Boondocking, Free Camping, geocaching, Off the Beaten Path, Tennessee, Tips & Tricks, Travel

Off the Beaten Path … in Tennessee

As full-time RV’ers we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different and maybe a little “off the beaten path”. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, some complete with pictures and all with GPS coordinates. 

Tennessee has so many fun and unique things to do! We love caves and have you seen the cave systems in Tennessee? WOW! Just Wow!

lostsea1Lost Sea Cave – Sweetwater, TN  The Lost Sea is America’s largest underground lake. Once you reach the lake you are able to board a flat-bottom boat and ride around on its smooth, glassy surface. There are also tours that allow visitors to spend the night in the cave and explore some of the lesser-seen parts of the enormous cavern. This could be popular in the summer and even more so during the summer on weekends. I’d suggest Fall. Have you seen Tennessee in the Fall? Absolutely stunning!

FORBIDDENThe Forbidden Caverns –  Sevierville, TN Caves stretch for a half mile and feature eerie and arresting mineral formations, echoing grottoes, silent reflecting pools, and a clear cool stream fed (most likely) by a nearby underground lake.

Ruby Falls Cave – Chattanooga, TN ruby-falls-61175_1920Ruby Falls Cave has all the geological features one would expect (stalactites, stalagmites, etc.) with one magical addition: an underground waterfall. Until humans tunneled into the cave in the 19th century, the water had been trickling undiscovered beneath Tennessee for roughly 200 million years. Ruby Falls is the tallest underground waterfall the public can visit. This is a lantern-only tour.

(Also in Chattanooga is Raccoon Mountain Cavern) – It’s on our list to see. 

State Parks are some of our favorite places to go. I won’t give too much information about Fall Creek Falls other than to say it can be a pretty popular place to go. But this waterfall has been featured in movies due to it’s beauty! 

spaceshiphouseIf you are in the area of Signal Mountain, you must visit the Spaceship House. If you read my blogs you know I love the crazy and different houses, castles, etc. As of 2008 after several private owners, it was purchased by Signal Mountain and is now a vacation rental property. Super fun to just drive by and get pictures in front of though! 

There are a ton of museums that are fun. Teapot Museum in Trenton, International Towing and Recovery Museum in Chattanooga and don’t forget … the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum. 

tuckcave1Tuckaleechee Caverns – Townsend, TN – 32 Miles from Knoxville, this mile-long cave system near Great Smoky Mountains. Visitors come here to see both the strange and impressive geological formations, but also the crystal clear stream that flows through the entire system of caverns.

Raccoon Mountain Caverns – Chattanooga, TN More than 5 miles of underground passages. This is still on our list of things to see for sure!

waterfall-1618435_1920Twin Falls Waterfall – Rock Island State Park – Not a natural waterfall, but very beautiful to see! 

Patrick’s Pub and Grill – Well … depends on which side of the restaurant you sit on. patrickbarYou might be in Georgia, or you might be in Tennessee. You might park in Tennessee and eat in Georgia. Super cool little bar and grill where the state line runs right through the middle. No alcohol on the Georgia side though! You can certainly have a drink served to you just a few feet away on the Tennessee side though.

falls2Most beautiful hike!! Savage Gulf State Nature Area which is near Palmer, TN. Probably not exactly a slot canyon, but some of the hiking areas are amazingly similar and just as beautiful! This park is filled with waterfalls and bluffs that are just so unbelievable. The Stone Door trail is incredible! Check out the stairs built right into the cliff. fallsThe Laurel Falls Loop trail leads you to beautiful waterfall by the same name. There is another amazing waterfall that falls into a pool you can swim in if you want, called Greeter Falls. You’ll feel you’ve left the USA when you look at the turquoise pool. 

Please don’t forget to check out Rock City Lookout. It’s a pretty popular place, but definitely go see this!

BOONDOCKING: 

  • Rhea Springs Rec Area – Spring City TN. Big rig friendly, water views, and best of all for me because I do work remotely now, is cell service is very good! GPS: 35.6832, -84.8262
  • Have you read our blog about driving the Natchez Trace? If not, click here to start (it’s a 3 part series). We started in Tennessee and stayed at the Meriwether Lewis Campground on the Natchez Trace. Beautiful, basic campground. Not great cell service, but good enough for communicating with our daughters. GPS: 35.5225, -87.456

There are so many more things to explore. What have you seen in Tennessee that unique and different? Please leave a comment below and let us know what we need to check out next time we’re visiting Tennessee. 

Live Simply  ~  Give More  ~  Expect Less

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