6-Day Tennessee Circle Tour

Day 1 You'll See:

Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville, TN in the morning

  • Free time in Nashville
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Cruise on General Jackson Showboat
  • Tennessee Performing Arts Theater

Day 2 You'll See:

  • Ryman Auditorium
  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Historic 2nd Avenue
  • Mansion at Fontanel
  • Parthenon
  • Belle Meade Plantation

Day 3 You’ll See:

  • Free time in Chattanooga  
  • Jack Daniels Distillery
  • Tennessee Aquarium
  • Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal

Day 4 You’ll See:

  • Lookout Mountain
  • Ruby Falls
  • Incline Railway
  • Point Park
  • Rock City Gardens
  • International Towing and Recovery Museum
  • Southern Belle

Day 5 You’ll See:

  • Smoky Mountains
  • Mayfield Dairy

Day 6 You’ll See:

  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
  • Dollywood
  • Dixie Stampede

The state of Tennessee has so much to offer your group for an unforgettable graduation getaway like no other, and Adventure Student Travel is here to show you the best of the best on your 6-day circle tour of the state! Start your trip in the musically and historically rich city of Nashville and eventually end up on the natural and also historical oasis that is Chattanooga. Your group will have ample opportunities to let loose, rock out, and enjoy the views of the Smoky Mountains all within this amazing 6-day adventure. The Grand Ole Opry, Dixie Stampede, Rock City, and Tennessee Aquarium all await you, all you have to do is book it and we’ll take care of the rest!

Day 1

Free time in Nashville - Nashville is home to some of the South’s best musical, cultural, and historical destinations that will be sure to spark the interest of everyone in your group. Home and birthplace of American country music, as well as Bluegrass and classic Rock and Roll, there are several opportunities for your group to learn more about the origin of some of their favorite musical styles, as well as see the impact the city of Nashville has made culturally on the music and entertainment world throughout history. 

Grand Ole Opry - Next stop, your group will marvel at what began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 and has now grown into Nashville’s number one attraction and a true American icon, the Grand Ole Opry. During a tour, you will walk in the footsteps of country superstars and get an exclusive look at the behind the scenes on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Your group will hear stories of backstage excitement throughout the years, as well as have the varying opportunity to see a star preparing or practicing before a big show! Prepare yourself and your group for a ‘foot-stomping, hand-clapping, laughing, crying good ol' time as you visit and absolutely essential country music tour stop, Nashville historic icon, and home of American music!

Cruise on General Jackson Showboat - Set sail southern comfort style with this three-hour country inspired dinner cruise. The General Jackson Showboat is one of the largest showboats ever built and was designed to display the grace and grandeur of the Old South. Inside the showboat, your group will find a 2-story Victorian-style theater, detailed with lacy filigree and stately Victorian design. While onboard get ready to experience an award-winning country show, nightly ranging from current country popular hits to classic 90’s tracks. These ‘Hot Nashville Nights’ shows feature various artists' work from Blake Shelton to Garth Brooks. While enjoying the show your group will also be able to fully enjoy a southern-style dinner, completing your dinner cruise experience! 

Tennessee Performing Arts Theater - Located in the James K Polk Cultural Center, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, or TPAC, is a Nashville cultural tradition, providing entertainment and economic stimulation since 1980. nside the performing arts center, your group will get to tour the 4 different stages it features as well as the behind the scenes stage locations. Oftentimes this venue gets rented out for school events, corporations, or private artist functions. Loretta Lynn, Reba Mcentire, Trisha Yearwood, and Randy Newman have all used TPAC for their own events, making this center a major local economic booster. Enjoy your tour of this popular cultural tradition, or even just enjoy a night of laughs and entertainment.

Day 2

Ryman Auditorium - Known tenderly by Southerners and tourists alike as the "Carnegie Hall of the South," Ryman Auditorium is a true country music icon in Nashville that your group is not going to want to miss. The idea for this auditorium began in the 1880s when steamboat captain and local businessman Thomas G. Ryman vowed to build a tabernacle that would project his favorite speaker, Reverend Jones’ voice perfectly for a large group of people to hear. Inside the Ryman, your group will have the chance to tour the halls of the historic entertainment mecca and set foot on stage and backstage, getting the full Ryman Auditorium experience. Hear the story of Earl Scruggs and how this very site became the birthplace of Bluegrass, see memorabilia from the 1901 Barber of Seville opening at Ryman, and be immersed in the past as you learn about the earliest performers at this venue.

