With National Travel & Tourism Week approaching, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development encourages Tennesseans to take advantage of the lowest gas prices since 2004 and take a road trip on one of the state’s 16 Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways.
The U.S. Energy Information Association projects the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline will hover around $2.04 nationally this summer, the lowest in a dozen years and 59 cents per gallon cheaper than last year, saving the average household $350.
Established in 2009, the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program is comprised of 16 different driving routes covering all 95 Tennessee counties, with most of the routes originating in major cities such as Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville. Free maps and self-guided brochures are available at any of the 14 Tennessee Welcome Centers, or can be downloaded and printed at home at tnvacation.com/tntrailsandbyways.
With names such as “White Lightning,” “Rocky Top,” “Ring of Fire” and “Top Secret,” the trails were created in partnership with local travel industry representatives and historians, and offer self-guided tours to help visitors discover small town diners, bed and breakfasts, hands-on history lessons and hidden gems. Each route is marked with special brown signs to help travelers find key attractions along the way. The printed guides provide turn-by-turn route directions, helpful tips and travel suggestions, and tell the stories that bring each trail to life.
The program offers opportunities to follow in the footsteps of Native Americans and pioneers, take the routes used by African Americans along the Underground Railroad or drive the roads used to deliver moonshine on one of Tennessee’s officially designated National Scenic Byways. Whether it’s a day trip or a few nights at a Tennessee State Park or quaint bed and breakfast along the route, the best part is travelers can decide when, where and how long they want to travel.
National Travel and Tourism Week—America’s annual salute to travel and tourism—was established by a congressional resolution in 1983 to champion the power of the $947.1 billion travel and tourism industry.
In Tennessee, direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached $17.7 billion in 2014, generating 152,900 jobs and state and local sales tax revenues of $1.5 billion. In addition, Tennessee visitation crossed the 100-million mark in 2014, making it one of the Top 10 travel destinations in the U.S.
“This past year I’ve had the privilege to visit all 95 counties in Tennessee,” Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett said. “Those visits reinforced that authentic journeys are down nearly every road throughout our state. They exist in Tennessee’s inspiring small towns, at our more than 800 annual festivals, with crafters and farmers, on large performance stages and in quaint backroads listening rooms. It is my hope that all Tennesseans will take some time to explore our state to discover Tennessee all over again, or maybe for the first time.”