Anyone booking flights to Tennessee will likely have a piece of Elvis paraphernalia, a love of country music or a desire to hike through the most famous mountains in America. Tennessee can explore The Great Smokey Mountains National Park and more than 3,800 caves in the state before paying respects at Elvis' house.
Flights to Tennessee take travelers to heart of rock and roll, blues, country and soul music. In Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry still broadcasts live every Friday and Saturday night. Elvis Presley's Graceland home is located in Memphis and is the second most visited house in the country (the White House ranks first). Nashville is known as the country music Mecca -- the $2 billion-a-year music industry keeps visitors booking flights to Tennessee every year.
But as the music played on, Tennessee saw its share of turmoil. Memphis is also the site of the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. was killed in 1968. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis preserves the motel and provides visitors with a history lesson of the American Civil Rights Movement. Book flights to Tennessee to see this beautiful, historic state, and to find your place amid the music.
With the Great Smoky Mountains in the east, the central plateau, and the Mississippi bottomlands in the west, Tennessee has a varied climate. Overall, summers are hot and sticky, even in the Smokies, and temperatures in the 90s are the norm. Winters are mild and wet. Snow falls across the state but melts quickly except in the mountains. Spring and fall usually have mild days with low humidity.The Smokies have enough snowfall for winter sports. The highest points can be 10–15 degrees cooler than the lowlands, and winter temperatures can drop below zero.
Best Time to Fly to Tennessee
Summer is the peak tourist season in Tennessee, especially in Memphis and Nashville. Nashville attracts six million visitors a year, most of them in summer, so book flights to Tennessee and hotel reservations ahead of time. Summer is also the time for folk, crafts, art, and music festivals; sporting events; and state and local fairs.
The Great Smoky Mountains attract more than ten million visitors a year, most of whom arrive in midsummer, again in October for the foliage and winter for snow activities. Travelers looking for cheap flights to Tennessee, especially during peak-season in the Smokies, should plan well in advance.
Spring and fall are great times to visit Tennessee and usually when travelers can find cheap flights to Tennessee. The weather is mild with low humidity and there are fewer crowds. Late March to mid-May in the Smokies brings out the bloom of many species of delicate wildflowers. The crowds pick up again for the mountain foliage in October, but September is quieter.
Except for the snow resorts in the mountains, winter is the slowest time in much of Tennessee.
Getting around Tennessee
Unless you are staying in a city, you will need a car in Tennessee. Eastern Tennessee is mostly rural and the best way around the region and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is by car. (In summer make sure to carry extra coolant and brake fluid.) Cycling is also popular as is hiking in the the Smokies.
There is bus service to major towns and cities, but service to smaller towns, particularly in the east, is difficult to find. Tennessee flights between Memphis and Nashville tend to be pricey, as do cruises on the Mississippi riverboats.
Both Memphis and Nashville have walkable downtown areas and public transportation. Graceland can be reached by bus from Memphis. The city also has taxis, and driving is an option. Parking is generally available in Memphis, but there can be lots of congestion on east-west streets and during rush hour. Nashville also has the free LunchLINE shuttle that loops around downtown and several points of interest. River taxis run between Nashville and Music Valley and Opryland.
Tennessee Travel Information
- The state capital Nashville is known as the “home of country music” and is also where The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is located.
- The Grand Ole Opry – the world’s longest continuously running live radio program – has been broadcast from Nashville every weekend since 1925.
- The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968. The museum chronicles important episodes of the civil rights movement.
- Lookout Mountain, close to downtown Chattanooga, is a must-visit attraction. On top of the mountain are rock formations, gardens with more than 400 native plant species and views of seven states. Inside the mountain is the Ruby Falls, a 145-foot waterfall.
- Take a ride along "America's Most Amazing Mile" in a trolley-style railcar. The Incline Railway is said to be the “steepest passenger railway in the world”.
- Davy Crockett, the 19th century folk hero and “King of the Wild Frontier,” was born in Tennessee and served the state as a congressman before going to Texas where he died defending the Alamo. The State Park in Lawrence County is named after Crockett and offers camping, fishing and hiking and cycling trails.
- Tennessee is also the birthplace of The King. Graceland, Elvis Presley’s 14-acre estate in Memphis, is one of America’s most popular tourist attractions.
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park takes in North Carolina as well as Tennessee. The mountains are part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. It is a World Heritage Site since 1983.
- The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest takes place in Memphis each May. The Super Bowl of Swine as it is known attracts more than 90,000 people each year.