Planning Our Family Road Trip to Nashville, Tennessee
We recently traveled and took a family road trip to Nashville, TN with our family of six. Our goal was to go somewhere with a short drive from the Midwest. Our travel time max was less than six hours. We also needed a place that our whole family would enjoy. Our list of best places combined outdoor adventure, state parks, fun things for children, and options for day trips.
Combining four kids and car travel was a little daunting, but we did it and Music City delivered as a great destination! Nashville has been one of our favorite places since college, filled with so many places to explore, great restaurants, and sweet people.
We knew our young children would love it too! Hope you enjoy this post on one of our best road trips with little kids. Time to hit the open road!
Where We Stayed
When considering where to stay, we knew the perfect place for a home base would be within a 15 minute drive from the downtown area of Nashville. There are many small towns that surround Nashville with plenty of home rental options for families. We prefer to have plenty of room to spread out with multiple bedrooms, a living room, a full kitchen, and space for outdoor activities.
We prefer to avoid a hotel room for our family, particularly if it’s more than one night. Mama needs a door between herself and these children who like to wake up before 6 AM. 🙂 We found this great cabin, not far from the Gaylord Opryland. There were enough bedrooms for all of us, a full kitchen and a huge yard for the kids to explore.
Tips when Selecting a Vacation Rental on your Family Road Trip to Nashville
- Make a list of popular attractions you want to see while staying in the area. If it is your first time exploring the city, ask friends for advice on the best options for your family, consult travel guides, and do your research.
- Decide on the neighborhood, especially when staying near a city. If you aren’t familiar with the city, check with friends or family who may be familiar and read the rental description carefully. Ensure the area is safe and send the owner a message to ask about the neighborhood, if it’s not clear in the description.
- Ask the owner about extras that may be included in the rental. For example, ours included a high chair, a portable crib and some children’s toys so we didn’t have to pack all of those things!
- Inquire about the neighborhood and yard, especially during a pandemic. For us, it was crucial to have a big area to run around in since we knew we would be spending a lot of time in the home. Wild turkeys even came to visit every morning (so much fun!) and the porch was perfect for a hot cup of coffee.
We talked with the kids and selected a few places to visit while we are in Nashville. We started out at the Nashville Zoo which was perfect! Be sure to add this one to your family road trip to Nasvhille list. The kids loved the animal life and exhibits. We especially loved exploring the old farmstead with the barns and antique tools. If you are visiting, make sure you buy your tickets in advance and reserve a time to enter the zoo, if required.
Nashville Hiking During Our Road Trip
Nashville has beautiful hiking trails all around the city. Be sure to add some outside time to your family road trip to Nashville list. Nashville is also close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Lookout Mountain, Mammoth Cave National Park, and Ruby Falls, if you are looking for some day trips.
My husband took our big kids on a morning hike while I stayed home with the baby during her morning nap. And that brings up another point – remember when you are on vacation that your kids, particularly if they are young, need rest. They are still going to need a schedule that will include napping and eating regular meals. If it’s going to be more stressful to take your little ones out and have to deal with meltdowns, either plan to do outings when they are awake and happy or divide and conquer.
I actually loved having the house to myself while the big ones were out and they loved having some one one-on-one time with Dad. Here is a link to some great hiking trails with kids.
Nashville Parthenon Park
Our little guy is obsessed with the Magic Tree House books and he finished one about Greece right before our trip. When he heard there was a Parthenon replica in Nashville, he had to see it. There was construction when we visited, but we were able to walk around the building and then take a stroll around the pond. It’s a nice way to get outside and walk around, particularly if you are staying closer to downtown. Find more info on the Parthenon and Centennial Park here.
If you haven’t been to the Opryland Hotel, you have to visit. Add this one to your family road trip to Nashville list! My kids loved exploring the huge atriums, the dancing fountains, and checking out all of the levels. When we were there, holiday decor was going up and it was looking amazing! There are always different events going on, so you can check out more at their website to plan your trip.
Fantastic Family Road Trip to Nashville!
We had a great family road trip to Nashville. The kids loved it, the parents loved it and memories were made. Can’t wait to go back!
To read more about road-tripping with kids, see my other post here.