How to Have a Charming Honeymoon in Tennessee (2024 Guide)

Nashville Skyline Tennessee

Your comprehensive guide to planning the perfect honeymoon in Tennessee, USA.

Planning a honeymoon can be as exciting as planning a wedding. It’s a treasured time that people will ask you about for the rest of your lives, so chances are you are looking for somewhere unique. If you’re considering honeymooning in the USA, have you considered Tennessee? With its rich musical heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and Southern hospitality, Tennessee is a unique honeymoon destination with everything you need to make it unforgettable.

Why Choose Tennessee for Your Honeymoon?

Tennessee offers a variety of experiences for couples. Whether you prefer the lively, music-filled streets of Nashville and Memphis or the serene beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee has something for everyone.  The state boasts bustling city life and tranquil retreats. You can spend exciting nights in big cities like Nashville and Memphis, then escape to secluded cabins in Gatlinburg for the peace, adventure and spectacular vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Exploring Tennessee: A Guide to Your Honeymoon Destinations

Tennessee is a state rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage. Here’s a guide to some of the best destinations you can explore during your Tennessee honeymoon.

Nashville: The Heart of Country Music

Broadway pub district in downtown Nashville Tennessee
Broadway pub district in downtown Nashville Tennessee

Nashville is often referred to as the Music City.  It’s a unique blend of big-city excitement and small-town charm—making it an ideal destination for a Nashville honeymoon.

Not only does the city boast a vibrant music scene that attracts travellers and budding songwriters alike, but Honky Tonk Row offers endless entertainment with its continuous live shows. Plus, you will discover an emerging arts scene, unique indie boutiques, and an exceptional culinary landscape that has evolved from its traditional Southern roots. This eclectic mix of attractions ensures a memorable honeymoon experience in this country-meets-rock-and-roll city.

Related Article: Romantic Things to Do in Nashville

Things for Coupes to Do & See in Nashville

The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM)

(NMAAM) The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville is a comprehensive collection, which includes audio and video files, costumes, posters, instruments, photographs.  It’s extremely well-organised and visitors can find their favourites by either genre and chronology. The museum’s interactive material allows visitors to trace the influences of musicians and discern their impact on subsequent artists. The museum delves deep into the realm of music and sheds light on both celebrated performers and those whose names might have faded into the annals of history.

First Art Museum – This cultural institution in Nashville has been open since 2001. Located in a grand Art Deco building that used to be the city’s main post office, the museum has become one of the city’s most important landmarks. Unlike other museums, the First Art Museum has no permanent collection, meaning every visit is unique. The exhibits on display are diverse, ranging from vintage cars to Japanese art and artifacts from Houghton Hall in England. The museum also hosts a monthly music event called “Music at the Frist,” free for visitors and adds to the city’s vibrant artistic scene.

Gold Wall Courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Country Music Hall of Fame –Nashville is known as the heart of country music, and it boasts a rich musical history that you can experience at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This iconic institution has an extensive collection that captures the essence of country music. It includes Thomas Heart Benton’s painting ‘The Sources of Country Music’, Elvis Presley’s 1960 Gold Cadillac, and the latest exhibit ‘American Currents: The State of the Music’.

Enjoy the City’s Parks – Nashville has fantastic parks, including the well-known Centennial Park and Bicentennial Park, and lesser-known but equally beautiful parks such as Shelby Park, Percy Warner Park, and Cumberland Park. These green spaces serve as a reminder of the city’s lush natural surroundings. If the weather is pleasant, these parks offer an authentic nature walk experience within the city limits.

The Grand Ole Pry
Image courtesy of The Grand Ole Pry

Catch a Show at The Grand Ole Pry The Opry is a significant landmark in Nashville closely associated with the city’s thriving music culture. It has been recognised for its live broadcast for several decades and has changed locations multiple times before finally settling at its current home, the Opry House, in 1974. The venue is a popular spot for some of the biggest names in country music and also serves as an excellent platform for new and emerging talent.

Memphis: The Birthplace of Rock’ n’ Roll

Main Street Trolley in Memphis
Main Street Trolley in Memphis

Nashville is widely known as the hub of country music, but Memphis, Tennessee’s second-largest city, boasts an equally diverse and vibrant musical heritage. As the birthplace of blues, rock ‘n’ roll and soul, musical legends like Elvis Presley and B.B. King have left an indelible mark, significantly shaping its cultural identity.

