Best Time to Visit - 11 min read

Best Time To Visit Tennessee (Exclusive Guide by a Local!)

Jessica Langille

Jessica Langille, Updated October 22, 2022

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Tennessee is a state that always leaves visitors impressed. There’s so much to soak in when visiting this state, from the comfort food to the music scene and even the treasures that Mother Nature has to offer. If you want to travel to this soulful state, you may be wondering when the best time to visit Tennessee is.

The best time to visit Tennessee is from June through August. There are more festivals and outdoor activities to enjoy, like Bluegrass Nights and the Tennessee State Fair. However, October has the best weather when the average daily temperature is 67 F/ 19.5 C. But January is the best time to find flights discounted by more than half off.

Tennessee is a popular state for tourists to visit. If you want to travel to the music city of Nashville or the home of blues in Memphis, you need to book a trip to Tennessee. Today, we’re going to discuss the best time to visit this area. We will also give you a monthly breakdown so you know when you should really plan your trip.

When Not To Travel To Tennessee

There isn’t actually a bad month to plan a trip to Tennessee because this state has something to enjoy every month. However, if you want to avoid high travel costs, it’s best to avoid peak travel seasons. Occasions like Christmas, New Year, and spring break can result in higher expenses and more crowds.

If you’re planning outdoor activities, you should avoid the month of May. Tennessee gets the most rain during this month. On average, the state will get 5 inches of rain every year in May.

When Is The Cheapest Time To Visit Tennessee?

It’s no secret that traveling to Tennessee can get costly. If you’re looking to save money on your traveling, then you should always book your trip in advance to find the best discounts. You should also book your trip in the off-season to find more savings. Rates drop in November and remain lower until March.

The absolute cheapest month of the year to book your trip to Tennessee is in January. On average, a round-trip to Tennessee during the high season can be between $1,600 and $2,200, if not more. In January, round-trip flights can be booked for as low as $253. 

During the high season, finding a nice hotel to stay at for under $100 per night can be difficult. However, if you book a trip in the off-season, it’s possible to arrange a room for less than $75 per night. Keep in mind that hotel rates will always be determined by what events and festivals are running.

Best Time To Visit Tennessee: Monthly Breakdown

January: Best Month To Avoid Crowds

Traveling is fun, but dealing with long lines and crowds isn’t. January is one of the best months to visit Tennessee without having to put up with a lot of other tourists. You can visit all of the anticipated attractions, without having to wait. 

The weather in January is relatively mild, with the average daily temperature being around 48 F/ 9 C. It’s very rare for the temperature to drop below freezing. However, it is a wet month, so you may prefer to spend more time indoors. You can enjoy some of the famous restaurants, catch live music, or shop the winter sales. 

  • Nashville Auto Fest
  • First Saturday Art Crawl
  • Music at the City Winery

Related Read: 40 BEST Places To Visit In Tennessee

February: Best Month To Enjoy Indoor Attractions

Tennessee has a variety of indoor attractions. If you want to find a great way to spend a chilly February day, you should check out some of Tennessee’s top indoor attractions. If you’re traveling with kids, places like Island Mirror Maze and the Escape Game Nashville offer loads of excitement.

If it’s just adults traveling, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to check out some of the top date spots in this state. Check out what local restaurants are available in the city you’re visiting. Real Tennessee food, wine, and live music are a great way to spend a date night. 

  • Nashville Wine Auction Pairings 
  • Valentine’s Day date
  • Spend the day at Fort Fun

March: The Month Of Music

Nashville, Memphis, and other areas of Tennessee are known for their music culture. March is one of the best months to celebrate music in Tennessee because of Tin Pan South. This is the largest music festival that’s dedicated to celebrating songwriters. It’s also followed by some great food events.

If you’re looking for a relaxing March getaway, Gatlinburg is a beautiful spot to visit. Most days in March are around 67 F/ 19 C. It’s usually sunny and wildflowers have started blooming along the trails. 

  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Hike along the Cades Cove Loop
  • Dollywood’s opening day

April: Best Month In Spring To Visit

There are a lot of events that take place in April throughout Tennessee, making it one of the top months in spring to make a visit. Nashville has a lot going on in April, with the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, Nashville Comedy Festival, and Nashville Fashion Week. It’s not just one particular week in April that’s fun, as all four weeks have many events taking place. 

The weather is gorgeous in April making it a perfect time to explore one of Tennessee’s smaller towns. Most days in April range from 67 to 75 F/ 19 to 24 C. This is the perfect weather to take a hike along the trails and get pictures of wildflowers or visit the Great Smokey Mountains.

  • CMT Awards
  • Rites of Spring
  • Sightseeing at Great Smokey Mountains National Park

May: Best Month To Try Tennessee’s Signature Foods

May is the month to celebrate food across the state of Tennessee. Not only are there several events focused on Tennesee’s food culture, but this is also when most restaurants in the state open their outdoor seating. In the city of Nashville, you can enjoy Street Food Month. Gatlinburg hosts a Beans and Cornbread Festival and Barbecue and Bluegrass at Dollywood. 

