Few states boast as many fall travel opportunities as Tennessee ---- from the Smoky Mountains, to the Tennessee River to thousands upon thousands of acres of wildlife, there’s a little something for everyone. The Volunteer State is awash in color and photo opportunities around every turn. For Autumn 2017, early to mid-October is likely the best time to visit; meaning it’s perfect if you missed out on some of the earlier fall colors in the northeastern or western U.S., or if you’re looking for cool, but not cold, weather while you’re taking in all the lovely sights.
Survey the Scene on a Scenic Drive
Tennessee boasts many breathtaking routes and trails that are a joy to traverse during any season, but doing so in the fall is stunning. Perhaps the most famous drive in Tennessee lies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cades Cove features an 11-mile road, which will whisk you away to scenic views, wildlife, and every hue of fall colors you can imagine. If you're lucky, you may even see a bear or two hanging out (within a safe distance, of course).
View the Countryside by Horseback
While viewing the Tennessee countryside from a vehicle provides quite a rush, viewing it from horseback can be even more enjoyable. If you're near Sevierville, we recommend checking out Five Oaks Riding Stables. Five Oaks features 70 acres of trails, views of the Smoky Mountains, and riding for people of all ages and experience levels. Afterward, don’t forget to refuel at The Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store for a true taste of fall — and sweet southern hospitality.
Cruise Along a River
You can enjoy a whole other side of the state of Tennessee by cruising down one of its rivers, and — of course — the Tennessee River is a natural option for first time visitors. We recommend taking a trip to Chattanooga and trying out the Southern Belle, a riverboat that looks like it was plucked straight out of the late 1800s. The Belle's fall colors tour will take you on a three-hour journey, with lunch included, to the River Gorge (known as "The Grand Canyon of the South.") When the reds, oranges, browns and golds of the fall trees create reflections in the river, you'll have trouble deciding which pictures to post on Instagram!
Any season is a great season to visit Tennessee, but fall definitely makes a convincing case for being among the very best of them all. Families, couples and solo adventurers alike are all bound to appreciate the majestic beauty and remarkable weather the state has to offer. The best part is, you don’t have to spend a ton of money in order to get into the spirit of things. Whether you enjoy getting outside and being active, or if you prefer coasting along a gorgeous byway on a crisp fall day, Tennessee will not disappoint.