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Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

Melbourne, Australia
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Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

Hello all, I've been browsing the forums and have decided on the basics of our itinerary as (with questions in brackets!) :

Oct 21 - Drive from Atlanta airport at 3pm via fastest/most direct route to (either Roanoke or Rocky Knob for o/night??)

Oct 22 - Drive BRP to see Mabry Mill,Blowing Rock,Grandfather mountain (o/night where?)

Oct 23 - Drive BRP to see Linville Viaduct/Falls,Mount Mitchell, Craggy Gardens to Ashville o/night.

Oct 24 - Drive BRP to see Mt Pisgah,Waterrock Knob then back to Ashville via Maggie Valley.

The other questions then are..we may be able to stay on another 2 days (Sat/Sun) what/where/how should we change this itinerary to include or extend time at??

thanks for your thoughts...

Raleigh, North...
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1. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

You are quite a ways from Atlanta to Roanoke. You will be very late arriving. Roanoke to Blowing Rock is a nice long drive that can easily be done in a day, even with a late start. It is still a little north of the sites you want to hit but would be a good base. I might even suggest making that your first stop. I would recommend spending two nights each I both Blowing Rock and Asheville and dropping off the BRP and finishing up in Highlands which is very close to Atlanta

Chapel Hill, North...
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2. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

It looks rushed to me.

Do you have your plane tickets already? If not look at flying into Charlotte (CLT). It would greatly gut down on your unnecessary driving since it doesn't look like you really want to do Atlanta.

I'd like to see 2 nights in Boone/Blowing Rock and at least 2 nights in Asheville too.

Are you wanting to do much hiking or is this mostly a driving tour? In general the NC mts are the place for a slow, relaxed, leisurely visit.

Clemmons, North...
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3. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

Is there a particular reason for flying into Atlanta? Charlotte would be much closer to the places you've listed. From there it's only 3 hours or so to Roanoke, if that's where you want to go. I'd also ask the same question about Roanoke...any particular reason for going there? It's a nice place, but given the other destinations you've listed you don't have to go all the way to Roanoke.

Chapel Hill, North...
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4. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

Two more things to remember, first, that is peak tourist season. Be sure to book all your accommodations well in advance. Secondly, you won't have as much light at that time of day. If your flight gets into Atlanta by 3 you might get your baggage, clear customs, pick up the rental car by 4 or 4:30. You've only got another hour to hour and a half of daylight and you would be making most of your drive to Roanoke in the dark.

Also I have not looked at the map so not sure of routes to Roanoke but if it is via I-77 I would not advise. I-77 is notorious for really bad fog. Not something I'd want to face that in the dark having just come off an international flight.

Edited: 06 April 2014, 01:22
Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

Hmm, sounds like we are being too ambitious eh..We are locked into Atlanta for arrival and departures, but are flying there from Miami, arriving just after 1pm, I anticipated 3pm to leave the airport after picking up the car etc. We are driving across to Charleston/Savannah before returning to Atlanta on Nov 1, hence the question about where to spend the additional days. No reason to drive to Roanoke particularly its just that we wanted to drive the BRP, not into hiking or anything and dont wont it to be a marathon, we want to enjoy the drive and looking around - hence the proposal to "dash" up to Roanoke, then meander down from there...

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

OK, I just Google mapped the travel and can understand now why you were so flabbergasted! Apologies I should have done that first....I reckon about 3 hrs-ish driving should be our target from Atlanta, which puts us around the southern end of BRP around Waynesville/Ashville. On this basis what would a suggested itinerary be that would get us to see as much as I suggested on our proposed itinerary (without overdoing things), finishing somewhere that we could reasonably take off from the next morning for Charleston. If we arrived on the BRP on 21/10 pm and leave 27/10 am, what would you suggest, partic. for the weekend busy time.....

VERY much appreciate your thoughts, thanks

Clemmons, North...
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for North Carolina, Winston Salem
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7. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

Here's a suggestion. As you leave Atlanta on I-85, take I-985 towards Gainesville, GA. This becomes US 23/441, which you can take all the way into NC. This is a 4 lane road, and it's very scenic (much better than taking I-85, which has very heavy traffic and not much scenery at all), although it will be dark rather early so you'll miss some of it. Follow 23/441 to its intersection with US 74, then go west to Cherokee, NC to spend the night. You might also choose to spend the night in either Dillsboro or Sylva--both are quaint mountain villages worth a stop. The next day you may wish to explore Cherokee a bit. Although it is very commercialized, it's worth visiting the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and Oconoluftee Indian Village to learn about the heritage of the native Americans. Cherokee is the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway, so you can work your way north from there.

The most scenic sections of the BRP are south and north of Asheville, so you definitely want to drive those stretches. You should plan to spend at least a full day in Asheville, then take a full day to drive the BRP from Asheville to Blowing Rock, then another full day in Blowing Rock/Boone which is a good base from which to visit Grandfather Mountain, Linville Caverns, the original Mast General Store, and other attractions.

The section of the BRP north of Boone, while scenic, doesn't offer as many stops and attractions as the stretch between Asheville and Boone. So if you have the time and desire, you can continue northward into VA to visit Mabry Mill. But you might consider taking more time to explore the NC mountains so you end your trip in Blowing Rock/Boone, and depart from there for Charleston (via US 321 south into the Charlotte area, where you'll pick up I-77 to I-26). Alternatively, if you do decide to venture into Virginia, you can pick up I-77 near Fancy Gap.

Good luck, and feel free to ask if you need more info!

Raleigh, North...
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8. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

Good suggestions from Arby. I would let Blowing Rock be my northern terminus. It is also a fairly straight shot to Charleston via 321/ 85/ 485/77/26. Sounds more convoluted than it is.

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9. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

If you will be as far south as Waynesville or Maggie Valley, a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must. You could at least drive up to Newfound Gap and back, if you don't have much time.

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Blue Ridge Parkway Itinerary

Really good suggestions, thanks very much everybody..........