Dayton was originally called Smith's Crossroads when it was settled in the early 1800s. In 1877, residents renamed it Dayton after the city in Ohio, and the town was officially incorporated in 1903.
Historically, Dayton is best known as the site of the 1925 Scopes Trial, which represented a pivotal moment for American education. The trial scrutinized the issue of whether evolution should be taught in public schools. Defendant John T. Scopes was a local science teacher found in violation of the Butler Act, a Tennessee law that prohibited teachers from denying biblical creation.
Despite Scopes winning the trial, the Butler Act remained on the books until 1967, and teaching evolution in public schools wasn't fully embraced until the 1960s. Today, Dayton is best known for this historic event. In fact, the Rhea County Courthouse, site of the infamous trial, houses an important museum every visitor should check out.
Aside from its history, Dayton offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, hiking, dining, and other forms of recreation. Whatever your reason for visiting, you'll want to find the right hotel that allows you to explore everything this corner of eastern Tennessee has to offer.
When are the best times to visit Dayton, TN?
There's no bad time to visit Dayton. If you're hoping to avoid tourists, plan your trip during the fall from late August through November. With local children back in school, you can enjoy crowd-free recreation, attractions, and dining throughout the region. You can also experience the season's colorful foliage and harvest-themed festivals. Be sure to pack layered clothing, however, as autumn in Tennessee can feel quite chilly, especially in the evenings.
Winters in Dayton are cold with increased chances of rain. While a wintertime getaway in Tennessee isn't ideal, visitors can enjoy various holiday events. If the weather is nice, for instance, you might take a drive down to Chattanooga to board the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's North Pole Limited Christmas train ride.
Spring in Dayton is lovely with moderate weather and budding flora galore. With temperatures slowly heating up, spring provides the perfect opportunity for exploring outdoor areas like Point Park or Laurel-Snow State Natural Area. Just be sure to pack an umbrella, as Dayton sees an average of 55 inches of rain per year.
Summer is peak tourist season across eastern Tennessee, and while you're more likely to encounter lines at local attractions, Dayton doesn't experience the influx of tourists like nearby Chattanooga. Even so, summertime hotel rates in Dayton are higher than they are in the off-season, which is something to keep in mind when planning your trip.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Dayton, TN:
Dayton by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs demonstrating mean price patterns by star rating class in Dayton, TN. You can use these illustrations to calculate the cheapest time to book in Dayton throughout the year.
Where are the luxury hotels near Dayton, TN?
If you're looking for more upscale accommodations near Dayton, you've got a few options.
Hampton Inn Athens is a highly rated hotel near Regional Park that offers a seasonal outdoor pool, a fitness center, a 24-hour front desk, a business center, laundry services, and a complimentary breakfast buffet. Guest rooms feature 32-inch LCD TVs with cable programming, wired and wireless internet access, hair dryers, coffee makers, and hair dryers. Free newspapers are available upon request.
Located about 15 miles from Dayton, Howard Johnson Hotel by Wyndham Spring City is another popular accommodation with stellar reviews. The property boasts an on-site restaurant with 24-hour room service, a complimentary continental breakfast, a business center, free newspapers, event space, a picnic area, and a fitness center. Guest rooms feature mini fridges, microwaves, cable TV, DVD players, hair dryers, and complimentary toiletries.
Holiday Inn Express Athens is a solid choice close to McMinn County Living Heritage Museum. The hotel features a range of amenities, including a fitness center, an indoor pool, a spa tub, a business center, laundry services, ample parking, and a complimentary breakfast buffet. The comfortable guest rooms include flat-screen TVs, cable programming, microwaves, mini fridges, Wi-Fi, coffee makers, and ironing facilities.
What are the budget hotels near Dayton, TN?
3 Star Average Prices: $95.72
With limited accommodations inside Dayton, finding an affordable hotel may seem difficult. Staying flexible in your travel plans and expanding your search to nearby areas, however, can help you find the best rates.
Americas Best Value Inn Dayton is the most affordable hotel in Dayton. The roadside accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, ample parking, free wireless internet access, and ticket assistance. Guest rooms are basic but comfortable, featuring mini refrigerators, microwaves, cable TV, hair dryers, toiletries, ironing facilities, and partially open bathrooms.
