Your Fall Family-Friendly Travel Guide to Tennessee

by Amanda Burton on July 27, 2023 in sponsored,

Looking for things to do with the family this fall break in Tennessee? Check out these harvest festivals, fall-themed events and snap Instagram-worthy foliage.

Kid-friendly attractions in and around Memphis

When the air is cool, head to Memphis Zoo to see zebras, southern white rhinos, giraffes, sloths, bears and lions. New babies abound with four new tundra wolf pups and two red panda cubs. Dress up for the annual Zoo Boo 2023 select nights Oct. 13-31 where kids can trick-or-treat and find candy stations, pumpkin hunts and more.

Sanitizing Station at Memphis Zoo in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo Katie Kauss.

Discovery Park of America is a 50-acre outdoor heritage park with a man-made river, waterfalls, bridges, a mill, gardens, train depot and more. New this year Oct. 27-29, 2023, the heritage park and museum will host a three-day Native American Powwow celebrating Indigenous people from tribes around the country with storytelling, drumming, singing and dancing. Native American artisans, craftspeople and traders will display their work and offer traditional cuisine to sample.

Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tennessee. Photo Alisa Kessler.

For a fun-filled fall break, go to Shelby Farms Park to enjoy the many activities offered by Go Ape. Choose from the treetop adventure with 40 obstacles and a 624-foot zipline, or the treetop journey with 25 obstacles and a 190-foot zipline (you can also enjoy this track at night). Axe throwing, Gorilla Golf and a new Forest Escape round out the fun. Shelby Farms Park also offers paintball and laser tag, horseback riding, biking trails, boat and paddle board rentals and hiking trails.

Kid-friendly attractions in and around Nashville

Bring the kids to Cheekwood Estate & Gardens for Cheekwood Harvest, a six-week celebration of all things fall. Pick out the perfect pumpkin, explore the pumpkin village and find scarecrows throughout the garden. Children love exploring the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden filled with nature, art and history. Then, go to the ‘Trains!’ exhibit to experience an enchanted train station combining a traditional depot with the natural form of a tree.

Creek at Cheekwood in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo Patrick Green.

Spend a day at Honeysuckle Hill near Springfield for an unforgettable “farmtastic” experience. With over 200 acres, kids find the pumpkin patch, corn maze, pumpkin train, hayride and more irresistible. Stay for the Hillbilly Pig Race Show and the Music City Corn Maze, where guests can get lost in a maze resembling their favorite country music star.

Children as young as 3 years old can experience Soar Adventure Tower in Franklin. Little ones can have a little adventure on the ground, while older kids can experience four stories of an outdoor ropes course with more than 100 climbing elements. After climbing, play a round of mini golf on the 18-hole miniature golf course with musically themed holes.

Kid-friendly attractions in and near Kingsport, the Smokies and Chattanooga

Stretch your legs and enjoy autumnal scenes during fall break at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium in Kingsport. See animal habitats like wolves and owls, take a barge ride with a naturalist to learn about wildlife like beaver lodges, blue herons, black bear and more. An adventure course features high and low ropes and a zip line. Over 40 miles of hiking trails snake through the 3,650-acre park and 32 miles of biking trails for mountain bikers of all skill levels.

Kingsport Reservoir at Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, Tennessee. Photo Jay Huron.

Explore the world in one amazing place at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. The River Journey building takes you from the mountains to the sea as you encounter freshwater fish, river otters, alligators and tons of turtles. In the Ocean Journey building, touch a stingray and come eye-to-eye with penguins, sharks and even lemurs. Kids love the butterfly garden and flashlight fish, too. Things get wonderfully weird during ODDtober. Throughout October, the Aquarium celebrates the bizarre behaviors and adaptations that help creatures survive. Look for flickering pumpkins that flash along in sync with the pulses of an electric eel.

Sharks at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Photo John Bamber.

Learn about Appalachian pioneer life at the living history museum, Museum of Appalachia, about 66 miles from the Smokies. Over 250,000 artifacts are housed in three buildings displaying folk art, musical instruments, Native American artifacts, baskets and quilts. The 65-acres are home to 35 log cabins, barns, schools, gardens and churches.

Reenactment at the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tennessee.

For more fall travel inspiration, visit

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