Country Music Hall of Fame - Inside this 350,000 square foot wonder your group will find exhibits, publications, and various educational programs that highlight the enduring beauty and cultural importance of country music. Your group will delight in the opportunity to look through the history of the most popular and influential country music stars, the very first to be inducted into the hall of fame being Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, and Hank Williams. Your group will have the opportunity to choose from several exciting country music tours, such as the Star For a Day tour, Legends Lunch and Lyrics tour, Hatch Show Letterpress tour, or fan-favorite Cash on Cash tour, a two-hour private concert and Q&A with Johnny and June’s son. On any tour, you will see the 776 seat CMA Theater, the Taylor Swift Educational Center, and Nashville’s oldest surviving studio.

Historic 2nd Avenue - Welcome to Nashville’s finest historic district, the Historic 2nd Avenue.2nd Avenue is now a one-of-a-kind street lined with historic architecture, thrilling nightclubs, fine dining, niche shops, and specialty boutiques. Your group may want to stop and check out the Silver Dollar Saloon, now part of the Hard Rock Cafe, for lunch to see one of the most popular and still authentically historic entertainment spots on the 2nd. This venue was a popular entertainment stop for riverboat workers in the past and is a popular eatery today visited by thousands. What better way to enjoy the true Nashville spirit than by strolling along historic 2nd Avenue?

Mansion at Fontanel - This gorgeous 27,000 square foot luxury mansion was once the home of the famous Barbara Mandrell and is Nashville’s only ‘home of the star tour’ that you can actually go inside of. During a tour, your group will delight in the talented tour guides, who all take pride in their work and are also singers, songwriters, or musicians who will be sure to keep you entertained while teaching you about the history and cultural importance of the mansion. A unique part of this tour is that guests are encouraged to touch EVERYTHING, from strumming on the expensive guitars on the wall to laying in the beds throughout the home. You will find personal mementos galore from the Mandrell family, as well as personal items from the current owners’ clients, including Kenny Chesney and Gretchen Wilson. 

Parthenon - Welcome to the centerpiece of Centennial Park in downtown Nashville, the Parthenon. Located in Nashville’s premier urban park, this art museum/architectural wonder is the world’s only full-size replica of the Parthenon and houses the tallest indoor sculpture in the nation, of Athena. The recreation of the 42 foot Athena is an authentic Ancient Greece full-scale replica that was originally created in 1897 as a featured piece of the Centennial Exposition. The monument is a pinnacle of classic architecture and is an impressive twin of that in Greece. The building itself features the classic columns all around, sticking to true Grecian architecture with no exact measurements or similar distances between any of them.  

Belle Meade Plantation - Literally translating to mean ‘beautiful meadow,’ this gorgeous brick mansion was built in 1820 as John Harding’s family plantation and home.  A tour of  Belle Meade, an architecturally defined Greek Revival style mansion, includes a look at the dairy, horse stable, carriage house, mausoleum, gardens, and original log cabin. There are also opportunities to do some shopping at the gift shop, fine dining at the on-site restaurant, or perhaps some adult drinking with free wine tasting at the area’s winery on your way out!

Day 3

Free time in Chattanooga -Start your day out in one of New York Times “Top 45 Places to Go in the World”, Chattanooga Tennessee! This top southern destination is a widely popular and immensely beautiful classic Tennessee town nestled between the Tennessee River and Southern mountain ranges. It is considered one of the most breathtaking cities, home to Lookout Mountain and several exquisite rock formations. You can even travel by train to the top of the mountain to spend some time looking at the most spectacular vistas of the area. Chattanooga offers exciting outdoor adventure, fine dining restaurants, live events, local art, and many other world-class attractions. 

Jack Daniels Distillery - Spend some time in Lynchburg getting to know Mr. Jack and his very successful business at the Jack Daniels Distillery! This distillery was established in 1866, making it the oldest U.S registered distillery on record. Ironically enough, Lynchburg is located in a dry county and it has remained that way since the Prohibition. If you are wanting to go on an ‘enhanced’ sampling tour you must agree to pay for the bottles only, the whiskey being ‘free’. A tour of the distillery will give your group the complete story of their whiskey, as well as several personal stories about Mr. Jack himself. The tour is mostly outdoors, so wear comfortable shoes as you explore the grounds and the ‘hollow’, the source of the cave spring water that is mixed with corn, rye, barley, and yeast to make this 7 time Amsterdam Monde Selection Award-winning whiskey.

