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3 weeks in the Southern states

Clitheroe, United...
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3 weeks in the Southern states

Hi all, just after a little bit of help and advice....

This is my (very loose) plan so far:

New Orleans - 3 days

Jackson - 2 days

Memphis - 2 days

Nashville - 2 days

Smokies - 3 days

Charlotte - 2 days

Charleston - 3 days

I've got a couple of days spare if anyone has any suggestion on how to use them?

I'll be travelling with my girlfriend (we're planning for next March) and we pretty much want to see a mix of everything. From good food and music, history, nightlife and hiking.

With regards to the Smokies, what's the best way to see them? Is it worth booking a camping trip?

Are there any other places along the route that are a must-see? Any i've included that are worth missing out?

I've been to the East and West coast but never this area so I want to make sure I do it right!

Thanks in advance,

Sam

34 replies to this topic
Lewes, United...
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1. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

Next March could be a great time to visit.

However, please explain why Jackson or Charlotte? Neither are obvious tourist destinations, and if you are after a southern flavour and vibe, or places with music and nightlife, or perhaps history instead, I can think of several much better places to consider. Natchez, Vicksburg, Asheville, Atlanta, Savannah.

Where does the trip end? Back in NOLA or maybe Atlanta or other international airport?

SWT

Melbourne, Florida
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2. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

Charlotte is all about Nascar racing. I would possibly spend the extra days in Asheville, NC. or as suggested add Savannah. Take the Charlotte days and add one to the Smoky Mountains and one to another city.

As for camping in the smokies March can be pretty chilly, sometimes they still get snow in the area. The park does not have camping cabins except at Mount Leconte which you have to reserve about a year in advance and they are not glam camping, very primitive. Where would you get all the camping gear? I would stay in a hotel in Gatlinburg if you want active and things to do in the evenings, visit the Smokies national park in the daytime or stay in Townsend if you want quiet and laid back. Camping is great but you would either have to bring or buy all the gear or rent an RV or small camping trailer.

There is a Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee forum as well as forums for all the cities you want to visit. The park is great and has several driving tours you can self drive (stop at the Sugarlands visitors center to purchase the brochures for the tours). Cades Cove, Roaring Fork, Waterfalls and Newfound Gap will be the ones you want. Inside the park and along these tours are where you can find hiking trails, waterfall hikes, historic buildings and wildlife. Visit the park in the day and towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in the evenings. Plenty to see & do in this area.

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

Great info. Yes agree to skip Jackson and add route along MS river. Also add Savannah. It has great history, food and walking friendly. More affordable than Charleston.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

Avoid Savannah around March 17 unless you really want to party because they have one of the largest St. Patrick's day parades and festivities.

Later in March would be better imo than earlier especially in terms of how cool it would be in the Smokies.

Lewes, United...
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5. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

I forgot to comment on the camping issue with the Smokies.

What did you have in mind?

Did you mean tent camping? If so, planning on bring your own gear from the UK for just a few nights of a 3 weeks trip seems a lot of effort.

However, there are a few rental options for wooden cabins in and around Townsend area, and some of them have some sort of heating, so night time temps may not matter so much. Day times, provided you are dressed for the weather, won't be an issue, and if it's cool and mid week, you will have much less traffic on those roads than at most times of the year in that increasingly popular and crowded park. If it's a long or late winter, one possible disappointment might be that some trees are not quite in full leaf, so some areas may look a bit sparse or bleak. The upside, is the views from the higher viewpoints can be really far reaching on a good day - the lookout at the top of Clingmans Dome should get you vistas of several states, and there are not too many places you can actually do that without a lot of hiking!

SWT

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6. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

There are literally thousands of cabins to rent in the Smokies area. Much easier (and more romantic!) than camping when it may still be cold. Plus, since you are coming at a time of year when it isn't likely to be crowded, you might get a great rate on a cabin.

Not much to see in Jackson, in my opinion. Good idea to skip it and add the extra days to a more interesting place. You don't have Savannah on your list. It is a beautiful city and only 100 miles or so from Charleston - well worth spending a few days there.

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7. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

for the Smokies... just rent a cabin or cottage for your 3 nights in the Townsend or Gatlinburg area. Best way to stay in the area imo. Most rentals will have a hot tub for those chilly nights.

Agree to add Savannah- my favorite place in the south.

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8. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

Will you be flying in and out of the same location? Where do you need to end up to fly home? How many extra days specifically?

Peachtree City...
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9. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

Be aware that some of the well-known attractions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park may not be accessible in March - the road to Clingman’s Dome opens on or around April 1 for example.

Lewes, United...
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10. Re: 3 weeks in the Southern states

Scott - (I've not checked the official website, so I'm being lazy here) is that an official opening date for the road to Clingmans Dome, irrespective of snowpack and road conditions? I was sure our Atlanta friends said they'd been there earlier in the year? Maybe I'm mistaken, easily done! We drove up there early April, and no snow anywhere, but I know a different year when we in a nearby area (when we did not visit the Smokies) there could well have been a lot of snow right up at the top.

SWT

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