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Best time to visit?

Dundalk, Ireland
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Best time to visit?

I am in the very early stages of planning a trip to the US, and am trying to figure out if there is an optimum time between the winter thaw and the summer tourist crush I can take advantage of.

My general plan is:

A few days in Washington DC staying with relatives.

I ideally would then spend about ten days travelling the length of the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway all the way down to the Smokies with many diversions and overnights en route before returning to DC to fly home.

I hope to make this trip sometime between late March and June. Would the mountain roads be ok in March? Is this route busy all year round?

I am trying to strike a balance between general weather conditions and over-crowded roads/destinations.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.

Any Beach
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for Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, West Virginia
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1. Re: Best time to visit?

Weather-wise you should be fine. Could always have a late March/early April snowstorm, but chances are slim. The only thing, Easter will be April 4, so there might be more traffic with Spring Break vacationers..the week before and after Easter.

Also...Cherry Blossom time in Washington DC is a huge event. Not sure of the exact dates...but usually around first week in April..(which will be Easter time)This could be good or bad..good to see the beautiful trees..bad because of all the tourists.

Hope this helps a little.

NC
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2. Re: Best time to visit?

I think mid to late April is the best time.

Charlotte, North...
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for North Carolina
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3. Re: Best time to visit?

Spring in the mountains is always later than other areas in this part of the country; so if you're wanting to enjoy our mountains in all their beautiful spring blooming glory, you'd be better off planning for early/mid May. I went to college in the northern NC mountains in Boone, NC; our semester ended in early/mid May just as things were getting beautiful up there. (school age children in our part of the country don't get out for summer vacation until early-mid June, so it won't be peak vacation time in mid-May.) Here's a link to a list of flowers and when they bloom each year in our mountains; from mid/late April to fall frost there's always something blooming. http://www.nps.gov/archive/blri/bloom.htm

As for Washington, DC, I'm usually a big avoider of vacation crowds, as I've told my friends my philosophy on planning vacation trips is the "zig-zag" philosphy. I "zig" when the masses of people are "zagging". (examples: I go to Disney World in January; the Florida Keys in the summer and fall; and enjoy our NC beaches in the spring and fall.) However when it comes to D.C. and the Cherry Blossom festival, I love being right there in those crowds, walking everywhere; it just makes visiting D.C. more festive. The cherry trees are just beautiful and there are so many extra, fun activities and events going on then; I highly recommend.

Ohio
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for Road Trips
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4. Re: Best time to visit?

we were in the Smokies this past spring. Opted for late April. Late April thru May are quiet times before school kids are out, but weather is really mild. It also gets crowded around Easter/spring breaks, so... late April safely bypasses those. We only travel off peak times, too, since the kid is grown :) I hate crowds.

Tons of wild flowers in the Smokies and late spring offers up alot better waterfalls from the rains. Trees are in bloom (the dogwoods were beautiful late April) but the undergrowth has not filled in yet, so easier to spot those black bears.

Dundalk, Ireland
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5. Re: Best time to visit?

Thanks all for taking the time to reply, you have given me plenty to think about. I hadn't even considered Easter/Spring Break! Back to the drawing board!

6. Re: Best time to visit?

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