Did you know Chattanooga was named one of the "Top 45 Places to Go" in the World by the New York Times? After just one visit, I gotta say, I totally agree! With so much to do outdoors, and loads of attractions, live events, and awesome venues - it has quickly become one of our favorite cities.
Officially nicknamed the "Scenic City," Chattanooga is the fourth largest city in Tennessee and a transit hub served by multiple railroads and highways. Just 118 miles northwest of Atlanta, 112 miles southwest of Knoxville, and 134 miles south east of Nashville, the Chattanooga metropolitan area is anchor, surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains and Cumberland Plateau.
In Chattanooga, there are a lot of caves and when we went, one that we toured is The Lost Sea, which is a bit of a misnomer as it's really a freshwater lake. We hiked down and took the boat tour where we learned a lot of really fun facts - like that it's the largest underground body of water in America, and is filled with blind fish. Turns out, the rainbow trout (who weren't initially blind) were put down there as an experiment to determine if there was a natural way out - but since they kept getting fed and couldn’t see in the dark, they have evolved now to not see in the first place! Man, Nature’s Neat!
Another fun thing we got to do while visiting the Lost Sea in Sweetwater, Tennessee was go mining for gold! I collect rocks and gems from places we go, so I was so happy when Mama said I could! The whole place looked like an old western town and I loved every minute of it.
We also visited Ruby Falls and the history of the site is crazy! Ruby Falls was discovered by Leo Lambert in 1929. To actually get to the Falls, he had to crawl through a tunnel that was found while excavating for an elevator shaft. The tunnel was only 18 inches high and just to get to the waterfall (which they were not sure was there) took him 8.5 hours. Upon discovering it, Leo named the waterfall after his wife, Ruby. It's become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Chattanooga, and the way they light up the cavern is so cool! For those Paranormal freaks out there (such as myself) Ruby Falls is said to be haunted - and the site is even doing a ghost tour on select Thursday and Saturdays in October. This tour is not recommended for children under the age of 12. Tickets can be purchased here for $32.95 per person.
Both of the caves looked just like scenes from the Goonies, and we learned that you could even rent one out for a sleepover! Mama said it would make for the COOLEST Goonies themed birthday ever, which, of course, I'm totally down for! Goonies never say die!
Another thing that we always love to do when we travel is try all of the local cuisine. Mama learned that Chattanooga is known for it's "Meat n' Three" meals, so she scoured Open Table for the perfect place to get them and eventually settled on Puckett's for lunch. The service and food there was really, really good - we each ordered our own “Meat n’ Three” platter, and none of us came close to finishing - we probably could have shared one and still had some leftover! We were so full that we didn’t even eat dinner!
Other things that you can do in Chattanooga include Lula Lake Land trust, Prentice Cooper State Park, Chattanooga Ghost Tours Inc., Chickamauga State Creek, Fairyland Caverns (just for the heck of it) and Snoopers Rock! They all are really cool and are totally worth it!
Suggested Minimum Length of Stay: Two Nights