Tennessee Vacation

Tennessee Vacation

This is an oldie, but a goodie, and I would be remiss if I didn’t include these sites. That’s right — this is more than one site — a family of sites that fall under the Tennessee Vacation banner. The credit of these sites go to designsensory for the design and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development for the foresight to embrace the web.

Main Site

The latest iteration main Tennessee Vacation site has been around since at least 2007, if not longer. For a three-year-old site it still manages to look fresh and relevant for the user. The design takes a photo-realistic approach, and I think it works. It actually makes me want to go to Tennessee! The presentation is arguably cluttered but perhaps intentional; it makes it look like there is a lot to do in the Volunteer State.

Tell a Story

Seasons in Tennessee Fig 1. Seasonal Sites.

The main site does it’s job well, but the site takes it further. Almost every quarter, designsensory comes up with a new design for one of their four seasonal subdomains. Every redesign is a fresh take, and really deserve more attention from the design community at large. Take, for example, this spring’s seasonal site. The site tells me that Tennessee is beautiful in the springtime, and that there is much more do to than just country music. Extra brownie points for using the slogan (Think Spring. Think Green. Be Seen) as the navigation.

It’s Not Flash!

Yet another site that shows Tennessee is light years ahead of other states in the tourism web department is the Tennessee Trails and Byways site. Head on over and you’ll find a site taking full advantage of JavaScript to create a parallax overlay of trails across the state. Designsensory was told to “have fun with this one”, and make it “memorable”. The result really is a fun site — not only does it introduce users to new trails, it takes the experience into Facebook and allows the community to contribute resources that make hiking there even better.


The main goals of the site was to attract visitors to the state. I think the design has achieved that by telling an attractive story, tied together by consistent design and content. Now I don’t have any statistics to show whether it has helped tourism, but if Google is any indication, it has done its job. As of this writing, the Tennessee Vacation site ranks number 1 in a search for “Tennessee”.

Tennessee may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think about US states. But the Tourism Department has shown that they are serious about the web, and that’s something other states should look up to.


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