Intersected by 293 miles of the legendary Appalachian Trail, which journeys through both the Appalachian Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee is a state where unmatched beauty meets unforgiving wilderness and rich cultural pride.
A state with soul, Tennessee has 10 official anthems, ranging from the Osbourne Brothers’ “Rocky Top” to “Tennessee Waltz” by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King. The birthplace of America’s sweetheart, Dolly Parton, it’s an unsurprising home to a rich music scene — especially modern, Nashville-famous country music, which takes cues from the region’s Scots Irish folk music and African Americans’ bluesy rhythms in the western Delta.
Another thing that goes hand-in-hand with the state? Tennessee “straight” whiskey (a.k.a. bourbon whiskey), popularized by Lynchburg’s Jack Daniel’s. So, it’s no surprise Tennessee boasts its own whiskey trail, a 25-stop distillery tour featuring craft purveyors galore.
Want to explore the state? Are you planning to move to Tennessee? Let Mayflower help you.
Read on to learn more about what the “Volunteer State” has to offer — and how we can simplify and streamline your relocation.
Advantages of Moving to Tennessee
Tennessee boasts a cost-of-living index of 89.4, ranking it well below the national average as the eighth most affordable state in the nation. Following suit, the state’s housing cost and rental cost clock in at 80.7 on the national cost of living index, while unemployment sits at a low 3.3% as of July 2022.
It’s a great place to be a student, too: Tennessee high school graduates can attend postsecondary institutions at zero cost through the Tennessee Promise Scholarship program. Speaking of higher education, good options abound, including Vanderbilt University and University of Tennessee.
Wondering about other perks? Cha-ching! Tennessee does not collect state income tax.
The bottom line is Tennessee offers a high quality of life, whether you favor time spent at city hotspots or historical sites or value the solitude of country living. Wherever you settle, Tennessee is lucky to have plenty of natural beauty, from its state and national parks; greenways and trails; urban green spaces; and bountiful lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams.
Weathering the Move to Tennessee
Considered a southern state, Tennessee boasts four glorious seasons, owing them to a humid subtropical climate — that is, except for the Appalachians’ higher elevations, which have a cooler mountain temperate or humid continental climate.
Interestingly, the Gulf of Mexico significantly influences Tennessee’s climate—with winds from the south responsible for most of the state’s annual precipitation.
Summers are typically hot and humid, while winters tend to be mild to cool. There is generous precipitation year-round, with the highest of it occurring between December and April. Tennessee sees an average of 50 inches of annual precipitation, though over 80 inches are known to fall in the highest mountains to the east.
Wondering about the best time of year to move to Tennessee? Autumn is your best bet since it’s when temperatures start to cool and precipitation ebbs — and when some of America’s most picturesque fall foliage comes out to play.
Best Places to Live in Tennessee
Odds are, if you’re thinking of moving to a new state, Tennessee has at least crossed your mind.
With its reasonable cost of living; affordable housing and rent; and ample professional opportunities, there’s no wonder it’s seeing a population boom. As of July 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the state’s population to be 6,975,218.
The most populous city in the state, Nashville, has a metropolitan area with an estimated 678,851 residents as of July 2021, with major employers that include Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nissan North America, General Motors and Bridgestone. Just 30 miles south of Nashville, Spring Hill had the 10th largest percentage increase among U.S cities, with a population of over 50,000 in 2021.
Meanwhile, the state’s second largest city, Memphis, is set along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. Today, it’s home to 630,348 residents and serves as the headquarters for AutoZone, FedEx, Kroger and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Next up? Knoxville with 192,648 residents — some of the most diehard sports fans you’ll ever meet — and employers from Advanced Labwerks to manufactured housing’s Clayton Homes.