Tennessee Aquarium -  Get ready for quite the adventure at the world’s largest freshwater aquarium, the Tennessee Aquarium. Some of the exhibits here include the Mississippi Delta, Rivers of the World, and Appalachian Cove Forest. Next head over to the Ocean Journey building and see the saltier side of things, complete with penguins, stingrays, butterflies, and a full coral reef featuring tons of fish and sharks. You can also check out the IMAX for an out of this world entertainment experience, take a 2-hour cruise on the River Gorge Explorer, or take a behind-the-scenes tour in which you will get to feed the animals with the staff! Protip for this location: download the free Tennessee Aquarium App on your smartphone to get complete showtimes, event schedules, maps, and tickets!

Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal - Built-in 1908, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal was previously known as the Southern Railway railroad station. It is now listed on the national register of historic places and serves as a hotel and resort primarily. This 24-acre complex is a Beaux-Arts style station designed by Donn Barber. One of the most impressive architectural features is the 82-foot centerpiece dome paired with the brick arch at the entrance that is considered to be the largest unsupported arch in the world. Today this complex is used as a convention center, hotel, resort, restaurant, and shop. Your group can view the ‘rooms’ of the hotel in which guests can sleep in restored passenger railway cars. 

Day 4

Lookout Mountain - One of Southeast’s most popular destinations for locals and tourists alike is very easily Lookout Mountain, a 2,389-foot mountain only minutes from downtown Chattanooga. The unique and spectacular thing about this mountain is its views, on a clear day boasting a view of seven states. The mountain itself is located on the Northwest corner of Georgia, the Northeast corner of Alabama, and the Southern border of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Geographically, Lookout Mountain overlooks the Cumberland Plateau, an ancient sea area that has molded to millions of years of erosion. 

Ruby Falls - Within Lookout Mountain, your group will have the chance to visit Ruby Falls, America’s deepest commercial cave and largest underground waterfall all in one. This immense cavern featuring a 145 foot enclosed waterfall is considered to be one of the ten most incredible cave waterfalls on Earth! A tour of this geological wonder will show your group the many unique rock formations, view from Mountain Tower, and chance to take part in the ZIPstream Aerial Adventure zip line tour. There’s something for every adventure lover here at Ruby Falls, and the sight of the underground waterfall is a one-of-a-kind view you won’t find anywhere else.

Incline Railway -  “America’s Most Amazing Mile” is also located within Lookout Mountain, experienced fully with the Incline Railway. In 1895 visitors from far and wide would pay $2 for a 4-hour buggy ride up the mountain, but in 1911 a broader gauge pass railway was built and the Incline Railway was born. Originally a coal-burning steam engine, this railway is now powered by two 100 horsepower motors. Considered to be the world’s steepest passenger railway, this ride in a trolley style car takes you up a 72.7% grade, giving you the best mountain and valley views from the observation windows along the way. At the top, your group will have the chance to see the most amazing panoramic views from the Observation Tower. 

Point Park - Your next stop will be at the top of Lookout Mountain, at the Point Park Battle Site. This historic area is technically located within the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and is the official site of the Civil War Battle known as the “Battle Above the Clouds.” During the height of the war control of the "gateway to the deep south" was a very high priority, and in 1863 confederate and union soldiers partook in a 3-day battle for control. The fog on the mountains provided a great cover for takeover, and the full battle took place on November 24th, the union soldiers coming out victorious.  Your group will have a chance to walk around the site and also explore the Visitor Center.

Rock City Gardens -  Your last stop within the Lookout Mountain Range is 1,700 feet above sea level, at Rock City Gardens. On a tour of Rock City, your group will undergo a self-guided hike around the brow of the mountain, providing a bird's eye view of the location. Make sure you stop at the climbing wall at Lover's Leap, featuring 7 State Flag Court, where on a clear day you will be able to see 7 states in the foggy distance. Your group can also catch birds of prey show, have a bite to eat at Cafe 7 on the terrace or visit the first mini-golf course in the nation at Fairyland Caverns. Take a walk through Fat Man’s Squeeze and shimmy through the Tightrope Walk as you experience what half a million people from around the world do annually at the amazing Rock City Gardens.

