Music fans will want to see as much of Tennessee as possible, starting in the Music City of Nashville before making their way to the home of soul, Memphis. The drive takes around three hours, so there’s plenty of time to explore.
But along the way, driving along I-40, there are also some unique landmarks, including music-related destinations. Detour to the small towns that run alongside the highway for an enjoyable road trip.
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Johnny Cash left his mark all over the South but retreated from the noise of Nashville on his farm in Bon Aqua. It has a general store that is now the Storytellers Museum, which features Johnny Cash memorabilia.
If you have time, spend the night at Forest Gully Farms, which has rooms designed after the hobbit homes from The Lord of the Rings. It’s about 20 minutes away in Santa Fe, Tennessee, right off the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Visit Bon Aqua on the Johnny Cash Hideaway Tour: Nashville to Storytellers Hideaway Farm with Lunch.
Grand Ole Opry legend Minnie Pearl hailed from Grinder’s Switch, which isn’t a town but rather the place where the trains switch tracks outside of Centreville.
Her act featured her flowered hat with the tags still on it. The memorial garden honors her legacy. In town, there’s also a bust of Pearl made of chicken wire.
Grinder’s Switch Winery is set in a hand-built log cabin with a vineyard and tasting room. They offer free tastings of their sweet and dry wines, including the award-winning chardonnay. They also have a location in Marathon Village in Nashville.
The main attraction in Hurricane Mills is Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. The country legend created the landmark around the mansion she previously lived in, which is now open for tours.
Also onsite is the Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum, inspired by her famous hit, along with a recreated Western town, a replica of her childhood home in Butcher Holler, a simulated coal mine, and a Native American artifact exhibit.
Visitors can also enjoy outdoor recreation like fishing, swimming, and kayaking. The ranch has campsites for RVs and tents and cabins, along with restaurants and souvenir shops.
Natchez Trace State Park
Named for the Natchez Trace Parkway that runs through the park, Natchez Trace State Park is on the western side of the Tennessee River. It spans 48,000 acres and includes miles of hiking trails as well as four lakes accessible for swimming and boating.
In nearby Camden, music fans can pay their respects at the Patsy Cline crash site memorial. It was here that she perished in a plane crash alongside fellow country artists Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Randy Hughes.
Also in this area is the Birdsong Drive-In Theater, open seasonally, and Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Museum Farm Tour, the only freshwater pearl-culturing farm operation in North America. They also have a showroom where you can purchase the state gem.
At the Casey Jones Home, the famous locomotive engineer is honored with an 8,000 square foot museum with exhibits on railroad history. Visitors can see three rail cars, an engine Jones drove, and Civil War-era train related items.
Jackson also has other quirky attractions. Rusty’s TV and Movie Car Museum has over 25 cars from countless films and television shows, including The Love Bug, General Lee, and the Mystery Machine.
The International Rockabilly Hall of Fame and Museum is inspired by Tennessee musicians with a walkway devoted to Carl Perkins’ hit “Blue Suede Shoes.”
The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center includes the Tina Turner Museum, which is located in the restored Flagg Grove School that the singer born Anna Mae Bullock attended.
The museum has a collection of her famous costumes, her high school yearbook, and exhibits on African-American life in the 1940s. It’s free to visit but guided tours charge admission.
The area also has the West Tennessee Cotton Museum, the West Tennessee Music Museum, and the Hatchie River Museum. The Mindfield and Master Barber Shop Menagerie Museum is part functioning barbershop and part museum with items like posters and records. Behind it is the Mindfield, a massive metal sculpture.