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Fun short road trips outside Nashville

Q: Could you share some destinations outside of Nashville that make for fun short road trips?

A: Absolutely. Just as there is plenty to love in and around Nashville, there is a good amount more still outside of the city that can be reached without driving too far and is well worth the trip. Here are some of the standouts noted for being crowd pleasers.


Virgin Falls is a 1,157-acre natural area located in White County, TN, which is just about 2 hours east of Nashville. The falls itself, formed by an underground stream that emerges from a cave, drops off of a 110-foot-high cliff before disappearing into another cave at the bottom of the sink. Noted for its unique geological features, the area includes several other waterfalls including Big Laurel, Sheep Cave Falls, and Big Branch Falls. If you're a fan of hiking like I am and are down with some more challenging trails, take the Virgin Falls Trail, which is a 4.3-mile hike from the trail head to the falls (roughly a 9-mile round trip). Since you'll no doubt want to hang out and take in the gorgeous spectacle once you arrive at the falls, I'd advise that you start the hike fairly early in the day to allow yourself plenty of time to make it back to your car before sundown.


Aiming in a different direction, at just around the same drive time (~2 hours) is the city of Chattanooga. Unique in its appearance and layout, Chattanooga comes with plenty of hiking of its own as well as one-of-a-kind attractions such as the preserved sites of major Civil War battles in the Chickamauga National Military Park, the widely known and beloved Chattanooga Aquarium, a 13-acre zoo, and the Moon Pie General Store, along with an art district and a slew of local restaurants and breweries. Not only that, but just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road will bring you to...


Lookout Mountain rises 2,000 feet above sea level and overlooks Chattanooga and contains a number of notable attractions to keep you enthralled along the way, one of the more remarkable of which being Ruby Falls, which ventures 1,120 feet underground and is home to the tallest and deepest underground public waterfall, alongside captivating views of the Cumberland Plateau and 700 feet of exhilarating zip lines via the local High Point Zip Adventure. Once you've gotten your adrenaline fix, be sure to head over to Rock City.

Opened in 1932 and immortalized more recently in the Neil Gaiman novel American Gods, this unique draw sits atop Lookout Mountain and claims to offer panoramic views of a whopping seven states. While this doesn't exactly check out, the view itself is pretty incredible and well worth a look before you split and head back down toward sea level.

So, there you are, a few noteworthy options within a 2-hour radius of the city, with each of them offering more than enough to keep you busy and warrant multiple visits. Happy adventuring, enjoy, and we'll see you next issue!


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