Written by: Dayvee Sutton
Chattanooga, Tennessee is often overlooked as a tourist destination because of the glitz, glam and allure of Nashville and Memphis. But, it’s just less than a 2-hour drive from Atlanta, Georgia, and there’s a whole lot of adventure that can be packed into a weekend. It’s perfect for planning a family-friendly adventure trip, so we packed up four boys, age 8 and under, and headed for a road trip.
We arrived on a Friday night so that we could hit the ground running first thing on Saturday. Thanks to Spring Hill Suites by Marriott Chattanooga Downtown/Cameron for the stay.
The hotel is updated, clean and bright. It is also perfectly family-friendly. We knew that separating the boys would be an impossible mission, so we created one big slumber party. The best part was that breakfast was included. So, it made for an easy transition to feed everyone, then head out for our day of adventure.
This is one of the south’s most popular attractions as it has some of the most unique geological attractions. The trail takes you through more than 4000 feet of massive ancient rock formations, peppered with art, statues and other exhibits along the way, including a 140-foot waterfall, that was colored green as we went near St. Patrick’s Day. My favorite were the skinny crevices that were pretty simple for the kids to navigate, but more challenging for adults - not because we were overweight, but because we had to walk through bent over so our heads didn’t get stuck.
This adventure neighbors Rock City. Ruby Falls is home to America's deepest underground waterfall (that is open to the public). The underground cave system takes you 1,120 feet beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain, with the trail ending at the base of the waterfall. Caution, there is only one way in and out. So during the busy times, you'll have to move over for outgoing tour groups. (That could be a bit much for kids who are too little.) The tour to Ruby Falls lasts on average 1 hour and 15 minutes. The Ruby Falls tour is approximately 4/5 of a mile. The Ruby Falls tour is on a paved pathway with only a couple of gradual slopes.
The aquarium was on our list, but it had already been a jammed-packed day; and the littlest guy in our crew (3 years-old) had enough! (Signaled by his fussy behavior.) But, we hoped to round out our trip by showing the boys the new Alligator Bayou, and getting up close with sharks, electric eels and more.
But that means we just have to swoop back for another road trip soon!
Published: May 2017