The Bordering States of Tennessee

The Bordering States of Tennessee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Surrounding Regions

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the bordering states of Tennessee! Nestled in the heart of the United States, Tennessee is surrounded by a diverse range of states, each offering its own unique attractions, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you are a history enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, this article will provide you with valuable insights into the neighboring regions of Tennessee. From the iconic landscapes of Kentucky and the vibrant cities of North Carolina to the tranquil beaches of Mississippi and the scenic beauty of Arkansas, join us on this journey as we explore the wonders that await beyond Tennessee’s borders.

State Borders of Tennessee

North Carolina

Tennessee shares a border with the state of North Carolina to the east. This border stretches approximately 330 miles and is marked by the majestic Smoky Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles both states, offers breathtaking views and numerous outdoor recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. The border between Tennessee and North Carolina is not only a geographical division but also a cultural one, with each state contributing its unique charm and history to the region.


To the northeast of Tennessee lies Virginia, with a border spanning around 110 miles. The border region between these two states offers a diverse range of landscapes, from the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains to the lush green valleys. This border area is rich in history, with several significant Civil War battlefields located in close proximity. Visitors can explore historic sites, hike along scenic trails, or simply enjoy the natural beauty that Tennessee and Virginia have to offer.


Tennessee’s northern border is shared with Kentucky, stretching approximately 240 miles. The border between these two states is defined by the mighty Ohio River, a significant waterway that has played a vital role in the region’s history and economy. The border area is known for its picturesque landscapes, including the stunning Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, which offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant cities or the serene countryside, the Tennessee-Kentucky border region has something for everyone.


Located to the northwest of Tennessee, Missouri shares a border of around 20 miles with the state. The Mississippi River forms part of this border, offering scenic views and recreational activities such as boating and fishing. The border region is characterized by its rich cultural heritage, with historical landmarks and museums that showcase the area’s significance in the westward expansion of the United States. Visitors can explore charming river towns, indulge in delicious local cuisine, or simply relax while taking in the beauty of the Tennessee-Missouri border.


Tennessee’s western border is shared with Arkansas, spanning approximately 200 miles. The border region between these two states boasts a diverse landscape, ranging from the rugged beauty of the Ozark Mountains to the fertile Mississippi River Delta. Visitors can immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the region by exploring state parks, hiking trails, or enjoying water activities along the riverfront. The Tennessee-Arkansas border offers a unique blend of southern charm and outdoor adventure, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.


To the southwest of Tennessee lies Mississippi, with a border stretching around 180 miles. The Mississippi River forms a significant part of this border, providing a picturesque backdrop for outdoor activities such as boating and birdwatching. The border region is known for its rich musical heritage, with the birthplace of blues and rock ‘n’ roll located nearby. Visitors can explore historical sites, indulge in delicious southern cuisine, or simply soak in the laid-back atmosphere of the Tennessee-Mississippi border.


The southern border of Tennessee is shared with Alabama, spanning approximately 60 miles. The border region between these two states offers a mix of natural beauty and cultural attractions. From the stunning vistas of Lookout Mountain to the vibrant city of Chattanooga, visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities and experiences. Whether it’s exploring historic sites, hiking through scenic trails, or indulging in southern hospitality, the Tennessee-Alabama border has something for everyone to enjoy.


To the southeast of Tennessee lies Georgia, with a border stretching around 80 miles. The border region between these two states offers a blend of natural landscapes and vibrant cities. From the picturesque mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest to the bustling city of Atlanta, visitors can explore a variety of attractions. The border area is rich in history, with numerous Civil War sites and historic landmarks. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or cultural experiences, the Tennessee-Georgia border region has plenty to offer.

Geographical Features

Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains play a significant role in shaping the landscape of Tennessee. Stretching across the eastern part of the state, this majestic mountain range offers breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and countless recreational opportunities. Hikers and nature enthusiasts flock to the Appalachian Trail, which winds through Tennessee’s portion of the mountains, providing a challenging and rewarding experience. The Appalachian Mountains not only add to the state’s natural beauty but also contribute to its rich biodiversity.

Mississippi River

Flowing along Tennessee’s western border, the mighty Mississippi River is a prominent geographical feature and an essential part of the state’s history and economy. The river serves as a vital transportation route, allowing for the shipping of goods and commodities. It also provides opportunities for various recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and wildlife watching. The Mississippi River’s presence in Tennessee adds to the state’s charm and allure, making it an attractive destination for both locals and visitors alike.

