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Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

Seaford, UK
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Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

My wife and I are planning to fly in and out of Atlanta from the UK in either late August or early September pick up a car and go. The question is where to go and what should we see? Apart from the obvious ones of Charleston, Savannah and the coast we are open to suggestions.

We are in our mid sixties and reasonably fit and want to see as much as is sensible in the time available. Whilst I am happy driving in the US I don't want to be spending all day every day in the car.

Thanks in anticipation

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

Here are some suggestions-

Atlanta

Savannah

Charleston

Asheville

Great Smoky Mts. National Park

Nashville

Memphis

Tupelo

Vicksburg

Natchez

New Orleans

Mobile/Gulf Shores

Atlanta

This route will limit driving each day and give you a mix of history, culture, beach, scenery, good food, etc. If you need specific suggestions for each city just let me know.

It will be very warm at this time of the year here and there is always the possibility of hurricanes in the Gulf or Atlantic but can always adjust your schedule if that happens.

Seaford, UK
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2. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

Thanks PeachBelle, that is a great help. I had no idea all that would be doable. I'll sit down with a map and try to make sense of it all and come back to you later if i may?

Marina, California
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3. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

With the time of year, I would go north. Charleston and Savannah should be seen, regardless, if you've never been there. They'll be hot, but it's still worth it. But I would hit the Smokies, Asheville, Shenandoah Valley, DC, Mount Vernon, Virginia Beach/Norfolk, Outer Banks, etc. There's a lot to see, so it really depends on what you like.

For instance, you could head to the New River Gorge in West Virginia for tubing, a bit of hiking and maybe some rafting. You could go to Chincoteague to see the wild horses. You could go to colonial Williamsburg to see the first permanent English settlement and the living history there. You could visit the naval museum and ships at Norfolk. You could visit Mount Vernon and Monticello, home of two of the first three American presidents. You could visit a number of Civil War battlefields, if that peaks your interest. You could spend time in the cities: Atlanta has quite a bit to do, as does Baltimore, and Chattanooga is a really underrated city.

If it were me, I would pick a few (4-5) must-see sites for you both and then arrange the trip around that. It's easy to arrange a great trip once you have a few starting points.

Hope that helps.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

Great ideas from colinaz too but if you go north and want to do a round trip out of Atlanta and avoid the very expensive one way car rental fees then you will have a very long drive back from Washington, DC. It normally takes us about 10 hours to drive from DC to Atlanta. Of course you could break up the trip and do the VA and DC part then come back down the coast and do Charleston and Savannah and then it would only be about 4 hours from Savannah to Atlanta.

I think it depends on what you want to see- colonial history and museums, capitol, etc. in DC or the deep south with an emphasis on music, food, and southern history.

I am sure whatever you decide you will have a great visit.

Edited: 20 January 2013, 23:43
Chula Vista...
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5. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

Hi,

As far as the timing of your trip, we have a major US holiday -- Labor Day -- the first Monday of September (2 Sept 2013). Many people will have that day off (but most shops, restaurants, and attractions will be open).

That weekend (31 Aug - 2 Sep) is the unofficial end to the summer travel season, and many in the US will be traveling that weekend as their last summer "fling." Reservations will be required, especially in popular locations. After that weekend, most kids will be back in school, and the crowds at many popular places begin to diminish.

I'd recommend scheduling your trip after 2 September if possible.

As far as places to visit, PeachBelle and colinaz have given you some great suggestions and I don't think you could go wrong with either. I'd throw in a couple of other ideas:

Pittsburgh / Mill Run, Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh has an interesting downtown scene and about an hour and a half away is Frankl Lloyd Wright's iconic "Fallingwater" home.

http://www.visitpittsburgh.com/

http://www.fallingwater.org/

Lexington / Louisville - Heart of Kentucky horse country. Mammoth Caves are near Louisville, too.

http://www.nps.gov/maca/index.htm

http://www.gotolouisville.com/index.aspx

http://www.visitlex.com/

Cincinnati / Newport, Kentucky (cities on opposite sides of the Ohio River) - Cincinnati's Freedom Center tells the story of the Underground Railroad and slaves moving north to freedom during the Civil War. It also hosts the largest Oktoberfest in America on 20-22 September. Newport has a great aquarium.

http://www.cincinnatiusa.com/

http://www.newportaquarium.com/

http://www.oktoberfestzinzinnati.com/

Enjoy your planning!

Edited: 20 January 2013, 23:46
Seaford, UK
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6. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

Thanks all.

Gives us a lot of things to think about especially the timing. Hadn't thought of the holiday angle so early September looks favourite.

May I ask a follow up question? How long should I allow to see Charleston and Savannah properly?

Thanks again

Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

3-4 days for Charleston and 2-3 days for Savannah.

Lewes, United...
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8. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

I think you've had lots of great suggestions already, so it is very much up to you now to decide whether you head north or south from Atlanta, I'd just suggest you don't try and do it all and squeeze everything in. Arriving on or after Labor Day would be my recommendation. September will still be very warm absolutely everywhere, but the humidity will be easing a little in the south, if that's the direction you head. You will need to be a little bit careful of keeping a watch out for weather reports at it will be hurricane season everywhere suggested, and perhaps have some flexibility in the plans, but I don't think you need to worry too much about that.

Another benefit of travelling after Labor Day is that except for very popular tourist destinations or anywhere with a local event on, you probably wouldn't need to book all your accommodation, so you can be as flexible as you'd like. Also prices are generally lower after that date, plus schools are back everywhere, too, so the tourist attractions and beach areas will be less crowded.

Whichever you go for, I'd always recommend having Charleston and Savannah in your plans, they are just such nice places to visit, and nowhere else is like those cities. I do agree with PeachBelle's durations for visiting, too.

Do you have your flights sorted? Do you need any advice or suggestions for finding a hire car? Are you familiar with driving in the USA?

SWT

Seaford, UK
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9. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

Thank you SWT - I see we are almost neighbours!

Savannah and Charleston are givens and I fancy the smokey mountains as well. Our days of trying to do everything at once are long gone and I think we will try to do a few of the other interesting suggestions that don't involve driving for ever and a day.

Driving in the US is not an issue for me and I have done it several times now and similarly car hire. I prefer not to leave that to chance and will arrange it from the UK although I accept that may not necessarily be the cheapest option

Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: Three week fly drive from Atlanta - what to see

Just let us know if you need more help or have any questions. By the way my avatar is from the Great Smoky Mts. NP this past summer.