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Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

Newbury, United...
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Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

We will be touring from England in mid May. We will be 'meandering' over eight days in a rental car from Washington DC via Shenandoah Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway; through Cherokee and the Northern tip of the Great Smokey Mountain National park to Knoxville TN. We will then hit the road hard for two days to arrive at my family in St. Louis Mo.

I would appreciate any input on which of these two routes to St. Louis is less boring:

1. Take the I 40 (via Nashville TN) and I 24 (about 580 miles)

or

2. Take the I 75 and I 64 via Lexington Ky and Louisville KY (about 612 miles)

The few extra mileage are not a problem , but I hope we can at least see something more interesting on one route rather than the other. Also, where on the chosen route would be a good place with a good motel to sleep over.

If anybody has any input in terms of 'don't miss' on our drive through the Appalachians this would also be great.

Thanks a lot

10 replies to this topic
St. Louis, Missouri
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1. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

I think you're a bit mistaken if you're coming from Knoxville to St. Louis - it's only about 490 miles. You won't have to hit the road hard for 2 days for that! I drove all the way from Gatlinburg to St. Louis in one day, no problem. It should only take about 7 hours plus stopping time.

That being said, if you really want to take your time, depending on your route, you might want to stop in Paducah, KY - a sleepy river town - or Lousville, KY - a bigger city.. they have a lot of famous whiskey distilleries there that I hear are cool to see.

Kirksville, Missouri
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2. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

Having not tried the Nashville route, nor having been to Nashville (i know there is lots to see there). Louisville KY has a number of sites worth seeing if you have the time. Churchill Downs is always a nice place to see as is the Louisville Slugger museum; though i found that the Frazier Historical Arms and Armor museum was the highlight of my trip. If you have any interest in history or arms & armor then this is a must see location; they do some stunning re-enactments inside the museum throughout the day which are quite interesting. Louisville KY to St. Louis MO, depending on which part of St. Louis is your final destination is about 275miles give or take a few so this could resonably be driven in about 5-5.5hrs depending on stops and speed.

Newbury, United...
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3. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

Thanks a lot for this input. Actually, Google maps says shortest route on I 40 and I 24 via Nashville is 497 miles. For us in England this distance seems long (almost 'all the way' to Scotland...) but I know that by American standards, this is really not very far. So your email is very helpful.We will now have an extra day in St. Louis with our children. And since both routes through the mid west are fairly monotonous, it won't hurt us just to put our foot down and go all the way in one day. We'll even be able to take your advice and stop in Paducah for a quick late lunch.

Thanks again. and btw - I come to STL often and I really love your city.

Newbury, United...
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4. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

Thanks MijBevin.

As you can see from my other reply, we will go the Nashville route in one day. Hopefully we'll do Ky on our next visit next year....

St. Louis
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5. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

I've done both drives. Yes, Nashville is most direct and it's not a bad drive. The drive straight north into KY is fun, through the Cumberland mtns. It's more scenic, but Nashville is a fun town to visit (see the honkytonks on Broadway). Andrew Jackson's home, the Hermatige, is a very touristy stop (he was our 7th president). It's a toss-up for me. After driving the Appalachian trail, the mountains will be less of a thrill, I'd think.

Newbury, United...
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6. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

TTTStLou Thanks a lot. As you say - after eight days in the Appalachians we may have reached 'mountain fatigue' at least for a while. So the Nashville route it is.

Eureka, Missouri
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7. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

If you've planned for 2 days from Knoxville to St. Louis you will have time to see some sights. If you go north toward Lexington, a side trip to Pleasant Hill Shaker village (near Harrodsburg Ky. ) is worth a visit and they have a good restaurant on site that serves "Shaker " food . You don't say if you're traveling with children but if you are, the Louisville Slugger museum mentioned by others is a good option and in the same area is Louisville's science center which is very good and down the street is a glass blowing shop where you can blow your own ornaments. For stops along 64 there is the Lincoln boyhood home site and farther west is New Harmony, Indiana near the Ind./Illinois border. This is a nice town to walk around and has some nice restaurants - New Harmony was established as kind of a utopian society . After New Harmony there's not much to stop for until you reach St. Louis. I'm not really familiar with the 40/24 route except what I've been researching about Nashville for my own upcoming trip. If you are fans of country music there is the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and as some one mentioned there is the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson if you are interested in American history. As far as zoos or botanical gardens go, wait till you get to St. Louis which by far has the best of both.

Eureka, Missouri
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8. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

PS. As far as hotels along the way, any brand name chain is usually reliable - Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, La Quinta etc.

Newbury, United...
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9. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

Thank you so much eurekajudy. I find all Americans so helpful and eager to make us Brits feel welcome. I really appreciate your detailed info. I am sure we will enjoy ourselves enormously all along our route.

Saint Louis...
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10. Re: Driving from Knoxville TN to St. Louis Mo

The drive from Knoxville to St. Louis can easily be done with a stop or two in 10 hours. I prefer the I-75 to I-64 route. Lexington, KY is a nice stop off too.

Sad to say, once you are in mid-Tennessee to St. Louis the trip is very boring with the boring factor increasing as you approach St. Louis. Southern Indiana is hilly for a while and then flattens out (Evansville area)and you will be going through empty corn fields for several hours.

Midwestern cities have some stop off spots, but overall not too pretty and not that interesting.

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