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Road trip - Aussies

Newcastle Australia
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110 posts
6 reviews
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Road trip - Aussies

Hi

We are Australians with about 8 days to fill in between our organised US trip. We are flying into Baltimore on Sept 14 & will spend the night there, maybe visiting Gettysburg & then onto to Washington. Thinking about heading on the Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park & then to the Great Smoky National Parks. Do we have time to do this, should we include Nashville or Atlanta? I've heard Chattanooga is worth visiting. We have to get the car back to Baltimore so wondered if it would be good to head back there via the coast, maybe stop at Virgina Beach.

Any helpful advice on the above or suggestions for our itinerary would be most appreciated.

thanks

Mick & Kerrie

Louisiana
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1 post
15 reviews
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1. Re: Road trip - Aussies

The Inner Harbor in Baltimore is pretty fun, if not a bit too much on the touristy side. Make sure you eat some Maryland Crab Cakes and ask your hotel for a place the locals eat - the chain restaurants there abound, and are pretty on the outside, but the food is awful at most of the tourist spots in the Inner Harbor. The Fells Point district has some great pubs and small restaurants, and is in walking distance to the Inner Harbor or a quick taxi ride. Lexington Market is awesome and has loads of food stalls with many ethnic vendors. The Aquarium and Port Discovery are good, especially for kids. Fort McHenry is a must-see. Fort McHenry is the location where Francis Scott Key first composed the "Star-Spangled Banner" during the War of 1812. Gettysburg is a great trip if you are into American Civil War history, and the Pennsylvania countryside is lovely. You could also do a driving tour of the Dutch and Amish communities while there for an interesting perspective on a different lifestyle.

The other option, especially since you are heading South, would be to visit Colonial Williamsburg Virginia. instead. This is a beautiful and very historic town approximately the same distance from Baltimore and headed in the direction of your trip itenerary. If it fits your budget, the Williamsburg Inn is one of the best hotels ever.

The drive through Shenandoah and The Smokies is one of the most awesome sights on the East Coast. I would not do Nashville unless you are big into country music. It is a cool place, but since you only have 8 days I would completely recommend spending some quality time in the Smoky Mountains instead. Definitely skip Atlanta, even though Stone Mountain and Lake Lanier Islands are nearby, you do not have the time. The lines for the tourist attractions downtown are just not worth it. The World Of Coca Cola has changed, and not nearly as fun as it once was, and if you want to see an aquarium stick to the one in Baltimore. Chattanooga has an awesome aquarium too, if you choose to go there. It is a couple hours from the Smokies.

Get a cabin for a couple nights in the Gatlinburg, Tennesse area with mountain views. You will not want to leave! - Avoid most of the overpriced tourist traps in Pigeon Forge and head to one of the Caverns and hit some hiking trails in the National Park instead.

So for the perfect trip I would do Baltimore, then Washington DC, then Williamsburg, then the Smoky Mountain Park, then head back to Baltimore. It will be a great snapshot of the East Coast, a mix of North/South, historical, and scenic.

I have lived in or spent a lot of time in all of the areas you have mentioned, so I hope my insight helps you with the perfect trip...

Mike D.

Nashville, TN
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1,698 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: Road trip - Aussies

Hi Mick & Kerrie,

I think Mike D. has some great ideas. Even though I'm a Destination Expert for Nashville and would like to talk you into coming here, it may not fit in to your trip. It would be great to spend two or three days or more in Nashville. Maybe on your next trip!!

Similar to what Mike D. mentioned, you could take the Skyline Parkway through the Shenandoah National Park. At the end of the Skyline Parkway, take the Blue Ridge Parkway until it ends in the Smoky Mountains.

Along the way you may want to stop in Asheville, North Carolina and visit the Biltmore Estate. www.biltmore.com

From there you'll eventually get to the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Smoky Mountains. Take a left to go into the Cherokee Indian Reservation. A right will take you over the mountains to Gatlinburg. Be sure to check out www.nps.gov/grsm for info about what to see in the Smokies.

Bob

Newcastle Australia
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110 posts
6 reviews
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3. Re: Road trip - Aussies

Hi

Thanks for the advice much appreciated. Will consider your suggestions.

Mick & Kerrie

4. Re: Road trip - Aussies

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