What to See at Rock City
Rock City is an iconic tourist attraction in the South. Everyone in the southern states knows about Rock City, whether or not they’ve ever visited, because of stories from family members or from seeing the famous ads on the sides and roofs of barns. It’s like a rite of passage to visit Rock City for vacation.
You may have seen a barn that reads, “SEE ROCK CITY” on the side or the roof. This advertising began back in the 1930s, and can be seen on barns, new and old, today. I’ve also seen it on billboards, Christmas ornaments, and birdhouses. I can remember thinking, “One day, I’ll see what all the fuss is about.”
So, just what can you see at Rock City? Boulders, crevices, gnomes, neon fairy tale characters, and a swinging bridge make up Rock City. It’s located at Lookout Mountain, which is actually in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Rock City’s address is Georgia. From the lookout at Lover’s Leap, a sign says you can see seven states. There are arrows, but it doesn’t help. Distant trees in one state look just like distant trees in another.
If you don’t live in an area with mountains, you’ll appreciate the massive size of the boulders. I love walking next to the cool, smooth stone and squeezing through some of the narrow passages (called Needle’s Eye and Fat Man Squeeze). Heights are not my thing, so the swinging bridge is always crossed rather quickly.
A waterfall cascades down the side of Lover’s Leap. This particular area of Rock City is probably my favorite. The views are gorgeous, and you can actually see a See Rock City barn from here!
I like the natural beauty of Rock City more than the kitschy gnomes and fairy tale scenes. I know, I know….I’m supposed to love all the crazy roadside oddities, but it just makes Rock City seem like more of a tourist trap.
I’m totally happy with a quick walk-through of the gardens, seeing the rock formations on the way. The real gem is definitely Lover’s Leap with its view and waterfall.
See Related: Ruby Falls: An Underground Wonder in Tennessee
Most people see Ruby Falls and Rock City on the same day or during the same trip. You can purchase combination tickets to save a little money. We have never done the Incline Railway and do not plan on it. Doesn’t seem worth the price to us.
However, if you’d like to skip the crowds and still get an amazing view from Lookout Mountain, you can head even further up to Point Park, which is part of the National Park Service. At this time of writing, entrance to Point Park is $5 per person, and the pass is valid for up to seven days.
Because Rock City and its barns are so iconic, we think a “See Rock City” birdhouse or ornament would make a perfect souvenir. I happen to have a See Rock City birdhouse!
Do you think Rock City is underrated or overrated? Do you or a family member remember visiting the area as a kid? Are you a fan of the gnomes and fairy tale characters? Can you pick out the seven states? We’d love to hear from you, so let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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Jennifer is the founder of Just Chasing Rabbits travel blog. She lives in Mississippi with husband/travel companion, Mark, and three fur babies. After obtaining a BA degree in studio art and working in the field of photography for years, Jenni has combined her love of travel and photography to form this blog. Mark and Jenni share their experiences in hopes of inspiring others to have wonderful adventures and see the world.
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