Jonesborough, Tennessee

Tennessee's Hidden Gem Towns You Should Visit

If you're looking for laid back, authentic hospitality, these small towns fit the bill.

Tennessee's small towns aren't to be missed. With the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program, it's easy to explore towns after big city fun has been experienced. If you're looking for laid back, authentic hospitality, these towns fit the bill:

West Tennessee


Did you know there's an Eiffel Tower replica in Paris, Tennessee? Great for a photo-op, the Eiffel Tower in Memorial Park is close to two walking tracks and recreation centers. Explore downtown Paris with its antique shops and dining areas. Sip 26 different varieties of wines and stroll the grounds of Paris Winery. Kick back and watch the sunset at Paris Landing State Park.


From museums to boutiques, Collierville's historic town square is a delightful mix of charming offerings. The Main Street is on the National Register of Historic Places and welcomes thousands to its award-winning events each year. Take a photo at the picturesque gazebo and Collierville mural, celebrating its charm and history. 

Middle Tennessee


Cookeville is home to countless restaurants, downtown festivals, depot museums, antiquing and boutiquing and is a world-renowned fitcation destination. Located among outdoor escapes like Cummins Falls, Fall Creek Falls and Burgess Falls State Parks, you have endless options for a walk through nature. Dine at restaurants with Southern flair at places like CHAR, 7 Senses Food & Cheer, and Father Tom’s Pub.

Leiper's Fork

This come-as-you-are town is as laid back as you can get. If you want local art, antique shopping and homecooked meals with a side of sincere Tennessee hospitality, Leiper's Fork serves it up every time. Browse galleries like The Copper Fox, Leiper's Creek Gallery and David Arms which draw visitors from around the world. You'll love perusing the boutique shops filled with unique items at Creekside Trading and Patina Home & Garden. Take a long sip of whiskey courtesy of Leiper's Fork Distillery. Have a meal at Fox & Locke. When it's time to rest your head, Pot N' Kettle Cottages are the perfect accommodations.


Travel to Pulaski, Tennessee for murals, downtown boutique shopping and locally owned restaurants. You can also book a private tour of the world-famous Milky Way Farm which boasts more than 1,000 acres of pastures filled with deer, wild turkey, barns, trails, and vistas. The farm has one of the largest magnolia plantations of the South and tours of the Manor House are available. 

East Tennessee


"Tennessee's Oldest Town," Jonesborough is an eclectic blend of shopping and outdoor excursions while staying true to its historic roots. Appalachian culture is taken seriously, preserved in museums like the Chester Inn Museum, Washington County/Jonesborough History Museum and walking tours conducted by locals who have a passion for yesteryear. This history is also preserved through storytelling, as Jonesborough has become the Storytelling Capital of the World, hosting the acclaimed National Storytelling Festival each year.


Considered the "Peaceful Side of the Smokies," Townsend is every adventurer's dream as it's settled near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hike, bike or saddle up and ride along endless trails as you soak up the peace and quiet of the area. Travel underground in Tuckaleechee Caverns, carved over tens of thousands of years in one of the earth's oldest mountain chains.


Cast a line in Dandridge in Jefferson County which is close to two of Tennessee's largest lakes (Douglas Lake and Cherokee Lake). Take a leisurely stroll along the historic Main Street which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn the local history in the Jefferson County Courthouse, which was built in 1845 and serves as a courthouse but also houses a museum. Be sure to check out the Bush Brothers Visitors Center, across from the worldwide, Tennessee-made brand Bush Beans manufacturing facility.


Photo Credit: City of Harriman

Established in 1889 by a Methodist minister, Harriman was a town created where no sale, creation or storage of liquor would take place. Thousands flocked and the town quickly became known as "The Town that Temperance Built." Because of this rich history, Harriman is home to more than 100 homes and structures. Many feature Victorian architecture and the town was name Best Old House Neighborhoods in the U.S. by "This Old House." Take a stroll to see these homes and stop by the boutiques and antique stores downtown. For some fresh air, take a walk on one of the trails at Riverfront Park. Mark your calendar for the Tennessee Medieval Faire, an award-winning festival that transports you to a magical medieval world over three consecutive weekends in May and June (including Memorial Day).

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