When you consider visiting Tennessee, one of the first places that often comes to mind is Nashville: the state capital, home of the Grand Ole Opry and country music, and one of the few places on the planet with a full-scale replica of the famous Greek Parthenon. Or, you may think of Memphis: the hometown of The King of Rock ‘n Roll – Elvis Presley, historic Beale Street and its huge contribution to blues music, and the setting for Memphis in May, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.
Others who are into touristy-type attractions may think of Pigeon Forge: the location for numerous shows, tourist attractions and all types of family-friendly fun, including one of the best theme parks in North America, Dollywood. Outdoor enthusiasts are aware that part of the Great Smoky Mountains National park is in southeastern Tennessee, and its outdoor culture overflows into the state, providing many outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking, and white water rafting. With all the outdoor activities you may try to embrace, always stay alert for Sasquatch.
Unless you have been to Chattanooga before, it sometimes gets lost in the mix. Those who do consider it often initially think of Chattanooga Choo Choo, the song first recorded in 1941 by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra and featured in the movie, Sun Valley Serenade. The people who know and love Chattanooga, however, are aware of the many great things to experience in this charming southern city nestled along the Tennessee River.
The city sits at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau, just north of the Georgia border, and offers a diverse geography. It is officially dubbed the Scenic City, which it easily lives up to.
Some gems to be on the lookout for are the Moon Pie General Store, as Chattanooga is home to this world famous treat, and Cupcake Kitchen, easily one of the top gourmet cupcake and bakery shops we have experienced.
Another recommended stop is the locally-famous, Clumpies Ice Cream Company, featuring some unique flavors of hand-crafted ice cream made with the finest ingredients. It is sure to delight your sweet tooth.
It’s not all about fish, though, as there is an abundance of reptiles and amphibians, in quality habitats as well. They are so easy to see, you just may want to reach out and touch them. Well, some of them.
While you are still in downtown Chattanooga, you may be happy to note that it has an unofficial nickname, Gig City. This is attributed to their large fiber-0ptic network and their claims of having the fastest Internet in the Western Hemisphere. They have a free public WiFi service called NoogaNet, but if you need even faster speeds, you can go underground and tap directly into the fiber-optic network.
For a different perspective of the city, you can head to the top of Lookout Mountain. It is easily reachable by car, although the metered parking can be hard to find. For a moderate fee, you can park at the bottom and take a two-way trip on the Incline Railway with a 72.7% breathtaking grade and view. At the top, a notable place of interest is the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park, paying tribute to a key Civil War battle that took place here. Civil War buffs know that this battle had a large number of casualties, second only to Gettysburg. There are also numerous hiking trails in this park system.
Also at the top, you can find a picnic area with a great wonder, a natural stone bridge begging to be explored. There are great photo opportunities here including what appears to be a spring house build into the rocks under the bridge.
When you are done exploring the many things to do in Chattanooga, of course you will want to take a short trip south, to Lake Winnie, a small family friendly amusement park in northern Georgia, just minutes from Chattanooga. My readers know I would find some way to sneak in an amusement park.
Chattanooga, and the surrounding area, is great for a family getaway. There are many activities for everyone, a great selection of food choices, and most of all, lots of opportunities to have fun. You won’t be disappointed if you make this a destination for your family in the near future.