When you journey along the interstate from Nashville to Memphis, you travel 212 miles. You can have a much different experience when you get off the interstate and visit the state parks and points of interest along the way. You will begin to find yourself understanding the people who became icons in country music and blues songs. When you are ready for an adventure, consider this Nashville to Memphis road trip itinerary.
While there are no national parks along your Nashville to Memphis road trip route, Hot Springs National Park is only 189 miles from Memphis, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is only 227 miles from Nashville. You may also want to consider other national parks as well.
Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains many historical structures, including Cades Cove, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Cataloochee, and Oconaluftee. You can get very close to most of them on an audio driving tour. Anglers love to fish at this park, especially the Abrams Watershed and the Middle Prong of the Little Tennessee. The park is also a great place to go hiking along the Kephart Prong Trail, where you cross four log bridges, and Porters Flat, where you can explore a historic farmstead.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park is in the heart of Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is one of the very few urban national parks. Consider starting your visit with the cellphone tour of bathhouse row. The oldest bathhouse is the Hale Bathhouse, and it was built in 1892. You can treat yourself to a deluxe spa treatment at Quapaw Bathhouse or enjoy a treatment at the Buckstaff Bathhouse. Many of the bathhouses have been converted into drinking, dining, and shopping experiences. Around this park are numerous hiking, biking, and scenic driving opportunities.
There are many exciting Tennessee state parks to visit on a Nashville to Memphis road trip. Each one has its unique features, so you may want to visit all of them!
Long Hunter State Park
Thrill-seekers will want to start their Nashville to Memphis road trip at Long Hunter State Park near Hermitage, Tennessee, where they can climb the 50-foot adventure tower. Part of this tower is like a climbing wall while the other part is like a ropes course. You will also want to go fishing in Percy Priest Lake. In the spring, crappie are often caught here on flies. The lake also makes a great place to go swimming.
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park is located on the shores of Kentucky Lake near Pilot Knob, Tennessee. Watch films and see exhibits at the Tennessee River Folklife Interpretive Center and Museum. View the old jon and brail boats and learn about this area’s historical commercial fishing ties. Then, rent a boat for your fishing expedition as Kentucky Lake is a great place to catch largemouth bass. You can also rent a stand-up paddle-board to play on this lake. Go swimming, or challenge your friends to a game of disk golf. This park’s 20 miles of hiking trails are a great place to reflect on all the fun you are having on your road trip from Nashville to Memphis.
Chickasaw State Park
Chickasaw State Park covers more than 1,400 acres near Henderson, Tennessee. Even if you just play golf for fun, leave time to play on the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Design Golf Course as it runs across some of the highest-elevation land in western Tennessee. Do not be surprised if you find it hard to concentrate on your golf game because of this course’s scenic views. If horseback riding is more your style, then rent a horse at the stables and explore miles of old logging roads.
A wide variety of boats, including pedal boats, are available for rent, and you can use them on this park’s Lake Placid. Enjoy some swimming fun, and play on the lake’s sandy shore.
Big Hill Pond State Park
Big Hill Pond State Park, which covers more than 4,138 acres near Pocahontas, Tennessee, is located between Cypress Creek and Tuscumbia River. A variety of hiking trails are available for all ability levels, with many offering breathtaking river views. Another great way to see this area’s beauty is to climb the 70-foot observation tower. Consider renting a boat from the park’s vendor to explore the rivers and the lake. The lake is also an excellent place to go fishing.
In addition to the state parks, you can find many interesting attractions to stop at during a Nashville to Memphis RV road trip.
Belle Meade Plantation
You can be inspired by a great American story when you visit Belle Meade Plantation in Belle Meade, Tennessee. The first log cabin was built in 1807, but it was replaced by the mansion that you can visit today. Construction of the Federal-style mansion began in the 1820s. You can visit a cabin, carriage house, and stable. Many people stop to see the reconstructed cabin where enslaved individuals would have lived. There are three different tours available of this 30-acre facility with each ending with a wine tasting party.
Loretta Lynn’s Ranch
One of country music’s best-loved stars is Loretta Lynn, and you may want to include a stop at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, on your Nashville to Memphis RV road trip. This center contains five different museums, including three related to Lynn’s life and career. Another museum introduces you to how a grist mill operates, and the final museum shows Indian artifacts. There is also an opportunity to play your favorite outdoor games, and you can also camp here.
Humphrey's County Museum and Civil War Fort
Many Civil War battlegrounds are located along a route from Nashville to Memphis. One of the most convenient to visit is located at the Humphrey's County Museum in Waverly, Tennessee. The fort situated behind this facility’s main home was built in 1822. The main museum is filled with historical photographs and documents related to the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. You can also see a room dedicated to Jesse James. It is possible that Jesse James lived in Waverly under the name Thomas Howard.
Casey Jones Home and Rail Museum
You may have sung or heard The Ballard of Casey Jones, and you can visit the Casey Jones Home and Rail Museum. When you visit this location near Jackson, Tennessee, you can climb on board a 35-ton locomotive very similar to the one that Casey Jones was an engineer of on the night that he took his own life to save the lives of many others. You can also ring a bell on the train like Casey did to warn others of impending danger. His home built during the late 1800s is available for touring, and it contains many exhibits related to Tennessee railroad history.
You may want to add a stop in some Tennessee mountain communities on your road trip itinerary from Nashville to Memphis. Some of the top campgrounds in Tennessee are in this area. There are also many Tennessee dump stations available.
Enjoy retail therapy at the many small businesses in the downtown area. Anglers will want to spend time fishing in the Harpeth and Caney Rivers. Dickson RV Park or Tanbark Campground are great places to camp. Pilot Flying J Travel Plaza and Montgomery Bell State Park offer RV dump stations near Dickson. There are also many other Greater Nashville area campgrounds and dump stations.
Parkers Crossroads, Tennessee
You may want to leave time in your road trip itinerary from Nashville to Memphis to stop in Parkers Crossroads, Tennessee. If you love studying the Civil War, the Parkers Crossroads Civil War Battlefield offers over 50 interpretative signs helping you understand the events that happened here. Hear rising country music stars perform at the city park. Parkers Crossroads RV Park is a great place to camp. There are plenty of dump stations nearby, including at Parkers Crossroads RV Park.
Jackson, Tennessee, has a vibrant arts and music scene with musicians regularly performing at venues across the city. You can also see the work of many local artists on display around this community. Chickasaw State Park, Jackson RV Park, and many other campgrounds are located near Jackson for camping fun, and many offer dump stations.
There are so many different experiences that you can have between Country Row in Nashville and the banks of the Mighty Mississippi in Memphis that everyone is sure to love a Nashville to Memphis road trip. Get your RV ready, and set off on this road trip. If you do not have an RV, then rent one on RVshare.com in Nashville or Memphis.