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  1. Default Fayetteville, NC to Little Rock, AR

    Hello, I am new to the forum and I am looking for some advice for my up-coming move from Fayetteville, NC to Little Rock, AR. I would like to stop and site-see on our way to Little Rock. We will be traveling along I-40 going through the Smoky Mountains and what not. I was hoping to learn of some great site-seeing opportunities along I-40 through the mountain range. I love taking pictures of waterfalls and since it will be October the foliage will be turning and will be absolutely beautiful I'm sure. We have 2 small children we are traveling with so any pretty or unique spots to stop and stretch would be nice. Also if any one has any favorite places to stop and eat at those would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank You!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Alternatives (For Starters)

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, there are certainly enough scenic drives and interesting sights along that general drive. At about 900 miles, your route can be covered in two relatively comfortable days of driving, but if you can devote three days to it, the number of things you can see, and take time to enjoy, really opens up. For starters, In mid-October, foliage along the I-40 corridor will just be starting to get serious, so if you can nudge your trip a bit farther north or a bit later in the month, that would do wonders. Secondly, for those traveling with small children, I like to recommend that they plan on small stops every couple of hours so the kids can get out of the car and run around a bit. State parks are great for this, so take a good look at the map and see what's near your route. It's usually not hard to find something within a few dozen miles of wherever you are. As for places to eat, I much prefer small town diners to Interstate exit fast food joints. I've very rarely had any trouble finding such places by just driving through places with around 5000 residents, cruising the main drag, and (if necessary) asking the locals. I do realize that the children will not be as patient as the adults, so you may not get to drive on to the next town if your first search is unsuccessful, but you can always find a 'Happy Meal' place if you need to.

    With those general thoughts in mind, here are some specifics The first available truly scenic road will require only a slight detour from I-40. From Winston-Salem, head west on US-421 to Deep Gap, NC and get on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This road offers incredible vistas across the Appalachians and the Great Valley as it winds it way southward and around Asheville to deliver you directly to US-441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As you exit the park on the east side, rather than continue on US-441 into Knoxville to rejoin I-40, you can take US-321 and the Foothills Parkway to US-129 and TN-72 to join I-75 either north to I-40, or what I'd do, south to Chattanooga and I-24. Just west of Chattanooga, you'd leave I-24 and take US-41 for a little bit and then use US-64 across southern Tennessee for the rest of your journey to Memphis. I drove this road a number of years ago and absolutely loved it. It is such a change of pace from the Interstates and lets you see some of the intriguing cities and towns of southern Tennessee as well as the somber Civil War site, Shiloh. Another possibility is to continue on I-40 west from Knoxville and then west of Nashville use the Natchez Trace to cut down to US-64.

    Recommendations for smaller venues such as state parks, kid-friendly activities, and specific waterfalls would depend on which route you end up deciding on. As I said, a relatively straight shot on I-40 would let you do this drive in two days, but if you can add a third, you can get off the beaten path a bit, slow down, and have a truly enjoyable adventure.


  3. Default

    Thank you for that wonderful information! I am not sure we will be able to stretch it out to 3 husband is in the military and we are making a military move and they only give him 2 travel days to get from here to there. I did read something about the Smoky Mountain State Park and I might put that on our itenerary to stop at...I also want to stop in Asheville, I have heard its a nice little town. I will show my husband this information though and see what he says. I am excited for our trip and I know I will need a lot of breaks from driving since we are taking 2 cars and 2 small children.

    Thanks Again,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Limits Are What They Are

    If all you have is two days, then that's all you have. That doesn't mean you can't take a few breaks along the way, or travel the odd scenic road. It just means you can't dawdle like I suggested in my previous post. You can still stop at places like Lake Norman State Park, Asheville and Great Smoky Mountain National Park on Day 1 and Cedars of Lebanon and Natchez Trace State Parks in Tennessee, and maybe Mud Island River Park in Memphis on Day 2. All of those are quite near to I-40. It is also true that driving on an Interstate makes it a little less likely that the two cars and drivers will get separated by traffic or a red light. And, it must be said, I-40 through North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas is a scenic road in its own right.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Smoky Mountains National Park?

    Quote Originally Posted by MovingMama View Post
    I did read something about the Smoky Mountain State Park
    Megan Edwards just did a day trip around Smoky Mountains National Park -- here is her field report.


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