Disclosure: I am participating in the Holiday Inn Influencer Program. All opinion and thoughts are my own.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The easy way, isn’t always the best way! That’s what I find myself telling the kids on EVERY road trip. This time we are on our way to the East Tennessee (Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg) to visit the Smoky Mountains. It our Thanksgiving family tradition, but over the years we have made a pit stop in Chattanooga more of our favorite Road Trip Sleepover City.
Over the years we have visited several attractions in Chattanooga prior to arriving at our final destination. From Ruby Falls to Rock City, Chattanooga has something for everyone. This year we decided to try something new and visit a few smaller attractions before making our way to the Holiday Inn Chattanooga – Hamilton Place.
The Holiday Inn Chattanooga- Hamilton Place has so many amenities including a pool, WiFi and Fuse Restaurant & Lounge that leaving the hotel is unnecessary. But to my traveling broad, a few attractions is a must!
One of Chattanooga’s best attractions is all natural! A short 6 miles away from Downtown Chattanooga leads you to massive rock formations, breathtaking views and one of the few places you can see 7 states in one location.
Kids can enjoy Fairyland Caverns and enjoy the world’s most beloved fairy tales while adults will appreciate Lover’s Leap. Lover’s Leap can be found on the side of Lookout Mountain. Originated from the Cherokee legend, visitors will learn about the love story between two Cherokee lovers and their feuding tribes. Visiting Rock City during the holiday season? Enjoy Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights in it’s 21st year.
For over 85 years Ruby Falls has shine light as one of Chattanooga’s favorite attractions. In 1928 Leo Lambert and his team found a breathtaking waterfall located over 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain. Named after his wife Ruby, Ruby Falls has welcomed thousands of visitors each year. Bring your favorite comfortable and durable shoes because visiting the largest and deepest waterfall is a great workout.
You can enjoy the caverns of Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain Tower, Gemstone Panning or zipline nearby. Ruby falls has numerous events throughout the year from Haunted Cavern to Ruby Falls Christmas Underground, your family is in for a real treat. Side Note: Comfortable shoes are a must!
Racoon Mountain Caverns
Just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee is a small but nationally recognized limestone cavern. Since 1931 the natural, limestone caverns has offered a variety of passageways, abundant fossils and large waterfalls. Originally founded in 1929, Leo Lambert (of Ruby Falls) developed a series of trails, installed electric lights, and opened the cave to the public as “Tennessee Caverns”The cave system amounts to over 1/2 miles of explored and mapped passageways and toured daily.
Personally, our family enjoyed the tour as it is geared towards smaller groups. You can ask the skilled tour guide questions during the 45 minute tour and perfect for photo ops. Raccoon Mountain is just seven minutes from historical downtown Chattanooga and has a lot of offer guests. Plus they have a campground so it’s tons of fun for the family!
My family and I stumbled across Coolidge Park on our way out of Chattanooga one year. We were looking for a restaurant and decided to explore and stretch our legs for a bit. What we found was the perfect location to let your kids explore! We toured the river-walk, the walking bridge and the 1894 Dentzel carousel. The carousel is an old-fashioned experience with 52 whimsical hand carved animals, a calliope band organ, complete with ornate gold leaf benches. Fancy right? Don’t forget about the Riverwalk is a 15-mile long public green space that runs along the Tennessee River. you can spot the Southern Belle Riverboat and Chickamauga Dam.
Historic Western & Atlantic Museum & Tour
Not far from Chattanooga (less than 10 miles) is the Historic Western & Atlantic Museum & Tour. The tour is very economical at well under $40 for for a family of 4. I paid $18 (I love a good deal) on Groupon. It is in Georgia but it is a good opportunity to see an attraction before arriving to Downtown Chattanooga.
Built in 1848 this 1477 ft. tunnel was to connect the port of Augusta to the Tenn. River Valley. It was also the first RR across the Appalachian Mtns. The tunnel became part of several Historical events during the civil period. History can fun especially since the tour is given inside an electric cart through the tunnel which includes Civil War history. Aside from the tunnel, visitors can tour the Clisby Austin House which briefly served as General Sherman’s Headquarters at the beginning of The Atlanta Campaign.
Historic Western & Atlantic Museum & Tour also hosts Civil War re-enactment throughout the year and well worth the short detour off of I-75!
For over 15 years Museum Center at 5ive Points share the stories of the Ocoee Region in Cleveland, Tennessee. The narrow strip of Cherokee territory from the Tennessee River and into Alabama,in ;parts of the Hiwassee Rivers to near Tallassee and follows up the North Carolina line is known as the Ocoee Region.
The museum is home to several temporary exhibits like “THE RED BACK HYMNAL to permanent exhibits like archaeology, settlement, industry and military artifacts from the Ocoee Region. Their gift shop carries high-end Appalachian arts and crafts from within the region and hosts education programs throughout the year.
You will without a doubt, find something your family will enjoy in Chattanooga. Going on an exciting road trip journey? Stay somewhere extraordinary and enjoy the comfort of Holiday Inn.