Skyline of Nashville
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Road Trips

Road Trip from Toronto to Nashville

By Dianne Titos | Published on 9 June 2022

If you are looking for a memorable vacation, a road trip from Toronto to Nashville takes us from the most populous city in Canada to the home of country music in the USA.

The 1,230-km road trip from Toronto to Nashville takes around 12 hours to drive nonstop. Passing by New York, Cleveland, Louisville, Toledo, and Bowling Green, you'll also see Lakes Ontario and Erie, Niagara Falls and Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Read on to learn more about what lies ahead on your international expedition, including the best route, where to stay, and our recommendations for things to see and do along the way.

How far is Nashville from Toronto and how long will the road trip take?

Comparison of road trip route options between Toronto and Nashville
Route Distance Driving Time
Direct route
765 miles 11 hours 50 minutes
Increased journey route 815 miles 12 hours 40 minutes

A road trip from Toronto to Nashville covers at least 1,230-km (765-miles), taking just short of 12 hours to complete the most direct route. However, our recommended route adds a slight detour to make it a more interesting and exciting trip.

The increased journey of 1,310-km (815-miles) takes a little over 12 hours. Adding to the length of the trip only adds an extra half hour, and certainly increases the number of memorable experiences to enjoy.

We suggest breaking the trip up a little, enabling you to maximize your time enjoying the attractions along the way. While it is doable in a day, we recommend doing it over the course of two or maybe even three.

View of Nathan Phillips Square and Toronto Sign in downtown at night, in Toronto
Start your journey in the beautiful Toronto.
Jon Bilous/Shutterstock.com

Best road trip route from Toronto to Nashville

Our road trip from Toronto to Nashville will take us around two of the Great Lakes, past two US National Parks, and through the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky, on the way to our destination in Tennessee.

The route is full of things to do and short detours will allow you to visit the Louisville Mega Cavern, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Cedar Point, one of the world's top amusement parks.

Be sure to allow plenty of time to take in the attractions along the way and deviate from the route if you have something specific to add to your itinerary (which might include one of our top picks, below).

Route trip from Toronto to Nashville

Set out on Queen Elizabeth Way south-west, around the west side of Lake Ontario, until you come to Ontario Highway 420 which takes you across Rainbow Bridge into America.

After clearing the border, take Rainbow Boulevard south until you come to John Daly Boulevard, which you'll turn right onto. You'll then proceed to cross a roundabout onto Niagara Scenic Parkway.

When you reach the I-190 head east, to its conclusion, where you'll switch to the I-90 south. From here, the rest of the journey is remarkably straightforward.

Follow the I-90 to Willoughby, just northeast of Cleveland, and exit it where the I-271 begins. Follow this for its entire 65-km (40-mile) duration, to just outside Medina, and switch to the I-71 south.

Stay on the I-71 south for 515 kilometers (320 miles) to Louisville, Kentucky before switching to the I-65 for the final leg of your journey to Nashville, Tennessee.

Best places to stop between Toronto and Nashville

With the potential for two stops on a road trip from Toronto to Nashville, it's an excellent idea to expand the journey and visit the two fabulous National Parks along the route.

Selecting an overnight destination in each park allows time to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the country, on our way between two big cities.

Enjoy Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Located just outside the city of Cleveland, 5 hours from Toronto, this stunning national park features forests, rivers, and a collection of around 100 waterfalls. The most notable one of these is the 65-foot tall Brandywine Falls.

This is a perfect place to take a break, see the great outdoors, and enjoy the wildlife before heading back onto the road. As for where to stay, the Country Inn And Suites by Radisson, Macedonia is located directly along our route, on the outskirts of the park.

This beautifully furnished hotel, that also features an indoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center, is the perfect option for a pampered stay. We'd say that it's the ideal place to relax and recover after a long day in the wilderness.

While in the local area, we'd also recommend walking the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail and stopping by the Canal Exploration Center, which details the 19th-century waterway's history and significance to the local area.

Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Take a minute to relax and listen to the waterfalls at Cuyahoga National Park.
Ashley Marie Best/Shutterstock.com

Explore Mammoth Cave National Park

The second national park on our trip is the more famous of the two and is around an hour and a half from your destination, Nashville. Mammoth Cave in Kentucky is the longest cave system in the world.

Whether you are an avid caver or just interested in the incredible natural wonders on our amazing planet, Mammoth Cave National Park is a location full of formations, scenery, and wildlife, that will endear itself to all.

For charming and upscale accommodation close to the park, we recommend the Grand Victorian Inn in nearby Park City. Located less than 5 minutes' drive from the park and cave entrances, this beautiful boutique hotel oozes charm and history. It's very clear that the owners have lovingly and painstakingly restored its every feature.

