After our stop in Memphis, Nashville was next on the itinerary. Actually, we had planned on visiting Nashville after Great Smoky Mountain National Park. When we tried to make reservations at any of the campgrounds on our list for Nashville, they were completely booked. Turns out there was a big country music event going on in the area that weekend, and everything was full. We had to make a quick route change. That is our first tip for visiting Nashville–check the calendar! 😉 If visiting the city during a big festival is your cup of tea, make your reservations early. If, like us, you’d rather avoid the crowds, be flexible. Nashville was still busy while we were there, but I cannot even imagine how much worse it would have been during the festival.
We made reservations for the Grand Ole RV Resort in Goodlettsville. It was bout 20 minutes from Nashville, which worked out well for us. The Grand Ole RV Resort boasts 106 full hookup campsites. We requested a spot back in the trees along the creek, and we were given site #82. Our 30 amp site with full hookups cost us $39.50 + tax per night. The sites aren’t exactly spacious, but they weren’t as tight as some of the others we’ve camped in. We did have room to spread out our chairs and camp kitchen, but this really didn’t feel much like real camping. 😆
This park definitely caters to bigger RVs. We found ourselves in a sea of big rigs, and there weren’t any of the camping amenities that you’d usually find in a campground or KOA. We didn’t have a fire ring, grill, or even a picnic table to eat at. The park was very family friendly, though, and we saw quite a few kids riding their bikes to the playground in the evenings. During our stay, there was live music and dinner every night at the resort’s market, and there were plenty of guests that grabbed their evening meals there.
The park did have a nice bathhouse facility. There were clean bathrooms and showers open 24 hours. There was also a small market and laundry facility on the property, however, both close around 7pm, as I recall. We had tried to wash our laundry after a day of sightseeing and found the building locked. Even though we felt a little overwhelmed by all the bigger RVs, everyone at the park was extremely nice. The staff was great, the guests were all really friendly, the grounds were well maintained, and the price was perfect.
THINGS TO DO IN NASHVILLE
We only spent one full day in Nashville. We aren’t really country music fans, so we weren’t sure what we wanted to see while in town. We didn’t have any “must see” attractions on the itinerary, but we knew we wanted to see as much as possible. A fellow RV park resident suggested we use the trolley system. We have used trolley tours before, and it is a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. This turned out to be a great idea for our family, as we didn’t have to worry about navigating an unfamiliar city or finding parking.
The trolley stops all over the city, and you can pick and choose the attractions you want to see. We started out at the Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman Auditorium is is a historic building and the original home of the Grand Ole Opry show. Over the years, and with the construction of a new Grand Ole Opry building, it has housed other events and concerts and even sat vacant and neglected for some time. We purchased the self-guided tour tickets, which included a short film. After the movie, we were free to explore the building and exhibits. My older kids really enjoyed the tour, and even though we aren’t really country music fans, we found the place and its history fascinating.
From the Ryman, we hopped back on the trolley and headed to the one attraction we knew something about… The Nashville Parthenon. Along the way, we got a great view of the city and were treated by our trolley driver to a brief history of Nashville. We even discovered there was an American Pickers store in the Marathon Motor Works building in the city. Justin really wanted to visit, as he is a big fan. The lines to get back on the trolley were insanely long, though so we opted to stay on the trolley and head for the Centennial Park.
And it did not disappoint. It was surprisingly affordable, too. Adults were $6.50 and children $4.50. The museum was well done and totally worth the price of admission. The Parthenon was built in 1897 for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition. If you are a fan of the Percy Jackson book series (and my kids were), you’ll already know all about it, but that Athena statue was awe inspiring.
Next up was Nashville’s The Gulch neighborhood. We had originally intended to go snap some photos with the What Lifts You Wings mural, but the line was seriously long, and we were starving. Just around the corner we found plenty of spots to grab food. Yelp suggested Biscuit Love, and it was delicious. Like really delicious. It was also very busy. Finding a table proved pretty difficult, but it was so worth it. The Gulch was really cool, too, and I feel like we could have spent so much more time there. If you have more than one day in the city, you should definitely explore all the mural art in the area. They make for some great Instagram photos.
Even though Nashville is famous for it, we didn’t visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. I felt like it would have been wasted on us, as we aren’t familiar with many country artists. We did visit the Musicians Hall of Fame, though. It was slightly less expensive, and I felt like the exhibits would appeal to my family a little more. There were parts of it that they really liked–like forming their own band and playing instruments together–but many of the exhibits were of musicians they’d never heard of. Much like the Ryman, if you have younger kids, they may not find it fun. We loved it, though.
To cap off our visit to Nashville, we took a tour of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. Now, I am not a fan of Andrew Jackson, but this place is incredible. The property stayed in the family for years until the historical society took it over. We were really impressed with how everything is so well preserved. We viewed a short film about Andrew Jackson, and then we took a self guided audio tour around the property.
Behind the mansion, we were able to see the plantation property and all the outbuildings. We even took a horse-drawn wagon tour of the plantation property. We wandered the grounds with our audio players. We even saw wild turkeys and deer on our little walk. Tickets were $20 per adult and $15 per student, with an additional $11 per person for the wagon tour. We enjoyed the wagon tour, but it was definitely not essential to the experience. Just exploring the house and property and learning about the past were the best part of the tour.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR VISITING NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
- When camping near Nashville, make sure to check for any upcoming events. The city is a popular tourist destination, and it was particularly busy when we visited this summer. RV parks and campgrounds can fill quickly, so make sure you plan ahead. You may not get a site near Nashville otherwise.
- If you are short on time, consider touring the city on a hop-on, hop-off bus system like the trolley we used. You’ll hear some great history about Nashville, and you’ll get to see many of the popular tourist attractions–like Music Row–without navigating the city or looking (and paying) for parking.
- Don’t miss Centennial Park. It will be busy, but the Parthenon was one of our favorite stops. It was inexpensive, informative, and the kids loved it. Centennial Park also boasts a one mile walking trail around Lake Watauga, a sunken garden, and plenty of spots to grab a snack. It was a stop on our trolley route, so it was easy to see everything and hop back on to tour the rest of Nashville.
- If history is your thing, consider visiting Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. It was about 20 minutes outside of Nashville, but well worth the drive. The property is well preserved, and it was a great museum for the money.
- Nashville has no shortage of museums and venues. Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame, and Musicians Hall of Fame are all within a short distance of each other. The Belle Meade Plantation is also nearby. Plan to spend a few days in Nashville, because there is a lot to see and do.
- Eat at Biscuit Love in The Gulch. It’s amazing. End of story. 🙂
This was a fun city to visit. There is really something for everyone here–even for those of us that are clueless about country music. We had a really great time, and Tennessee really surprised us. We didn’t expect to love it all so much. Thanks for having us, Nashville. You were awesome!
New to The Pop Up Princess? Would you like to catch up on our road trip adventures from the past five years? You can find those links here: