The abundance of country music legends hailing from Tennessee has definitely put this state on the map, after all, Nashville didn't get the nickname "Music City" for nothing. But there is so much more to this amazing state far beyond the guitar chords and cowboy boots; like the dozens of amazing sightseeing spots that you will absolutely not find anywhere else in the world.
Of course, we don't expect you to just take our word for it, so we made a list of amazing places s in Tennessee that you totally won't believe exist. From nature areas to man-made structures and everything quirky and fascinating in between, all you need to do now is scroll down and allow your appreciation for this state to grow even larger.
Fireflies of the Great Smoky Mountains
Where: Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg
The Great Smoky Mountains are a sight to see any time of the year, but for two weeks every June, the night sky is lit up not just by moonlight — but by millions of fireflies. Even more impressive is that the bugs light up in total synchrony, making it one of the only locations known to man with this particular group of perfectly-timed fireflies. Bet you've never seen that many fireflies light up the sky!
Where: TN-52, Rugby
A town frozen in time stands as a reminder of the dreamers who built America into what it is today. In the 1880s, a colony of British and American men and women had the vision to create a Utopia with the best of both cultures, and thus the Rugby Colony was born. The town buildings were built with the utmost care in a fancy Victorian style, and the residents made sure to have plenty of upscale entertainment so a theatre, croquet, and literary clubs were among the dozens of structures.
Unfortunately, the paradise was short lived due to a deadly Typhoid outbreak, wiping out a large portion of the slow-growing population. Coupled by financial troubles, by the time the 1900s rolled around the majority of the town was long deserted. Today the town is slowly starting to regrow as a historic landmark and sightseeing destination. There are currently just under 100 residents inhabiting this spot on the map.
Where: 140 Lost Sea Road, Sweetwater
A massive several-acre underground lake appropriately named the Lost Sea is located in a Tennessee cave. Known as America's largest underground lake, the Lost Sea is so vast that divers have yet to uncover every inch of the body of water. Besides the perfect glossy blue water, the cave also features rare cave flowers and some of the largest trout in the entire USA! Stopping at this natural landmark is a must when you live so close.
Where: 1720 Scenic Hwy, Chattanooga
While we are on the topic of amazing caves in Tennessee, Ruby Falls is another cave with a water feature, the only difference is that it trickles down from above. Don't let the building fit for a renaissance festival fool you, this modern looking castle leads you to a stunning underground waterfall illuminated by color changing lights. The entire experience is truly enchanting, to say the least.
And the best part? You have to see how the caves light up. Basically, it's a photographer's dream. Your IG will thank you later.
Where: 183 Beale Street, Memphis
Memphis is mostly known for its music — it is where the King called home after all. But, it should also be known for the cutest goats that call Silky O'Sullivan's home. Here you can see the cute, furry guys climb up and down a spiral staircase.
It's pretty common knowledge that goats are mischevious little critters — but also oh so adorable.
Lost Cove Settlement
An urban explorer's dream destination is only a hike away from Forest Service Road in North Carolina or River Road in Tennessee. This early-1900s town was left abandoned after the timber production ran short, pushing the town into poverty. All of the families had moved away by mid-century, leaving many of the buildings and even some personal possessions behind to slowly deteriorate in the elements.
The Secret City
Where: Oak Ridge
Conspiracy theorists have a pretty good reason to be wary of the government, and the Oak Ridge Secret City is a perfect example why. This "perfect society" was created by the US government in the 1940s to serve as the home base for the Manhattan Project. While most of the residents who were moved here were unaware of their part in the project and overlooked the need for ID badges and guarded perimeters, they were overall happy with their day-to-day living.
Of course, after the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, the residents were no longer able to turn a blind eye to the actual nature of this perfectly governed American life. Though less secretive, the city is still inhabited to this day and features some of the original structures from the project and a museum dedicated to The Secret City.
Where: 1408 Palisades Road, Signal Mountain
You've heard of renting a cabin in the woods, but a spaceship —probably not. There are a number of spaceship houses throughout the United States, each one a little different than the other. This particular Spaceship House was the brainchild of extraterrestrial-loving Curtis King in the 1970s. It was his main residence for a while before being sold, and then it was sold again, and again, eventually ending up in the hands of a Signal Mountain local who keeps the place open to the public as a spacious vacation rental, every pun intended.
Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum
Where: 461 Brookside Village Way, Gatlinburg
I know you have always wanted to go to a museum dedicated to nothing more than salt and pepper shakers, and here is your chance! The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum is like your grandma's nicknack shelf x1000, except instead of an array of nicknacks it's an array of brightly colored, rare, exotic, fun, cute, quirky, and historic salt and pepper shakers. We can't seem to shake our excitement about this one.
Hermitage Hotel Men's Bathroom
Where: 231 6th Avenue North, Nashville
Hold on to your hats, ladies. Imagine this: a men's bathroom in such immaculate condition that it has become a tourist attraction. I know, shocking right? This beautiful historic latrine is so amazing that it has won the award for "Restroom of the Year," and yes women are allowed to gawk.
House of Mews
Where: 933 Cooper Street, Memphis
In an adorable twist of fate, dozens of homeless kitties find refuge at the House of Mews cat sanctuary, where the public is free to come in and spend time playing with the free-roaming felines and maybe take one home too.
The Crystal Shrine Grotto
Where: 5668 Poplar Ave, Memphis
There are certainly no shortages of houses of worship in Memphis, but The Crystal Shrine Grotto definitely stands out from the rest. Despite the normal appearance from the outside, enter inside and you will see this shrine is anything but. With psychedelic light displays, oddly placed religious relics, and an overall busy appearance, it's definitely a fun and artsy tribute to Catholicism but to think some people come here for peace and prayer is kind of hard to imagine.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Where: 2009 Village Camp Road, Pikeville
Who needs the Amazon Jungle when you are only a hop, skip and a jump away from Fall Creek Falls State Park- featuring spectacular waterfalls, a treetop swing bridge, impressively large rock formations, and a dense forest area all around? No matter what time of the year you go, it's a pretty safe bet that spending a day here will leave you in full appreciation of the fantastic nature parks Tennessee has to offer.
Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel
Where: 1400 Market Street, Chattanooga
This early 1900s historic train station turned themed hotel offers visitors the chance to book a room on a Pullman train car for an overnight accommodation experience like no other. If you've never slept on a train, you can cross that off your bucket list. It's just like something from a movie.
While the trains and train hotel rooms are the main attraction, the station has been beautifully renovated and the grounds feature a courtyard with restaurants and shops, a rose garden, gazebo, koi pond, and a fully operational trolley from 1924.