Tennessee is bordered by the Blue Ridge Mountains in the east and the Mississippi River in the west, with its subtropical climate letting tourists enjoy its natural attractions. It is home to the Great Smoky Mountains, the most visited national park in the United States.

The Volunteer State is also proud of its urban destinations, like Dollywood, the amusement park of musician Dolly Parton. Heritage spots, historical landmarks, cultural destinations, and scenic byways abound in Tennessee, so tourists of varying tastes can have something to enjoy in this welcoming state. From its impressive man-made attractions to its mesmerizing natural spots, Tennessee is a solid 10.

10 Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge, is home to many peaks, and the Appalachian Trail passes through it, making it a hiker’s home away from home. The trails of the Smokies will lead trekkers to falls, forests, or scenic viewpoints, and their first task is to choose what to explore. But why choose if they can conquer them all in a couple of days? Aside from exploring bluffs, ridges, waterfalls, and woodlands, hikers should also keep their eyes peeled for such critters as black bears, deer, elks, and birds. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is indeed one big playground.

Related: Hiking Guide: Best Trails In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

9 Dollywood

Families should drop by Dollywood in the vacation town of Pigeon Forge after exploring the Great Smokies. Its location near the national park makes this destination an ideal stop for tourists traveling with kids. It has cabins where families can regain energy for the many rides of the theme park that will take them up in the air. Its water park, meanwhile, is a place of splashing good time whether guests just want to float or have a thrilling slide. In Dollywood, tourists will “love every moment.”

8 Parthenon

When Tennessee celebrated its 100 years of being part of the union in 1897, its capital Nashville became the talk of the town because of its grand display of an architectural wonder: the replica of Greece’s Parthenon. The Parthenon, the centerpiece of Centennial Park, is now a museum where tourists can appreciate artworks and a full-scale replica of the statue of Athena. The park where it's located is also home to a walking trail, historical monuments, a sunken garden, and Lake Watauga. Greece is at home in Nashville’s Parthenon.

7 Tennessee State Museum

History buffs should not miss Tennessee State Museum, where they will explore a rich and colorful past. Through its exhibitions, seven of which are permanent, guests will learn inspiring stories about the area’s prehistoric past, first peoples, environment, its role in the civil war and reconstruction, and its recent history. Families with kids will also enjoy hanging out in a children's gallery, where they can have an adventure of learning. Experiencing the Volunteer State has never been this enriching.

6 Lookout Mountain

Chattanooga’s Lookout Mountain is a popular tourist spot, thanks to its scenic view of a ridge. The Tennessee side of the mountain can be reached from St. Elmo in Chattanooga. Riding a funicular, tourists will probably have the best one-mile of their lives as they enjoy the mesmerizing views on the way to the top. Once they reach the summit, which stands 2,000 feet above sea level, tourists will have an expansive view of the cityscape. Lookout Mountain is more than just a viewpoint, but the view itself.

5 Ruby Falls

Visiting Chattanooga also means checking out the majestic Ruby Falls because it’s within Lookout Mountain. A funicular takes tourists up the viewpoint of the ridge, while a glass-front elevator will lead them 260 feet down the mountain. The cavern is tourist-friendly, so visitors need not worry about a tiring, spelunking journey. Upon reaching the trails, they will check out rock formations and hear the roaring drop of the waters until they see the beauty of the 40-foot Ruby Falls. It’s easy to fall in love with this Tennessee wonder.

Related: Ruby Falls: See The USA's Tallest & Deepest Underground Waterfall

4 Chickamauga And Chattanooga National Military Park

Another attraction near Lookout Mountain and Ruby Falls, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga National Military Park, commemorates the battles of 1863, among the most important fights of the American Civil War. Aside from the museum, tours are regularly held in the park, which is the largest of its kind in the US. As tourists listen to the colorful stories about the war, they will have the chance to check out memorabilia while enjoying the scenic views of Chattanooga. Exploring this military park is a victorious feat.

3 Ocoee River

Those who want to have their adrenaline cup filled should not miss visiting the Ocoee River. It’s a favorite among rafters, thanks to its class III to IV waters. It’s an intense Tennessee destination that entices not only expert paddlers but also first-timers. Luckily for beginners, there are outfitters in the area that will guide them from the calm waters to the angry rapids. Perched in Cherokee National Forest, the charming Ocoee River offers unmatched views that are best enjoyed along playful waters.

2 Big South Fork National River And Recreation Area

Outdoorsmen will have a fantastic day exploring Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, thanks to endless surprises. For starters, it’s home to many tributaries of the Big South Fork. Add its abundance of natural bridges, and it’s a hiker’s paradise. Located in Cumberland Plateau, the park has campgrounds, fishing areas, picnic spots, and scenic trails for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. After a tiring day of trekking, tourists can dip in the cool waters of the river while thinking if rock climbing should be the next day’s adventure.

1 Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

The photos look stunning, more so when tourists check out in person the inviting Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. This destination highlights the Cumberland Gap, a natural break in the Appalachian Mountains near Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It has a lush wilderness teeming with wildlife, an enticing prospect for nature lovers. Hiking its scenic trails, exploring Gap Caverns, dropping by a history museum, or camping under the stars – whatever tourists plan to do, this center point offers the best of the three states.