With a population of 182,113, Chattanooga is no slouch. Set along the Tennessee River amid the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, it marks the site of a Civil War battle now honored at the Battles for Chattanooga Museum, and is also the home of Volkswagen operations, Cigna Healthcare and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
Things You Can Only See and Do in Tennessee
From the bucolic farmlands to the west, urban hubs and destination-worthy mountainous terrain, there’s plenty to love about Tennessee. The home of the blues and birthplace of rock n’ roll, Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Johnny Cash all recorded albums here. In fact, the state is so musically influential that 24 of the 97 earliest inductees in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame hailed from within a 100-mile radius of the city of Memphis.
Wondering how to spend your time once you settle in? You have options galore.
Did you know nineteen species of fireflies live in Great Smoky Mountain National Park? Or that they illuminate everything synchronously for a fleeting period, usually from late May to early June? It’s an unforgettable sight.
Without a doubt, the coolest place to take in the blues is at Bluegrass Underground, a subterranean amphitheater within Cumberland Caverns.
Stretching almost 2,200 miles from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, the Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states, Tennessee included. Said to be the world’s longest hiking-only trail — and a grueling one at that — it takes between five and seven months to complete in its entirety and only about one in four people who hike the trail make it all the way.
In the “Music City” of Nashville, the birthplace of modern country music, you have endless options when it comes to taking in grooves. Among them, the Grand Ole Opry and venues along Music Row centered on 16th and 17th Avenues South, respectively called Music Square East and West.
Can’t get enough Dolly Parton? Dollywood in Pigeon Forge is an absolute must. Dig Elvis Presley? High tail it to his home, Graceland. Just be sure to hit other must-sees like the Memphis Zoo, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and National Civil Rights Museum, too.
Then again, active adventurers might consider a trip to one of the best-preserved earthen forts from the Civil War era, Fort Dickerson Quarry, a spectacular city park featuring a pristine quarry lake right across from downtown Knoxville. Of course, there’s also the “Grand Canyon of the South,” the Tennessee River Gorge, which cuts through the Cumberland Plateau in the lower half of the state.
And while Tennessee is landlocked, that doesn’t stop it from having a vast underground sea. In fact, Lost Sea is the largest underground lake in the United States — not to mention one of the world’s largest subterranean spectacles of its kind.
Where the Locals Eat in Tennessee
Seeking fare that’s synonymous with the state of Tennessee? There’s Memphis-style barbecue (try it at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous or The Bar-B-Q Shop); fried, tongue-singeing Nashville hot chicken (OG Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish is boss); and moon pies, which are best had from the Smokies’ Moon Pie General Store and Book Warehouse.
Appreciate a good story and rich history? Get a dose of southern hospitality at Varallo’s — the state’s oldest restaurant, a no-frills, weekend-only luncheonette and must for everything from French toast to three-way chili, fried catfish and fried bologna sandwiches.
For something truly unique, hit up horror-themed, tchotchke-filled Aretha Frankensteins in Chattanooga, known for its pancakes and roster of other all-day diner staples.
Offering a true dose of nostalgia, 4-Way Grill in rural Springville is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot for down-home cooking, including fluffy omelets, killer melts and open-face roast beef sandwiches with mashed ’taters and gravy.
If a sweet treat is what you seek, look no further than Phoenix Pharmacy, an independently owned pharmacy and soda fountain turning out hand-spun shakes, Coca-Cola floats and cherry lime Rickeys.
Moving to Tennessee Soon? Let Mayflower Get You There
If you’ve decided to make the move to Tennessee but aren’t sure where to start, Mayflower’s movers can help you get there.
We have dedicated long-distance movers who are ready to help you move to Tennessee. If you’re moving locally, our interstate agents are prepared to assist you with your moving process under their own business and names. Mayflower offers a variety of moving services, including full-service moving packages to lessen the stress of moving so you can focus on what matters. To help you stay organized during your move, there’s also our handy moving checklist.
Why move with Mayflower? Moving with a professional company can give you peace of mind, knowing that your belongings are being handled with care. To start planning your move to Tennessee, contact Mayflower today to get a quote.
Now, get the toes tapping on your moving journey and keep everyone excited about your soon-to-be new home with our Spotify mix.