5 Great Family Vacations in Tennessee, USA, if You're on a Budget

Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel is a historic hotel in Tennesse, USA
Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel is a historic hotel in Tennesse, USA | Courtesy of Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel / Expedia
Photo of Leena Kollar
25 January 2021

Are you looking to take a family vacation in Tennessee but don’t want to spend a fortune? These options are fun, family-friendly and affordable. Whether you prefer to stay outdoors or indoors, are adventurous or laidback, these places will provide what you need to have an enjoyable trip with your family.

The Resort at Governor’s Crossing

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The Resort at Governor's Crossing
Courtesy of The Resort at Governor's Crossing / Expedia
In the outdoor aqua park, waterslides and play equipment combine with vibrant condo fronts to create a kaleidoscope of colors kids will love. That’s one of two waterparks here; the other one is a climate-controlled indoor facility with extra slides and kid-friendly paraphernalia. More adult-friendly activities include Family Cove – a park with fire pits, picnic areas and a nine-hole mini-golf course – and a games room, kitted out with arcade video games and air hockey. For a fun family day out, the Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo is a 2-minute drive away.

Black Bear Resort

Resort, Cottages
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In Hampton, Tennessee, is Black Bear Resort, which features several different options for families. The resort has 23 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits. Three of the campsites are located along the trout stream, which is a great choice if you enjoy fishing. There are cottages, cabins and a bunkhouse as well. These accommodations can sleep between three and 12 guests, allowing room for families big and small. Each lodging option features different amenities, such as full kitchens, living rooms, bunk beds, laundry and dining rooms.

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  • Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel

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    Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel
    Courtesy of Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel / Expedia

    What started as a choo choo train on the Cincinnati Southern Railroad is now a historic hotel in Chattanooga. It was the first wood-burning train to provide a non-stop service from Cincinnati to Chattanooga. After two $4 million renovations in 1973 and 1989, the hotel has expanded to include new restaurants and music venues. Each of the train car rooms in the hotel has queen-size beds, flat-screen televisions and high-speed wifi. Some of the rooms also have daybeds with trundles. In 1974, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel made it on the National Register of Historic Places.


    Eagles Ridge Resort

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    Eagles Ridge Resort
    Courtesy of Creekside, Eagles Ridge Resort / Expedia

    Offering cabins perfect for families, Eagles Ridge Resort is just minutes from downtown Pigeon Forge, about a mile (1.6km) from Pigeon Forge Parkway. Cabins range in size, from one to nine bedrooms, and feature fully equipped kitchens, stone fireplaces and high ceilings. At the resort, you get to enjoy wifi access, hot tubs and Jacuzzis, as well as game and theater rooms. Some cabins are also pet-friendly.

    About this place:

    Great Location, Countryside, Family Friendly, Relaxed, Traditional, Stylish

    Loretta Lynn's Ranch

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    shop store and post office at the loretta lynn dude ranch hurricane mills tennessee usa
    © Radharc Images / Alamy Stock Photo

    Loretta Lynn’s Ranch is located in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, and allows you to choose between tent camping and cabins. Cabin options for families include a queen-size bed, a living room, a small kitchenette and a pull-out sofa. You’ll also get sheets, towels, a small refrigerator, a microwave, a television and an enclosed shower bath. Hurricane Creek runs through the ranch, where you can kayak, canoe or go tubing. The ranch is also home to the Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum, the Native American Artifact Museum and Loretta’s Historic Home, which can be visited at an additional cost.

    About this place:

    Countryside, Cosy, Relaxed, Family Friendly, Traditional, Great Location

    Sam Murray contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on January 25, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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