The Smokies is worth a trip in itself. Then again, most of Tennessee is. ;)
Which part of the state are you driving through? Memphis, Nashville, and East TN all have you covered for sightseeing. The best nightlife is in Memphis and Nashville, though there's plenty to do in Chattanooga up to a certain hour, and there's always the City Cafe after that. And of course, for scenery you're looking at East Tennessee. If you're driving south through Knoxville and Chattanooga and only have a day or half day, here are some attractions to look into:
1. Museum of Appalachia outside of Knoxville
2. Lost Sea in Sweetwater and Mayfield Dairy in Athens. Between Chattanooga and Knoxville.
3. Chattanooga and Chickamauga National Military Park
4. Tennessee Aquarium & Tennessee River
5. Lookout Mountain
Basically we're going on a road trip from Milwaukee to Orlando, visiting some family there. I'm from Denmark, my boyfriend is American, which is why we've decided to make this a road trip so I can get to see some of this great big country! We're 26 and 27 with no kids. Love the outdoors. And we'll be leaving as soon as possible.
We have about a week to spend on the way down and only a couple of days going back. The route through Kentucky hasn't been fully decided yet, but in Tennessee I think we'll make a stop in Nashville and then head on to Pigeon Forge. We might be spending as much as 3 nights there, renting a cabin and hiking in the mountains.
Any specific must sees around those areas and scenic routes to take between them would be greatly appreciated! Also, I'm looking for recommendations on what to do at night in Pigeon Forge.
Thank you for the helpful reply : )Edited: 21 March 2010, 20:06
Driving from Wisconsin to Eastern Tennessee is right on your way. About 15 hours driving. The eastern areas of Tennessee are the most diverse with mountains, rivers, waterfalls, spring flowers and the topography of the land is varied and beautiful.
The following is a list of our top local attractions. We are happy to answer any of your questions about local additional information.
1) Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum www.tvrail.com
The largest operating railroad museum in the state.
2) Coolidge Park. This beautiful park features the antique carousel that has been restored and your child has a choice of 52 beautiful carved animals to ride. Docked on the Tennessee River at the park is the Delta Queen that is becoming a hotel.
Along the river on the south shore is the Riverwalk, that follows the Tennessee with beautiful scenery and interesting sights along the way. Walk across the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge from the South Shore to the North Shore. www.chattanooga.gov/prac/30_1095.htm
4) Rock City Gardens Lookout Mountain. For the young and the old! www.seerockcity.com
For additional information you can check:
CHATTANOOGA VISITORS CENTER:
Downtown Electric Shuttle - CARTA
... Electric Shuttle is the easiest way to get around Downtown Chattanooga. ... Electric buses run daily* about every 5 minutes from the Chattanooga Choo Choo ..
What kind of night-life are you looking for? Downtown Chattanooga has alot to offer.
Thanks for all that great information! I had actually been told there was a lookout tower in the Smokey Mountains that was worth a visit, but I couldn't find it. I'm pretty sure the Rock City Gardens is what I was looking for : )Edited: 22 March 2010, 06:50
Once you get south-east of Nashville I 24 about half way into Chattanooga, the scenery is beautiful. The approach to Chattanooga is the same. Mountains. streams, and will enter around Moccasin Bend . Beautiful!! The Tennessee River flows through the city, dividing the north and south side.
There are many small varied shops, cafes, restaurants and beautiful walks along the river and Bluff View area. There are several local breweries here, Big River and Terminal. The best is very good, but not as fabulous as your Wisconsin beers. Several pubs downtown and on the south side.
You should enjoy your visit. Check out your road route carefully. There is a way to stay on the interstates, avoid Chicago and only drive through Nashville. This saves road time.
If you need any additional information, please let me know. Happy to help!!
Because of my personal tastes I'm obligated to check to make sure you know what you're getting into with Pigeon Forge. It's essentially a long, unattractive highway with a series of motels, attractions, and strip malls on its sides, surrounded by ridges with way too man cabins on them. Some people like it for the mindless entertainment and occasional aspects that are relevant and contributive to the Smokies region, but just as many (including myself) find it a blemish. Check to make sure it's you're type of thing. The national park itself is unbelievably rich in scenic settings, nature, and even settler history. Super awesome.
And my suggestion: http://bit.ly/cBofsh
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I do not know where in Wisconsin you are originating, but we drive from MSP to Chattanooga about once, every other year. We have a great route, that is all interstate, and literally eliminates all the cities except Nashville.
It is the easiest and works out to be the shortest. To head west toward Kansas and Missouri, is not the best way.