Though “Music City,” or Nashville, Tennessee, is an eventful place full of excitement and fun, sometimes getting away to explore other parts of the country and their equally famous attractions can cause the traveling “itch” to nag at you. And that’s why we’ve created this list of the top weekend getaways from Nashville!
So that you can pick from the list and start packing on these drivable weekend getaway trips full of impactful attractions and invigorating atmospheres that combine adventure, history, culture, great food, and loads of fun into one undeniably perfect vacation.
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- Where To Go For The Top Weekend Getaways from Nashville
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Where To Go For The Top Weekend Getaways from Nashville
We’ve compiled this list of the top weekend getaways from Nashville, from Lexington, Kentucky, to Indianapolis, Indiana. The lists of attractions are all the best of the best, worthy of plenty of picture-taking, Instagram posting, and memory-making.
Home to the oldest newspaper in Tennessee, The Leaf-Chronicle, and a wealthy historical background in the Civil War. Clarksville, Tennessee, is full of charming nature, a rich social scene, and loads of craft breweries. And don’t forget the quaint wineries and restaurants full of award-winning wine and delectable cuisine, making it a worthwhile road trip from Nashville!
Things to do in Clarksville
Dunbar Cave State Park
A prehistoric site, Dunbar Cave State Park stretches across 144 acres, homing thousands of years of history.
Visiting the historic park, you’ll find prehistoric Mississippian Native American cave art that dates back to the 14th century. The Dunbar Cave was sacred for the Mississippian Native Americans, leading to the underworld and beyond. As you follow the guided paths, take in the different carvings and symbols carved into the limestone and others made with charcoal.
Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center
Located in an area once inhabited by Native Americans, the hilltop was quickly chosen by Confederate troops as the site for a fort needed to defend the river from Union soldiers.
The Fort Defiance Civil War Park and Interpretive Center were established to educate others on the impact of the Civil War era on the local area. Union forces eventually took over the fort that had been constructed until the Civil War ended, where many runaway and free slaves escaped for shelter and would become either employed or join the United States Colored Troops.
Going about Fort Defiance, visitors will be able to take in preserved gun platforms, outer earthworks, powder magazines, and exhibits located inside and outside the fort.
Beachaven Vineyards & Winery
Family-owned and operated, Beachaven Vineyards and Winery is an established local winery requiring a visit when in town!
The winery has been running for over 35 years, making it the second-oldest winery in Tennessee. Since its founding, Beachaven has committed to producing award-winning wines to share the family’s love for fine wine with everyone who steps through their doors.
Where to Stay in Clarksville
Hilton Garden Inn Clarksville
Offering a prime location only two miles away from Beachaven Vineyards & Winery and Old Glory Distilling Co., Hilton Garden Inn Clarksville is only 20 minutes from downtown Clarksville. During your stay at this comfortable hotel, you can find breakfast, lunch, and dinner served at the hotel’s restaurant, The Garden Grille & Bar.
Oh, and don’t forget to take a dip in the hotel’s indoor heated pool and whirlpool for a relaxing way to end the day!
Home to a world of greats, including legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, the Kentucky Derby, the iconic Louisville Slugger baseball bats, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and more. Louisville is one of the best weekend getaways from Nashville, full of adventure, history, and opportunity.
Things to do in Louisville
Waterfront Botanical Gardens
The urban Waterfront Botanical Gardens are a must-see when stopping by Louisville, Kentucky, for a quick weekend trip from Nashville!
The area where the botanical gardens now sit was once a garbage pit called the Ohio Street Dump. Black smoke, rat infestations, horrid odors, and pollution streamed from this piece of land. Finally, the dump that had risen 30 feet in the air was closed in 1973, with the eventual grand opening of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens, the better-smelling alternative, on 23 acres.
Visitors will find plenty of interesting and exotic plants in the garden, some edible and some not. Recently, Waterfront Botanical Gardens received $1.5 million from the Kentucky budget for the soon-to-be-established Japanese garden project. The list of stunning, vibrant, and good-smelling plants will continue on the efforts of this committed botanical garden prepared to share the love of plants with the world!
A National Historic Landmark, Locust Grove is an 18th-century farm and historic interpretive site full of history on its expanse of 55 acres.
On the farm is a 1792 Georgian mansion that hones the story of its builders, Kentucky architecture, and the history of America’s founding. Locust Grove has seen many important historical figures, including President James Monroe, President Andrew Jackson, and Lewis and Clark. This mansion was the final home of the founder of Louisville, George Rogers Clark, and it is preserved to tell the story of its owners, important figures that entered its walls, and those who worked on the grounds, free and enslaved.
And on this history and architecture walking tour of Old Louisville, you can explore America’s third-largest historic district full of impressive Victorian mansions, old churches, and other historical treasures of Louisville.
A famous horse racing complex, Churchill Downs has risen to status for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby.
Founded in 1875, the complex has long cemented its place as a top horse racing establishment. Visitors can walk the historic grounds of Churchill Downs, sizzling with refinement and a competitive spirit.
