Southeast

Romantic Getaways in Tennessee: Exploring the Cities and Scenery of the Volunteer State

Tennessee's top ten romantic getaways offer vacation ideas for couples spanning the state from Memphis to Nashville to the Great Smoky Mountains.

Tennessee is a state that loves couples. Nashville is bachelorette central, where more women come to celebrate their upcoming nuptials than go to Las Vegas. Gatlinburg, in the cloud-kissed Great Smoky Mountains, is a serious wedding destination. According to the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitor Bureau, more couples tie the knot in these mountains than in any other place in the south.

Even if your idea of a romantic holiday isn’t centered around matrimony, Tennessee is a good place to get googly-eyed.

I’m currently consciously uncoupled, or whatever phrase it is that Gwyneth Paltrow used to describe my single situation. But as I travel the state to research hotels, I eye the places for a mountain-top picnic, to watch the fireflies soar through the summer sky, and to dance under twinkling lights. I have a wish list of favorites to share with others, be they future companions and faithful readers (or both).

The four major cities—Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Memphis—in the 432-mile long state each have elements that make the heart sing. Here’s where to go for the 10 most romantic getaways in Tennessee.

Secluded College Campus Charmer

1/4

Staying in a resort surrounded by university students might not sound conducive to canoodling, but hear me out. Quaint Maryville College owns the land on which RT Lodge was built. But in the woods and surrounded by colorful 90-year-old gardens, you’re a good distance away from disc golf and classrooms.

There’s something about the way that RT Lodge is designed and laid out that allows you to feel alone in the woods with your sweetie. The inn offers three buildings, each with ample, yet cozy, rooms stocked with plaid blankets and other mountain-style goods. Each night there’s a bonfire with free s’mores supplies and space for snuggling or grab free bicycles and take a ride past the koi ponds and through the kudzu-lined paths that lead to campus and downtown Maryville.

After you’ve explored downtown Maryville by bike, you can drive to The Great Smoky Mountains: They’re just minutes away by car (use the Townsend entrance and you’ll avoid the traffic back-ups on the Gatlinburg side of the national park). Drive to the trailhead of your choice; lace up your hiking boots and hold hands with your honey with the mountain landscape all around you.

Rt Lodge

9.0 Excellent (56 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.2 / 10
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Renovated Downtown Darling

1/4

Market Square is downtown Knoxville’s gathering place, a pedestrian-friendly center with bars, restaurants, free music, and, in winter, even a skating rink. Built in 1876 as a bakery, then used as an ice cream factory and a dance hall, The Oliver Hotel is a historic, renovated landmark that holds court in the southwest corner of Market Square.

You and your loved one can whisper secrets to each other inside the dark hotel speakeasy-style bar, The Peter Kern Library. Or walk outside and take advantage of Knoxville’s best people-watching, not to mention shopping and theaters, steps from your hotel.

Hotel The Oliver

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (108 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
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Banking on a Good Time

1/4

What was once a major bank headquarters in the heart of downtown Nashville is now the Fairlane, a hotel restored to its 1970s aesthetic. The attention to detail on the design is only matched by the attention to service. Want a cup of coffee as you lounge with your sweetie in the room? No need to drink a lousy DIY K-Cup; the staff will bring you a fresh-brewed pot 24-7 at no cost. And, you’ll want to stay and lounge in the room. There are fold-down cup holders in the headboard for drinking that coffee in bed and fluffy robes for sitting and gazing out at the urban jungle in comfort.

Fairlane

Nashville, 1.4 miles to Amerigo
9.3 Excellent (288 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.4 / 10
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Room at the Inn

1/4

For years the Germantown neighborhood was condos, restored homes, and restaurants: a fun urban neighborhood but not a vacation destination. Germantown Inn changed that.

The renovated 1865 building is now a cozy yet sleek inn with genteel service, unusual city views from a rooftop deck, and some seriously luxurious bedding. The way the inn is designed affords unusual privacy. This is the place to hole up for a weekend of one-on-one time, but if you prefer downtown’s night-on-the-town action, it’s an easy walk to get there.

Germantown Inn

Nashville, 1.7 miles to Amerigo
9.1 Excellent (128 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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Spa, Space, and Scenery

1/4

If couples-time to you means massages and pampering a deux, Kimpton Aertson is the place to book a room. This midtown Nashville hotel, near the scenic Vanderbilt University campus, is connected to the Woodhouse Day Spa, where you and your sweetie can get all the knots worked out of your shoulders.

Lots of hotels have lovely city views, but thanks to small balconies off of the guest rooms, you can sit and enjoy those views alfresco. And if your idea of a romantic weekend involves bringing Fido with you, this is the place to book of room. Kimpton will have a dog bed, dog bowls, and special pet food menus if you want room service.

