Tennessee

8 Best Resorts in Tennessee for Every Traveler

by Holly Riddle
Updated January 13, 2022

best resorts in tennessee
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa

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While many travelers come to Tennessee to see the ever-popular Smokies, there are so many more ways to explore and experience the state.

Beyond the Smoky Mountains — and by the way, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the country, welcoming 12.1 million visitors per year, nearly quadruple the number of people who visit the second-most popular park (Yellowstone) — Tennessee has other family-friendly destinations packed with fun, such as Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg.

For those who like urban destinations and lots of live music, dining and drinking, check out Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville. And from one end of the state to the other, there are loads of other, smaller destinations just waiting to be discovered — and so many of them are home to great resorts offering you all of the amenities and activities you crave.

If you’re ready to stay at an amazing resort on your next trip to Tennessee, here’s where to stay.

Related Read: 8 Dreamlike Treehouses in Tennessee

Best Resort Experience

1. Gaylord Opryland Resort

Gaylord Opryland Resort Tennessee
Photo: Expedia

Why you should stay here: A non-stop fun experience just outside the Music City.

  • Location: Nashville
  • Class: 4 Star
  • Recent recognition: USA Today’s 10 Best Family Resorts 2016
  • Rates from: $244/night

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center sits right outside of Nashville. This huge property is like a little town in of itself, with everything you could need right at your fingertips — and you’ll quickly see why many folks stop by the resort for some fun, even if they’re not actually staying there.

You’ve got nine acres of garden atriums, a wide swathe of dining options, a spa and, possibly the coolest feature, SoundWaves. This four-acre indoor-outdoor waterpark includes waterslides, surfing simulators, lazy rivers, rapid rivers and an adults-only pool.

The resort really comes alive around Christmas, though, when the entire property is decked out in its holiday finery. Plus, each year, the property produces a magical, family-friendly Christmas experience themed around a favorite holiday film, such as A Christmas Story or Elf.

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Best Family Resort

2. The Resort at Governor’s Crossing

Resort at Governor’s Crossing Tennessee
Photo: Expedia

Why you should stay here: Cabin themed, family-orientated resort near the Smokies & Dollywood.

  • Location: Sevierville
  • Class: 3.5 Star
  • Recent recognition: Traveler’s Choice Top 25 Hotels for Families 2020
  • Rates from: $80/night

The Resort at Governor’s Crossing provides a cabin-like experience in a resort setting, making it ideal for families who need a bit of space to spread out, and who don’t necessarily want to cram everyone all together into a hotel room — or two, or three — which can get pricey.

The resort offers condominium-style accommodations near the Smoky Mountains, as well as Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. You’re only a short drive from tons of family fun, such as a visit to Dollywood, the national park or all the fun in downtown Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg — think museums, mini golf, go-karting and more.

If you choose to stay on the property, though, you’ll find indoor and outdoor water parks, five pools, a sauna and a lazy river — perfect for a dip no matter the season. There’s also plenty of outdoor green space for the kids, including a playground, mini golf, fire pits, outdoor movie area and picnic areas.

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Best Outdoorsy Resort

3. Big Cypress Lodge

Big Cypress Lodge Resort Tennessee
Photo: Expedia

Why you should stay here: A luxuriously rustic property on the banks of the Mississippi River.

  • Location: Memphis
  • Class: 4.5 Star
  • Recent recognition: Condé Nast Traveler 2019 Readers’ Choice
  • Rates from: $210/night

The Bass Pro Shops Pyramid is one of the stand-out features of the Memphis skyline, but did you know there’s an entire resort inside the pyramid? If you want to stay in Memphis and enjoy all of the big-city amenities, but you also want a bit of an outdoorsy vibe, book a stay in the pyramid’s Big Cypress Lodge.

Designed by the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, the lodge is exactly what you’d expect from the brand. There’s thoroughly an outdoorsy vibe, with lots of exposed wood and lodge-like details that you’d expect from a cabin rental in Montana or somewhere similar, not Memphis.

When you’re done ogling the cool look of the place, you can take advantage of all the on-site dining, the spa and the many resort activities, such as shopping or testing your aim at the shooting range.

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Best Spa Resort

4. RiverStone Resort & Spa

RiverStone Resort & Spa Tennessee
Photo: Expedia

Why you should stay here: Relax and recharge at this lux property at the Smokies.

  • Location: Pigeon Forge
  • Class: 3.5 Star
  • Recent recognition: Expedia Insiders’ Select 2014
  • Rates from: $149/night

Pigeon Forge might be more known as a family destination, but adults can find a little peace and tranquility here, too — like at the ultra-relaxing RiverStone Resort & Spa. This all-condo property offers large, spacious accommodations with amenities such as waterfront balconies and fireplaces, and, of course, it puts you close to the resort spa, where you can find a full menu of classic spa treatments.

