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NFT: Tennessee / Smoky Mtns / Asheville - Recommendations

ImThatGuy : 7/3/2024 1:31 pm
Summer Trip Planning could use any guidance, things to see (or avoid), food recs etc. We fly into Nashville and out of Charlotte but everything else is TBD. Traveling with 3 kids under 12, rough itinerary below.

Nashville ~2 days
- do I need a rental car? What neighborhood to stay in?
- probably usually tourist stuff, but any recs?

Smoky Mountains Area ~3 days
- might use Townsend as a home base
- Dollywood, Cades Cove ...
- Recommended hikes?

Asheville ~ 2 days
- too much or not enough time?
- besides the obvious any recommendations?

Charlotte - ?
- fly out of here but might just drive there instead of spending a night or 2.
- skip or see?
In Ashville....stay at the Grove Park Inn  
George from PA : 7/3/2024 1:46 pm : link
It's a special place.

I took an amazing hot air balloon ride through the smokey mountains.....
Asheville, I would add a 3rd day if you can.  
Section331 : 7/3/2024 2:03 pm : link
If you don’t stay at the Grove Park Inn, it’s still a great place to grab a drink, great views.

Curate in Asheville is fantastic, a tapas restaurant just east of 25, just plan ahead, tables can be tough to come by. White Duck Taco is right across the street, and is perfect for lunch. LaZoom Tours has comedy bus tours of the city, a little campy, but I thought it was fun.

Nashville- Peg Leg Porker is excellent BBQ with a great local draft selection. Valentino’s out by Vanderbilt is really good Italian. Country Music Museum is well worth a visit. ACME Feed & Seed is a great spot, local cover bands (most are not country), with good food and a good beer selection. Just walk along Broadway and pop into the bars to listen to live music, most don’t have covers.
I wouldn't stay in an air BNB in Nashville with young kids  
oghwga : 7/3/2024 2:04 pm : link
If you have the budget, stay at the Gaylord. They have a water park and indoor gardens and restaurants. The Tennessee State museum is free and should hold their interest for a while and it is located in a nice park. Worth a trip as well to see the Parthenon. You will need a rental car. If you want to bring them to the Broadway area do it during the day on a weekday unless they want to watch bridesmaids twerking, vomiting, and peeing in the street.

It is hot as hell in the summer so keep the little ones hydrated and out of the sun.
In Nashville, I would try to stay downtown,  
Section331 : 7/3/2024 2:05 pm : link
hotels aren’t expensive, and everything is walkable. Asheville, you’ll probably want to have a car, places can be pretty spread out.
Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum  
Daniel in Kentucky : 7/3/2024 2:20 pm : link
When you find yourself in this part of the world stop by and see over 20,000 sets of Salt and Pepper Shakers from around the world, and a huge Pepper Mill collection!

Its worth the visit.
Link - ( New Window )
Eric from BBI : Admin : 7/3/2024 5:35 pm : link
My general impression of Dollywood is it is pretty much a rollercoaster park, and the rides are not for the faint of heart (just a heads up because it sounds like you have young kids).

I thought the food there - for a park - was pretty good.

The Smokey Mountain trails are awesome, but some are pretty rough too.
Asheville Pinball Museum,  
gridirony : 7/3/2024 5:59 pm : link
to show to your children that you're old.
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 7/3/2024 6:36 pm : link
Going to Asheville in September for a bachelor party weekend. Asheville is a ton of fun. & if you're a beer drinker, you gotta hit up the Sierra Nevada Brewery.
Grove park is special  
Earl the goat : 7/3/2024 7:32 pm : link
Skip the biltmore. Kids will be bored
Discovery Place Science Museum in Charlotte  
tangled up in blue : 7/3/2024 8:20 pm : link
has a special dinosaur exhibit this summer that your family may enjoy

In Asheville you might go on a raft or tubes for a float on the French Broad River, which is a gentle float

Check out the Nantahala Outdoor Center for more exciting rafting trips

If driving, there is a huge Buc-ees Travel Center on I-40 near Sevierville exit in Tennessee.
The Brisket sandwich is amazing

Rent a car for the full trip  
armstead98 : 7/3/2024 8:24 pm : link
If you can swing it. The best stuff IMO is the driving, one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Seek out things like the blue ridge highway.

Hiking is incredible in that part of the country too but can be tricky with little ones.

If you like beer, you’ll be in heaven in Asheville
In the Smokies  
PepperJ52 : 7/4/2024 9:02 am : link
a guided horseback trail ride is a great way to take in nature. It’s slow going and fine even for first time riders. In Nashville, maybe visit the Bluebird Cafe - maybe you’ll see the next big country star workshopping some songs.
If you’re baseball fans, check out the Charlotte Knights. Nice ballpark, not expensive and lots to do around the stadium.
Also in Charlotte, consider going a couple exits south to Fort Mill, SC - my old stomping grounds! Carowinds is a terrific amusement park that straddles the NC/SC border and just a hop from downtown Fort Mill, which has a bunch of brew pubs and restaurants.
Hope y’all have a great vacation!
I’ve lived in NC for over 30 years and never met anyone who went to  
Spider56 : 7/4/2024 3:05 pm : link
Charlotte for something other than work or a sporting event. Spend your time in the other places you mentioned.
If you're going to Asheville  
Koffman : 7/4/2024 4:28 pm : link
Take a tour of the Biltmore. We went last year and loved it. Downtown Ashville is rather"Bohemian" , but there are some nice restaurants.
Biltmore tip  
Daniel in Kentucky : 7/4/2024 7:37 pm : link
You may want buy your tickets in advance because there are only so many allowed to entered per hour
I’ve went and they’ve been been sold out - fyi
French Pegion River  
Rick in Dallas : 7/4/2024 8:07 pm : link
I use to drive to a garment mill in Newport Tenn. from Asheville back in the 70’s for work.
The French Pegion River had some awesome rapids. The scenery along that drive was beautiful.

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