Trekking Through Tennessee-Road Tripping For Your Next Travel Getaway

With Spring Break and summer right around the corner, now is the best time to begin thinking about a road trip with loved ones or friends to the Volunteer State, Tennessee.


Photo by Piper Pinnetti

Throughout Nashville, you can spot teens and young adults posing for Instagram worthy photos. The city is filled with hidden gems such as the wall above, others on the sides of buildings and some shopping places feature these colorful and vibrant backdrops to get more visitors in their doors.

Piper Pinnetti, Bullseye Editor-in-Chief

The sun rays shining down tanning everyone on the beach. Cooling off in the refreshing ocean, and sharing laughs with family and friends always sounds like the ideal getaway from the prairies of Kansas.

One 11 hour road trip across a few states can land you in the Volunteer State of Tennessee where party buses blast music as they pass, boutiques after one another, legendary burgers and great photo opportunities at every turn.

All of these things fall in line with the definition of the perfect vacation for teenagers.

From orangutans, zebras, and giraffes, the Memphis Zoo cares for a wide variety of different animals. The non-profit organization cares for their animals with veterinarians and zookeepers and runs on the support of customers and donations. When first walking in, customers can see a large souvenir shop filled with clothes, stuffed animals, and even glass figurines.

After spending hours at the zoo, I can say that I made friends with a friendly elephant, Daisy, and played hide and seek with an adorable owl. The birds flew back and forth and hopped around to follow people, a baby octopus even used manners and waved goodbye to us as we left the marine animal exhibits. 

The animals were curious and comfortable around people and appeared to get along with one another by playing tons of games, taking their naps, and moving around their exhibit.

The Memphis Zoo has plenty of sea lions that swim along the glass with visitors and play together in the water. They have rings to catch and are able to gather on land in their large and popular exhibit. The entire complex features an Egyptian theme that features symbols, statues and turtles scattered throughout the entire zoo. Photo by Piper Pinnetti

Within minutes of the Memphis Zoo are also numerous shopping venues to buy tomorrow’s outfit or a cute addition to one you already have. In a beautiful area called Germantown, there was Lululemon, Academy Sports, Walmart, Rolex, and other stores for the whole family to each pick a store they like.

After walking around Kendra Scott, I chose a shiny pink necklace I had been wanting for weeks. The staff was friendly and even filled me in on great deals. The necklace was roughly $50, and because March is my birthday month, the nice cashier gave me a discount and I was able to buy a special bracelet for cheap as well. Both jewelry items added to be $50 after a discount for my birthday.

The next adventure was the Brooks Art Museum. The art exhibits included Renaissance pieces, African art, and even some voices from the people of Memphis. Although about half of the building was closed off due to COVID-19 precautions. It still was about an hour to two hours of the day and there was plenty of aesthetically pleasing art to take in.

Minimalistic paintings, detailed portraits and landscape paintings, sculptures, and even cool seats to take breaks. When walking in, the right side hallways will lead guests to photographs of the Black Lives Matter movements that have occurred in the city.  A father and daughter even paired together to create elaborate, single line drawings.

The staff was friendly, and even described the events in the city and history behind each exhibit. All of the art experience is free on Wednesday, and a lunch at Huey’s is a perfect follow-up where you can get a nice filling Memphis cheeseburger or even grab a t-shirt while you’re catching your favorite game.

A few hours away is a much more safe vacation destination than downtown Memphis and has the busy city scene similar to Boston and New York City. Nashville, most popular for being the soul of country music, holds plenty of shopping stores, party buses, music themed restaurants such as Luke Bryan’s 32 Bridge and Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk Rock ‘N’ Roll Steakhouse.

Across the street is Hard Rock Cafe, a famous chain of restaurants dedicated to the Rock and Roll theme. Inside holds legendary items such as a Johnny Cash guitar, a pair of Michael Jackson’s shoes, an Elvis Presley outfit, and other famous items on display.

Our waiter, Morgan, was a cheery guy who fit in the theme of the restaurant with tattoos, slicked back,  black curly hair, and mentioned owning a Harley. He filled us in on menu details, suggested good food, and brought our food back pretty fast despite being a busy night for the crew.

Due to COVID-19, a few meals and drinks have been cut from the menu. However, The Hard Rock Cafe’s world famous chain still has six legendary burgers featured on their menu. Their gourmet burgers range in cost from $17 to $24. Photo by Piper Pinnetti.

I ordered the new Surf and Turf Burger without slaw, and added pickles for the salty taste. The meal was paired with a Coke float; Coke soda and vanilla ice cream with a chocolate drizzle and a cherry on top. The two made an excellent pair and complimented one another for my dinner meal.

Hard Rock Cafe provides steak burgers, mine being cooked medium and living up to its “legendary” title. The burger came with Bangkok spicy shrimp that added a great crunch to each bite along with an amazing spicy kick of delicious flavor. A side of salty fries and ketchup came with the burger and they were golden and perfect. By far the best burger I have had in my almost eighteen years of life, and I wish I could have had them everyday during the trip.

Overall, the service was quick, nice, and hilarious. The food was indescribably amazing and exceeded the legendary burger title. Meat quality was the best, flavor combinations were matched perfectly- even adding the pickles. The drink was an interesting change from the classic root beer float. My Hard Rock Café experience was finished with a new and super soft t-shirt that states the Nashville location.

Although Tennessee deserves more than a week, it is perfect for a spontaneous road trip this spring break or perhaps a longer and mapped out trip after the school year is over in late May. The Memphis Zoo provides all types of lovable (from afar) animals for everyone to enjoy. Germantown is perfect for those who seek a new adventure, but are overwhelmed by the busy city atmosphere. And for those who enjoy the endless music blasting from building to building in the famous city for music, Nashville is a perfect soulful and music destination for those teens who consider themselves music junkies.