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Northern TN Tour
Explore the Highland Rim
See a wide range of excellent attractions and sites as you drive along the Highland Rim in northern Tennessee. From the Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Clarksville, to the Davey Crockett Birthplace in Johnson City – make the most of your drive through the Highland Rim.
Embark on this northern Tennessee drive tour and make your launching point Clarksville. Charming and unassuming, Clarksville is the fifth-largest city in the state – you’ll find there to be a wide range of things to do and see. From Dunbar Cave State Park, to the Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum, explore Clarksville for a memorable visit.
As the highlight of the Clarksville River District, the Cumberland RiverWalk makes for an ideal destination. With an assortment of overlook plazas, an amphitheater, and a boat ramp, the Cumberland RiverWalk yields a fun-filled day for all members of the family.
During the summer months, you can enjoy a concert at the park, let the kids have their fun at the playgrounds, and don’t miss the wharf.
Any visit to Clarksville should include time spent at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center. Glean information about local art, history, culture – and with a slew of children’s events and exhibits, the kids are sure to love it, too.
You’ll find the Customs House in Clarksville’s historic Downtown District – look for 200 S. 2nd Street. Tour the Customs House and see a wide range of exhibits like the Explorers’ Gallery, the Bubble Cave, and the Challenges and Champions Sports Gallery.
Almost directly west of downtown Clarksville is Fort Donelson National Battlefield. With its stunning views of the Cumberland River, a rich Civil War history, and a long list of things to see and do, you and the family are sure to have a great time at Fort Donelson.
Don’t miss the Visitor Center at Fort Donelson, where you can see artifacts displayed across several historical exhibits. Enjoy a guided park tour, and there is also the Fort Donelson National Cemetery.
From Clarksville, head east into White House – and its neighbor city, Goodlettsville. These two charming and diverse northern Tennessee cities yield full days of sightseeing, and a wealth of family fun.
Because of their close proximity to Nashville, White House and Goodlettsville often yield quick trips into the Music City. Explore White House and Goodlettsville on this second leg of your northern Tennessee drive tour.
Any visit to this area of northern Tennessee should have you exploring the haunts and chills of the Historic Mansker’s Station Frontier Life Center. Take the whole family on this thrilling and chilling ghost and lantern tour. Built in 1779, this fort has a staff dressed to the era, and filled with knowledge – and plenty of ghost stories.
As with most visits to small town America, you’re bound to find a selection of unique and kitschy attractions. White House and Goodlettsville are no exception. For those who enjoy antiquing, you’ll find a pleasant selection of antique shops in the area.
Don’t miss the Rare Bird Antique Mall, Tara’s Antique Mall, the Antique Corner Mall, and the Goodlettsville Antique Mall. Visit any and all of these and find your share of rare trinkets and treasures.
Formed by the J. Percy Priest Dam, the stunning and always pleasant Percy Priest Lake is an exceptional destination for an outdoor adventure. Before you depart the Goodlettsville-White House area, spend some time under the sun at Percy Priest.
For boaters and those looking to stock up on fishing supplies, head to any of the excellent marinas found at Percy Priest Lake. Fate Sanders Marina is open 360 days of the year, and Elm Hill Marina has a fuel dock and sells some of the best live bait in the area.
Make your way to I-40 and continue heading east. The third stop on this northern Tennessee adventure is Cookeville. Just about 100 miles away from the Goodlettsville area, Cookeville yields a mountain of fun. You can make the short drive to Burgess Falls State Park, or enjoy a tour of the Cookeville Depot Museum.
Walk the West Side! There’s a wealth of history and culture to explore in Cookeville, and a stroll through its West Side will do the trick. Some of the highlights along the West Side include the Cookeville Depot Museum, the Kiwanis Cookeville Children’s Museum, and the Cookeville Performing Arts Center.
Learn all you can about Cookeville and the local area with a tour of the Cookeville History Museum. Open Wednesday through Saturday, this charming and quaint museum yields a vast collection of artifacts detailing the history of Cookeville and northern TN. Admission is always free.
Northwest of downtown Cookeville by only 12 miles, Cummins Falls State Park is an ideal destination on this drive tour. Great for those hoping to fill an afternoon with a nature walk or hike, Cummins Falls is 211 acres of pristine northern TN land.
Cummins Falls yields stunning views of the Eastern Highland Rim, and features Tennessee’s eighth tallest waterfall. Many visitors also enjoy Fall Creek Falls State Park, less than 50 miles south along Highway 111.
The final destination on this northern TN drive tour is also the longest drive of the bunch – 207 miles to the east, you’ll find Johnson City. Home to a wide array of top attractions – Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, for example – Johnson City is stretched across Sullivan, Carter, and Washington counties.
As this drive tour builds to its conclusion, make the most of your time by exploring the best of Johnson City’s attractions.
Established in 1911, East Tennessee State University is a top school in the state, and a wonderful place to visit. With a sprawling campus, historic buildings, and exciting sports teams, ETSU yields a full day of northern Tennessee fun.
Sports fans in the area love their ETSU Buccaneers and Lady Buccaneers. Visit Thomas Stadium in the spring and summer for ETSU baseball, the Freedom Hall Civic Center for basketball in the fall, and the Kermit-Tipton Stadium for football.
Found on the campus of ETSU, the George L. Carter Railroad Museum is loaded with a wide range of historic and antique railroad memorabilia. For those who love trains, this is certainly a can’t-miss. Open on Saturdays, this charming museum also features a playroom for the kids in the event they don’t find the trains to be so dazzling.
Celebrate an iconic piece of American history with a visit to the Davy Crockett Birthplace Historic Park. Less than 22 miles west of downtown Johnson City, the Davy Crockett Birthplace is an ideal destination for anyone hoping to enjoy a day of outdoor exploring.
Plan a hike at through the Meadow View Trail, the Limestone Creek Trail, or the River Bluff Trail. Check out the Big Limestone Creek and land your haul of smallmouth bass and catfish, or enjoy a summer splash down at the Davy Crockett Birthplace Pool.