Nashville is a good time, but it’s not the first place you think of when deciding on a family vacation. It’s a lot of bars, restaurants with live music, and a good time – and most places require you are 21 to enter. However, you might be surprised just how child-friendly Nashville really is when you visit.
There are certain areas of the city you’ll want to avoid because it’s more nightlife and partying than child-friendly activities. But you’ll still find plenty to do that the kids will love and enjoy while you’re in Nashville. The Music City is a great time, so here are a few of the best things to do with your kids – and some of these are off the beaten path (because, let’s face it…museums are boring).
20. Country Music Hall of Fame
This is one ‘museum’ worth the visit to. If you love music and it’s been a part of your life since forever, your kids know what you listen to. There is a good chance they know what kind of music you love, and they are familiar with the artists whose stories you’ll get to see here. Book a trip – it’s worth it.
19. Grand Ole Opry Show
There’s a tour, too, and you can do either or both. The tour takes you around the Opry and allows you to see where the musicians stand, play, rehearse, and make magic. If you’re in town during a show that features someone you know and love, book tickets. Kids love a good concert.
18. Nashville Zoo
Kids love the zoo. It’s a simple thing, really, but they really do. The Nashville Zoo is a spectacular one with many animals, great shows, and a lot of fun to be had by all. While it might not be your first choice of places to visit when you’re in Nashville (there are zoos everywhere, if we are being honest), it’s still a good time. Your kids will love it, and you’ll have fun because they’re having fun.
17. Hop On Hop Off Bus
There are 13 Hop On Hop Off Bus stops in Nashville, and you can get on or off at any time of the day. It’s entirely up to you, and you get to pick and choose what suits you and your life. This is not just a tour of the downtown area, either. You and the kids will see the town, and you can get off anytime you feel the need. Crying baby who isn’t having it any longer? Hop off at the next stop! The bus runs all day long.
16. Gaylord Opryland Resort
This is where you stay with kids, and this is what you do to keep them entertained. The interior of the hotel – and you can visit without being a guest – is nothing but nine acres of atriums with waterfalls and lush landscaping perfect for a long stroll. This is a great rainy day activity, too. You can explore the outdoors while indoors, and it’s going to make the kids exceptionally happy. There are plenty of restaurants inside, too, so you can stop for a snack.
15. Enjoy a Waterfront Picnic Centennial Park
Sometimes, the kids just need space to run around and expend their energy. This is where Centennial Park comes into play. Send the kids outdoors to play while you sit in the grass and enjoy the beautiful landscaping, the gorgeous sunshine, and the grassy knolls. This park features 132 lush acres of fun, including waterfront along Lake Watauga where you’ll want to bring your picnic lunch and a blanket.
14. Musician’s Corner
What’s better than the amazing music in Nashville? How about amazing music in a beautiful park that’s free of charge? You get to enjoy the musicians, and the kids get to enjoy a little springtime in Nashville. There is plenty of grass they can run around in, plus there’s ample shade on a hot day.
13. The Gulch
The Gulch is a great place to walk around. Grab breakfast and Milk & Honey, shop at the local stores, make your own Cowboy Hat at the Rustic Hat Co,, and enjoy the many things to do. From flower trucks to perfect places to sit down with a cool beverage, this is a great place for you and the kids to spend a few hours unwinding.
12. The Wildhorse Saloon
Many of the bars in Nashville require you are 21 and up to enter, but not this one. It is a huge venue with so much to offer – and they have a great kid’s menu. Your kids will love the food, the music, and everything in between. The saloon website shares the calendar of events so you know when to go so your kids will love it the most.
11. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
It might not sound entirely entertaining to you, but kids love presidential homes. Our kids adored George Washington’s Mount Vernon more than anything when in Washington D.C., and Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is the same concept. Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States, and the Hermitage was his stately home in the 1800s. It’s worth a visit.
10. Nashville Shores Waterpark
This is a seasonal activity, but it’s one worth checking out. Nashville Shores opens for the summer in mid-May most years, and it is a weather-dependent day of fun. However, it’s also a great break from the heat, and everyone can have a good time while they are here. This waterpark is the most fun place to go, and the experience is genuinely a good time for all. Water slides, a wave pool, and a water tree house are just a small sample of what you’ll find here.
