Flying south to warm up from winter’s chill sounds like a great way to spend spring break. Unfortunately, it comes with a hefty price tag that may freeze the fun.
So why shell out big bucks for a seaside escape when Tennessee offers so many affordable ways for fun at home?
Here are some ideas on where to go in Tennessee for spring break.
Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, the city of Gatlinburg offers young and old visitors lots of things to do. Rent a mountain chalet and relax by the fire, or hike along one of the many well-maintained trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Shopping, attractions, museums, theme parks and live entertainment acts abound in the greater Gatlinburg area. A potential downside to a Smoky Mountain spring break is the weather, which can be unpredictable in March. Dress in layers and throw in a heavy coat to stay warm on chilly evenings.
With so much to see and do in Nashville in March, you’ll never run out of options. Tour the Opryland Hotel and feel as if you’ve entered a garden paradise. Catch a professional hockey game or some live entertainment.
Lots of events are happening in Nashville this March: theater and dance, film festivals, performances by comedians like Carol Burnett, Steve Martin and Martin Short, as well as musicians from myriad genres, plus the Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Chattanooga at nearby Rock City, where the waterfall turns green in mid-March as part of the attraction’s Irish festival. Irish music, food, drink and entertainment make the weekends of March 11–12 and 18–19 a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors.
And since Rock City is so close to Chattanooga, take time to visit the Tennessee Aquarium, go to a wine or whiskey tasting, hang glide, whitewater raft or take a riverboat cruise.
Attend a Festival
Several unique festivals occur in March in Tennessee. Get some laughs at the Memphis Comedy Festival on March 9 – 12. Founded in 2011, the event hosts stand-up showcases, improv nights, informational seminars and open-mic nights.
The Big Ears Festival in Knoxville combines a variety of musical genres with visual artists, film and performances. Held in historic downtown theaters, the March 23–26 festival has been named “one of the most quietly earth-shattering, subtly luminous festivals the world over” by The Oxford American Magazine.
Don’t forget Tennessee’s smaller towns for your spring break road trip. Take in the Irish Festival in Erin, Tennessee, on March 18. The tiny town near Clarksville was founded by Irish immigrants and the festival pays homages to Erin’s roots. The town of Bell Buckle hosts Daffodil Day on March 18. Featuring arts and crafts and local food, this event celebrates the start of spring.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Tennessee’s state parks and nature groups offer many opportunities to see the state’s unique flora, fauna and geologic features. The 16th annual Waterfall Tour will be held at Edgar Evins State Park on March 18. Participants spend a day hiking to numerous waterfalls in Middle Tennessee and enjoy lunch along the way.
Many other Tennessee state parks are hosting spring hikes on March 18, including a hike and archaeology boat tour to prehistoric Native American ruins at Reelfoot Lake in West Tennessee. From March 18 to April 12, Hikes and Blooms will take place in the Knoxville area. These interpreted hikes highlight interesting facts and features of the area’s parks and nature trails.
You don’t need to head south for a great spring break vacation. Tennessee offers plenty of fun, wallet-friendly activities for a memorable March getaway.