Tennessee’s Family Paradise: Top Spots to Live, Visit, and Stay

Aerial View of Franklin's Scenic Beauty

Tennessee, known for its rich history, musical roots, and picturesque landscapes, it’s no wonder many families find solace in its embrace. But where exactly in Tennessee should you consider if you’re looking for the absolute best for your family? This article will dive deep into the best places to raise a family in Tennessee, the most enchanting places to visit in Tennessee for families, and the most comfortable places to stay.

Ideal Spots to Plant Family Roots

Let’s dive deeper into the best places to raise a family in Tennessee:


Nestled in the heart of Tennessee, Franklin is a captivating town that beckons families for a multitude of reasons:

  • Rich with history and culture: Stroll through its historic downtown, where time seems to stand still. Preserved buildings, quaint shops, and a vibrant arts scene transport you to a bygone era, creating a tapestry of memories for your family.
  • Top-rated schools: Franklin takes education seriously, with a reputation for top-rated schools. You can rest assured that your little ones are receiving the best possible education, setting them on a path to success.
  • A thriving community: Beyond its charming facades, Franklin is a thriving community that warmly welcomes families. Here, you’ll find friends who share your values and dreams, forming a close-knit support system.


Just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant heart of Nashville, Brentwood offers a harmonious blend of suburban serenity and urban excitement for families:

  • Close to Nashville’s amenities: Brentwood’s proximity to Nashville means you can enjoy the cultural and entertainment riches of the city without the hustle and bustle. It’s a unique fusion of small-town charm and big-city excitement.
  • Green spaces: Marcella Vivrette Smith Park beckons families with its lush greenery and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re hiking the trails or having a picnic, this park is the perfect spot for weekend family bonding.
  • High safety standards: Safety is a top priority in Brentwood, and the neighborly vibes ensure that your family’s well-being is always taken into account. Peace of mind is a priceless gift for any family.


Collierville consistently ranks among the best places to raise a family in Tennessee, and it’s not hard to see why:

  • Beautiful parks: Collierville boasts a myriad of picturesque parks and recreational areas. They provide a canvas for your family to connect with nature, enjoy sports, or simply revel in the great outdoors.
  • Close-knit community: Collierville’s close-knit community embodies the essence of support and encouragement. It’s a place where neighbors become friends, uplifting each other through the journey of family life.


A gem in the western part of Tennessee, Germantown stands as a testament to what a family-friendly city should embody:

  • A tapestry of tradition and modernity: Germantown seamlessly weaves its historic charm with modern amenities. Every corner speaks of a rich past, while also providing the contemporary comforts every family yearns for. Educational Excellence: With schools that have garnered accolades, Germantown ensures that nurturing young minds is at the forefront. Your children aren’t just learning; they’re flourishing in an environment that prioritizes their growth and curiosity. Heartfelt connections: Living in Germantown means more than just being a resident; it means being part of a larger, loving family. Embrace connections that run deep, where shared laughter, joy, and even the simple act of borrowing a cup of sugar, cement lifelong bonds.


Set in the very core of Tennessee, Murfreesboro is the perfect tapestry of southern charm and progressive spirit that families deeply adore:

  • Cultural Oasis: Dive into the deep pool of art, music, and theater that Murfreesboro generously offers. Every weekend can be an adventure into culture, broadening your family’s horizons and deepening appreciation for the arts. Quality Education: Schools in Murfreesboro aren’t just institutions; they’re hubs of innovation and creativity. Ensuring your children get a holistic education, where both their hearts and minds are nurtured, is a guarantee here. Community Warmth: In Murfreesboro, every event is a community affair, every festival a grand family gathering. The feeling of belonging and being cherished is so tangible that it’s almost like a warm, comforting blanket wrapped around your family.

Tennessee’s Family Vacation Jewels

Aerial View of Gatlinburg's Scenic Beauty

Tennessee offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and family-friendly activities. Whether you’re looking to relocate or simply planning a memorable family vacation, here are some of the top destinations to consider.


Gatlinburg, nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, is one of the best places to raise a family in Tennessee. This charming town offers a wealth of experiences for families, making it an ideal destination for your next adventure.

Family-Friendly Activities:

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Known as the “Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains,” Gatlinburg provides easy access to this mesmerizing national park. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with opportunities for hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and more.
  • Ripley’s Aquarium: Kids of all ages will be enchanted by Ripley’s Aquarium, where they can get up close and personal with a diverse range of marine life. From playful penguins to mesmerizing sharks, it’s an educational and fun experience.
  • Family-Friendly Atmosphere: Gatlinburg exudes a family-friendly atmosphere. Stroll along the charming downtown streets filled with shops, restaurants, and attractions, creating unforgettable memories with your loved ones.


Chattanooga is a city that beautifully combines urban attractions with the wonders of nature, making it one of the best places to visit in Tennessee for families.

