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Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

Brisbane, Australia
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Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

Hello, 4 middle aged aussies here tweaking their itinerary. Without boring you with all the rest of it, we are wanting to drive from Charleston to Nashville with at least a night stop in Gatlinburg and maybe Chattanooga and somewhere else at your suggestion. Please don't think we are being disrespectful by 'flying' through your lovely state but it was either doing it this way or not being able to do it at all as our itinerary has changed dramatically since its inception and is so very tight now. We just want to see some of Tennessee and we think that is better than none at all! :) We don't need to go to Memphis because we have been there before...

We only have 4 days (3 nights) on the road to get to Nashville once leaving Charleston. Sounds like a lot of driving but if you could give me your recommended route and things to see along the way I would be very grateful. I thought about going to Nashville via Gatlinburg, Chattanooga and Fall Creek Falls but perhaps that's not something you think would be a good idea given that Fall Creek Falls is a bit out of the way - we just thought it would be pretty :). I know the mileage is heavy going but it is OK for us as we are used to driving long distances over a short period of time - it's what aussies do! :)

We enjoy pretty things to see and fun things to do if that is any help.

Thank you in anticipation of your help.

.

Boston...
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1. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

That's a fine amount of driving a day (three to four hours). The only problem is that you won't see much. I'd personally concentrate time, but if you're okay with a brisk familiarization this is alright. You have enough time to enjoy one or two experiences in each place.

Since it's not even en route I'd suggest skipping Gatlinburg, but if it looks like something you really like I guess its fine to fit in. Another advantage of skipping Gat is that the Ocoee River Gorge is then on route and you could easily do some rafting the morning you drive to Chattanooga. Skip Fall Creek Falls for a preserve closer to Chattanooga like Lula Lake, the Tennessee River Gorge, Fiery Gizzard, or Cloudland Canyon State Park. So here's a possible route:

1: Lovely Charleston => Blue Ridge Parkway (maybe) or Sylva => Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Oconaluftee and/or Deep Creek => Bryson City

2: Bryson City => Ocoee River rafting OR Nantahala rafting then Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Cherohala Skyway, and Bald River Falls => Chattanooga

3: Chattanooga sightseeing including the nature perserve of choice.

4: Drive to Nashville, sightseeing, flight out

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

Thank you Bluecuzco for your reply. I chose Gatlinburg because I understood that it is a fun place but we can miss it if you think we should. The idea of rafting sounds fabulous (it never occurred to me that we could do that) and the other places you mentioned although I must confess that I haven't heard of most of them!. I will have to do a fair bit of research now on all the places you mentioned. What places do you suggest that we put our weary heads down for the night? Much appreciate your help.

Tennessee
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for Chattanooga, Blowing Rock, North Carolina Mountains
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3. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

The time that you will spend in "bumper to bumper" traffic, will not be worth your time and effort to see the Gatlinburg area. Plus, it is way out of your way. You would be better driving from Charleston to Chattanooga (7-8 hours). Overnight in Chattanooga and spend the next day. Then leave Chattanooga and drive to Nashville. 2.5 hours. Some of the most beautiful scenery is leaving Chattanooga and driving up the mountain, headed for Nashville.

If you are putting forth all this effort to see our area of the country, at least spend 1 day and look around. There is much to enjoy without standing still on a parking lot, waiting to get a spot!!!!

Boston...
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4. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

Depends on your definition of fun. If you've been to Duval Street in Key West you know what Gatlinburg is like: the literal apotheosis of kitsch. Some people like it, many don't. It just doesn't offer anything that interests me. In any case, at the most I would skirt the southern edge of the park. That's a much prettier drive than the direct way from Charleston to Chattanooga. So I pretty much recommend the itinerary I listed earlier.

right over your...
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5. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

When are you traveling? Gatlinburg is not always full of traffic. I think you would enjoy Gatlinburg but you are trying to do to much in to little time so Blue has some good ideas.

florida
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6. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

I would leave Charleston real early. Drive to Asheville North Carolina(about 4 hour drive). Visit the great downtown area there or tour the Biltmore House. Stay in Asheville. Next morning take the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. Drive through it to Gatlinburg. Both are beautiful drives. Spend 2 nights in Gatlinburg and the national park. Leave 4th morning for the 4 hour drive to Nashville.

Brisbane, Australia
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7. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

Hi everyone, we will be going through this part of your lovely country in early October. I didn't add Asheville (or the Biltmore Estate) as my husband and I have been there before and our friends don't know anything about it so haven't expressed a desire or otherwise to go there. :)

florida
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8. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

What dates in october?

florida
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9. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

By the way our president has had one vacation this year and he went to Asheville. Did some hiking off the Blue Ridge Parkway. He had dinner two times in downtown Asheville. Maybe you should tell your "friends" that!!!!

Edited: 01 June 2010, 06:06
Brisbane, Australia
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10. Re: Charleston -> Gatlinburg -> Fall Creek Falls -> Chattanooga

4 days commencing 13 October and it's not that we don't like Asheville (we actually loved it) but having been there already we thought we would go somewhere different that's all. I didn't mean to offend...