City & Homes-of-the-Stars Tours
Gray Line Nashville, 2416 Music Valley Dr. (tel. 800/251-1864 or 615/883-5555; www.graylinenashville.com), offers more than half a dozen different tours ranging in length from 3 1/2 hours to a full day. On the popular 3 1/2-hour tour of the stars' homes, you'll ride past the current or former houses and mansions of such chart-toppers as Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, and Alan Jackson. Other themed tours focus exclusively on historical sites, honky-tonks, and nightlife. Adult tour prices range from $40 for the "Homes of the Country Stars" bus tour to $90 for a dinner cruise on the General Jackson Showboat.
Johnny Walker Tours, 2416 Music Valley Dr. (tel. 800/722-1524 or 615/834-8585; www.johnnywalkertours.com), has merged with Gray Line Tours. However, the company still sells group tours and individual vacation packages.
For a fun and campy tour of Nashville aboard a gaudy pink bus, try Nash-Trash Tours (tel. 800/342-2132 or 615/226-7300; www.nashtrash.com), narrated by the spandex-clad "Jugg" sisters. Sheri Lynn and Brenda Kay dish the dirt on all your favorite country stars. Throw in a few risqué jokes, plenty of music, and a policy that allows passengers to bring aboard coolers (with alcohol, if desired), and it all makes for a trashy good time in Music City. Because the 90-minute tours can become rowdy, they're not advised for young children (those under 13 are not allowed.) Hours vary, but generally speaking, tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday. Call in advance for current times and to make reservations, which are required. Tickets, which cost $32 for adults, $30 for seniors and ages 13 to 18, include tip for the bus driver but not 9.25% sales tax. (Rates are discounted in January). Bring plenty of extra cash if you want to buy any of the commemorative souvenirs the sisters hawk. Note: The bus is not wheelchair-accessible.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort, 2800 Opryland Dr. (tel. 615/883-2211; www.generaljackson.com), operates the paddle-wheeler -- the General Jackson Showboat (tel. 615/458-3900) -- on the Cumberland River. Tours depart from a dock near the Gaylord Opryland Resort. At 300 feet long, the General Jackson Showboat recalls the days when riverboats were the most sophisticated way to travel. You go on this cruise for the paddle-wheeler experience, not necessarily for the food (not so great) and entertainment that go along with it. Choose from comedy-variety acts to those with live country music. During the summer, the Southern Nights Cruise offers a three-course dinner and dancing under the stars to live bands. Fares for this trip cost $73 for adults. Midday cruises are also available mid-April to mid-October and cost $45 for adults. Discounted rates are available for cruise only, or cruise and buffet only, without entertainment. In addition, special-event cruises with such themes as Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, Tennessee Titans tailgating, and the holidays are offered year-round. Prices vary. Call for details.