Family-Friendly Attractions:

  • Tennessee Aquarium: Home to the world-renowned Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga offers an aquatic adventure like no other. Explore the vibrant underwater world and witness incredible aquatic species from around the globe.
  • Ruby Falls: Venture underground to discover the mesmerizing Ruby Falls, a stunning underground waterfall. The guided tour takes you through fascinating cave formations, offering a unique educational experience for kids and adults alike.
  • Scenic Beauty: Chattanooga boasts breathtaking scenic beauty, with the Tennessee River winding through the city. Enjoy outdoor activities such as riverboat cruises, hiking, and biking while taking in the picturesque landscapes.

Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge is another family-friendly gem in Tennessee, known for its lively entertainment and attractions that cater to all ages.

Family-Friendly Experiences:

  • Dollywood: Families adore Dollywood, a world-renowned amusement park founded by country music legend Dolly Parton. With thrilling rides, live entertainment, and a touch of country charm, it’s a must-visit for families.
  • Interactive Museums: Pigeon Forge offers a variety of interactive and fun museums that will keep kids engaged and learning. Explore the mysteries of the Titanic at the Titanic Museum or dive into the world of illusions at WonderWorks.
  • Live Shows: The town is alive with family shows and entertainment. From dinner theaters to magic shows, there’s always something captivating happening in Pigeon Forge.


Knoxville, with the Tennessee River gracefully caressing its edges, is a bustling city that hasn’t forgotten its roots, offering families an eclectic mix of natural beauty and urban sophistication.

Emotionally-Rich Attractions for Families:

  • Zoo Knoxville: A place where wonder meets nature, families can witness the magic of wildlife at Zoo Knoxville. The joy in a child’s eyes as they spot a red panda or the awe when they witness the majestic lions is an experience that tugs at the heartstrings.
  • The Sunsphere: Offering a panoramic view of the city, the Sunsphere is more than just an observation deck. It’s a place where families can feel on top of the world, sharing moments of awe and wonder as they look out over Knoxville’s sprawling beauty.
  • Riverfront Serenity: The Tennessee River offers families a tranquil retreat right in the city. Whether it’s picnicking by the riverside, indulging in a sunset boat ride, or simply sitting hand in hand, watching the waters flow, the riverfront provides moments of deep reflection and connection for families.


Nestled within the heart of West Tennessee, Jackson stands as a harmonious blend of southern heritage and modern flair, beckoning families to delve into its rich tapestry of experiences.

Heartfelt Moments for Families:

  • Casey Jones Village: More than just a historic site, Casey Jones Village invites families to travel back in time. The soulful whistle of trains and the heartfelt stories of the legendary railroader, Casey Jones, kindle a profound connection to an era gone by, making every visit a poignant journey.
  • The Jackson Symphony: The resounding melodies and harmonies of The Jackson Symphony have the power to move the heart and stir the soul. Families can immerse themselves in the enchanting world of music, allowing the symphonic waves to weave stories of passion, love, and dreams.
  • Cypress Grove Nature Park: Nature has a way of evoking the deepest emotions, and Cypress Grove is no exception. With winding boardwalks, the gentle hum of wildlife, and the sun casting shimmering reflections upon the water, families can find solace, wonder, and a sense of togetherness.

Home Away from Home: Best Stays for Families

Exterior Snapshot of The Guest House at Graceland, Memphis

Finding the perfect place to stay can greatly enhance your family’s overall experience. Let’s delve into some of the best places to stay in Tennessee for families, ensuring that your trip is filled with comfort and unforgettable memories.

The Guest House at Graceland, Memphis

The Guest House at Graceland in Memphis is a haven for Elvis Presley fans and families alike. This iconic destination offers a unique blend of comfort, entertainment, and charm, making it a top choice for families visiting Tennessee.

Table: Accommodation Highlights

Experience Elvis’ CharmImmerse yourself in the world of Elvis Presley, as this hotel is located just steps away from his legendary Graceland mansion.
Family Suites AvailableSpacious family suites are available, ensuring everyone has enough space to relax and enjoy their stay.
Close to Family AttractionsThe hotel’s proximity to family attractions in Memphis, including the Memphis Zoo and Stax Museum of American Soul Music, makes it an ideal base for exploration.

Wilderness at the Smokies, Sevierville

For families seeking waterpark excitement and outdoor adventures, Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville stands out as Tennessee’s largest waterpark resort. It’s not only a place to stay but an entire destination of aquatic fun.

Table: Aquatic Adventures

Tennessee’s Largest Waterpark ResortExperience the thrills of a massive waterpark with slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and more, all within the resort’s premises.
Indoor and Outdoor Water FunRegardless of the weather, your family can enjoy aquatic adventures, thanks to the resort’s indoor and outdoor water attractions.
Proximity to Family AttractionsWilderness at the Smokies is conveniently located just minutes away from some of the best places to visit in Tennessee for families, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville

The Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville is not just a place to stay; it’s an enchanting experience in itself. With its indoor gardens, waterfalls, and a range of family-oriented activities, it’s a dream destination for families.

Table: Enchanting Features

Indoor Gardens and WaterfallsStroll through the resort’s stunning indoor gardens and admire cascading waterfalls, creating a unique and tranquil atmosphere.
Children’s ProgramsKeep the kids entertained with a variety of children’s programs and activities, ensuring they have a memorable stay.
Proximity to Family AttractionsLocated near family attractions in Nashville, such as the Grand Ole Opry and the General Jackson Showboat, you’ll have endless entertainment options at your fingertips.

