Scenic places of interest, in addition to the units maintained by the federal government and the state, include Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga, from the top of which five states are visible on a clear day.
Among the many beautiful caverns in Tennessee is Jewel Cave, near Tennessee City, which contains onyx formations and fossils.
The National Park Service administers several units in Tennessee. In Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, in Greeneville, are the grave of Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States, two houses that he owned, and his tailor shop. Great Smoky Mountains National Park extends along the Tennessee-North Carolina state line and covers more than 800 sq. mi.
A section of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park also lies within Tennessee. The largest historical park in the United States, it includes an area of valleys, forests, and rugged mountains in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic thoroughfare that follows the route of the historic Natchez Trace. A part of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is also in Tennessee.
Other National Park Service units in Tennessee are associated with the Civil War. Part of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park lies in the Chattanooga area in the south, and the remainder is nearby, in Georgia (see Chickamauga, Battle of; Chattanooga, Battle of). Fort Donelson National Battlefield lies in the northwest, near the small town of Dover, about about 30 miles west of Clarksville. Lying within the military park is Fort Donelson National Cemetery. Stones River National Battlefield, including Stones River National Cemetery, is located near Murfreesboro, in the center of the state. Shiloh National Military Park, including Shiloh National Cemetery, in the southwest, marks the site of the famous Battle of Shiloh
Within the state is 628,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest. The acreage is divided into two areas along the eastern border of Tennessee. The forest offers picnicking, camping, fishing, and other recreational facilities. In addition, there are supervised expeditions for hunting deer, bears, wild boars, and other animals.
Most of the units of the state park system have facilities for picnicking, hiking, riding, and camping. Fall Creek Falls State Park, noted for its rugged terrain, is in east-central Tennessee.
This scenic park includes Fall Creek Falls, some 256 ft high, and Cane Creek Gorge. Situated in the western plateau area is the largest state park, Natchez Trace State Park, which contains three lakes. Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is located on the wooded bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Roan Mountain, about about 20 miles from Elizabethton, has a rhododendron garden on its summit of 1916 m (6285 ft).
The park has trails for driving and horseback riding. Pickett State Rustic Park, in a remote and rugged area of the Cumberland Plateau, near the Kentucky border, features caves and interesting rock formations. Cedars of Lebanon State Recreational Park, located east of Nashville, contains a portion of the largest red-cedar forest in the eastern United States. Big Ridge State Rustic Park, in eastern Tennessee, lies in a heavily wooded area on the shore of Big Ridge Lake.
Montgomery Bell State Resort Park, west of Nashville, includes clear streams and two lakes in red-cedar country. One of the most popular recreation areas in the state is Reelfoot Lake State Resort Park, in the northwestern corner of the state. David Crockett State Recreational Park is a historic area honoring the American frontiersman who was born in the state. Paris Landing State Resort Park, located in a remote region of the Cumberland Plateau, is noted for its caves and rock formations.
There are numerous historic houses in the state. The Hermitage, near Nashville, was the home of Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States. In Columbia is the ancestral home of President James K. Polk. Near Smyrna is a simple frame building that has been restored as a shrine. It was the home of Sam Davis, a Confederate spy captured and hanged by federal troops at the age of 21 after refusing an offer of freedom in exchange for revealing his informant. In Memphis is the National Civil Rights Museum, on the site where Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968.
Land Between the Lakes, a recreation area that lies in Tennessee and Kentucky between lakes Barkley and Kentucky, is operated by the TVA. The area was conceived as a demonstration in outdoor recreation and environmental education.
Fort Loudoun, near Vonore, is a partially restored fort built in the 1750s by the British as an outpost against the French. Fort Nashborough, in Nashville, is a reproduction of the original fort, with blockhouses and stockades, that was built nearby on the Cumberland River in 1780. South of the city is the site of the Battle of Nashville, a Civil War engagement in 1864. Old forts, breastworks, and trenches are preserved there.
Many of Tennessee's attractions are associated with its musical heritage. A steady flow of visitors walk the halls of Graceland, the home of rock-and-roll pioneer Elvis Presley. The Beale Street Historic District, also in Memphis, is considered the source of a particular type of blues music. In Nashville, Opryland USA is home to the Grand Ole Opry, a live country music show which has been performed every weekend since 1925. Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a family entertainment park founded by country-western singer Dolly Parton.
Mud Island, in Memphis, is a park dedicated to life on the Mississippi River and includes a detailed, flowing scale model of the river which traces its course to the Gulf of Mexico. The Tennessee Aquarium, in Chattanooga, has thousands of living plants and animals, including alligators and sharks.