Whether indulging in the rich musical history, enjoying a romantic stroll through its streets, or immersing oneself in the quintessential Elvis experience at Graceland, Memphis truly lives up to its name as a “place of good abode”.  The city attracts throngs of Elvis enthusiasts yearly, making Graceland the second most visited home in the U.S., surpassed only by the White House.

Memphis is famous not only for its music but also for its mouth-watering barbecue, especially the ribs, which are a must-try for any food enthusiast.

Over the past decade, the city has allocated billions towards various rejuvenation projects, yielding benefits that visitors can now enjoy. A notable example is the substantial transformation of downtown Memphis and the recent revitalisation of the riverfront at Tom Lee Park.

Things for Coupes to Do & See in Memphis

Sun Studio – You can tour the famous Sun Studio, known as the Birthplace of Rock’ n’ Roll. During the 1950s and 1960s, many musicians, such as Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis, came to Sun Studio to record their music. You can step back in time and take a studio tour to learn more about the legendary musicians who contributed to the history of Memphis music. You can even visit the original front office where a young Elvis Presley was first discovered!

Related: The best honeymoons in the US

Beale St Memphis

Beale St – If you want to experience the true essence of Memphis culture, head towards Beale Street. This historic place is the birthplace of the blues and has played a significant role in launching the careers of several renowned musicians, such as B.B. King, Alberta Hunter, and Isaac Hayes.

During the day, visitors can explore music memorabilia stores and enjoy the delicious barbecue restaurants. As night falls, the stretch between Second and Fourth Streets transforms into a lively hub with numerous live music clubs welcoming music enthusiasts of all genres. Some of the attractions you can find in this area include the Orpheum Theatre, W.C. Handy House Museum, and Beale St.

Graceland – Elvis Presley’s iconic home, Graceland, is a must-visit attraction in Memphis. Serving as a memorial since he died in 1977, Graceland is now more of a standard-sized American home rather than the lavish mansion it was once considered. You can take an iPad-led guided tour of the house, which offers fascinating insights into Elvis’s lifestyle and social habits. Additionally, the Graceland experience has expanded to include exhibits of his car collection and wartime experiences. You can eat at Graceland’s Vernon Smokehouse if you’re hungry.

Graceland, Elvis Presley's home
Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home

National Civil Rights Museum – The Lorraine Motel, where the tragic shooting of Martin Luther King took place, has now been transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum, which is considered one of the most significant historical museums in the country.

The exhibit is carefully curated and artistically presented, offering a moving and compelling experience. It takes about three hours to explore the history of resistance by African Americans during slavery, the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and the ongoing struggles for equality in present times.

Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum– The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum introduces the city’s musical history. In 2022, this museum was voted the “Best Museum” in Memphis and is just a few steps from Beale Street. As a Smithsonian affiliate, it showcases how Memphis played a pivotal role in the evolution of blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and soul music. The museum houses a vast collection of memorabilia and a loaded playlist to guide you through the journey of music history.

Peabody Hotel – One of the most iconic spots in Memphis is the Peabody Hotel, located in the heart of downtown. Dating back to the 1930s, this hotel has a unique attraction – Mallard ducks live on the rooftop and take a daily trip down the elevator to swim in the lobby fountain. Whether you book a stay at the Peabody, come for afternoon tea, or sip on a Mint Julep in the lobby, you shouldn’t miss this Memphis landmark!

Related: How to Honeymoon in Texas, US

Gatlinburg: Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA Downtown Skyline
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA Downtown Skyline

Gatlinburg is a truly enchanting destination for honeymooners seeking a blend of serenity and adventure in the lap of nature. This picturesque town, nestled amidst the majestic Smoky Mountains, offers newlyweds an opportunity to immerse themselves in the splendid natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From chasing waterfalls to riding mountain coasters, Gatlinburg presents various adventurous activities.

The town’s unique museums and appealing shopping venues add to its charm, making it an ideal honeymoon location.

Things for Coupes to Do & See in Gatlinburg

Go horseback Riding – Ride with your partner on gentle horses along quiet mountain trails. Riders of all levels will find an opportunity to enjoy the incredible nature from the back of a horse – keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as wild turkeys or even a black bear.

Sample Moonshine – Visit Gatlinburg’s distilleries to sample classic ‘shine or try dozens of flavours at Sugarlands Distilling Co., Ole Smoky Moonshine, Tennessee Shine Co. and more, and taste the Smokies’ legendary drink.

