Get out of town! 

Now we don’t mean that in an unfriendly way. Summertime is made for getting in your car, hitting the road, and wandering around to explore some new scenery. The Tennessee Valley is well-known for its big cities and extensive outdoor recreation options. But if you’re ready to detour off the beaten path, here are some less conventional options. 

Mooresville, AL is home to 1818 Farms, nestled on three acres in the northwest corner of the historic town. You can visit the farm and interact with their beloved residents, including hens, mini-pigs and a Nubian goat. The mission statement of the farm is all about life the way it used to be: “Preserving history and honoring tradition by working a sustainable farm, producing handmade products, and educating the public on the value of self-sufficiency, craftsmanship, and a strong sense of community.” Wander the farm and gardens and experience life the way it used to be.  

Dismals Canyon

Dismals Canyon is a privately-owned and operated nature conservancy located in northwest Alabama. There are hiking trails, cabins and a whole ton of Instagram-worthy views. But the real standout at Dismals Canyon is their guided night tours. Past twilight, the canyon lights up with bioluminescent “glow worm-like” insects they call Dismalites. Don’t miss it. 

Did watching “Tiger King” awaken your interest in exotic animals? You won’t find any lions, tigers or bears at Madison, AL’s Animal Trax pet store – and thankfully no Joe Exotic either. What you will find is a one-of-a-kind, very interactive pet shop snakes, tree frogs and a bearded dragon named Penelope. Owners Jamie and Kaitlin love to share their passion for animals with others and they’re happy to answer questions. So stop by and visit their very “hands-on” shop! 

Beer connoisseurs will want to make sure to take in the ChattaBrew Tour for a behind-the scenes brewery experience not available to the general public. Over the course of four hours, you’ll visit four different breweries, where you’ll sample their different seasonal offerings as you learn about the ancient art and craft of brewing. This event is held in Chattanooga, TN most weekends throughout the summer.  

If you’re looking for beautiful countryside, shopping, live music, local culture, and Southern hospitality, look no further than Leiper’s Fork, TN. TNVacation.com described Leiper’s Fork as “if Sunday morning had a hometown.” Don’t miss the biscuits and gravy at family-owned Country Boy’s Restaurant.