9. Adventureworks Ziplines
Let’s be very honest here – kids love outdoor activities, and this is one for the books. Ziplines are so much fun, and they are a great way to get physical and work a little physical activity into your Nashville vacation. It’s also a great adventure, and every vacation needs a little adventure.
8. Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
This beautiful 55-acre estate is stunning. From the actual historical home to the gardens to the luxury artwork in this historic estate, you will find something that will work for the entire family. It’s stunning, and the visit is going to take a few hours. It’s open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm.
7. Lane Motor Museum
I already mentioned that I’m not a big fan of museums – they are fun when you enjoy the contents, but my kids find them tedious. This one is a little different, though, and it will get the kids’ motors running. See what I did there? The collection of autos here is primarily European, and it’s going to be a fun adventure that takes at least a few hours of the kids’ time.
6. The Nashville Murals
There are so many cool artistic murals in Nashville. The butterfly wings located in The Gulch is one of the most exciting and easily recognizable. There’s almost always a line to take a photo with the mural, though, so arrive early. For example, while we were in Nashville in January, the mural had no people when we walked by to get to Milk & Honey for brunch on a Saturday morning at 10 am. When we walked back by to take photos at noon, we waited in a significant line for about 15 minutes. There are other murals all over the city, too, and they are worth a visit.
5. A Boat Tour of The Lost River Caverns
A boat tour is something you can do anywhere, right? Well, anywhere there’s a body of water. But have you ever taken an underground boat tour of a cavern? I’m willing to bet you have not. The story of the Lost River Cave is one for the books. The story goes like this – the cave was once a hideout and campout for those who fought in the Civil War. It was also a hideout for the late Jesse James, famed outlaw and fabled man of many stories. Finally, it was also a 1930s nightclub. It seems to us there is very little that this cave was not at some point, so why not take a boat tour underground? Even if you don’t care about the story – I’m talking to your little kids here – it’s a boat tour of an underground cavern. Your kids will feel like pirates.
4. Watch the Tennessee Titans Play
Football is the greatest sport in the history of all sports – and I mean American football, not soccer. It’s so much fun. Though I am not a Tennessee Titans fan myself (Go Gators and Go Bucs), I know that people love a good game. If you happen to be in town on a gameday during football season (a home game day, of course) check to see who the Titans are hosting. You never know. It might be your favorite team, and kids love a football game.
3. Head to Wave Country
Numerous wave pools, slides, and action-packed fun in the sun is what you’ll find here. The kids are going to want to take a break from sightseeing and heading to different places that you think they’ll like. Take them to spend a day at a place you know they’ll like – the wave pool. Obviously, this is a seasonal location, but it’s one that will serve as a great deal of fun for the entire family during the summer months.
2. Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort
Here’s the deal here – this is the perfect place for RV families to book a waterfront site and have a great visit to Nashville. I’ve noticed a trend in the last few years. People are either buying luxury RVs to travel with or they are using an RV site equivalent to AirBnB in which you book an RV to drive for the duration of your vacation. It’s a great way for families to get away, to have space, to have access to their own kitchen, the lake, and the outdoors, and it’s such a budget-friendly way to travel. With so many people opting out of resorts and hotels for their own RVs, it seemed like a wise choice to focus on adding this into the mix.
In addition to being an RV park with lakeside rentals, there’s a water park, a treetop adventure with ziplining and the works, and so much more. It is the perfect place to book a trip for you and your family this summer. You can stay, play, eat, and have fun with your own family, and there is probably not much better for those who love RV-life. It’s only 10 miles to downtown Nashville, so you and your family can Uber to a fun outing in town or you can bring your own car with your RV.
1. A Hearse and Ghost Tour
Hear me out – when I was going through the list of things to do in Nashville for kids and asking miny four which one sounded like the most fun, there was a resounding agreement in answers. The thing my kids thought would be the most exciting thing and the thing they looked most forward to – an October visit to Nashville complete with a ghost tour and the additional 60-minute hearse tour. Yes, that’s right. My kids love to be terrified and scared, and they think it’s even better during Halloween. They’re also big fans of things like the Savannah Ghost Tours and the St. Augustine Ghost Tours. I promise they’re fun and exciting and less scary than enjoyable. So, there you have it.