Enjoy beautiful views from the porch overlooking the mountains, indulge in the delicious home baking, and explore the many trails and outdoor pursuits right on the doorstep of this fabulous destination. You're sure to leave this place relaxed and refreshed, ready to hit the buzzing scene in Nashville!

Cove in Mammoth Cave National Park
A visit to Mammoth Cave National Park is an absolute must.
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Where to stay once you reach Nashville

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and a hub for entertainment and excitement. Downtown Nashville is brimming with music venues, eateries, arts and culture, and historic landmarks.

As the home of country music, a trip to the Grand ole Opry is a must. Book your ticket for an evening of live music, a bucket-list item for not only fans of country music, but music lovers in general.

Sample the nightlife with a visit to Broadway, with its vibrant bars, live country music, and delightful dining opportunities. See the city on an open-top bus tour, or take a hop-on hop-off trolley tour.

Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, the Sheraton Grand Downtown Nashville is a stunning place to end your journey. It has beautifully spacious and comfortable rooms and magnificent views of the city.

The hotel is perfectly situated, only a short walk to the many restaurants and attractions that Nashville has to offer. The Ryman Auditorium and Johnny Cash Museum are only a 5-minute walk away.

Nightlife and neon signs on Lower Broadway Area in Nashville
Explore the nightlife in Nashville at the end of your trip.
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Things to see on a road trip from Toronto to Nashville

With over 20 hours of driving on a road trip from Toronto to Nashville, there is plenty to see to keep things interesting.

The following places are our personal top picks of the best attractions along the way, so if you want to make your road trip as exciting as possible, we highly recommend checking out as many as you can.

  1. Lake Ontario - The 13th largest lake in the world, take a boat trip and enjoy the recreational activities on offer all year round.
  2. Niagara Falls – A collection of three waterfalls that makes up the most powerful falls in North America, famous throughout the world.
  3. Buffalo, New York - affectionately known as the city of lights, a regular destination for tourists visiting Niagara Falls.
  4. Lake Erie - The 11th largest lake in the world, visit during the summer months and enjoy the sandy beaches, boating, kayaking, and swimming.
  5. Cleveland, Ohio – A city surrounded by locations of natural beauty makes it a fabulous tourist destination. Home to the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
  6. Cuyahoga Valley National Park – See some of the best forests, rivers, and waterfalls in the state of Ohio, and an abundance of wildlife, including the legendary bald eagle.
  7. Columbus, Ohio - Named after legendary explorer Christopher Columbus, it is one of the greenest big cities in the country.
  8. Cincinnati, Ohio – On the banks of the Ohio River, pivotal in the abolition of slavery. Boasts a rich cultural history and is home to many museums.
  9. Louisville, Kentucky -Visit Fort Knox, The Jim Beam American Stillhouse, or The Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.
  10. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky - The largest known cave system in the world. Home to an incredible collection of bats and rare wildlife.
  11. Bowling Green – The former capital, full of historic sights and locations, including the Kentucky Museum and the Historic Railpark and Train Museum.
  12. Detroit – Nicknamed “Motor City” and the birthplace of Motown Records. Visit the original headquarters and relive the chart-topping history.
  13. Toledo, Ohio – Home to the Toledo Museum of Art, with a vast collection of modern and Renaissance work. Toledo Zoo has polar bears, rides, and an aquarium.
  14. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation – Located in Dearborn, dedicated to American life and ideas, including the Rosa Parks bus and JFK's limo.
  15. National Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton – Aviation museum with a flight simulator, 3d theater, and war-themed exhibits.
  16. Nashville – The home of country music, visit the Grand Old Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Detroit skyline of the city
Visit the Motor city and listen to some Motown in Detroit.
harry mtike/Shutterstock.com

Best Time To Go On A Road Trip From Toronto To Nashville

A road trip from Toronto to Nashville is enjoyable year-round but is at its best during the warmer months in the summer.

Vacations are usually more fun in the sun (unless you're looking for a snowy trip of course) and luckily, Nashville doesn't suffer from the oppressive high temperatures of cities a little further south.

You'll find average highs of 89 degrees Fahrenheit in July, Nashville's hottest month.

Summer is also the best time for our roadside attractions. With places like Niagara Falls and the national parks along our route, going in summer ensures that all routes and activities will be open and available.

Visiting Nashville in spring will allow you to take part in the East Nashville Beer Festival, enjoy Tin Pan South, the world's largest songwriter festival, and also catch Nashville Fashion week.

You can begin your journey whenever you like of course, so plan your stops in advance and get ready to embark on a truly remarkable journey that will create memories that will last a lifetime.