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  1. Default Help planning roadtrip from Houston TX to Gatlinburg TN

    I'm planning a roadtrip with my family(2kids - 4 and 8 yrs old) on the week before christmas from Houston to Gatlinburg. The plan is to drive 8-10 hrs first day stay at some hotel and reach gatlinburg around mid day the next day. My challenges are to find enough stops on the way about half hour to an hour to let the kids play and run around little bit(shopping malls or park) and still reach my hotel before its too late or dark. I have no idea how to plan for such stops, any help is greatly appreciated.

    Also if any segment of this route mountainous. I'm planning to drive from Houston to Lousiana, then drive up north all the way to Chattanooga, then knoxville, then take SR66 to Gatlinburg. Will there be any ice or snow during this time along this route. Do I need a 4WD ?. I'm planning to drive my car which is a 2WD(2006 Honda CR-V). We are going to be staying there for about 5 days in Gatlinburg. Among other things we may probably do the cades cove trail in gatlinburg in our car, and then drive back to Houston. Any information will be very helpful. Thanks !!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Take Conditions Into Account

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First of all, making frequent short stops when traveling with two children is exactly the way to go, and finding small state and local parks really is not that difficult. Most will be prominently marked on any good road map. Your best bet, since you have plenty of time to prepare, is to go on-line and visit each state's tourism web site and request the appropriate (and usually free!) maps and brochures. But the downside to doing this is that you will spend longer on the 'road' each day than you are accounting for. In addition, in December, the days will be shorter. The long and short of this is that you should plan on spending two full days to get to Gatlinburg rather than 1½. Roughly halfway would be somewhere between Hattiesburg and Meridian MS. So you can judge where you are on your overall journey at the end of the first day.

    As far as avoiding mountains, your proposed routing does as good a job as can be done, but Gatlinburg itself is well into the Appalachians and the road (US-441) into it includes some twists and elevation gain. There is no way this far in advance to predict the precise weather you will actually see, but you should have a plan for what to do in case it's too bad to continue driving. The best plan in such a case is usually just to get off the road and let the road crews do their job and continue when the skies and roads have cleared. 4WD or AWD are not magic talismans which will let you drive in any conditions no matter what your skill level. If anything, they tend to increase the 'confidence' of drivers with little experience in handling snow and ice and thus lead to more accidents, not fewer.


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