Hidden Gems: A Chattanooga Travel Guide

When you think of family vacation, your mind probably goes to the typical places: the beach, the mountains, grandma’s house. You get the picture. Why not take things off the beaten path a bit? Our recommendation? Chattanooga. No matter the kind of vacation you like to enjoy, it has something for you, guaranteed. Here are a few of our favorites that we want to share with you.

What to do

This museum, specifically designed for kids, is sure to be a hit with the littles. Engage their imaginations with immersive experiences like an excavation station, the “Make It” inventor workshop, the Infant Garden, and more. You can even get a bird’s eye view of Chattanooga from their tower!

We’re willing to bet that you’ve never seen something quite like Ruby Falls before. It’s a massive waterfall, located 1000 feet below the ground, in a cave. Now, we know that Native Americans and Civil War soldiers have used the cave throughout history, but it was not discovered until the 1900s. Take the Terra along for a smooth ride. It will be an experience that you and your family always remember!

Of course, Chattanooga is known for the scenic landscape and BBQ restaurants, but it has quite a rich Civil War history, as well. Whether you’re a history buff or not, the Point Park Battlefield is well worth a visit. We also recommend visiting the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, which is specifically designed to engage future generations.

A visit to the Tennessee Aquarium is a fascinating, weather-proof way to spend your time, as a family. They are known for having a wide variety of fish and marine life, both salt and freshwater. Don’t skip the visit to the butterfly garden or rainforest area!

Where to eat

The main event! You can’t spend time in Tennessee without indulging in some good barbeque. We are pretty sure it’s illegal. You’ll definitely want to stop by Edley’s while you’re in town! Our favorites have to be the burnt ends, mac and cheese, and hot chicken sandwich.

If there’s one thing we know about kids, it’s that they love hot dogs. But lucky for the adults in the room, these aren’t your typical hot dogs! Good dog puts a creative twist on classic favorites with dishes like the fajita dog, the reuben dog, and the brunch dog.

A Chattanooga staple, you can’t go wrong with Taco Mamacita. This fresh-mex spot is sure to become a fast favorite. We recommend a round of margaritas for moms and dads, a salsa sampler to start, and, of course, as many tacos as you can fit in after that.

If you want a nicer dining experience that’s still totally kid friendly, then this is the spot for you. Tony’s serves dishes inspired by old world Italy, with plenty of handmade pastas on the menu. We’re big fans of the spaghetti carbonara and the create your own pizza option.

Where to stay

This is unlike any hotel stay you have experienced. Not only can you experience the famous train, but also all the incredible features surrounding it. By staying at the hotel, you’ll get front-seat access to live music, the Glenn Miller Gardens, and a unique dining experience.

Remember that childhood dream of spending the night in your treehouse? Well, this is your chance to make it a reality! Experience a once-in-a-lifetime kind of stay in rustic and refined treehouse lodging. 

You can’t go wrong with a cozy, classic hotel like the Embassy Suites. It’s perfectly located near the airport, pet friendly, and it even has a pool for the whole family to enjoy.

Insider Tips

  • Chattanooga is an easily walkable city, so take advantage and get outside! However, we know that long walks can be tough on littles. We recommend taking the Trip along for when everyone starts to get tired. You can also take the city’s free electric buses between all the sites, if you prefer.
  • If you want to explore, but save a little money along the way, we recommend a stroll around downtown! It’s cute, quaint, and free. Plus, you and the family can see plenty of views from the bridge on the riverfront!

Looking for more travel tips? Be sure to check out our blog!