If you don't mind staying a little farther out, reserve a room at Super 8 by Wyndham Athens. Located about 20 miles from Dayton, this budget-friendly hotel features a complimentary continental breakfast, an outdoor pool, and free Wi-Fi access. Guest rooms feature TVs with cable programming, mini fridges, microwaves, shower/tub combinations, toiletries, and ironing facilities. Extra rollaway beds are available upon request for an additional fee.
Another option in Athens is Scottish Inns, which offers oversized vehicle parking, free Wi-Fi, guest laundry facilities, a seasonal outdoor pool, and a quiet location. Guest rooms include premium cable TV and queen- or king-sized beds. Depending on which room you book, you can also take advantage of a mini fridge, hair dryer, iron, and ironing board. Each guest can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast each morning from 6:30 to 9:30.
2 Star Average Prices: $70.49
What are the best hotels in the Dayton, TN for discounts?
Seniors, military service members, government employees, and AAA members can save on room rates throughout eastern Tennessee. Simply book your preferred special rate when making your reservation and present proof of eligibility at check-in.
Best Western Dayton is a conveniently located hotel offering special rates to military families. Situated on Rhea County Highway, this pet-friendly property features an indoor pool, express check-in and check-out, a business center, and a complimentary breakfast buffet. Relax in your comfortable guest room featuring everything you need to enjoy your stay, including a mini fridge, a microwave, free Wi-Fi, a coffee maker, a desk, and a hair dryer.
Military and government personnel can also book special rates at Holiday Inn Express Dayton. This highly rated accommodation features event facilities, a business center, a gift shop, an indoor pool, a fitness center, and a fireplace in the lobby. And don't forget to enjoy your free breakfast buffet each morning. Guest rooms include 32-inch flat-screen TVs, cable programming, microwaves, mini fridges, Wi-Fi, hair dryers, desks, and complimentary toiletries.
AAA members can enjoy discounted rates at Days Inn by Wyndham Athens. Located near Tennessee Wesleyan College, this hotel offers a complimentary continental breakfast, an outdoor seasonal pool, free Wi-Fi access, and ample parking. Guest rooms include flat-screen TVs with cable programming, coffee makers, shower/tub combinations, hair dryers, and free toiletries. Extra rollaway beds are available upon request.
What hotels in Dayton, TN have the best value?
The area around Dayton offers a number of midrange hotels priced to give you plenty of value for your dollar.
Sleep Inn & Suites near Swinging Bridge Park is a great option for family getaways. The hotel offers a business center, a 24-hour front desk, a fitness center, a gift shop, and a complimentary full breakfast. The comfortable guest rooms feature 42-inch flat-screen TVs, cable entertainment, work desks, ironing facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi, mini fridges, and microwaves.
Situated near Regional Park about 20 miles from Dayton, Comfort Inn Athens is a customer favorite serving up a delicious breakfast buffet each morning. Featured amenities include a spa tub, a ballroom, free Wi-Fi, a business center, and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. Guest rooms feature plasma TVs with cable programming, coffee makers, ironing facilities, and phones with free local calls.
Quality Inn near Cleveland State Community College is an affordable highway accommodation offering pet-friendly rooms and an outdoor pool. Enjoy a tasty breakfast, free Wi-Fi access, and business services. Each room features premium bedding, a coffee maker, a hair dryer, a mini fridge, a microwave, and modern decor.
What are the things to do near Dayton, TN?
When visiting Dayton, Tennessee, be sure to check out the free museum at the Rhea County Museum at the local courthouse. Open Monday through Friday, the museum features exhibits, news clippings, and photographs of the famous Scopes Trial. The restored villa-style courthouse itself was built in 1891 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, making it a must-see attraction for architecture buffs.
If you're looking for a place to walk, fish, or picnic, head to Swinging Bridge Park. The pedestrian-only park features a paved walking trail, a playground, beautiful wildflowers, and plenty of wildlife, making it a great spot for families.
With so much to explore in this part of eastern Tennessee, Dayton serves as the ideal home base for experiencing nature and tasting the local cuisine. Whatever your itinerary includes, research your options carefully so you can find the perfect hotel that meets both your needs and budget. While you may need to look outside Dayton to find the right hotel, the area is brimming with options.
FAQs about hotels in Dayton
How much does a cheap hotel in Dayton cost per night?
In the last year, a 2 star hotel in Dayton can be as cheap as $70.49 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a 3 star hotel in Dayton cost per night?
In the last year, the average 3 star hotel in Dayton has been $95.72 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)