Guest Blogger: Trip 101, Neil Kleise
Welcome to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the must-visit haven for outdoor adventure in Tennessee that is Chattanooga. In terms of open air recreation, there are few cities that can compare to the portfolio Chattanooga offers, with the diversity of hiking, bird watching, sightseeing, and pathfinding you can easily make your own. In this sector of southeastern Tennessee, it seems there’s another rustic adventure around every corner.
The great Tennessee outdoors prove a wonderful site for your next family reunion or gathering. Make awe-inspiring Tennessee your backdrop for memories old and new, as you reunite with those closest to you. Stay tuned for six terrific local venues for your next family reunion, to provide the entire family with memories they’ll never forget.
1. Rock City
There’s no clearer family reunion solution in Chattanooga than Rock City, the epic attraction known for its historic rock formations, dated natural structures, and unsurpassed panoramic majesty, together with onsite gardens that boast more than 400 individual plant species. Take the scenic route up a leisurely path, where life slows to a pace comfortable for your enjoyment.
On top of Lookout Mountain, Rock City has developed into a full-blown experience. Bring the journey home with you, by visiting one of the regional gift shops. Dine in at the Big Rock Grill, an acclaimed eatery that regularly serves winning meals to famished visitors. After visiting Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village, you and your family will agree that there’s just no place like Lookout Mountain’s Rock City.
2. Incline Railway
Let the railway do the work, while you relax and enjoy your automated summit to Lookout Mountain! Known as “America’s Most Amazing Mile,” the Incline Railway takes visitors and locals alike to the top of the aforementioned mountain, at a steep 72.7% grade. Along the way, you and your family will be afforded uninterrupted, widespread views of the surrounding region, together with all of the topography that characterizes Chattanooga as unique in nature.
Discover life above the treetops, with an affordable, effortless journey upwards! You’ll start your journey at the station in St. Elmo, where retail and restaurant options alone will capture your attention. From there, you’ll make the trip up to the summit of Lookout Mountain, the site of Civil War battles, Point Park, and more! Your trek to the mountain’s apex is the perfect setting for some family reunion fun.
3. Clumpies Ice Cream
We understand if you’re in need of a break after exploring all that Rock City and the Incline has to offer. That’s why Clumpies Ice Cream has four locations across the city; no matter where you and the family end up, there’s a Clumpies nearby! Originally founded in Chattanooga, it’s a homegrown favorite that leaves you easily satisfied.
Since its birth in 1999 in Chattanooga, Clumpies Ice Cream has served homemade favorites to delighted locals and visitors alike. In addition to its staple flavors, available year-round, Clumpies also allows guests to sample its newest flavors, as well as their limited-time options! With a constantly rotating flavor selection that includes options like Chocolate Chocolate Chunk, Pralines and Cream, Raspberry Sorbet, and Sweet Cream, it’s the solution to beat the heat every time. Prepare your taste buds for the experience of a lifetime.
4. St. Elmo
There’s so much to see and to explore in St. Elmo, before you ever venture upwards to Lookout Mountain! This historic district is no stranger to the U.S. national Register of Historic Places: hundreds of estates were placed onto the register in 1982, earning St. Elmo the title of “Local Historic District” in 1996. The city is at the junction of two once-distinct Native American trails. Steeped in history and vibrant culture, this district offers the history-lover a full immersion into life gone by.
With a history that spans the times of Chief Dragging Canoe to a community rejuvenation plan in 2001, the dated past is evident around every corner. To explore this region, you need only to walk the streets, where appreciation for dated buildings and protected monuments will come easily. From schoolhouses to railway structures, the town has been preserved for your exploration, enjoyment, and appreciation.
5. Lula Lake
For some wide-open local recreation, take advantage of Lula Lake in Chattanooga. Whether you’re planning a social event onsite, or you simply want to spend some quality time with the loved ones, this family-friendly outdoor space is the solution to your next reunion. The protected land is nevertheless opened to the public during the first and the last weekend of each month, from May through the conclusion of November.
Preserved and revitalized by a dedicated Lula Lake Land Trust, an organization also successful in preserving over 8,000 acres of Lookout Mountain space, the lake itself remains available for your every recreational need. Whether you’re an avid biker, a dedicated hiker, or simply a lover of the birds, venture through the open gate at the front of the park during its open hours, to take advantage of some well-maintained wilderness.
6. RiverView Inn
If you’re hosting a family reunion, you’re going to need a place to stay, and there’s no accommodation in Chattanooga more hospitable than the RiverView Inn. With rooms that overlook the local Tennessee River, the RiverView Inn has, since its update, made a habit of satisfying guests, with affordability and comfort alike.
With a wonderful proximity to Ruby Falls, Rock City, the Incline Railway, and more, the RiverView Inn promises to be a hit with family members of all ages. Better yet, it’s a bed and breakfast feel, meaning that you can begin your day the right way each and every morning, with a help-yourself breakfast. From their luxurious Tennessee River and Sky View rooms, to the Hillside and Mountain Songbird suites, there’s a room on the premises to match both individual preferences and travel budgets.
History and Spectacle Alike in Chattanooga
The home of Lookout Mountain is more than capable of transforming any family reunion into an unforgettable endeavor. Reach the peak of Lookout Mountain, and let the adventures begin. Make the acquaintance of the natural history waiting at St. Elmo. Take your sweet time reaching the mountain’s summit on the Incline Railway – and definitely see Rock City! Rarely does the complete solution for the unforgettable family reunion exist in a single location, making this Tennessee region the glorious exception. For more destination guides and accommodation reviews, hotels and vacation rentals, check out Trip101.