This post contains affiliate links. Thank you Mitsubishi Motors for loaning me the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander for our road trip! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
We just got back from such an awesome trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee and I’m so excited to tell you about it! In the nearly 6 years Ben and I have been together, we have never taken a trip without our son. I was thrilled when my sister-in-law agreed to watch him for 4 days (3 nights) over Fourth of July weekend. My best friend and her boyfriend flew into Atlanta from Southern California on the 4th. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to spending time with my husband and our friends. I was in desperate need for a reset and this trip was everything I had hoped it would be. Plus, I was excited to explore a city that was new to all four of us. (Check out my Nashville Girls Trip!)
Mitsubishi loaned us a 2018 Outlander for the trip, which made it all the more comfortable and enjoyable! (Seriously, I’m smitten.) It has a third row option, and Benjamin was excited to sit in what he lovingly referred to as “the trunk”. HA! After we dropped him off on Thursday morning, it was only another hour or so further to Chattanooga, which is located approximately 120 miles from Atlanta.
The first thing we did when we got to town was try to find a spot for lunch. Surprisingly, our first couple of choices were closed on the 5th. We ended up eating on the porch at Champy’s Fried Chicken just in time for it to pour! Thankfully, that was the worst of our weather the entire trip. It was so nice, with very minimal humidity—a pleasant surprise! If you ever find yourself at one of their locations, I recommend the Fried Chicken Salad. Yum! After eating, we headed to the grocery store and then to our AirBnB. We stayed at “The Emerald Dragonfly“. If you’ve never stayed in an AirBnB, I highly recommend giving it a go. I have stayed in the most unique places in several cities during my travels. Use this link for a $40 travel credit toward your first rental. I chose our place because of it’s uniqueness and location. It was just a short Uber ride to dinner each night! That first evening, though, we hung out at the house, drinking and playing games.
Friday, we woke up early and made breakfast at the house before heading to Lookout Mountain, Georgia to visit Rock City. First off, lemme tell you that Chattanooga was poppin’ over the holiday weekend. I really wasn’t expecting the crowds, but our visit to Rock City was pleasant because we got there before it was too busy. We stopped a lot for photo ops (obvi) and wouldn’t have been able to do that later in the day. One of the employees I spoke with said that it usually isn’t quite so busy.
I know I normally write about family travel, so let me just tell you straight off the bat that Rock City is a place I would definitely recommend for kids! Chattanooga is filled with fun for families and we are already talking about our next trip there as a family. Rock City was fun, beautiful, and not nearly as big as these photos make it look. By that I mean that a young child could easily walk through the entire park, which is only a loop of about a mile. Here is some history on the attraction, which was originally inhabited by Native Americans then was part of the Civil War in the Battle of Lookout Mountain, well before it became what it is today.
|Here I am facing a serious fear of mine. The people behind me were nice enough to wait until I was across before they started walking, because I told them that I was very nervous. I felt very accomplished for this!|
FYI, if you’re afraid of heights and the thought of this bridge terrifies you as it did me, there is a stone walkway. My photo was taken from there, and both bridges will get you to the same spot.
|This is Lover’s Leap!|
From the top of Lover’s Leap, is the main platform where you’ll find this “See Seven States” plaque. During the Civil War and the Battle of Lookout Mountain, “both a Union officer and a Confederate nurse speculated in separate diary entries that one could see seven states from atop the summit”. Pretty spectacular view, right?
This area also has a gift and snack shop. Ben and I shared a funnel cake and bought a couple souvieners to bring home to Benjamin. On the way back toward the enterance is Fairyland Caverns—an area that combined classic fairytales with European gnome statues. Honestly, this portion was a little “meh” for me but I know my son would think it was really cool!
We grabbed lunch at the cafe before heading toward our next destination—Ruby Falls. We had a little time to kill before our reservation at the falls, so we stopped at Incline Railway to check it out. Incline Railway looks super cool if you’re into trains or unique attractions. Personally, it was much to steep and crowded to be something I would ride. Without paying, you could climb to the roof for a pretty awesome view. Just a few blocks away is Point Park—a great destination for history or Civil War buffs. We didn’t do either of these for this particular visit.
Along with our Rock City tickets, we purchased the add-on Ruby Falls tickets. When I was doing my initial research, I didn’t realize these were two different locations. They’re about a 15 minute drive from one another and both include a lot of walking and standing, so plan accordingly. Ruby Falls is an equally popular destination, but I’m just going to be honest and tell you that I was not a fan. Again, the crowds of the holiday weekend made this place a mad house. Our reservations did nothing to improve our wait, which was a good 45 minutes to an hour before we were even able to take the elevators down to the cave. They had so many tours going that we were stopped repeatedly to let another group pass through an already very narrow space. If you experience claustrophobia, this is not the attraction for you. The tour was said to last 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes with only 3 timed minutes at the actual falls. In total we spent around 2 hours there for a 3 minute photo op. I think it would have been a disaster had we had our 5 year old with us. The other thing that really bothered me (and this is me already agitated by the tour experience) was the lighting. I know this is nit-picky but they used colorful lighting to highlight areas of the cave as well as the falls, and in my opinion it really took away from the natural beauty. It made it seem fake. I was disappointed by that because Ruby Falls itself is really rather incredible!
By the time we got home, we had been on our feet for something like 9 hours! Showers and naps were definitely in order. It was recommended to us to go to dinner at STIR. It was SO GOOD! For an appetizer we had the Parmesan White Truffle Fries, and I am still salivating over them! After dinner we headed around the corner to Backstage Bar, where we played a fun guessing game and had drinks. The area has a ton of little bars and you can even drink open container walking between them. We only had one drink before getting our Uber home. It had just been such a long day and I was exhausted. *cue old lady*
Overall, it was such a great day! I went to bed excited to have a relaxing second full day in Chattanooga. Check out Part Two to see what we really ended up doing!
Some of my favorite products used on this trip. See more of my recommendations here.