While it rains more in May, there are plenty of beautiful days in between that are perfect for spending the day outdoors. Most days have an average temperature of 75 to 82 F/ 24 to 29 C. This is the first month of the year when the weather is just right for swimming and camping. 

  • Wilderness Wildlife Week 
  • Full Moon Picking Party
  • Sevier Park Fest

June: Best Month For Live Music 

Music is a big part of Tennessee’s culture. This state has so many talented music artists within it, and many artists also travel here to get their big break. If you want to travel to Tennessee to listen to live music, June is one of the best months to visit. Some of the music events in June include CMA Fest and Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. 

June is also Pride Month. Nashville host a big Pride Festival every year. This festival features a parade, live entertainment, and vendors. People from all over the country come to support this event while enjoying the festivities.

  • Porter Flea Summer Market
  • Make Music Nashville
  • Visit Cherokee Lake Beach 

 July: Best Month For Small Towns

Places like Nashville and Memphis can get very crowded in July. School’s out and festivals are on, so more people flock to the cities. If crowds aren’t your cup of tea, then you may prefer traveling away from the city and to one of Tennessee’s smaller towns in July. Most days in July are around 89 F/ 31.5 C. 

There are several campsites across the state that are a lot of fun in the summertime. Edgar Evins State Park Campground in Silver Point and Foster Falls Campground in Sequatchie are two popular choices. It’s a great time of year to explore the wonders of nature throughout the state, like mountains or waterfalls.

  • Music City’s Brewer Festival
  • 4th of July events
  • Make s’mores by a campfire

Related Read: 60 BEST Things To Do Memphis, TN

August: Fun In The City

With so many fun events in August, you’ll definitely want to be in or near Nashville. The Full Moon Picking Party is still in high gear. There is also this really cool event called Tomato Art Fest where people come together to celebrate one of the most diverse fruits. This event has unique artwork, live entertainment, delicious food, and a parade. 

Another event to look forward to in August is the Tennessee State Fair, Wilson County Fair. This annual fair features several rides, contests, and exhibitions. Some of the events you can look forward to at the fair are the amateur wine show, dog show, cat competition, and corn hole tournament. There are also stages for live entertainment. 

  • Defy Film Festival 
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • Tomato Art Fest

Related Read: 42 Things to Do in Nashville

September: Best Time Of Year To Visit The Great Smokey Mountains

September is a beautiful month to get out and explore Tennessee. Most days are around 78 F/ 25.5 C with very few rainy days. This sets the perfect conditions for spending days outside. One of the best outdoor attractions in the state of Tennessee is the Great Smokey Mountains. 

The Great Smokey Mountains are near Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Townsend, and Sevierville. Visitors can plan a day trip to the mountains or book a stay in the cabins on site. There is a lot to do in the Great Smokey Mountains, including biking, horseback riding, hiking, and fishing.

  • ACM Awards
  • Nature hikes
  • The Fall Rod Run

October: Autumn Attractions in Tennessee

October is one of the most fun times to visit Tennessee because there are a lot of events and attractions. The state is getting ready for the Halloween season, so you can enjoy spending your day apple picking or touring corn mazes. You can also enjoy some beer and sausages at Octoberfest in Nashville. 

If you’re in Nashville, you will get to see a lot of amazing art in October. The locals refer to this month as Artober in the city. It’s not just art that’s big in October. Events like the Nashville International Auto Show and Southern Festival of Books are also during this month.

  • Tennessee Craft Week and Fair
  • Artober 
  • Halloween events

November: Kick Off The Festivities 

Who said you had to wait until December to enjoy festivities? Throughout Tennessee, many holiday-themed events start in November, giving visitors an early dose of the holiday spirit. Holiday Harmony starts in November and there are holiday lights around the state.

November is also a great month for sports fans to visit Tennessee as well. Football fans might be able to catch a Tennessee Titans game at the Nissan Stadium, while basketball fans can catch a Memphis Grizzlies game at Bridgestone Arena. Hockey fans might also be able to catch a Nashville Predators game at the FedEx Forum.

  • Thanksgiving in Tennessee
  • Cheer on Tennessee sports teams
  • Black Friday shopping

Related Read: 35 Camping Spots in Tennessee

December: Holiday Season in Tennessee

Tennessee is beautiful to visit throughout December because several cities across the state have decorations and activities set up for the holidays. This is a very warm and welcoming state to visit around the Christmas season.  

Gatlinburg hosts the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in December which brings holiday magic across the town. Nashville has fun events like Deck the Halls at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Gaylord Opryland’s A Country Christmas. There’s also Christmas at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. 

  • Christmas shows and concerts
  • Drink hot chocolate and look at the Christmas lights
  • Porter Flea Holiday Market

When Is The Best Time To Bring Kids To Tennessee?

The best time to plan a family-friendly vacation to Tennessee is in the spring months, from March through May. This time of year is good for traveling because the weather is mild and not too hot. You can enjoy a lot of outdoor attractions and remain comfortable. 

Spring is also a good time for families to travel because the off-season rates are still in effect. You won’t have to spend as much money on flights and accommodation. You may even be able to find a cheaper rate on rental vehicles. It’s also a great time to visit because the state isn’t as crowded. 

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