The Tennessee Department of Tourism Development (615/741-2158, www.tnvacation.com) is a source of visitor information about Tennessee. They publish an annual guide that contains hotel and attraction listings. The website has lots of links to local attractions and chambers of commerce.
Many cities have their own tourist organizations: Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Clarksville are among the Tennessee cities with a visitors bureau. In some rural areas, counties have teamed up to develop visitor information for the region. Other organizations, such as the National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Tennessee State Parks, publish visitor information for certain attractions. Specific listings for visitor information are found throughout this guide.
Several regional tourism organizations provide useful information and publications.
Middle Tennessee has the Middle Tennessee Tourism Council (www.middletennesseetourism.com), which covers the counties around Nashville; the Upper Cumberland Tourism Association (www.uppercumberland.org), which promotes the region surrounding the Cumberland River and the northern plateau; and the South Central Tennessee Tourism Association (www.sctta.net).
East Tennessee has several regional organizations. In southeast Tennessee, contact the Tennessee Overhill Heritage Association (www.tennesseeoverhill.com) or the Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association (www.southeasttennessee.com). Northeast Tennessee is represented by the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association (www.netta.com). The area surrounding Knoxville and including the Smoky Mountains is served by the Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council (www.vacationeasttennessee.org).
If all else fails, contact the chamber of commerce for the county you will be visiting. Chambers of commerce will willingly mail you a sheaf of brochures and any visitor information that may exist. If you are already in town, stop by in person. You are sure to find someone who will be glad to help you.
Rand McNally publishes the best maps of Tennessee. In addition to the statewide map, Rand McNally publishes maps of Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Clarksville, Murfreesboro-Smyrna, and Gatlinburg–Pigeon Forge. You can buy Rand McNally maps from bookstores and through online sales outlets like Amazon.com. Rand McNally also sells downloadable PDF maps that you can view on your computer or print out.
For trail maps or topographical maps of parks and other natural areas, look for National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated series.
The State Department of Transportation updates its official transportation map annually. Request a free copy at www.tdot.state.tn.us, or by calling 615/741-2508. The official map is also available from many Tennessee welcome centers, chambers of commerce, and other tourism-related offices.
The State also creates maps of dozens of Tennessee cities and towns. All these maps are available for free download from the Department of Transportation website.
Hubbard Scientific (www.amep.com) produces beautiful raised-relief maps of Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and other regions of the state. Found on display in some visitors centers, these maps make great wall art. They are also useful reference, especially for the eastern parts of Tennessee where the landscape is mountainous.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition