Spring is just around the corner and Tennessee has a slew of spring festivals, events and attractions perfect for an extraordinary spring break. It’s time to shake winter off and plan a Tennessee spring break perfect for the entire family.
In East Tennessee, Dollywood’s Festival of Nations in Pigeon Forge returns for a limited engagement March 23 – April 22. Experience exciting cultures around the world as more than 200 performers fill the park to celebrate their cultures through music, food, dance and art. New shows like Cirque Shanghai, featuring traditional and modern Chinese acrobats and Mystic India that fuses dance, visual effects and theatre into a colorful display. Also not to be missed is Tennessee’s first and only water coaster, RiverRush, which opens at Dollywood’s Splash Country May 11.
Celebrating its 25th year, Hands On! Regional Museum in Johnson City is where kids can participate in interactive exhibits in the 22,000 square-foot facility. The East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick National History Museum & Visitor Center gives visitors an up-close look at the five million-year-old Gray Fossil Site and interactive exhibits. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton offers a glimpse of where many historical events took place. The site also features a theater and a two-mile fitness trail. And in Chattanooga, the city is transformed into one big, kid-friendly adventure during Spring Break Safari.
Additionally, Middle Tennessee has much to offer. Let the Grand Ole Opry serve as a spring break soundtrack with March Opry appearances including Josh Turner, Florida George Line, Alan Jackson and more. Spring Break Nashville visitors will want to enter for a chance to win a Dwight Yoakam Experience April 12-14. The winner receives two front row tickets the Dwight Yoakam concert at the Ryman April 12, two tickets to the Grand Ole Opry on April 13, hotel accommodations for two at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown, a Music City Backstage Attraction Pass and much more. The deadline to enter is March 22.
If your spring break includes outdoor adventures, Dale Hollow Lake, recently voted the “No. 1 Houseboating Lake in North America” by boaters on PickASlip.com and Sunset Marina & Resort are offering houseboat rentals for $35 per person for seven nights April 1 – May 20. Enjoy a day of horseback riding at East Fork Stables in Jamestown which opens its riding season April 1. Embark on a canoe trip down Buffalo River in Wayne County; take an Amish horse and buggy tour in Ethridge or pack up the car or motorcycle for a drive or ride along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Take a swing of golf on ten championship courses in Crossville.
Music is the theme in West Tennessee. Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis transports its visitors to Hawaii with their newest exhibit “Elvis’ Hawaii: Concerts, Movies and More!” It celebrates Elvis’ love for Hawaii and the 40th anniversary of the “Aloha from Hawaii” television special. Visitors will see why it was one of Elvis’ favorite places to vacation and will view never-before-seen footage, all of the jumpsuits Elvis wore during his Hawaiian concert, artifacts like the gold lame jacket, movie memorabilia and more.
Celebrating their 10th Anniversary, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music launched the careers of great soul music artists like Booker T & the MGs, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Carla Thomas. The Stax Museum has planned a year-long 10th anniversary celebration with numerous events.
Additional events and activities are outlined by region for your convenience below:
March 13 – June 9
Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg – Smoky Mountain Springfest – Enjoy special events, local craft shows and more in this countywide celebration of spring. For more information, call 800-568-4748.
March 15 – 17
Bristol – Spring Race Weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway – Experience cars zooming around the world’s fastest half-mile with events like Ford Fan Friday, the Spring Nationwide 300 and, the ever-popular Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. For more information, visit www.bristolmotorspeedway.com.
March 15 – April 15
Chattanooga – Chattanooga Spring Break Safari – Conduct a train, interact with jaguars, reptiles, camels and much more during Spring Break Safari. For more information, visit www.chattanoogafun.com/spring.
March 23 – April 14
Chattanooga – Williams Island Family Adventure Cruises – Sail downstream aboard the River Gorge Explorer on a 90-minute adventure that gives insight to the creatures of the wooded island and Native American and Civil War history. For more information, visit www.tnaqua.org.
Rugby – Plateau Geology Hike – Hike into the bluffs around Rugby with Tennessee geologist Peter Lemiszki to learn the geology of the plateau. Admission is $20. For more information, visit www.historicrugby.org.
March 23 – April 22
Pigeon Forge – Dollywood’s Festival of Nations – Global cultures come to Dollywood to give visitors an experience through food, music and artistic expression. Shows include Poland’s Glass Duo, Mariachi Divas and France’s Pause Café. The show runs until April 22. For more information, visit www.dollywood.com.