Cumberland Plateau

The Cumberland Plateau, located in the central part of Tennessee, is a significant geographic feature that spans across several states in the southeastern United States. This vast plateau is characterized by its unique topography, consisting of rugged cliffs, deep gorges, and expansive forests. It offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, rock climbing, and cave exploration. The Cumberland Plateau’s natural beauty and diverse ecosystems make it a popular destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those seeking a tranquil retreat from the bustling city life.

Gulf of Mexico

Although not directly bordering Tennessee, the Gulf of Mexico has a significant impact on the state’s climate and natural resources. Located to the south of Tennessee, the Gulf of Mexico influences the state’s weather patterns, bringing warm air masses and occasional tropical storms. Additionally, the Gulf’s proximity provides opportunities for beach vacations and water-based activities, attracting residents and visitors alike to coastal destinations such as Gulfport and Biloxi. The Gulf of Mexico’s influence on Tennessee extends beyond its borders, making it an integral part of the state’s geographical context.

In conclusion, Tennessee is blessed with diverse and captivating geographical features that contribute to its natural beauty and appeal. From the majestic Appalachian Mountains to the mighty Mississippi River, the rugged Cumberland Plateau, and the influence of the Gulf of Mexico, these elements shape Tennessee’s landscape and offer a wide range of recreational activities and natural wonders for residents and tourists to enjoy.

Economic Relations

Trade and Commerce

Tennessee, located in the southeastern United States, shares its borders with eight states, making it a strategic hub for trade and commerce. The state’s proximity to these bordering states creates a unique economic advantage, fostering strong economic relations and facilitating the movement of goods and services.

Trade between Tennessee and its bordering states plays a crucial role in the state’s economy. The easy accessibility to neighboring markets allows for the exchange of various commodities, boosting economic growth and creating job opportunities. Industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and services benefit greatly from these trade relations.

Transportation and Infrastructure

The efficient transportation network and well-developed infrastructure in Tennessee significantly contribute to its economic relations with bordering states. The state is served by an extensive network of highways, railways, and waterways, facilitating the movement of goods and people.

Highways such as Interstate 40, Interstate 24, and Interstate 65 connect Tennessee with its neighboring states, providing seamless transportation for businesses and promoting interstate trade. In addition, the state’s railway system connects major cities and industrial centers, further enhancing the transportation of goods.

Tennessee’s river systems, including the Tennessee River and the Mississippi River, offer cost-effective and efficient modes of transportation for industries such as agriculture and manufacturing. These waterways allow for the easy shipment of goods to bordering states and beyond, boosting trade and commerce.

Tourism and Travel

The bordering states of Tennessee also contribute significantly to its tourism and travel industry. The rich cultural heritage, scenic beauty, and diverse attractions in these states attract millions of tourists each year, benefiting Tennessee’s economy.

Tennessee’s proximity to states like Kentucky, Georgia, and Virginia allows for convenient travel and encourages tourists to explore multiple destinations within the region. Visitors to Tennessee often include visits to nearby attractions in their itineraries, creating a positive economic impact for both Tennessee and its bordering states.

Moreover, collaboration between Tennessee and its neighboring states in promoting tourism and travel has led to joint marketing efforts. These initiatives aim to highlight the unique experiences and attractions offered by the entire region, encouraging tourists to explore beyond state borders and boosting the overall tourism industry.

In conclusion, Tennessee’s economic relations with its bordering states are multifaceted and mutually beneficial. Trade and commerce thrive due to the state’s strategic location, supported by a robust transportation network and infrastructure. Additionally, the tourism and travel industry benefits from the collaborative efforts of Tennessee and its neighboring states, attracting visitors and contributing to the overall economic growth of the region.

The bordering states of Tennessee play a crucial role in shaping the culture, economy, and history of the Volunteer State. From the majestic Appalachian Mountains in the east to the mighty Mississippi River in the west, Tennessee’s neighbors offer a diverse range of landscapes and experiences. Whether it’s exploring the vibrant music scenes of Nashville and Memphis or immersing oneself in the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, the states bordering Tennessee provide endless opportunities for adventure and discovery. As we bid adieu to this exploration of Tennessee’s neighboring states, we are reminded of the interconnectedness of our nation’s regions and the shared experiences that make each state unique.

Share This Post: