When planning a road trip from Knoxville to Chattanooga, you probably have planned a drive along Interstate 75 and not much else. After all, it’s less than two hours between each city.
But if you have a weekend to take a pit stop, head west a few miles and take a peek at Decatur, TN. You’ll enjoy the Southern charm and character of this small eastern Tennessee town.
Let’s explore more about why you need to visit Decatur, TN!
Where Is Decatur, TN?
Located along the intersection of Highway 30 and Highway 58, Decatur, TN, is a small town just east of the Tennessee River. Interstate 75 is also only about 15 miles away, so Decatur is easily accessible and about halfway between Chattanooga and Knoxville. It’s also less than a two-hour drive to the North Carolina border.
What Is Decatur, TN, Known For?
Founded in 1836, Decatur became the county seat for Meigs County in eastern Tennessee. It was named after Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr, a renowned naval officer. What began as 50 acres of land turned into about 3.8 square miles of land that sits in the western portion of the River-and-Valley Appalachians.
The 2020 US Census recorded about 1,400 people living in Decatur, TN. Many of these residents are artists.
Recently, the town has created the Decatur Art Trail by adding more public art. Currently, sidewalk and mural art have are on display, and the town is calling out to local artists who can help with the sculpture art in the next phase of the project.
Traveler’s Tip: Have you ever wondered if southern folks will be offended if you slip into a southern accent?
What’s the Best Time of Year to Visit Decatur, TN?
Because Decatur, TN, is in the Appalachian Mountains, it can see wintry weather and cold temperatures. However, the climate is mild and comfortable for visitors most of the year.
In the spring, travelers will see blooming landscapes and can attend the Sweet Tea and Sunshine Family Festival and Craft Fair held annually in nearby Cleveland, TN.
5 Reasons to Make Decatur, TN, Your Next Getaway
Decatur, TN, is in a beautiful part of eastern Tennessee. You can enjoy the scenic outdoors while learning about the area’s history.
This small town also provides genuine Southern hospitality and Southern homestyle cooking. There’s something for everyone here!
1. The Yuchi Wildlife Reserve Is Nearby
Address: Breedenton Ferry Rd, Evensville, TN 37332
About: Although the Wetland Zone is closed from mid-November through the end of February, the reserve is open year-round. The 2,500 acres of land provides habitats for various wildlife and plant species.
Sandhill cranes and waterfowl are especially common. If you’re a bird-watcher, you certainly don’t want to miss visiting the Yuchi Wildlife Reserve.
2. You Can Visit the Meigs County Historical Museum
Address: 200 Smith Ave, Decatur, TN 37322
About: If you’re interested in conducting some genealogy research, there’s a room in the Meigs County Historical Museum dedicated just for this.
Inside the museum, you’ll see displays, heritage books, and other items showcasing the history of Meigs County. You won’t spend hours and hours here, but stop in for 30 to 45 minutes and explore the county’s history.
It’s open on Mondays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
3. The Decatur Family Diner Offers Hometown Staples
Address: 17315 TN-58, Decatur, TN 37322
About: The Decatur Family Diner is open Mondays to Fridays from 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Grab a traditional hamburger, a chicken tenders basket, BLT, or a grilled cheese sandwich. Lunch specials include a $5.99 meat and vegetables option.
Breakfast is served all day. So no matter when you’re hungry, this local favorite will be open and ready to serve you.
4. Decatur Park Has Something for Everyone
Address: 141 W Park Cir, Decatur, TN 37322
About: Located less than a mile from the Decatur Family Diner is Decatur Park. This park is one of six recreational areas in Meigs County and the only one in Decatur, TN. When you’ve finished your meal, head over and walk around the park and enjoy the scenery.
Just south is the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park, only about a 30-minute drive. This park is at the mouth of the Hiwassee River, where it joins the Tennessee River. Here thousands of Native Americans walked the Trail of Tears.
5. Small Town Tennessee Is Something Special
When you visit Decatur, TN, you’re going to experience sweet Southern charm and hospitality. No bright city lights, honking taxi horns, or streets filled with employees racing against the clock.
If you’ve never ventured to the South and explored small towns like Decatur, you don’t know what you’re missing. There’s something special about walking these downtown streets, eating the local food, and brushing shoulders with the residents who call Decatur home. You’ll feel like it’s your home even if you’re traveling from hundreds of miles away.
Where to Stay Near Decatur, TN
Even though Decatur is a small town, there are two special properties available for rent during your stay. Both of these will cost around $200 to $230 per night and will provide comfortable, cozy accommodations to help you enjoy all that Decatur, TN, has to offer.
B&B on Working Farm
If you’re looking for a unique location, this 600-acre working farm may be your answer. There’s also a four-acre lake on the property.
The bed and breakfast rental has space to sleep 13 guests. The bedroom has one king-sized bed and two double beds to easily accommodate a family.
Inside, you can relax by the fireplace after a day exploring Decatur, TN. Or enjoy a peaceful night outside, sipping wine by the fire pit.
Bright and Cheerful Six Bedroom House
If you’re looking for an entire house to rent out while staying in Decatur, TN, this six-bedroom residence provides ample space for everyone to spread out. With four bathrooms, no one will have to take turns getting ready in the mornings.
It offers a mountain view and a private hot tub. So, when you return from the Yuchi Wildlife Reserve, you have a relaxing place to chill out for the evening. Pets are also allowed.
Make Decatur, TN, Your Next Getaway
The next time you’re traveling along Interstate 75 from Knoxville to Chattanooga, take a slight detour off exit 49. Drive 11 miles into the town of Decatur, TN, and spend a few days learning about the history of Meigs County.
Join the locals at the Decatur Family Diner and stroll the outdoor spaces one evening. It’s a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the big city and a welcome breath of fresh air as you embrace Southern hospitality.
Have you started making plans yet? When will you visit Decatur, TN?