We decided to stay in the 12 South neighborhood for the majority of our vacation. This area is away from the hustle of downtown but still only a few minutes away. Plus there were plenty of unique shops and restaurants walking distance from our AirBnb. We were in Nashville around the middle of March where temperatures averaged around 10 degrees Celsius during the day but got down close to freezing overnight. Not warm by any stretch but still nice enough to be comfortable while walking around outside.
On our first day in Nashville we promptly got back in the car and left the state for Kentucky. Our destination was Mammoth Cave National Park. This park is around 1.5 hours from Nashville and contains the world’s longest known cave system. We went on a 2 hour, ranger led tour of several highlights of the caves but still only saw a fraction of what has been discovered. Once we were finished exploring the National Park we drove back to our base in Nashville.
Another road trip day and this was going to be a long one. Our destination was Fall Creek Falls State Park. The park is so great they named it twice! 😂 Fall Creek Falls is about 2.5 hours through the Tennessee countryside but well worth a visit. This state park is actually Tennessee’s most visited park. Also, did you know all Tennessee state parks have free admission? There are some great hiking trails to explore at this state park with its highlight being an impressive waterfall.
After, exploring Fall Creek Falls it was time to head back to Nashville via one more pit stop. Have your heard of Buc-ee’s? This place is like an amusement park for road trips. It is huge and offers hundreds of gas pumps and a giant convenience store. This isn’t just any convenience store however, Buc-ee’s restrooms have been voted the cleanest in America. In addition, there are rows of snacks, fresh fudge, brisket, fountain drinks, and slushies.
After a couple days of driving it was time to ditch the car and start exploring Nashville. First up was the semi-famous hop on hop off trolly tour. The trolley tour provided the perfect way to see all of the city without requiring a car or dealing with parking. We started at Centennial Park and then began our journey towards downtown via areas such as Music Row and The Gulch. We stopped at The Gulch to find some murals that Nashville is famous for as well as southern food from Biscuit Love and a huge vintage guitar store. Eventually we made it to the famous Honky Tonk Row or Lower Broadway which is lined with bars on both sides of the street with free live music all day. It is quite the experience to see so many venues in such a small area with so many talented musicians entertaining the crowds. You quickly realize how Nashville has become the go to location for all sorts of celebrations.
Our second day exploring Nashville but at a slower pace. This time we first explored the 12 South neighbourhood where our AirBnb was located before hopping in a Lyft for the short drive back to downtown. We started our day at Goo Goo’s, home of the famous Goo Goo cluster. These were the first time fillings were added to chocolate way back in 1912 and at their store your can design your own cluster and watch it being made before your eyes. After filling up on some chocolate we were ready for some dancing, line dancing that is. The Wildhorse Saloon is just off of Lower Broadway and not only offers some great free music but also free line dancing lessons. Needless to say, we loved the experience and stayed for several lessons. We explored a few more honky tonks for the remainder of the afternoon and ended up at Assembly Food Hall for dinner.
Our vacation is already close to being complete so to finish off we moved over to the Gaylord Opryland Resort for our final night. This is a huge resort with several interconnected atriums that can be explored as well as an indoor water park. After several busy days is was a nice way to end our vacation with some relaxing and fun at the water park. The Grand Ole Opry is also right next door but we decided not to attend.
Well that brings us to our final day in Nashville. After checking out we stayed at the resort all day to enjoy its amenities (including more water park) before heading back to the airport where we would spend our last night before flying home the next day.
Even without being in Nashville to party we still were able to experience its great music scene and food plus had the opportunity to explore nearby sights and scenery. Travelling isn’t just about the destination but the experiences you have while there. Even tough Nashville may not be considered a typical family destination we were still able to enjoy ourselves and found plenty of fulfilling experiences.