Blackberry Farm, Walland 

Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm in Walland offers families an unparalleled blend of rustic luxury and heartwarming memories. This cherished retreat promises not just a stay but a heartwarming journey back to nature’s lap.

Table: Rustic Retreat Highlights

Genuine Southern HospitalityBe embraced by the genuine warmth and charm of the South, ensuring each moment is drenched in nostalgia and joy.
Farm-to-Table Dining ExperienceRelish delightful meals prepared with the freshest ingredients from the farm, serving a piece of tradition in every bite.
Gateway to Nature’s BeautyWith its close proximity to the majestic Great Smoky Mountains, families can embark on enchanting nature walks and horseback rides, basking in the tranquility of the countryside.

The Read House, Chattanooga 

Step into a time capsule of elegance and history at The Read House in Chattanooga. It’s more than just a hotel; it’s an emotion, a throwback to an era of grandeur, making it a timeless getaway for families looking to experience the golden age of travel.

Table: Historic Elegance Features

Preserved 1920s GrandeurMarvel at the intricacies of its architecture and décor, which effortlessly transports you to the glitz and glamor of the Roaring Twenties.
Haunted Room ExperienceFor families looking for a dash of thrill, there’s the legend of Room 311, offering a touch of mystery to the stay.
Heart of ChattanoogaThe hotel’s central location ensures you’re just a heartbeat away from the charming attractions of Chattanooga, such as the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Tennessee Aquarium.

Tennessee’s Family Transportation Guide

Bustling Train Station with the Train and Commuters

As any seasoned traveler would attest, the essence of a journey lies in its mode of transportation. Families, united by love and bond, deserve to traverse this state’s timeless trails seamlessly, feeling each heartbeat of Tennessee’s roads and skies.

On Rails: The Rhythmic Train Rides

Traveling by train through Tennessee is akin to stitching a quilt of memories. The gentle chug of the train resonates with the state’s musical heart, while the ever-changing scenery paints a tapestry of landscapes outside the window.

  • Music and Memories: Take the family on the Tennessee Valley Railroad. This historic train ride offers more than just transportation; it offers a journey into yesteryears, where every mile covered tells a story.
  • Scenic Routes: The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad gives families a panoramic view of nature’s grandeur. As the train meanders through valleys and atop ridges, children’s laughter and parents’ sighs of admiration set the soundtrack.

On Wheels: The Soulful Road Trips

Tennessee’s highways and byways are more than asphalt and signs; they are pathways to soulful discoveries.

  • Historical Highways: The Natchez Trace Parkway offers a serene drive filled with stories of Native Americans, traders, and settlers. This road is not just about reaching a destination; it’s about reliving history with every turn.
  • Mountain Roads: Families seeking solace in nature can drive through the Cherohala Skyway, a stretch that promises unparalleled mountain views and moments of pure wonder.

By Air: Flying High with Tennessee’s Spirit

Tennessee’s skies echo with tales of dreams and aspirations. Flying above this state ensures that families can touch a piece of the boundless blue, feeling Tennessee’s dreams beneath their wings.

  • Major Hubs: Nashville International Airport and Memphis International Airport serve as gateways, welcoming families into Tennessee’s embrace. Their efficient services, coupled with a touch of Southern hospitality, make flying a joyous experience.
  • Regional Connections: For those nestled in the state’s smaller towns, airports like Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport and Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport offer connectivity, ensuring that every corner of Tennessee is reachable.

By Water: The Serene River Rides

Tennessee’s rivers flow with stories, songs, and legends. For families who wish to sail on these liquid tales, a river journey promises unmatched serenity.

  • Historic Riverboats: Embark on a journey aboard the iconic riverboats in Chattanooga or Memphis. The gentle lapping of water and the soulful tunes of the South ensure that families can drift into a world of dreams and reflections.
  • Canoes & Kayaks: For the adventurous, the state’s lakes and rivers beckon with opportunities for canoeing and kayaking. Paddle together, bond over shared adventures, and let the water’s rhythm synchronize with your heartbeats.


Tennessee, with its warm Southern hospitality, continues to draw families into its heart. Whether you’re looking for the best places to raise a family in Tennessee or simply want the perfect spot for a family vacation, the Volunteer State welcomes you with open arms. So, pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and let Tennessee’s charm sweep you off your feet!


Q: Which areas in Tennessee have the best schools for kids?

A: Franklin, Brentwood, and Collierville consistently rank high in terms of education standards and facilities.

Q: I’m looking for places to visit in Tennessee for families during the summer. Any recommendations?

A: Gatlinburg, Chattanooga, and Pigeon Forge are hotspots with attractions suitable for both kids and adults during the sunny months.

Q: Are there any budget-friendly best places to stay in Tennessee for families?

A: Absolutely! Each city has a range of accommodations to fit every budget. Consider looking for family deals or discounts online before booking.

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