Skybridge Gatlinburg

Visit SkyBridge – embark on a high-flying journey over SkyBridge. To enjoy the breathtaking views from above, you can take the SkyLift to the 680-foot SkyBridge, North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. You can explore numerous excellent hiking trails and scenic spots nearby, so make a day of it and explore the beauty surrounding the area.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Things for Couples to Do in Gatlinburg

Place of a thousand drips Gatlinburg

Chase Waterfalls – If you’re looking for waterfalls, put on your hiking boots and explore the surrounding forests. Gatlinburg is close to The Place of a Thousand Drips, Baskins Creek Falls, and Cataract Falls. You can also find Laurel Falls by following the trailhead off Fighting Creek Gap Road.

Tour Local Wineries – What could be more romantic than raising a glass of local wine to toast the sunset? You can taste the best vintages Gatlinburg has to offer by going on the Gatlinburg Wine Trail. You can use the wine trail map to visit wineries at your own pace or book a guided private tour.

Visit The Guinness World Record Museum – Experience the Amazing Book like never before with incredible displays, interactive games, themed galleries, trivia, and new videos!

Knoxville: A Blend of Scenery, Nightlife, and History

Knoxville before sunrise

Knoxville is a lively city in Eastern Tennessee, nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, just under three hours away from Nashville. It is the third largest city in Tennessee and offers a perfect combination of mountain scenery, vibrant nightlife, and historic landmarks, making it an excellent honeymoon destination for couples with diverse interests.

Knoxville is deeply rooted in Southern charm and history – it’s a fun place with a lot of delicious food, charming streets, a unique art scene, and beautiful outdoor spaces, and it has something for everyone.

Things for Couples to Do & See in Knoxville:

Historic Old City – The area is home to various remarkable old buildings, shops, restaurants, museums, art galleries, and entertainment venues. The most notable street in the area is Gay Street.

World’s Fair Park – A beautiful park with a festival lawn, performance lawn, Tennessee Amphitheater, and a lake area with fountains in the city’s heart.

Alex Haley Heritage Square – Alex Haley Heritage Square is situated on the hills of Morningside Park, providing a fantastic view of the historical city of Knoxville, the downtown business district, and the Smoky Mountains. This area was constructed by the community, and the most prominent feature of the square is the remarkable 13-foot bronze statue of Alex Haley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.

Knoxville Museum of Art – The museum is in the heart of downtown Knoxville, TN, close to World’s Fair Park and the renowned Sunsphere. The museum’s permanent collection showcases the history of East Tennessee artists through the exhibition High Ground: A Century of Visual Arts in East Tennessee. This exhibit features the works of historical artists who lived and worked in the area.

James White Fort – The James White Museum is named after the American pioneer and soldier who founded Knoxville. It includes White’s original 1786 home and is located where he established what would become Knoxville.

Sunsphere – A unique, 266-foot-tall observation tower in World’s Fair Park, offering breathtaking city views from its hexagonal design.

Market Square – A popular multipurpose venue in Downtown Knoxville, hosts concerts and political rallies and is a gathering place for artists, street musicians, war veterans, and activists.

Bonus Option: Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge, home to the famous Dollywood amusement park, a theme park owned by country music legend Dolly Parton, featuring state-of-the-art roller coasters, musical performances, and a museum showcasing artifacts from Parton’s illustrious career, offers a blend of adventure and Southern hospitality.

And apart from thrilling rollercoasters and live entertainment, you can also explore the city’s 800 miles of mountain trails.

The Best Time to Visit Tennessee for Your Honeymoon

To experience the best weather during your Tennessee honeymoon, consider visiting during the fall. Temperatures range between 65 to 80 degrees (18 to 270C) during the day in September and October, providing the perfect conditions for exploring the state’s many attractions. Nights are comfortable, too, making it an ideal time to stay in one of the state’s many cosy cabins.

It’s important to note that summers in Tennessee can be sweltering, with temperatures often exceeding 90 degrees (320C). Additionally, the state is prone to tornadoes and lightning storms, so keeping an eye on the weather and staying hydrated during your summer honeymoon is advisable.

What to Pack for Your Tennessee Honeymoon

Given the diversity of your Tennessee honeymoon, you’ll need to pack a range of clothing and essentials. Bring stylish and slightly formal attire for exploring the cities and dining in upscale restaurants. If you plan to explore the mountains, pack hiking boots, sunscreen, and bug spray. And remember your bathing suit for those relaxing dips in the hotel pool or jacuzzi tub. It might also be wise to bring an umbrella and raincoat in case of unexpected rain.

A Tennessee honeymoon promises a memorable blend of romance, adventure, and Southern charm. Whether you’re a country music fan, a food lover, a history buff, or an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll find something to love in this diverse state. So why wait? Start planning your Tennessee honeymoon today.

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