This is the shortest of the three regional Tennessee Bucket Lists. The key city in this area is Memphis, which Andrew and I visited around this time two years ago. It was just for the day as we passed through on our way to Jackson, MS, so we saw some things on the list and others we did not.
- Crown Winery: It’s a fruit winery that uses local fruits!
- Century Farm Winery: Another fruit winery that uses local fruits!
- Beale Street Historic District: This is where you can find Memphis’ music scene.
- Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid: This was one stop we made in Memphis and was probably the highlight for me as you got some great views of the city by riding the elevator to the top.
- Elvis Presley’s Graceland: We didn’t stop by during our visit due to budget limits, but someday I’d like to check this out.
- Elvis Presley’s Memphis: This is a new museum section that just opened by Graceland.
- Mud Island: Cross over by footbridge to check out this amazing park that we visited while on our trip to Memphis. It allows you to “walk” the length of their scaled down map of the Mississippi River. It was so cool to do before we made our way down to New Orleans on our trip! (not mentioned in the travel guide)
- National Civil Rights Museum: This is a must-stop and visit! We spent a few hours here, but there’s enough there to see and read to spend a whole day in the museum. So well done!
- The Peabody: This hotel has a daily duck parade.
- Eiffel Tower Replica: Because who wouldn’t want to see this roadside attraction? It’s a lot closer than the real Paris!
- Shiloh National Military Park: Another Civil War battlefield maintained by the National Park Service.
All attractions found in the 2018 Tennessee Tourism Guide unless noted.
My bucket list for the Middle Region of Tennessee is significantly shorter than that of the East region, but still substantial given Nashville is the key city in this region.
- Arrington Vineyards: I love to go wine tasting and this vineyard is co-owned by Kix Brooks or country music duo Brooks and Dunn.
- James K. Polk Home: It would be fun to check out the home of this lesser known president.
- Cummins Falls State Park: Of course this one is on the list for the waterfalls.
- Fort Donelson National Battlefield: This one isn’t actually found in the guide, but rather in my National Parks Passport, so it’s therefore a must see.
- Amber Falls Winery and Cellars: This winery is known for fruit wines, which are my favorite.
- Jack Daniel Visitor Center: While I’m not a fan of Jack Daniel’s, I still think this would be worth checking into.
- Milky Way Farm-Tennessee’s Chocolate Estate: This is the farm where the Mars family lived.
- Stones River National Battlefield: Another National Park site dealing with the Civil War.
- Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park: This park is unique as it’s in an urban setting. It’s in the shadow of the state capitol building and is also home to the Parthenon replica.
- Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Since I grew up listening to country music, this is a must-stop.
- Nashville Zoo: Those who know me, know I don’t turn down a zoo visit.
- Ryman Auditorium: I have to visit this just because I remember watching so many country music awards shows that took place here.
- Tennesee State Museum: This is a brand new museum (or rather relocated to it’s new facilities) and sounds amazing!
- Rock Island State Park: This is worth a stop to see Great Falls.
- Burgess Falls State Park: Once again, a chance to see a nice waterfall.
- Fall Creek Falls State Park: These falls plunge 256 feet.
All ideas taken from the 2018 Tennesee Travel Guide unless noted.
Oh Boy! Back to my good old bucket list posts and man is this a long list! East Tennessee is the mountainous part of the state and is therefore filled with tons of tourist things to check off the Old Bucket List! I’m starting to think we should have visited Tennessee far more often back when we lived in a neighboring state!
- Mayfield Dairy Farms: Gives you the opportunity to see how they make their ice cream
- Main Street: When walking down Main Street you can actually be in Bristol, TN and Bristol, VA at the same time!
- Birthplace of Country Music Museum: I’ve been a country music listener for a majority of my life, so I think this would be fun to check out.
- Bristol Motor Speedway: A must see for any NASCAR fan (not that I am, but still would be fun to see)
- Cove Lake State Park: This park is supposed to have pinnacle rocks with a nice view
- Ruby Falls: This is America’s tallest and deepest underground waterfall
- Songbirds Guitar Museum: Andrew is an avid guitar player, so I figured he’d want to check this out.
- Tennessee Aquarium: I’ve heard lots of positive things about this aquarium and never turn down a chance to see animals
- Bush’s Best Visitor Center: While not a fan of baked beans myself…who doesn’t love these good old commercials with Duke? I think this would be a worthwhile stop.
