monuments and displays throughout that give visitors a look into the past. There are a number of battles that took place in the area because of the access to railways that the Chattanooga area allowed at the time. Explore the history of the Battle Above the Clouds and the Battles for Chattanooga while also taking in the natural beauty that the park has to offer.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that all the sites of this park can be enjoyed in a single day, however. The Chattanooga Military History Park is spread across over 5300 acres of land in both Tennessee and Georgia. This is surely a site that you should allot a fair couple of days to take in if you hope to make the most of your experience.
4) The Chattanooga Art District
Chattanooga is home to a charming arts district that is quite close to the main downtown area. Idyllically placed on top of a hill that affords picturesque views of the river, the Bluff View Art District is home to an art gallery, quaint restaurants, cafes, and a bed and breakfast. You can view pieces from local artists as well as a few national artists while enjoying locally roasted coffee and fresh baked goods.
As far as pleasant afternoons in Chattanooga are concerned, you can’t plan for much better than one spent in the art district. With plenty of local charm and stunning views of the city and river, you will want to spend more than one day at this spot.
5) The Jack Daniel’s Distillery
While actually located in Lynchburg, Tennessee, the Jack Daniel’s Distillery is less than two hours’ drive from Chattanooga. Whiskey fans won’t want to miss out on an opportunity to see and sample one of the most famous brands of whiskey in the world. A visit to the distillery will certainly take up a day when you are staying in Chattanooga, but seeing as how you will be in the region where some of Tennessee’s finest whiskey was born, why not go and sample a few?
You can take a scheduled visitors tour of the distillery and learn all about the history of the brand. Visitors can choose from several different tours, including the Dry County Tour where you will get a behind-the-scenes look into the history of the distillery as well as the whiskey-making process. Those who want to enjoy a decent sampling of Jack Daniel’s whiskey can opt for the Flight of Jack Daniel’s Tour where you get to try five different products.