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Old 12-13-2012, 05:35 PM
 
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Just to echo what another poster mentioned, there is a huge contrast between the Smokey National Park and Gatlinburg. The park is beautiful, peaceful, a delight to visit. Gatlinburg is none of those things. It is an endless processin of fast food, gas stations, motels, and Ripley Believe it or Not type tourist attractions. I like Chattanooga far better than Nashville or Knoxville. Rock City, the Aquarium, the Incline, and Point Park are all great for people of all ages. They also have a cool kids museum near the aquarium.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:18 PM
 
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If you are passing through Knoxville at mealtime I highly recommend heading to Market square for great food and some people watching. An overnight stop is in order if there is a concert you'd like to see at eigher the Bijou or Tennessee theaters. They are attractions in and of themselves.

You can get to Maryville/Townsend without going through Knoxville but downtown Knox isn't much out of the way. It's your decision if you want to add another largeish city to your itinerary.

Cades cove is a very popular driving loop in the smokies. It has old pioneer cabins, lots of deer and an occasional bear sighting.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
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Originally Posted by creeksitter View Post

Cades cove is a very popular driving loop in the smokies. It has old pioneer cabins, lots of deer and an occasional bear sighting.
This. In my opinion, this is a must see and cuts to the heart of the way life was in the Appalachians. If that fascinates you then the Museum of Appalachia is a possibility, too. It's northwest of Knoxville, though.

We really don't know what you enjoy visiting.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by TravelChange2012 View Post
As part of my Southeast trip, I'm going to TN in April/May . I choose Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga. I've never been there, so I really have no idea if those are good places to see.

Can someone tell me:

a) if these are great places to see
b) suggest things to do in each area

I'm in my early 30's --- and like fishing, outdoors, hiking, sports, eating healthy food, drinking unique beer, drinking wine, bars/music/jazz all great.

I'll have a rental car the entire time - and I plan to fly to areas where the drive is more than 4+ hours. And there's no time limit on my trip.

Thank you all.

Judging from your list above I'd say sitting in traffic following other tourists at 2 miles per hour at Cades Cove is probably not what you would like but a lot of people seem to love doing just that. For those who prefer seeing nature on foot and while moving there are, however, tons of hiking trails in the area.

Gatlinburg hiking trails - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails | Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Trails - Gatlinburg Hiking


Once you've hiked you'll have a bigger thirst for that unique beer and you can stop in at a local Smoky Mountain Brewery (there are 4 of them between Knoxville and the park): Smoky Mountain Brewery They serve pretty decent food to go with that beer.


If you want to do more driving you could take the trip through the park towards North Carolina and Cherokee, or make a loop going out through Maryville on route 129 ( part of which is called the "Dragon" and popular with motorcycle and sport car enthusiasts for its mountain curves) and take the Cherohala Skyway back through Tellico towards Knoxville. Its a beautiful way to see the mountains. Cherohala Skyway, mile high legend from Robbinsville NC to Tellico Plains TN and there are a handful of shorter tails you can take a walk on to stretch your legs. If you time it to get there for lunch in Tellico you can stop in at the Tellico Grains Bakery: Tellico Grains Bakery of Tellico Plains Tennessee

If you like professional arena football you could probably catch the Knighthawks game without too much traffic to battle. 2013 Regular Season Schedule

Knoxville also has other annual events that might be of interest. Check with the following when you know the days you expect to be in the area to see what else might be happening: Local Events and Conventions in Knoxville | The Official Site of Knoxville
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelChange2012 View Post
As part of my Southeast trip, I'm going to TN in April/May . I choose Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga. I've never been there, so I really have no idea if those are good places to see.

Can someone tell me:

a) if these are great places to see
b) suggest things to do in each area

I'm in my early 30's --- and like fishing, outdoors, hiking, sports, eating healthy food, drinking unique beer, drinking wine, bars/music/jazz all great.

I'll have a rental car the entire time - and I plan to fly to areas where the drive is more than 4+ hours. And there's no time limit on my trip.

Thank you all.
You don't want to go to any of those places based on your interests. Instead, visit some of Tennessee's excellent state parks. Tennessee is one of the most beautiful states in the union. It has a lot of natural beauty, miles and miles of hiking trails and great fishing. Tennessee's major cities are located so that none of them are more than four hours apart when traveling by car (Memphis is about 8 hours from Knoxville but Nashville is half way between - ditto Chattanooga.) Reelfoot Lake is a very unique place because it was created by an earthquake. Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee both have some really beautiful parks. April/May is one of the best times of year to visit Tennessee.

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Originally Posted by Spikett View Post
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is east of Knoxville and straddles the North Carolina state line. They are part of the Appalachian chain which runs down through Chattanooga and into northern GA and Alabama. So there are mountains in the Chattanooga area and to the east - but to really see the GSM you need to go to the Gatlinburg/Townsend TN area. You can take I-75 from the Chatt area to Knoxville then head east on I-40 (or vice versa).

Chattanooga is very nice. Lots of outdoors things to do in the area. Very pretty.

The Great Smoky Mountains start east of Chattanooga and run to the northeast and become the Blue Ridge in Virginia. They're not part of the Appalachian Chain, which goes all the way to Maine. The Appalachian Trail parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway, which starts near Murphy, NC.

Depending on you are coming from, you might want to fly into Memphis, then drive across the state making stops along the way. I-40 will take you from Memphis to Nashville, with Jackson in between, and from Nashville you can either go to Knoxville on I-40 or take I-24 to Chattanooga and on to Atlanta. As far as the Smokies go, they are actually mostly in North Carolina although they are partly in East Tennessee. Personally, I'd save them for another time. If you go south of Jackson, you'll find Pinson Mounds, a group of very interesting Indian mounds. Natchez Trace State Park is east of Jackson, but to be honest, it's mostly kudzu now. Pilot Knob is a park on the Tennessee River near Camden and north of I-40. If you have an interest in history, Shiloh Battlefield is near Savannah and south of I-40. There are a number of parks in Middle Tennessee. I've not been there myself, but I understand that Falls Creek Falls is a very pretty place. Basically, I'd advise you to follow I-40 and then take I-24 to Chattanooga and pick what you want to see along that route. I've driven across Tennessee many, many times and all routes offer excellent scenery.

I should also mention that Tennessee has excellent fishing for everything from bream to lake trout. Kentucky Lake cuts across the state from Mississippi to Kentucky and is great for crappie, bass and catfish. You'll find trout streams further east. All of the state parks have fishing and you can find fishing lodges around the various lakes in the Tennessee River System and elsewhere in the state.

Last edited by Beretta; 02-24-2013 at 07:27 PM..
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