Travel Guide

Overview

Tennessee
Tennessee © Wdwic Pictures

A relatively small landlocked state bordered on the west by the Mississippi River and to the east by the Appalachian Mountains, Tennessee is perhaps most famous for its music. A massive cultural melting pot, the state is world-renowned for its importance in the development of blues, modern country and rock and roll.

The state capital, Nashville, has a musical heritage second to none, and is home to the Grand Ole Opry - America's centre stage of country music. Since the mid-1950s, one of Tennessee's main tourist attractions has been the legendary king of rock 'n roll, Elvis Presley. He may have died some four decades ago, but Elvis's legacy remains, drawing thousands of fans to his former home in Memphis, the famed Graceland.

Outside of the main cities, Tennessee, which is only 480 miles (772km) long and 115 miles (185km) wide, offers a surprising number of wilderness areas and natural attractions perfect for those adventurers who enjoy exploring the outdoors

In the eastern part of the state, a series of beautiful ridges and valleys rise up to the highest point of Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which Tennessee shares with North Carolina. The state is blessed with a vast system of reservoirs, including 29 lakes, often frequented by keen anglers and water-sports enthusiasts.

Tennessee also boasts a multitude of historic heritage trails, including the scenic Trail of Tears, which starts just east of Chattanooga in the south and stretches for 260 miles (418km) through Tennessee before spilling into Kentucky. Along this route, 13,000 displaced Cherokee Indians were forcibly removed to present day Oklahoma. Tennessee was also ravaged by the Civil War and witnessed many battles, and history buffs will delight in the fact that the state now preserves and maintains a number of these war sites, such as Shiloh and Lookout Mountain.

All in all, Tennessee is a big drawcard for musos looking to immerse themselves in one of America's music capitals, history nuts eager to delve into the country's rich war past, and those keen outdoorsmen and women keen to explore the South's natural splendour.