I Fell in Love Last Summer.

It’s true. I fell in love last summer. With Chattanooga!! 🙂 And I’ve been meaning to write a blog about it ever since to tell my readers about it so they can go visit this awesome, family-friendly city. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that if I could convince the rest of my family, I think I would actually love to move there. For now, I’ll have to settle for visiting. This quaint city is situated on the Tennessee river with gorgeous mountain views, beautiful parks and a variety of attractions along the river. Chattanooga would make for a great family spring break trip if you’re still looking for ideas and trying to find somewhere to go. But if not spring break, then it’s a great summer vacation destination, too.

If you drive, Chattanooga, Tennessee is about 16.5 hours from Green Bay, Wisconsin, so while it’s a long road trip, it’s definitely doable whether you drive straight through or stay over one night along the way to break up the trip.

Here are a few highlights from our trip and some tips for visiting:

*We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Chattanooga. The rooms were spacious and everything was very clean. It was a great location being right downtown with free parking and walking distance to everything. It had a unique pool that is partially indoors and partially outdoors. I would definitely recommend this hotel to other families.

*We visited the Tennessee Aquarium which was very impressive and is divided into 2 sections with one building for salt water and the other for fresh water. We got to pet stingrays and see a variety of aquamarine life including various sharks (my oldest daughters’ favorite) and penguins. This is a must-see if your kids enjoy sea animals. They also have an IMAX Theatre. The aquarium is right on the Chattanooga Riverfront, which is really neat. You could climb the huge stairs on the riverfront or just sit and enjoy the city views and maybe even have a picnic lunch or dinner.

*We walked across the Tennessee River on one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world. Once you get to the other side there are souvenir shops, a great park and a place where you can rent paddleboards or other things to do on the water. Explore the city on foot or bike and you will find lots of parks, restaurants and shops. One of my daughters and I rented bikes and rode around the city for awhile. Among other things, we discovered an ice cream shop, The Ice Cream Show, that has 17,000 flavors (what!?) and a candy store that could give you diabetes just looking at it.

*My absolute favorite thing was going to Rock City, which is just 5 miles from downtown Chattanooga, but it is actually in Georgia. At Rock City, which is in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, you follow these beautiful trails that lead you over bridges, through some small caves and tight squeezes with views of waterfalls and nature that ultimately lead you to the top of a mountain where you overlook SEVEN STATES: Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama! It is an absolutely breathtaking view. There is also a restaurant at the top where you could eat while you enjoy the view, which is what we did and it was a wonderful lunch stop. On the way back down you get to enjoy even more beautiful views and waterfalls and then the trail culminates with Fairyland Caverns & Mother Goose Village, which is a walk through various fairytale scenes and is pretty amazing and impressive. This part would be especially appealing to younger kids, ages 4-9.

There are so many things to do in Chattanooga and we didn’t have time to do them all. Here are some other fun attractions the city has to offer that we hope to visit when we go back next time:

*Incline Railway & Ruby Falls: At Lookout Mountain there are actually three attractions–Rock City, Incline Railway and Ruby Falls. You can do just one, two or all three. We only did Rock City, but the others sound really fun as well. Ruby Falls is a huge waterfall inside a cave and you take a glass-front elevator down 260 feet to see the nations tallest and deepest underground waterfall that is open to the public. There are also zip-lining adventures at Ruby Falls. You can ride the Incline Railway up and down Lookout Mountain. They call it America’s Most Amazing Mile.

*Chattanooga Zoo: Zoos are always a great family activity, and it looks like a very nice one that would be worth checking out.

*Lake Winnie Amusement Park: Scheduled to reopen in 2021, but no specific date has been announced. It looks like a blast–kind of like a bigger Bay Beach Amusement with more adult rides, a water park and games…probably a cross between Bay Beach and Six Flags.

*Hunter Museum of American Art: Admission is FREE for kids up to age 17. They are currently open Mon, Fri & Sat 10-5, Thur 10-8 and Sun 12-5; closed on Tues & Wed. The exterior architecture of the museum is super cool and I would’ve loved to have seen what was inside if we had time!

*Creative Discovery Museum: Nationally Ranked Children’s Museum open daily from 10-1 & 2-5.

*Southern Belle Riverboat: Do a sightseeing or sunset cruise on this old fashioned riverboat.

Get even more details and ideas at I guarantee if you go, you’ll fall in love, too.

Note: When we visited Chattanooga last summer there were various Covid precautions in place. I recommend checking the city and/or state website for the latest on Covid and Covid restrictions/regulations in the area.

For other family vacation ideas, check out my other blogs about The Creation Museum, The Ark, Kings Island Amusement Park, Bardstown, Kentucky, Disney, and South Dakota/Mount Rushmore. And here is a blog with some general family road trip tips. Happy Traveling!!


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