10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in Tennessee You Should Absolutely Visit

Last Updated on August 17, 2023 by Nikki Jain

The mere mention of the name Tennessee brings to mind the wilds of the New World. Even though the state has jumped feet-first into the 21st Century, it still carries its classic reputation of wilderness and freedom.

Take a glimpse into the wonderful historic world of small-town Tennessee. A trip to any of Tennessee’s most beautiful small towns is sure to captivate your imagination. Here are some of the best of Tennessee’s communities.

Best Small Towns in Tennessee

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1: Townsend

Flickr/Eoin McNamee
This small Tennessee town has been occupied by people for thousands of years. Long before settlers of European origin migrated into the area, various Native American tribes lived here. It’s little wonder that have people continued to choose this as a place to call home. The area is simply stunning! Today, the town is one of the gateways to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Besides the outdoor opportunities, the town is filled with museums and historic areas.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Townsend

Address: Townsend, TN

2: Lynchburg

If you love Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, you may know that Lynchburg is the home of this popular drink. Believe it or not, the city only has a single traffic light, and it’s located in a dry county! This picturesque historic town was founded over two hundred years ago. Visitors love the old-fashioned feel of the town and the attractions such as the distillery, the cake and candy company, and the old jail museum.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Lynchburg

Address: Lynchburg, TN

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3: Tellico Plains

Tellico Plains
Wikimedia/Brian Stansberry
At one time, this town was a Cherokee settlement called Great Tellico. This was one of the most important Native American towns of its era. After the Cherokee were forced further west in the 1830s, the Native trading crossroads in the area fell out of use. The area was settled by European immigrants, who loved the region’s fertile agricultural potential. Today, this rural small town is popular for its peaceful parks, nature areas, and museums.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Tellico Plains

Address: Tellico Plains, TN

4: Knoxville

Flickr/David Wilson
Knoxville was founded in 1786 as the first capital of Tennessee. Historically, the town’s success depended on the railroad, which initiated an economic boom in the area. Since the development of the city, it has had a long and rich history. Today’s Knoxville has several neighborhoods, each with its own distinct flavor. There are endless diversions in the city, from zoos to urban discoveries to museums.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Knoxville

Address: Knoxville, TN

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5: Gatlinburg

Flickr/faunggs photos
Get up close and personal to the Smoky Mountains! Enjoy the cabin life when you take a visit to Gatlinburg. Here, you’ll be surrounded by stunning views of the green mountainsides that sweep from the sky to the valley below. Enjoy the unique experience of the downtown area, where you’ll find everything from arts and crafts to the popular river walk. Want to get in touch with nature? Head to the beautiful small town of Gatlinburg.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Gatlinburg

Address: Gatlinburg, TN

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6: Jonesborough

Known as “Tennessee’s Oldest Town,” Jonesborough is still one of the area’s loveliest towns. The town was actually founded a good two decades before Tennessee even became a state, and its downtown retains much of its heritage and history. The historic preservation is remarkable all throughout the town! Jonesborough is popular with historical tourists for this reason. One of the coolest places in the town is the Christopher Taylor House, which was built in 1777 and still stands. Rumor has it that the ghost of President Andrew Jackson is regularly seen walking through the front door of this house. You’ll have to visit to see for yourself if the rumors are true!

Accommodation: Where to stay in Jonesborough

Address: Jonesborough, TN

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7: Bell Buckle

Bell Buckle
Flickr/Alison Groves
This town probably wins the award for the funniest name in Tennessee! Only around 500 people reside in the town, lending a wonderful classic small-town feel to the area. The town is characterized by Victorian-era homes and churches. It is a popular place to shop for antiques, quilts, and other handmade items. If you want to experience the height of Bell Buckle’s culture, visit the town during the RC Cola Festival or the Moon Pie Festival!

Accommodation: Where to stay in Bell Buckle

Address: Bell Buckle, TN

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8: Ripley

Wikimedia/Thomas R Machnitzki
This beautiful small town in Tennessee is a place full of fun! You can find plenty of Instgrammable places with great photo ops, such the colorful historic store fronts downtown. A fun water park, complete with slides and sports facilities, is a great place to spend a summer day. Walk around town to see the pretty layout of the area and get some fresh air. Don’t forget to try some Tennessee barbeque while you’re there!

Accommodation: Where to stay in Ripley

Address: Ripley, TN

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9: Rogersville

Beautiful Rogersville was originally settled in 1775 by the grandparents of the famed Davey Crockett. Although it has an epic and somewhat violent history of struggle between Natives and European settlers, the town today is one of the most peaceful and lovely places you’ll ever come across. The town is very traditional, with a strong Baptist influence and regular heritage celebrations. It looks exactly like you might expect, with tree-lined drives and genteel-looking brick buildings. The best time to visit Rogersville is during the 4th of July, when the town holds a huge Independence Day celebration.

Accommodation: Where to stay in Rogersville

Address: Rogersville, TN

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10: Greeneville

Greeneville is named for the Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene. As you might expect, the community has roots that go even further back than its namesake. Greeneville was likely the junction of two important Native highways, which is probably why the area gained such significance early on. The town was first recognized in 1786, although it existed as a European settlement much earlier. Many buildings from this area still remain. Two of the most famous are the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park. If you visit, be sure to explore the rich history of this beautiful little town!

Accommodation: Where to stay in Greeneville

Address: Greeneville, TN

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