Kimpton Aertson Hotel

Top rated
Nashville, 0.2 miles to Amerigo
9.0 Excellent (452 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
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Artsy Retreat for Two, Coming Right Up

1/4

When The Edwin opened in 2018, it brought a new level of big-city sophistication to Chattanooga with its décor, its food, and its setting next to the Tennessee River. From the minute you walk through the glass doors of the hotel, you’ll notice the thought-provoking art that hangs in the lobby, the hallways, the restaurant, and even the elevators.

The hotel is not just a feast for the eyes. Whitebird, the hotel’s restaurant, offers an elevated Appalachian menu with an approach that is hard to find elsewhere. The food has pleased the mouths of food critics across the state. The ears have it easy, too: An in-room Alexa smart-speaker system (with privacy settings) allows you to choose whatever music will set the mood for you and your partner.

If you can tear yourselves away from the sleek Edwin interior environs you’ll appreciate that the hotel is smack in the center of Chattanooga’s outdoor action, literally steps from the riverbank where you can find music festivals, paddleboard and kayak races, and art shows throughout the year.

The Edwin , Autograph Collection

Chattanooga, 3.1 miles to Ruby Falls
9.0 Excellent (93 reviews)
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Make-Your-Friends-Jealous Photos at Every Turn

1/4

If filmmaker Wes Anderson designed a hotel, the Dwell Hotel might be it. Oft showcased by guests on Instagram, this is an aesthetic dream, with a collage of wallpapers, bedding, art, and other objects. Each room—not to mention the bar and restaurant and hallways—is designed with a completely different look, with unique wallpaper and furnishings. For example, The Europa room has city scenes on the wall while The Tiki room transports you to an island paradise.

And, as a hotel that doesn’t welcome children under the age of 12, The Dwell a great place for adults who want a child-free getaway. When you want to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail with your significant other, you can do that without someone else’s kids running through the lobby. Go downstairs to Matilda Midnight and order a drink where fresh herbs and citrus will be frozen into your ice cubes. Sip amongst more funky décor, including a grass wall, original art, and brightly colored mid-century couches.

The Dwell Hotel

Chattanooga, 2.5 miles to Ruby Falls
8.9 Excellent (599 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.2 / 10
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Historic Doesn't Mean Staid

1/4

The Read House in Chattanooga has been through some ups and downs during its 147 years. The most recent remodel pays homage to its historic roots, particularly in the lobby where a wood-paneled library and bright paint surrounding the entrance to the first-floor swimming pool. The ballroom has been remodeled in a 1920’s style and is a popular wedding venue.

But guest rooms are thoroughly modern, with luxurious bedding, robes and slippers, making for a sumptuous getaway after a day exploring Chattanooga’s famous outdoor activities like kayaking, rock-climbing, and hiking. Once showered and ready to go out, you’ll appreciate that the hotel backs up to Chestnut Street, a charming section of downtown with a wine bar, restaurants with outdoor patios, and an overall appealing place to stroll hand-in-hand.

The Read House Hotel

Chattanooga, 2.4 miles to Ruby Falls
8.2 Very good (1759 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
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Not Your Standard City Vacation

1/4

When you think about being just minutes (by foot or bike) from Memphis’s thriving business district downtown, you don’t expect the River Inn of Harbor Town. Harbor Town, a quaint planned community on the Mississippi River, feels like a New England postcard, with tree-lined streets and shops and restaurants accessible on foot.

That New England aesthetic extends to the River Inn with its fireplaces in every room, piano player in the lobby, libraries on every floor, and turndown service with wine (plus chocolate). This is a place where a couple feels like they have the world to themselves.

River Inn Of Harbor Town

Top rated
Memphis, 9.7 miles to Casablanca
9.3 Excellent (990 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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Main Memphis Holiday Destination

1/4

From the minute you step into the Hu. Hotel and learn that you check in with the barista at the coffee bar, rather than a traditional front desk, you’ll know you’re not at a typical hotel. The décor is sleek, making the lobby feel like a coffee shop/bar/modern co-working space rather than a hotel. The buzzy, midcentury-style is spot-on for the couple who wants an urban getaway.

Go up to your room and see the Big River Crossing, which lights up every hour on the hour. Then, head out to dance nearby at Paula and Raiford’s Disco, a Memphis institution, or to listen to blues on famous Beale Street.

Hu Hotel

Top rated
Memphis, 9.3 miles to Casablanca
8.7 Excellent (1034 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
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Feature image courtesy of luckyguy123 / Fotolia


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