Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Touring Tennesse

In my mind, there is no better way to celebrate than with a trip. Anyone else agree? We pretty much travel to mark every good occasion. And last week was one worth celebrating.
After presenting and defending his doctoral thesis, Tom put the finishing touches on his dissertation last Wednesday, which means that he is officially finished with his PhD in finance. Woohoo! Then on Thursday, we hopped in the car and made the 8-hour drive to Nashville Tennessee because first thing Friday morning, I took the first half of my dentist licensing exam and PASSED! We have so much to celebrate and be grateful for after all this stress being melted away, so instead of driving straight home Saturday-we decided to make a trip of it and add in a few stops through Tennessee with camping and hiking our way through some of the state parks there. It was only 24 hours, but we made the best of this time and took the opportunity to see something new. Here’s a glimpse of our time Touring Tennessee.

The Itinerary
Since we have already had a chance to see Nashville last year, we wanted to explore the nearby areas of Tennessee this time around. But a day in Nashville or Knoxville would be a great add on to this trip. 

Rock Island State Park 
After leaving our Nashville hotel, we bee-lined it straight to Twin Falls in Rock Island State Park. Surprisingly, this spot is a hidden gem that is not well-traveled, which was great for us because we practically had the place to ourselves. 

Fall Creek Falls State Park 
After lunch at one the country markets dotting the area, we headed just up the road an hour to do some hiking. This park has two areas where you can swim in waterfalls. They are both right alongside a parking lot, but we decided to hike from one side of the park to the other to see all the best scenic spots in the park. We ended our hike with a freezing cold swim at a waterfall! Amazing!   

Edgar Evins State Park 
No waterfalls to speak of here, but there is lakefront camping and a gorgeous marina instead. We had the best campsite where we could see and hear the water just through the trees. 
On Sunday morning, after a quick stroll and breakfast by the marina, we made the long trek back home.

The Budget 
We’re on a tight budget right now as we’re currently saving up for some international trips-including one later this month. Thankfully, we were able to add this quick detour in Tennessee for relatively little. The whole thing only cost us $140. 

Since all of our gas was already factored into our original travel for my exam, we figure that we used an extra half tank of gas-roughly $18. 

Our lakefront campsite was only $11 bucks for the night, definitely 100% worth it. Then we spent another $18 on firewood. Note-showers at this campsite were free and so nice by the way. This came out to $29 for the night. 

Food & Drinks
With only a day added on, we ate at the local country markets in between the state parks for only $27. We also picked up beer and ice for the campfire that night for another $15. Then we did a really nice celebratory brunch ($50) at the marina the morning that we left. So, our total on food and drinks was $93. 

If you can believe it, all of Tennessee’s State Parks are free. Go there now! This is rare, so we definitely took advantage with visiting 3 different state parks in a day. All of our waterfall hikes and swims were $0. 
This really was the quickest trip that we added on since we were already traveling in Tennessee for my exam, but I’m so glad that we did. We only got a small taste of what all Tennessee has to offer, but I’m always up for seeing something new and thankful that we added this on. 


  1. Tennessee is one of my favorite states. Most of my aunts and uncles live in/around Knoxville, so we used to go see them every single summer vacation then spend time in Gatlinburg. I'm so pumped for both of you, your educational journeys, and the time you both get to spend together! :D

    1. That's awesome. We would have loved to explore the Knoxville area since we passed right though it. I wish we had had another day to do so. Guess we just have an excuse to go back now