- Anakeesta: This resort area allows you to take a tree canopy walk and also has some great shopping and views of the mountains.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park: This is one of the top National Parks that I want to visit. Notable areas to check out would be Clingmans Dome and Ramsey Cascades, but there are other waterfalls I’d want to check out as well.
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: This is supposed to have one of the best Penguin exhibits in the World!
- Andrew Johnson National Historic Site: This provides a chance to visit Lincoln’s successor’s family home.
- Greetings from Knoxville Postcard Mural: I love checking out a good mural and love postcards! Win, win!
- Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame: I’m not a huge follower of basketball, but I’m guessing this would be worth checking out all the same.
- Zoo Knoxville: This sounds like a pretty amazing zoo!
- David Crockett Birthplace State Park: A chance to see where Davy Crockett was born.
- Rock City Gardens: I’ve actually been here twice already, but would never turn down a chance to visit again! This is the equivalent to Wall Drug in South Dakota for billboard advertising through Tennessee. You also have a chance to view 7 states from one vantage point.
- South Cumberland State Park: This park contains several waterfalls.
- Crockett Tavern Museum: This is a replica of Crockett’s boyhood home.
- Sweetwater Valley Farm: This is supposed to be a great place to stop for cheese.
- SNOW: This is advertised as a “year round indoor winter wonderland.” That’s intriguing enough for me to check out!
- The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe and Grille: I’m not one for including dining on bucket list posts, but this made the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame and serves homemade cooking on pottery made from the shop next door.
- The Incredible Christmas Place: Sounds like the ideal stop after some snow play indoors!
- The Old Mill Restaurant: I know, another restaurant..but once again part of the Hall of Fame on TripAdvisor. This one makes food with ingredients created at the Old Mill next door.
- Roan Mountain State Park: This park contains one of the highest peaks in the U.S.
- Foster Falls Recreation Area: This area contains a 60 ft waterfall.
- Middle Creek Falls: These Falls were listed as Bucket List worthy in the 2018 vacation guide.
- The Lost Sea: This is America’s largest Underground Lake.
- Bald River Falls: Another bucket list worthy waterfall.
- The Abbey: This is a local brew pub that also offers tubing, kayaks, and cornhole.
Man I can’t wait to plan a trip out this direction!
All ideas taken from the 2018 Tennessee Tourism Guide
On July 31st, Andrew and I embarked on a 12 day tour of the South. Our journey began by driving to Memphis. Memphis was a pass through city for us on our way to Jackson for the night. Our first stop within Memphis brought us to the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is located at the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The outside of the hotel still looks as it did at that time of history. A wreath on the outside marks the spot where that fateful shot occurred.
Inside the museum, you travel through time, viewing events that led up to the Civil Rights Movement, beginning with the slaves journey to America. Other exhibits along the way include the Sit-In, Rosa Parks, Freedom Riders, and Sanitation Strike. This museum has so much to offer, but the amount of information can be overwhelming. If I lived in the area, I know I’d visit several times and take in particular sections during each visit. The first museum building culminates with showing the room where MLK Jr. spent his last moments, overlooking the balcony where he was shot and killed. Across the way, you may enter another building where the assassin would have made is shot and view evidence of how they captured the man who killed MLK Jr. It was a very moving experience.
Following the museum, we decided to check out the famous Pyramid of Memphis. The Pyramid has been converted into a Bass Pro Shop in recent years. We decided to go in and explore and were very glad we did! The store takes up the entire first two levels and includes a few restaurants as well. On the third level they have a hotel that you can stay in with rooms that overlook the store. In the very center of the store is an elevator that goes all the way to the top of the pyramid. For $10 a person, you can ride to the top and get some amazing views of Memphis.
Our last stop in Memphis was a trip to Mud Island River Park. You can choose to walk across the pedestrian bridge to get there or pay to take the monorail. We chose to walk over. On the island, they have a scaled map of the lower Mississippi River. You can walk across the entire map from Missouri to the Gulf down in Louisiana. It was neat to walk along and see places we would visit later in our trip. It was also very hot that day so we enjoyed sticking our feet in the “river” along the way.
After our visit to the park, we continued onward to Mississippi. We stopped for dinner in Hernando, MS where we tried Zaxby’s for the first time. Probably my favorite fast food chicken restaurant. We also grabbed dessert at Area 51 Ice Cream which is supposedly the best ice cream shop in the state and may be my favorite ice cream I’ve eaten to date! Then it was onward to Jackson for the night.