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  1. Default Need Advise - Summer Roadtrip with 2 kids to the mountains

    Hi, I need an advise.

    This is the first road trip we are planning with our kids (5 and 6 yrs old)

    We are from South Florida (Miami) and we have 8 days total. We wanted to bring the kids to the Mountains and have some activities planned for them (North Carolina??)

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated (including where to stop, stay, etc)!


  2. #2

    Default A few ideas for you and the kids

    Hello gaby,

    Between Boone and Blowing Rock, NC is Tweetsie Railroad, a campy but fun attraction for the kids. Tweetsie is a genuine steam locomotive (and attractive to train buffs of all ages for that reason) and it runs a circular track of perhaps 3-4 miles with staged attacks from robbers and related staged gunplay. The depot is in a faux-Western town with other attractions.

    Grandfather Mountain has a nice walking tour of various animal habitats including a large black bear area. Hiking trails on the mountain provide opportunities for more strenuous activities.

    The New River up in Ashe County, some 30 miles from Boone, offers flatwater canoeing and rafting.

    Damascus, VA, about an hour from Boone, is "Trail City, USA" where the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper Trail intersect. The latter is a Rails to Trails conversion, used mostly by bicyclers, and features an all-downhill 17 mile "glide" on which I have personally encountered many families with kids of your's ages, all astride their rental bikes or on tandems and even some in tow-behind buggies. There's a nice cafe' stop about 2/3 of the way down and it features homemade chocolate cake and ice cream.

    Down in the Smokies, the Nantahala Outdoor Center runs rafting trips on the Nantahala River. I deem this particular ride perfect for small kids since you're in a raft with a guide, the river is not severe (until the very end, and the last rapid is at the take-out and is easily walked around), and since there are hot showers available in the changing rooms, a welcomed feature even in Summer given that the river's waters are drawn from the bottom of +300' deep Nantahala Reservoir.

    Also down that way is an excursion train in Dillsboro. It's a longer ride and lacks the campiness of Tweetsie, but the scenery is very nice.

    Enjoy planning and taking your RoadTrip!


  3. Default

    Hi Gaby,

    I once lived in South FL. for a while, but I was born in TN, and I am back home now and have been for over 30 years. Foy, gave some good places to see, and things to do, and I have done them all at one time or another, but I will tell you this, for the age of your kids, nothing will come close to Dollywood, and Splash Country, in Pigeon Forge TN,. Nothing!

    We have taken our Grandkids there, to one place, or the other, every year and have done so since they were the age of your kids, and now they are 10 to 13, and they still have a good time. And mind you these are kids who have all been to Disney World and more than once.

    It's not cheap, but a tip is if you wait and go in at 3:30 P.M. the next day is free. This works out pretty good if you stay till closing time as the lines at the rides get short for the last couple of hours. Then go early the next day (be there when they open) and ride all you can in the first hour or two, and avoid, Fri, Sat, and Sun. if possible.

    Traffic into Pigeon Forge on 66 is a night mare on the weekend. I would advise 1-95, to I-26, to I-40 (that may look longer, but it is not). Then once in Tennessee, at Newport, take US 411 South to Sevierville. Then right before you get to downtown, look for Middle Creek Road on the left, which is a short cut to Dollywood, and Pigeon Forge.

    And if you tire of that, you are right in the front door of Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountain, National Park.

    Have fun and be safe,


  4. #4


    I grew up in South Florida (Boynton Beach) too! Growing up we always took vacations to the mountains of N. Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. I continue to take my Daughter there as well.
    * In Cleveland Georgia there is a neat place called Babyland General Hospital. It is home to the original Cabbage Patch Kids made by Xavier Roberts. Best thing is it's free.
    * The train is no longer in Dillsboro, NC. It leaves from Bryson City, NC now. It is a nice and scenic ride. They offer special events like a Day out with Thomas and the Lone Ranger rides again. Check out Great Smoky Mountain Railroad dot com
    * Cherokee, NC is a neat town. You can learn about the Cherokee Indians and see some authentic costumes and Indian dance.
    * Smoky Mountain Nat'l Park is a scenic drive from Cherokee, NC to Pigeon Forge, TN. It has many things to see along the parkway. At the visitors center in the NP you can get a booklet for your kids to become Jr. Rangers. My daughter loves doing this. You learn about park, the animals and plants that live in the area.
    * Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville TN has many things for the kids to do. Plenty of hotels, campgrounds, attractions, and resturants.
    * Grandfather Mountain and Boone, NC and the surrounding area is nice too. Some of the ski areas are open in the summer and you can take a ride on the skilifts.

    I hope this is some help to you. Happy planning and enjoy the trip.


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