Chattanooga is perfect summer getaway

Tennessee Aquarium

Tennessee Aquarium

If you’re looking for somewhere to travel this summer, don’t look too far. Chattanooga, Tenn., is a family getaway perfect for great times without the high costs and extra miles.

“Chattanooga’s diverse range of travel offerings paired with the city’s affordability makes it the ultimate family vacation destination,” said Candace Davis, marketing and public relations manager for the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Families of all ages can enjoy outdoor adventures at Lookout Mountain, farm-fresh, foodie favorites at the Bluffview Art District, attractions like the Tennessee Aquarium and Creative Discovery Museum, plus countless festivals and live-music events.”

To do: Hop aboard the Missionary Ridge Local train at Tennessee Railroad Valley and travel through time over four bridges and the pre-Civil War Missionary Ridge Tunnel. The train pulls into a depot filled with old-timey trains and spins around, literally, on a turntable. Tickets are $11–$17. Head to Coolidge Park for family picnics, rock climbing, a walk across the Walnut Street Bridge, or let your kids whip through the water fountains to cool off.

Eat: Dine al fresco at Feed Table and Tavern, a casual restaurant with entrée faves including a half rack of ribs ($15) plus several burgers and sandwiches under $10. All items on the kids’ menu, from penne pasta to chicken tenders, are $5 and most are served with a side. Be sure to bring quarters, because the adult and kid-friendly arcade features pinball machines and racecar driving. Before leaving town, satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth with over 30 cupcakes plus ice cream and chocolate at Cupcake Kitchen.

Lodge: Inexpensive chain hotels abound. Staybridge Suites Chattanooga-Hamilton Place has high guest ratings with rooms that feature a kitchen with a stove, microwave and dishwasher. Complimentary breakfast is available daily. Rates currently start at $139.