Only a three-minute walk away is the Kentucky Derby Museum, dedicated to preserving the history of the world-renowned event. The Kentucky Derby brings around $400 million to the region’s economy annually, making it a hot tourist event during the season. And even out of season, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum still bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, desiring to learn more about this impactful sport. Grab your tickets here!
Where to Stay in Louisville
The Seelbach Hilton Louisville
A luxury hotel offering modern amenities, The Seelbach Hilton Louisville is an iconic and historic stay in downtown Louisville, the optimal location near all the best attractions to check out. This hotel once hosted Prohibition mobsters like Al Capone, U.S. Presidents, and famed artists.
At this stay, you’ll find the world’s only surviving Rookwood Pottery room, which was once highly favored by the legendary author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Want more of Louisville?
Check this guide out for more to do in the Derby City!
Popularly known as the “Beer Capital of the World”, Cincinnati, Ohio, boasts over 50 breweries. But that’s not all the city is famous for, or why we’ve added it to our list of weekend getaways from Nashville. Cincinnati is also known as “The Queen City,” thanks to its impact on the arts and culture during the emerging West.
Things to do in Cincinnati
Coney Island Park
The playground for all ages since 1886, Coney Island Park has a wide range of thrilling rides and attractions, including the 14th largest pool in the world, Sunlite Pool.
This iconic landmark in Cincinnati is right on the Ohio River, featuring water rides like the 70-foot Cyclone, where riders can spiral down for an exhilarating thrill. It’s where visitors will also find the world’s largest erupting hydrostorm.
If you’re looking for more, try this guided underground walking tour. On this tour, you’ll be taken through the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood to visit a hidden underground crypt full of history before exploring the underground caverns of a now-defunct brewery established in the 1860s.
Opening its doors in 1933, the Krohn Conservatory is settled within Eden Park, home to many other top Cincinnati attractions.
The nationally-recognized indoor botanical garden is open year-round, with rotating exhibits attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors.
In the spring, for three months, tourists and locals flock to the conservatory to experience the thousands of butterflies that flutter among the plants and people. The Krohn Conservatory is home to rich botanicals, and the butterflies are the spectacular touch of this enigmatic attraction. The conservatory receives the chrysalis of the butterflies from butterfly farmers, where they will emerge to flutter, fly, and flock to flowers of their choosing.
Cincinnati Music Hall
The Music Hall, frequently referred to as the Cincinnati Music Hall, houses exemplary performers and companies, including the May Festival Chorus, the Cincinnati Ballet, the Cincinnati Opera, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
Established in 1878, the music hall has been designated a National Historic Landmark thanks to its impressive Victorian-gothic architecture and its impact on local history, culture, and arts. The Cincinnati Opera is the nation’s second-oldest opera company, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is the nation’s sixth-oldest symphony orchestra.
Impactful artists like Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, and BB King are some of the iconic musically talented individuals and groups that have performed at the Cincinnati Music Hall.
While you are in area, travel one mile down from Music Hall for a taste of what Cincinnati has to offer on this Streetcar Food Tour that visits 6 different local restaurants and eateries!
Where to Stay in Cincinnati
AC Hotel by Marriott Cincinnati at The Banks
Located in downtown Cincinnati, near many top attractions, AC Hotel by Marriott Cincinnati at The Banks offers an optimal placement to explore many of Cincinnati’s favorable activities, adventures, and historical landmarks.
This hotel’s modern amenities and stylish design are intertwined for unrivaled relaxation and rejuvenation during your stay. Step out onto the Upper Deck rooftop bar for a drink and spectacular views of the historic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge and the Ohio River. Enjoy European-inspired breakfast at the hotel’s AC Kitchen before heading out for fun and exploration!
The racing capital of the world, Indianapolis, Indiana, hosts some of the world’s highest-attended events, like the Indy 500, as well as the world’s largest children’s museum. And as the capital city of Indiana, prepare to be amazed by the diverse attractions this destination presents for the ultimate weekend getaway from Nashville!
Things to do in Indianapolis
Found in downtown Indianapolis, the Eiteljorg Museum is committed to preserving and sharing Western art and the history of American Indians.
Hear the stories of the peoples of North America through artistic expression, historical context, and individual perspectives at this renowned museum. Discover the impressive collection of art at the Eiteljorg Museum that features artists like Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, Kay WalkingStick, and T.C. Cannon, which has ranked the museum’s contemporary Native American art among the best in the world.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Home to the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon 200, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an automobile racing circuit that was also once home to the United States Grand Prix.
As the largest sports venue in the world, it’s no surprise this speedway is so famous for hosting world-renowned events to impact history and the region’s economy drastically. Inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which houses the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, open for touring and learning more about the speedway’s impactful history.
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
The former home of United States President Benjamin Harrison, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is a 16-room house established from 1874-1875.
