My husband and I visited Nashville with our best friends for a long weekend in January. This trip was an impromptu friends weekend because we found very cheap flights on Southwest Airlines. Although I never had any particular interest in visiting Nashville, I am so glad we did. Check out our Nashville Weekend Itinerary. or click to see our detailed review: A Weekend Getaway in Nashville.
Since we love exploring the surrounding areas of each place we visit, I searched for quick day trips from Nashville and found that Mammoth Cave National Park was only an hour and 20 minutes away in Kentucky. None of us had ever been inside a cave before (we are from Miami, FL) and thought it would be a fun adventure. Needless to say, we visited the world’s largest cave system! So here is why Mammoth Cave is my pick for the best day trip from Nashville.
Mammoth Cave Tours
Domes and Dripstones Tour
We booked the Domes and Dripstones tour about 3 weeks in advance of this day trip from Nashville. January is usually a pretty slow time for visitors,
The tour is about 2 hours long. You are expected to be able to hike a mile, but should be in good physical condition because there are about 500 steps (some with quite an incline). It is rated moderate for physical activity.
I would recommend this tour for most people and even families with
The tour begins at the Visitors Center. You grab your ticket and board a bus towards the entrance of the cave. The bus ride is a quick
The temperature inside the cave remains relatively cool (
Disclaimer… the pictures didn’t come out that great, as I was taking them on my iPhone and do not have much experience in photo editing in dark areas.
Walking underneath the Earth’s surface was pretty amazing! The rock formations created by the Green River were stunning. The park ranger was very knowledgeable and explained the difference between stalagmites and stalactites, and discussed how we should not touch the cave walls to limit our trace.
It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981 and has about 400 miles of underground pathways. It is the largest cave system in the world and is called mammoth due to its’ size (not because of a mammoth fossil discovery). Click here to check out this post on the Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
I am a little claustrophobic, yet I was fine the entire time down here. There were many areas of open space, yet it did have its’ share of tight spaces. I actually found it exciting when we had to squeeze through a narrow area or duck due to a low ceiling. Check out this video of my husband (who is 6’3) ducking through an opening.
All in all, this day trip to Mammoth Cave National Park ended up being one of the highlights of our weekend in Nashville. It was only a one hour trip from Nashville and a great day trip option. It was a nice break from the busy city and a fun couple of hours of exploration. Since we have a family bucket list goal of visiting all 50 states, I cannot wait to take the kids to Kentucky and visit Mammoth Cave National Park. Pin this post for later.
To check out our other adventures in nearby Tennessee, click on my posts – Hiking the Smoky Mountains with Kids and Family Friendly Activities in Pigeon Forge. If you are looking for other caves to visit, check out Magnificent Caves around the Americas.
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