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Josh Schukman
by Josh Schukman
Posted December 1, 2022

Explore 8 historical towns and cities near Nashville – by RV. 

Just a short drive from Music City, you can explore the rich history and heritage of Middle Tennessee. And with RV rentals becoming increasingly accessible and shareable, there’s no excuse not to hit the open road! Here are 8 towns and cities near Nashville that are often forgotten about – but are worth stopping and exploring for a few nights. Each destination has tons to offer and is small enough not to break the bank. So pack up your RV rental in Nashville, TN, and hit the road for an unforgettable journey, today!

Clarksville, Tennesse

This city is steeped in history, from its days as a frontier settlement to its role in the Civil War. Located 57 minutes northwest of Nashville, Clarksville is home to some of the region’s most stunning trails, parks, and monuments. History buffs will love the outdoor museum complex in the city. It has artifacts from many different times in the city’s history.

Clarksville is also home to one of the largest military populations in the country. Be sure to visit Fort Defiance, the site of a major battle during the Civil War. And don’t forget to check out Cumberland River Bicentennial Park, where you can take in stunning views of the river and learn about the area’s ecology.

Murfreesboro, Tennesse

If you’re looking for a little bit of everything, Murfreesboro is the place for you. It is located 40 minutes from Nashville, and this city is full of arts and culture venues, as well as plenty of outdoor activities available nearby, so there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Murfreesboro was founded in 1811 and has been an important city in Middle Tennessee ever since. Today, it’s known for its vibrant downtown, lively nightlife scene, and abundance of shopping and dining options. Don’t miss a chance to explore the Stones River National Battlefield or sail down the Stones River on a rented canoe or kayak. And be sure to visit Cannonsburgh Pioneer Village to step back in time and see what life was like in early Murfreesboro.

Franklin, Tennessee

Image of Franklin Tennessee near Nashville

Franklin is only 37 minutes from Nashville by car, and has many different things to do. From historic homes and buildings to shopping and dining options, there’s something for everyone in this charming town.

Founded in 1799, Franklin is one of the most historic towns in Tennessee. It’s best known for its role in the Civil War, with several battlefields and museums located within its limits. Main Street in downtown Franklin is lined with quaint shops and restaurants, perfect for a leisurely afternoon stroll. And don’t miss Carnton Plantation, one of the best-preserved antebellum homes in the country.

Dickson, Tennessee

Dickson is a small town near Nashville with a big personality! Located only 48 minutes from Nashville, this friendly community is home to several unique festivals throughout the year, including Oktoberfest and Mule Day (yes, there really is a festival dedicated to mules!). Plus, Dickson is just a stone’s throw away from Montgomery Bell State Park, where you can hike, cycle, paddleboard, and more. So whether you’re looking for culture or outdoor adventure, Dickson has you covered.

Columbia, Tennessee

Image of Columbia Tennessee near Nashville
Photo taken by Brent Moore on Flickr

Columbia may be best known as “Mule Town USA,” but this friendly city has so much more to offer – in addition to mule-themed festivals (of course).

Explore the historical streets of Columbia, Tennessee, and start your morning like a local. Only 50 minutes south of Nashville, you can enjoy fresh coffee from Muletown Coffee Co. alongside homemade pastries or breakfast sandwiches in this city that is home to the 11th President of the United States as well as an exciting art community with delicious eats around every corner!

Columbia also boasts a thriving arts scene with several galleries downtown. Plus, James K. Polk’s ancestral home is located here—a must-see for any history buff! And don’t forget about Maury County Parks for information on all of Columbia’s parks and recreation opportunities.

Shelbyville, Tennessee

This small town is home to some very big names in country music history. Located 1 hour and 5 minutes south of Nashville, Shelbyville is worth the drive if only to visit the Loretta Lynn Ranch or take a tour of the Taylor Swift Education Center to learn more about the stars who got their start here. 

Be sure to check out Shelbyville’s numerous local shops, restaurants, and attractions for a day full of fun! Also, don’t miss a chance to explore Bell’s Bend Outdoor Center for a unique hiking experience.

Smithville, Tennessee

Visit Cummins Falls State Park

This small town is just an hour east of Nashville and offers a rustic, rural charm that can’t be found anywhere else. Smithville is a popular place to visit because of its annual sorghum festival and old buildings. It is an hour and eleven minutes from Nashville.

Smithville was founded in 1810 and is the home of Tennessee’s first state park, Cummins Falls State Park. The town itself hasn’t changed much over the years, so visitors can see what life was like when things were easier.

Take a stroll down the charming Main Street or explore one of the many lakes in the area. And don’t forget to visit the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree, where you can enjoy live music and celebrate the town’s Appalachian heritage.

Spring Hill, Tennessee

Last but not least is Spring Hill—a beautiful city near Nashville with plenty of southern hospitality! This growing community has several parks perfect for picnics or walks with your furry friend, along with miles of scenic trails ideal for hiking or biking. You can also cool off at Longview Recreation Center’s indoor pool or play 18 holes at Ridgetop Golf Club. No matter what your interests are, Spring Hill is sure to have something that will make your trip memorable.

An extra city for you: Pulaski, Tennessee

Conveniently located 1 hour and 15 minutes from Nashville, this small town is the perfect place to get away from it all. Located near a lake, Pulaski provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, from fishing and canoeing to bird watching and wildlife viewing. It’s also home to historic sites like the Giles County Courthouse and the Columbia-Franklin Railroad Museum.

Tour the Giles County Historical Museum to learn about this area’s rich history and browse the unique boutiques and restaurants in downtown Pulaski. Whether you’re into outdoor adventure or history, Pulaski has something for everyone.

To wrap things up

If you’re looking for a fun-filled RV trip to explore the rich culture of Middle Tennessee, to leave you with the best memories, whether it’s solo travel or a Nashville family vacation, make sure to check these beautiful cities near Nashville that are situated no more than a two-hour drive away from Music City’s downtown area. 

So grab a snack, hop in your RV, and start planning your road trip today! Happy exploring!

3 common questions about cities near Nashville

What are the major cities near Nashville, TN?

The major cities near Nashville, TN, are Franklin, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Brentwood, and Columbia.

What are the best cities near Nashville TN to visit?

The best cities near Nashville TN to visit are Franklin, Clarksville, and Columbia. Each of these cities offers something unique for visitors, such as cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and historical sites.

What is there to do in the cities near Nashville?

There are plenty of activities and attractions available in the cities near Nashville. For example, in Dickson, you can explore the downtown area, visit the Montgomery Bell State Park, or take a tour of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Josh Schukman


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