Autumn in Tennessee is unmatched. Here, you’ll find every reason to load up your fall itinerary with fun activities and events. Find where to pick a pumpkin or bushel of apples, the best haunts, harvest festivals and more.
Foliage hike or leaf-peeping drive?
Anakeesta Treetop Skywalk – Gatlinburg
Looking for a magical way to see fall colors? Stroll the longest tree-based skywalk in North America on the Treetop Skywalk at Anakeesta. There are 880 feet of hanging bridges suspended 50-60 feet in the air that lead to platforms constructed around trees’ trunks. You may spot a bear or hear a woodpecker below as you’re surrounded by nature in the treetops. It’s the perfect location to snap Instagram-worthy family moments.
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park – Millington
Just 13 miles north of Memphis, Shelby Forest is home to more than 20 miles of trails that wind throughout the park. The wooded Chickasaw Bluff Trail is a moderate 7.4-mile hike under the canopy of Tupelo and Oak trees, with a bluff overlooking Poplar Tree Lake. West Tennessee’s wild, natural landscape offers a brilliant display of gold, red and orange leaves in fall.
Natchez Trace Parkway
The Natchez Trace Parkway traverses Middle Tennessee and goes through Williamson County, with stunning photo opportunities on the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge. This bridge is surrounded by fall colors toward the end of October and you can see for miles. While in the area, stop by the historic town of Franklin, also located off the Parkway. The quaint, historic architecture here creates a beautiful backdrop for seasonal colors. Franklin is also full of autumn festivities and fall decorations.
English Mountain Fall Driving Tour – Sevierville
Vacationing in the Smokies? Escape the crowds and plan your fall foliage route in Sevierville along the English Mountain Fall Driving Tour. Along the way, you’ll find interesting attractions, local history and plenty of stop-off points to snap photos of the beautiful scenery. Explore points of interest including the Historic Downtown Sevierville to see the Dolly Parton Statue, the scenic Historic Harrisburg covered bridge, journey underground at Forbidden Caverns and the unique Bush Beans Visitors Center which includes an interpretive museum, gift shop, café and more.
Camping trip or cabin getaway?
Serendipity – Brownsville
Take in the stunning scenery and crisp fall air at Serendipity in Brownsville with a stay in one of the canvas yurts equipped with heat and air conditioning, two queen beds with bedding, a deck, firepit, charcoal grill and picnic table. You’ll love the Bohemian style while having an upscale experience with friends and family. Serendipity also offers luxury cabins, RV and camp sites for rent. Enjoy kayaking, an 18-hole disc golf course, basketball, horseshoes, a lookout tower and more during your stay.
The Lodge at Ski Mountain – Gatlinburg
This picturesque mountain cabin is in Gatlinburg, surrounded by the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Lodge at Ski Mountain is equipped with two bedrooms and 1.5 baths, a hot tub, wood-burning grill and built-in seating to enjoy the scenery. The lodge is conveniently close to several Smoky Mountain trailheads, which makes this a perfect getaway for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore even more mountain cabins in Tennessee.
Fall festival or ghost hunt?
Cheekwood Harvest – Nashville
Cheekwood Harvest at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is a multi-week celebration of autumn filled with mums, a community scarecrow trail, Cheekwood Beer Garden with special performances and Pumpkin Village with three pumpkin houses. Special events include a Japanese Moon Viewing, Halloween Pooch Party and El Dia de los Muertos.
Ghost Tours at The Hermitage – Nashville
Explore the haunted side of history during the Hermitage Ghost Tours. Embark on a distinctly spooky voyage at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage as you experience the mansion, grounds and cemetery by lantern light. Along the way, guides in period clothing will explore tragedies that befell the Jackson family, unusual experiences of Andrew Jackson and unexplained incidents at the site. Hear about strange encounters such as the spirits of the Battle of New Orleans and Jackson’s infamous meeting with Tennessee’s Bell Witch. Beware of eerie encounters, possibly even with President Jackson himself.
Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary – Petros
Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was a prison started in 1896 as a jail and a coal mine for Tennessee. Some of the nation's most dangerous prisoners came to Brushy including James Earl Ray, Paul Dennis Reid and others. Today, the penitentiary is open for self-guided daytime tours, but also paranormal tours where visitors may hear footsteps, disembodied voices and see apparitions. Though the death penalty was never carried out here, some inmates did die of natural causes or by the hands of their fellow inmates. Tour guests have been shoved, growled at, touched and even scratched by invisible forces.
For more fall travel inspiration, visit TNvacation.com.
About the writer: Amanda Burton is a travel expert and social media manager for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Follow @TNvacation for more tips and travel inspiration curated by Amanda.
This post is a sponsored collaboration with Visit TN