International Towing and Recovery Museum - This museum was created to recognize outstanding individuals in the towing and recovery industry worldwide, as well as record, collect, and display those artifacts and information. Inside the museum your group will be able to check out the Wall of the Fallen memorial, paying homage to the 94 men who lost their lives in the line of service, as well as tow trucks and towing equipment ranging back from 1916. You will also see the earliest equipment from the industry and hundreds of photos, toy tow trucks, and other various memorabilia and exhibits.

Southern Belle -  End your day in Chattanooga the right way, with a gorgeous late-night cruise down the Tennessee River on the floating restaurant, the Southern Belle. This Deluxe Excursion Vessel brings out the nostalgic Old South with an evening of relaxing entertainment and dining. The Southern Belle dinner cruise is considered the best and most unique family dining experience in Chattanooga and features live music, drinks, and fine food that changes daily, depending on the tour your group chooses to take. The boat itself is a 450 passenger ship created in 1985 with features of Easter River and Bay Boats, with Tennessee River specifications such as the large landing stage enabling easy docking anywhere. 

Day 5

Smoky Mountains - Your 5th day of Tennessee adventures will bring you to the Smoky Mountains, a prehistoric breeding ground for natural beauty and adventure. The mountain range encompasses the towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville and offers so much for you and your group to do, from historic hikes that provide the most gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains to small-town arts and crafts, to exciting theme parks.  Take in the Southern Appalachian culture as you explore the area, which boasts over 7000 total cabins, chalets, condos, campgrounds, and bed and breakfast inns. The options are seemingly endless here, so be sure to save plenty of time to explore the national park, trails, various offered cruises, zipline adventures, live entertainment, go-kart tracks, and even close by indoor skydiving opportunities!

Mayfield Dairy - Today this industry employs 2,000 workers and proudly serves 9 states in the production of the best-tasting milk, ice cream, cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt. On a tour, your group will learn how exactly they make their milk and ice cream in a 30 minute, hair net necessary, the tour of the manufacturing plant. It starts with a 10-minute video regarding the company’s history and line of products and ends in the packaging and a testing room with the story behind their famous yellow jugs. After the tour, your group is in for a serious treat at the ice cream parlor as you get to choose a scoop of your favorite Mayfield flavor! You can also stop at the gift shop, or even stop on your way out to see the innovative Aro-Vac system that helps milk the over 28,000 Jersey cows!

Day 6

Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Wake up to America’s most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The mountains, glaciers, and weather together throughout history have created this wildlife wonderland, and while you are here you are very likely to see a famous Smoky Mountain bear, deer, elk, or many, many other animals. Not to mention this park's biggest claim to fame, the hiking! Enjoy over 800 miles of trails, ranging from short leg stretchers to overnight backcountry camping treks. Whatever your group decides to do here, you aren’t going to regret your stop!

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community - The perfect opportunity to see the largest group of independent artisans in North America is here, on this historic 8-mile loop known as the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. While here your group can check out the galleries containing oils, watercolors, sculptures, and lithographs. You can also watch the artisans at work as they whittle, paint, sew, cast, weave, and carve to make some of the best and most unique crafts. Take a look at all of the original collectibles made here, such as candles, willow baskets, quilts, pottery, brooms, jewelry, ceramics, scrimshaw, leather, stained glass, silver-smithing, clothing, and fine photography. 

Dollywood - This world-class theme park located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is famous for its down-home Southern charm and live entertainment, as well as its thrilling roller coasters and refreshing water rides. At this 150 acre park, your group will have the chance to see award-winning shows, educational craft demonstrations, or ride ground-breaking rides and attractions. Some of the most thrilling rides include the Thunderhead roller coaster, the Barnstormer, the wet and wild Smoky Mountain River Rampage, as well as the SkyZip aerial adventure and children’s carousel. Enjoy the finest southern cuisine in any of the many on-site restaurants, as well as over 30 daily performances featuring country, bluegrass, rock and roll, and southern gospel.

Dixie Stampede -Dolly isn’t quite done with you yet, as your group ends your Tennessee trip at this Southern classic attraction, the Dixie Stampede. This extraordinary dinner show features a cast of 32 beautiful horses and top-notch riders who will amaze you with daring feats of trick riding and competition. This friendly competition pits the North and South against each other for a fun rivalry featuring music, dancing, special effects, and plenty of comedy. Your group will see the North and South finally together in a patriotic salute featuring Dolly’s own "Color Me America" song, as well as a grand finale full of costumes, fireworks, and the spirit of America. At her location in Pigeon Forge, you will see the comedy and musical talent of the Bluegrass and Country band Mountain Rukus.