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Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

Michigan
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Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

We are coming from Nashville on our way home to Michigan thought to stop at the caves. Is a few hours worth stopping to do a tour. I have a 6 and an 8 yr. old.

Canada, Kentucky
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1. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

Hi Gigi, a few hours should be efficient time to do a tour. You will need to call ahead of time though and find out which tour you want to do and make reservations ahead of arriving or they will be sold out. There are a number of tours available and they can tell you what would be good.

Michigan
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2. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

Thanks for the info. I will do that.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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3. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

Hi Gigi,

You can read about the cave tours at this link:

www.nps.gov/maca/planyourvisit/cavetours.htm

Just click on each tour for a complete description. I have personal experience with the Historic and New Entrance Tours and would recommend them both. The rangers are very informative and do an excellent in describing the tour you are on. Their descriptions are very accurate, so if you feel uneasy after they speak to you, feel free to "back out," but worry...we had no problem with any of the tours, and I feel I am just average in fitness.

One thing to keep in mind about Mammoth...it's not a show cave known for its formations. Not all tours include viewing the few formations the cave has. It's really known for its size--thus the name "Mammoth." Some of the rooms are HUGE! However, some can be quite tight. Of course, there are over 300 miles of discovered passages.

The New Entrance Tour does allow you to see the Drapery Room where the formations are. The Historic Tour does not. There are tours for every age and fitness level.

Advance reservations for any tour are a must as KYMom said. You can reserve/pay on-line at recreation.gov.

You and the kids will love the cave! Enjoy.

Cadiz, Kentucky
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4. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

I'd never pass up the chance to see a National Park - and Mammoth Cave is no exception. Check out the link that Sirtravelplanner gave you - and I'd probably pick the shortest tour for kids the age of yours. And as Kymom said - it's DEFINITELY an advantage to make reservations ahead of time.

chicagoland
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5. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

Coming from Chicago to Ft Lauderdale and need an overnight stay with 3 kids, 6, 8,9....thought tour would be a great way to get out of the car for a few hours...dont know that we would stay in the national park over night, any recommendations on a hotel nearby??

Boston...
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6. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

Mammoth Cave is one doable stopping point, but Chattanooga makes a little more sense to me. Referencing GoogleMaps (so stops aren't included and assuming of course that you're doing it in two days), here are drive times.

Chicago -> Mammoth Cave: 6.5

Mammoth Cave -> Ft. Lauderdale: 15!

-or-

Chicago -> Chattanooga: 9.5

Chattanooga -> Ft. Lauderdale: 11.5

So it's clearly the better option to drive on to Chattanooga, whether or not you do that cave tour in Mammoth Cave. There's some neat stuff to see in Chattanooga that is worth considering. Rock City Gardens, the Tennessee Aquarium, and the Chattanooga Nature Center/Reflection Riding Arboretum(or just a walk on the river front) are all good leg stretcher options.

If you're breaking the drive into three days, then you could see Mammoth Cave -and- check out something in Chattanooga.

chicagoland
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7. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

We dont plan on driving straight through....too long. We can stay two nights along the way to Ft Lauderdale....trying to optomize visits at those overnights. We have even considered going the Savannah Ga route...but really, I think since my kids havent learned about the Civil War in depth yet...might not appreciate a hot historical walk in Mid July. I will check into suggestions....thanks

Boston...
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8. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

In that case, here's another possible itinerary. (I haven't been to Savannah but it's only an extra hour of driving to get to. Just from my history readings I know there's a lot more to Savannah than Civil War history. It was originally built as a philanthropist project banking on silkworms.) This is structured so that all your touring will be in the morning when the temperatures are comfortable, other than Mammoth which will be cool anyway since it's a cave.

Day 1: Leave Chicago in the earlier morning and drive to Chattanooga, stopping for a cave tour of Mammoth on the way. Arrive in Chattanooga in the evening.

Day 2: Enjoy a morning Chattanooga activity or two, then make your way down to Savannah.

Day 3: Morning in Savannah, drive down to Ft. Laud.

indiana
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9. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

no way

Boston...
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10. Re: Road trip, should we stop at Mammoth Caves on the way to MI

Sorry, but what do you mean when you write "no way"? Thanks for the clarification.

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