March 1 – March 30
Pigeon Forge – Titanic Celebrates the Irish – Enjoy music, dancing, Gaelic humor and tall tales that honor the Irish heritage at the Titanic Pigeon Forge. For more information, visit www.titanicpigeonforge.com.
April 3 – 29
Knoxville – Dogwood Arts Festival – Crafts, theater, music, film and visual arts are featured among a mix of blooming gardens and trails. For more information, visit www.dogwoodarts.com.
April 5 – 7
Knoxville – Rhythm N’ Blooms Music Festival – Celebrate Tennessee’s role in American Roots music with local and nationally-renowned artists. For more information, visit www.rhythmnbloomsfest.com.
April 6 – 7
Gatlinburg – 14th Annual Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament – Adults and children can cast a line in this challenging tournament at Rocky Top Outfitters. For more information, visit www.rockytopoutfitter.com.
April 12 – 13
Rugby – Rugby Quilts Come Full Circle – The village will be filled with quilts on display and quilt vendors. For more information, visit www.historicrugby.org.
Clinton – Sheep Shearing Day – Take a look at this unique demonstration with vintage hand-cranked shears at the Museum of Appalachia. Spinning and quilting demonstrations will also be featured. For more information, visit www.museumofappalachia.org.
May 25 – 26
Jonesborough – 17th Annual Garden Gala – Tour elegant gardens full of foliage, artists and live music. Seminars, plant clinics and gardening products will also be featured. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the tour. For more information, visit www.jonesboroughtn.org.
Jonesborough – Love Lavender Festival – Massages, wine tastings, seminars and a luncheon featuring lavender will be featured as well as craft booths and classes. For more information, call 423-753-1553 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nashville – Learn music history at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum through exhibits like “The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country,” “Patsy Cline: Crazy for Loving You,” and “Dottie West: Country Sunshine.” For more information, visit www.countrymusichalloffame.org.
Dickson – Join the Renaissance Center and view some of the art exhibits on display 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays – Saturdays for free like Alan LeQuire’s “Cultural Heroes;” Nathan Evans’ “Jazz Portraits;” and Nan Kennedy’s “Sculptural Icons” among others. For more information, visit www.rcenter.org.
Nashville – Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: Highlights from the Detroit Institute of Arts – Considered one of the finest collections outside the Netherlands – this exhibition offers more than 70 paintings by Dutch artists like Jakob, Rembrandt and Frans Hals at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. For more information, visit www.fristcenter.org.
March 8 – May 3
Crossville – “Les Misérables” – Enjoy this beloved musical is filled with love, redemption and revolution set in 1800s France, starring the national tour’s Nathaniel Hackman, at the Cumberland County Playhouse. For more information, visit www.ccplayhouse.com.
April 4 – 7
Columbia – Mule Day – Celebrate all things related to mules in the “Mule Capital” of the world along with traditional Appalachian food, dancing, music and crafts. For more information, visit www.muleday.com.
Smith County – Chamber Fishing Tournament – Enjoy a day of fishing at Cordell Hull Lake as part of the county’s first fishing tournament. Registration begins at 5 a.m. at Defeated Creek Marina. For more information, contact Denise Hackett at email@example.com.
Memphis – “Elvis’ Hawaii: Concerts, Movies and More!” – This new exhibit at Graceland celebrates Elvis’ love for Hawaii, featuring the American Eagle jumpsuits, his gold lamé jacket, never-before-seen footage and more. For more information, visit www.elvis.com.
Memphis – Stax 10th Anniversary – Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music with numerous events showcasing its history and the impact of Stax Records. For more information, visit www.staxmuseum.com.
Memphis – “Angels & Tomboys: Girlhood in the 19th Century American Art” – See depictions of girls in paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs from the 19th Century at the Brooks Museum. The exhibit runs until May 12. For more information, visit www.brooksmuseum.org.
March 9 – Oct. 30
Memphis – Stingray Bay and Camel Excursions – Get a close look and hands-on experience at several species of stingrays and sharks at the Memphis Zoo. Ride one of four camels this spring for $5. For more information, visit www.memphiszoo.org.
Jackson – Casey Jones’ 150th Birthday Celebration – Celebrate the 150th Birthday of railroad legend, Casey Jones at the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum. Music, door prizes and refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.caseyjones.com.
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