Family Travel in Tennessee: the 50 state series

by Sheila on June 23, 2009

by Sheila | June 23rd, 2009  

playing-in-pigeon-forge-tn-courtesy-kamoteus-on-flickr-ccEvery Tuesday until we run out of states, I plan to post about family-friendly vacation ideas, attractions and events in each one of the US states, taking input mostly from Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, I know how to search for travel ideas on a destination or attraction Web site, but a tweet or a Facebook Wall recommendation is a much more engaging and public way to spread the word.

Please don’t email suggestions to me;  that’s nice but it is one-to-one communication. Tweet me and/or Facebook me, so that all of our networks can see what’s cool about your state.

We’re going in alphabetical order but started with the end, so our first state for the series was Wyoming, then we investigated Wisconsin , West Virginia , Washington, Virginia, Vermont, Utah, Texas and now we’re moving on to….Tennessee!

Their state tourism organization is on Twitter at @TNVacation, along with @EnjoyKnoxville, @ChattanoogaFun and @TNAquarium.

You can also find Tennessee tourism on Facebook.

When I asked for ideas, here’s what came in….

Twitter Travel Tips for Tennessee

***  From Cathleen Rittereiser via @CathleenRitt on Twitter – Memphis: Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum and the ducks in the Peabody [Hotel.]

***  From Rebecca McCormick via @hotspringer on Twitter – For family fun in TN: [Ziplining - Yeah, Baby!]

***  From Jill Knouse via @jillknouse on Twitter – lots of fun things in Gatlinburg!

***  From Dave Jones via @TNDayTripper on Twitter – How many of TN’s family-friendly, non-commercial attractions can you name? National Geographic Traveler named these: Family Vacation Planner for Tennessee.

*** From the Tennessee tourism folks via @TNVacation on Twitter, a bunch of family-friendly festivals and events – June 12 through August 2 Dollywood KidsFest, July 10 – 18 Kingsport Fun Fest, Aug 8 Tomato Art Fest, Sept 6 Boomsday Festival, Sept 12 Nat’l Rolley Hole Marbles Championship & Fest, Oct 2-4 Nat’l Storytelling Fest and Oct 17-18 Aussie Fall Fest Chillin’ & Grillin’.

***  From Lanora Mueller via @WritingTravel on Twitter – Your kids will love eating at a “meat-and-three” in Tennessee: Nashville in Escapes.

***  From Antonia Malchik via @amalchik on Twitter – National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, every October! About my favorite thing to do all year. [Read her post about the Festival on Perceptive Travel blog.]

***  From Elmer Boutin via @rehor on Twitter – Graceland is cool and kid-friendly though many kids might not want to go there. [My kid didn't either but I took her anyway; now she's an Elvis fan.]

***  From Mike Goheen via @vistavision on Twitter – It’s kinda goofy, but I always liked the Lookout Mountain attractions in Chattanooga when I was a kid. [On Twitter at @VisitLookoutMtn]

***  From Paul Brownell via @PaulbAustin on Twitter – Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge has a ton 4 kids. Dollywood, downtown sites and Cades Cove park not far away.

***  From Kayt Sukel via @TravelSavvyKayt on Twitter – I’m assuming you got Dollywood? It’s oh-so-kitsch but a lot of fun! [Yep, I've been there, it's much better than many might think!]

***  From Kara S. Williams via @karasw on Twitter – In Nashville, look into Las Paletas – homemade gourmet popsicles!

***  From Dan Mosqueda via @DanCMos on Twitter – We had a terrific trip in Pigeon Forge. I highly recommend (Sugar Maple Cabins) – awesome views, clean. It is seriously stunning there in terms of beauty. The main drag is tacky, but the rest is nice. Gatlinburg is much improved too.

***  From Shannon Hurst Lane via @Cajun_Mama on Twitter – The and also A MUST is Big Ed’s Pizza in Oak Ridge TN. My kids loved watching the pizza makers.

Wow, Twitter tweeps sure came through for Tennessee;  I didn’t have any input on Facebook, though.

On the BootsnAll Travel Network, here’s the Boots Tennessee Travel Guide, and don’t forget our Family Travel guest post by Tim Leffel….A one-tank Tennessee and Alabama budget road trip.

Thanks so much for the contributions – the next state in the series is South Dakota.

Send your South Dakota highlights to @SheilaS on Twitter or write them on my Facebook Wall (tell me you’re a 50 state-er if you want to friend me.)

My purpose for this series is not only to highlight worthy kid-friendly vacation destinations in all 50 states, but by using Twitter and Facebook I want to also encourage tourism organizations to learn more about connecting with their visitors using social media and online networks.

Please add your own Tennessee suggestions in the comments below, if we’ve missed anything. Thanks!

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Finding More Fun: Carnival of Family Travel, 06/24/2009 | Travels with Children
June 24, 2009 at 7:19 pm


Nicky Reynolds June 24, 2009 at 9:09 am

Great list you’ve compiled! But I have a slew of others from Tennessee!

@TrickyNicky and @Katyb3 keep tabs on what’s going on in Oak Ridge and Anderson County, or you can just log on to @OakRidgeCVB. We also have one for @SecretCityFest for the Secret City Festival (always the 3rd weekend in June).

@Tim_Knight is with Campbell County

@KenMayes is with the American Museum of Science & Energy, or you can just follow @A_M_S_E

@katcraven is with the Hunter Museum of American Art, or you can follow them on @HunterMuseum

@mjolley is at Rock City or you can follow @SeeRockCity

@mkfisher1 is at Morristown



@rachelhopebaker is with Hardin County (Shiloh area)

@SevierFun is Sevierville

@stephaniewells is Anderson County Tourism

@wendybutsunny is Rutherford County (Murfreesboro)

and finally, @Zbrooks is Cumberland Gap area

Hope this helps!


Nicky Reynolds June 24, 2009 at 9:13 am
Sheila June 24, 2009 at 11:35 am

Hi Nicky,

Thanks very much for your detailed feedback!

Family Holiday Parks June 24, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Love this idea, especially if people are talking about their own states. Often it takes people visiting from interstate for us to show them around, to experience and explore our own state.

Joy March 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I’m from Tennessee, and what I really enjoyed is going hiking on the Cumberland Plateau. Of course the camping is great there too.

Sheila March 10, 2010 at 9:47 am

Hi Joy,

Thanks very much for your feedback!

Connie Repass March 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

We’d love for you to share our event. Thank you so much!

Ed Fest 2010 is more than a music festival; it’s a place to bring your family for a fun day of games, music and food! Ed Fest attendees will enjoy not only the best music of East Tennessee throughout the day, but also fun, family entertainment. There will be inflatable toys, face-painting, dunking booth, rock climbing wall, games for the kids and much more. There is always a variety of food. This year we have expanded to include arts & craft vendors.

Our current lineup of musicians include Ed Repass, T. Graham Brown, Aaron Wilburn, The Southbound Band, Southern Breeze, The Dreamcatcher Band, Jonathan Hall and more to come!

There is no admission to attend. This is a drug, alcohol and attitude free event. Please bring a lawn chair and stay all day. Parking is $3.00.

Visit us at for more information.

Sheila March 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Hi Connie,

Thanks for the tip; sounds like a fun event for families.


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