While you could definitely spend your entire trip just taking advantage of all the ways to relax at this resort, you’ll also find a few ways to have fun, too, such as at the indoor pool, outdoor lazy river, Little Pigeon River nature trail or playground for the kids.

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Best Cabin Resort

5. Oak Haven Resort & Spa

Oak Haven Resort Gatlinburg
Photo: Oak Haven Resort

Why you should stay here: Get the best of both worlds — stay in a rustic cabin plus all the resort amenities.

  • Location: Sevierville
  • Class: 3.5 Star
  • Recent recognition: Traveler’s Choice 2021
  • Rates from: $175/night

But what if you want the cabin experience plus the resort amenities? You don’t necessarily have to give up one to get the other. Enjoy the best of both worlds when you stay at  Oak Haven Resort & Spa.

This unique property consists of a selection of cabins — ranging from one-bedroom to seven-bedroom, so there’s something for every group. Each cabin boasts its own full kitchen, hot tub and fireplace, but you also enjoy access to a wealth of amenities that you normally would never get by just booking a typical cabin rental. The resort offers a pool, lake, nature trails, fitness center, game room and a spa.

If you do decide you want to leave the property and explore, you’re just a few minutes’ drive away from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Dollywood. You truly do get to enjoy the best of it all.

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Best Dollywood Resort

6. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa

dollywood dreammore resort tennessee
Photo: Expedia

Why you should stay here: the premiere Dollywood property — with special access to the park.

  • Location: Pigeon Forge
  • Class: 4 Star
  • Recent recognition: USA Today’s #1 Amusement Park Hotel 2021
  • Rates from: $120/night

There are a lot of resorts near Dollywood, but there’s only one best resort that’s actually located on Dollywood property, and it’s Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa. This family-friendly — yet still upscale — resort puts you right near the Dollywood action, while also giving you a little space from all the theme park excitement and screaming.

Enjoy southern-style dining at the resort’s sit-down restaurant or relaxing at the spa. There’s plenty of family fun to be had at the multiple pools, playground or game room — plus kid-friendly activities at Camp DW. Staying at the resort also gets you special access to the theme park, including complimentary TimeSaver passes, complimentary door-to-door transportation, Saturday early entry and even complimentary package delivery in case you purchase something at the park and want it delivered back to your guest room.

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Best Upscale Resort

7. The Lodge at Buckberry Creek

lodge at buckberry creek tennessee
Photo: The Lodge at Buckberry Creek

Why you should stay here: Rustically fancy stay with amazing mountain views.

  • Location: Gatlinburg
  • Class: 4 Star
  • Recent recognition: AAA/CAA Four Diamond Awards 2016
  • Call for rates

If your primary concern when booking any trip is luxury, luxury, luxury, then look no further when booking your Tennessee vacay than The Lodge at Buckberry Creek. This property takes all of the elegance, exclusiveness and luxury of the historic Great Camps of the Adirondacks and transplants it amid the Great Smoky Mountains.

The lodge sits on 26 acres in the mountains, giving you a tranquil and seemingly remote setting, but you’re still within Gatlinburg city limits, giving you easy access to shopping, dining and exploring. However, you may decide you don’t want to even leave the property. The all-suite accommodations offer fireplaces, soaking tubs, kitchens and balconies. The restaurant and bar overlook the Smokies. The lodge is the ideal spot to really relax for a weekend or week.

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Most Unique

8. Wildwood Resort

wildwood resort houseboat
Photo: Wildwood Resort & Marina

Why you should stay here: Stay in the lodge, a cabin, an airstream — or even a houseboat!

  • Location: Granville
  • Class: 3.5 Star
  • Recent recognition: Traveler’s Choice 2021
  • Rates from: $151/night

Wildwood Resort & Marina is truly one of a kind in Tennessee. Unlike so many other resorts in the state, with their mountain aesthetic, Wildwood is all about the water. The property sits on Cordell Hull Lake and the accommodation options center around water views and water access.

You can choose to stay in waterfront cabins or the lakeside lodge, or even home rentals, but then there are even more unique options, like vintage Airstreams and houseboats — and who wouldn’t want to stay in a houseboat? There’s something for every budget and every group size, as well as every taste, from the most low-key to the most contemporary and sophisticated.

When you’re ready for some fun, you can rent a boat, kayak, paddle board or canoe at the marina, or enjoy the frequent live music and land activities the resort provides. Paired with the resort’s two restaurants, you never need to leave, but if you do, you’ll find breweries, wineries, golf courses and more just miles away.

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