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Layover Ideas

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport CHA

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Top 5 Layover Ideas for Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport

If you find yourself with a long layover at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA), consider yourself lucky. Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a city filled with rich history, scenic beauty, and exciting attractions. Here are the top 5 layover ideas to make the most of your time in the city.

1. Explore the Chattanooga Choo Choo

Make your first stop the Chattanooga Choo Choo. This historic site was once a bustling train station, but now serves as a unique hotel complex. Here, you can explore the beautifully preserved terminal station, dine in the on-site restaurants, or browse the local shops. It's a charming piece of Chattanooga's history that's worth a visit.

2. Visit the Tennessee Aquarium

Immerse yourself in the wonders of the aquatic world at the Tennessee Aquarium. From river otters to penguins, to sharks, this aquarium houses an impressive variety of marine life. There's also an IMAX 3D Theater where you can watch stunning nature films. It's a fun and educational experience for all ages.

3. Discover the Creative Discovery Museum

If you're traveling with children, the Creative Discovery Museum is a must-visit. This interactive museum offers hands-on exhibits that encourage learning through play. Kids can dig for dinosaur bones, create their own art, or explore the science of water. It's a fun-filled destination that will keep the little ones entertained.

4. Take a Ride on the Incline Railway

For a breathtaking view of Chattanooga, hop on the Incline Railway. This trolley-style car will take you on a steep ride up to the top of Lookout Mountain. Once you reach the top, you can explore the mountain's park, visit the Civil War battlefield, or simply enjoy the panoramic views of the city.

5. Visit Ruby Falls

End your layover with a visit to Ruby Falls, America's deepest commercial cave and largest underground waterfall accessible to the public. Take a guided tour through the caverns to the stunning 145-foot waterfall. It's a natural wonder that's sure to leave you in awe.

Nearby Attractions for an Extended Layover

If your layover at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport extends beyond 12 hours, there's plenty more to explore in and around Chattanooga. With an extended layover of 12-48 hours, consider venturing a little further from the airport to experience the charm of the Southern Appalachians. Here are some top picks.

1. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Just a couple of hours drive from Chattanooga, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a chance to immerse yourself in nature. Go hiking, spot wildlife, or simply enjoy the breathtaking views. It's a great option for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

2. Visit the Historic Town of Knoxville

Head to the historic town of Knoxville, about 90 minutes away from Chattanooga. Walk around the Market Square, visit the Knoxville Museum of Art, or explore the World’s Fair Park. It's a charming town with a rich history and vibrant arts scene.

3. Spend a Day in Nashville

If you're a music lover, a trip to the 'Music City' Nashville is a must. About 2 hours drive from Chattanooga, Nashville is home to the iconic Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and countless live music venues. It's a city that lives and breathes music.

4. Visit the Jack Daniel's Distillery

For whiskey enthusiasts, a visit to the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg is worth the 90-minute drive. Take a guided tour, learn about the distillation process, and sample some of their world-famous Tennessee Whiskey.

5. Explore the University of the South

Just an hour away from Chattanooga, Sewanee's University of the South campus is renowned for its beautiful Gothic architecture and scenic trails. Explore the campus, take a walk around Lake Cheston, or hike up to Morgan's Steep for a stunning view of the valley below.

Updated on: November 22, 2023