The museum and memorial preserves Harrison’s Victorian home, the grounds, and the previously owned artifacts — over 10,000 in total — for historical and educational purposes. President Harrison was the president of firsts. He was the first President to have Christmas trees in the White House, the first to drive a car, the first to visit the west coast, the first to have his voice recorded, started the first urban park, and required the United States flag to be flown at government buildings. And you can learn even more fun facts about President Benjamin Harrison at this historical site.
If you are in the mood for an adventure, consider participating in this fantastic Indianapolis scavenger hunt. This three-hour adventure takes scavengers around Indianapolis to interactively learn about the city’s rich history by visiting military memorials, historic sites, and other points of interest.
Want more to do in Indianapolis on your weekend getaway from Nashville? Be sure to check out this Indy Attraction Pass that offers access to 8 attractions with exclusive discounts and deals!
Where to Stay in Indianapolis
Ironworks Hotel Indy
At the Ironworks Hotel Indy, guests are welcomed into the 19th-century-inspired industrial design paired with modern amenities for a unique stay. Expect to enjoy your time in Indianapolis at Ironworks Hotel Indy, for even the traditional rooms feature plush robes, rainfall shower heads, spa-like bathrooms, brick accent walls, and industrial charm, so comfort is achieved no matter which type of room you select!
The Horse Capital of the World, Lexington, Kentucky, often hosts annual horse races and horse sales for top-bred thoroughbreds, so don’t be surprised by the horse-themed attractions we recommend visiting! And for those looking for a little bit of diversity, Lexington thankfully homes plenty of other exciting attractions to take on during your weekend getaway from Nashville.
Things to do in Lexington
Mammoth Cave National Park
The Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the longest cave system in the world, the Mammoth Cave. This has earned the park the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.
You’ll find thousands of years of human history at the park, combined with a thriving diversity of plants and wildlife throughout the rolling hills, river valleys, and fascinating stalactites and stalagmites. Tours are required to explore Mammoth Cave National Park with informative park rangers to serve historical facts and intriguing stories of the cave’s geological and environmental impact.
If you want more adventure on your trip to Lexington, check out a Zipline Canopy Tour through Kentucky River Palisades and Boone Creek Gorge!
Kentucky Horse Park
Opened in 1978, the Kentucky Horse Park is a diverse attraction that functions as an international equestrian competition venue, a working horse farm, and an educational theme park.
For over 200 years, horses have been on the park’s grounds. It all began in 1777 when the Governor of Virginia granted his brother-in-law, William Christian, 9,000 acres. Christian moved his family to Kentucky in 1785, establishing a farm. Indians, unfortunately, killed him in 1786, and the land was passed on to his daughter, with part of the land eventually becoming the Kentucky Horse Park.
There is much to see at the Kentucky Horse Park and its two museums. It’s not hard to spend days here to take in the horse demonstrations, interactive exhibits, and spectacular displays. Consider this horse farm tour. Guests will be taken to top horse farms to learn about horse training, breeding, and history, visit the historic Keeneland Race Track and explore the filming locations of Seabiscuit and Secretariat.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour
As you may or may not know, the city of Lexington and the state of Kentucky are famous for their bourbon. And on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, guests are given “passports” and itineraries for points of interest, like distilleries, on the bourbon trail for a bourbon-friendly day of fun!
It’s important to note that many of these places on tour are not in Lexington, which allows the opportunity to explore other parts of Kentucky for a worthwhile adventure!
Where to Stay in Lexington
The Kentucky Castle
Featuring Southern hospitality within impenetrable castle walls, The Kentucky Castle spans over 100 acres with 15 guest accommodations. Guests are allotted a farm-to-table dining experience, where ingredients are sourced locally or grown on the property for uniquely fresh and vibrant meals. And this stay’s exceptionality only grows with the inclusive Kentucky Castle Spa that redefines luxury for a serene and relaxing setting to sink into during your stay in Lexington.
Regarding a weekend getaway from Nashville, there are plenty of top destinations to consider. From Lexington, the Horse Capital of the World, to Cincinnati, the “Beer Capital of the World”, each city hosts its diversity, culture, history, art, and impact on those who travel there. And you can get a taste of them all on a weekend trip of fun and adventure for quality memories made with family and friends!
Absolutely! Mammoth Cave National Park is home to many different types of experiences. It offers 60 miles of horseback riding trials, 80 miles of hiking of all levels, some of the best stargazing in the area, as well a canoeing/kayaking or fishing on the Green and Nolin Rivers.
Tickets prices vary based on when you buy them. Earlier the cheaper. General admission tickets are infield tickets where there is no seating or track view. Be sure to purchase early on the Churchill Down website or through Ticketmaster. Two-Day packages with reserved seating with views of certain sections of the track. These go quickly! Dining options and official Derby Experience packages are available for additional purchase.
Rheingiest, MadTree Brewing Co., West Side Brewing Company, Sons Of Toil Brewing!
Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.
Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.
Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.
Vacation Rentals: Airbnb is the market leader but you’d be surprised how you can find cheaper deals on the lesser-known VRBO.
Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.
- Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
- RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
- SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
- Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
- InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.
If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.