A Tennessee River cruise is a great way to explore the scenic beauty, rich history, and charming towns of the American Southeast. Discover some of America's natural beauty on a Tennessee River cruise. Winding for 886 miles in a U-shape across four states, (Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi), the river's name is believed to be a derivation of the 18th-century Cherokee village, Tanasi, which was formed upon its banks. Like its sister rivers the Ohio and the Mississippi, the Tennessee River carries a rich and varied history. The Tennessee was originally navigated only by flatboats, thanks to a shallow upper course filled with short rapids. During the Civil War, the north-flowing lower section of the river was vital to Union troops who used it to invade the western Confederate region. Cruises often visit important Civil War sites such as Shiloh National Military Park. These days, the broad, blue river is a key component of one of the world's greatest irrigation and hydropower systems. It is home to an important series of locks, dams and reservoirs, whose waters typically widen to small, calm lakes just before each of the nine locks. Boats pass beneath eye-catching bridges like the bright blue John Ross Bridge in Chattanooga, TN, or the "Steamboat Bill" in Decatur, AL, where you'll also find Wheeler Wildlife Refuge and the North Alabama Birding Trail. You might also cruise through the Tennessee River Gorge, a 27-mile-long river canyon downstream from Chattanooga, flanked by richly colored woods and home to ospreys and bald eagles.
Here are some of the top destinations and attractions that you might see on a Tennessee River cruise:
Chattanooga is a vibrant city in Tennessee that is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the famous Lookout Mountain, the Tennessee Riverwalk, and the local cuisine. Other highlights of a visit to Chattanooga might include a visit to the historic Ruby Falls, a stroll through the historic Bluff View Art District, and a scenic drive along the nearby Raccoon Mountain Caverns.
Knoxville is a historic city in Tennessee that is known for its deep musical roots, including the famous Tennessee Theatre, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, and the local cuisine. Other highlights of a visit to Knoxville might include a visit to the historic Market Square, a stroll through the historic Old City neighborhood, and a hike through the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Muscle Shoals is a charming town in Alabama that is known for its historic landmarks, including the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, the FAME Studios, and the local cuisine. Other highlights of a visit to Muscle Shoals might include a stroll through the historic downtown, a visit to the nearby Helen Keller Birthplace, and a hike along the nearby trails.
Florence is a quaint town in Alabama that is known for its stunning architecture, including the famous Frank Lloyd Wright's Rosenbaum House, the W.C. Handy Home, Museum and Library, and the local cuisine. Other highlights of a visit to Florence might include a stroll through the historic downtown, a visit to the nearby University of North Alabama, and a hike along the nearby trails.
Decatur is a historic city in Alabama that is known for its stunning natural beauty, including the Point Mallard Water Park, the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, and the local cuisine. Other highlights of a visit to Decatur might include a stroll through the historic downtown, a visit to the nearby Cook's Natural Science Museum, and a hike along the nearby trails.
These are just a few of the many destinations and attractions that you might see on a Tennessee River cruise. Whether you're interested in history, culture, or natural beauty, the Tennessee River offers a diverse range of experiences and sights to explore.
Cruises on the Tennessee River are often part of longer itineraries that also sail the Mississippi or Ohio Rivers. These cruises provide terrific value for your vacation dollar, as accommodations, onboard meals and some excursions are covered in one affordable upfront price.
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