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  1. Default Help w/ Southern States Family RV trip: Durham, NC -> Dallas -> NM -> Prescott, AZ!!!


    I am new to this forum and very glad that I found it. I have already seen tons of cool ideas on here, and the community seems very friendly and helpful.

    I am looking for some help as we plan an RV road trip. We are moving from Durham, NC to Prescott, AZ in the middle of July and I'd like to take the family on the road and take the opportunity to see the sights. We will rent an RV and we have 7 or 8 days to do the trip (I could probably get a couple more if we need it).

    My family is me and the wife with 3 kids: ages 7, 5, and 3. My wife and I have no experience with road trips and would like your help with any recommendations.

    We would like to travel through the mountains of Tennessee. Stop in Dallas for one day to see family. Stop at Carlsbad cave in NM. And finish in Phoenix, AZ. What is the coolest drive through Tennesse? Is there anything to do on day 2 in Arkansas or North Mississippi. How about West TX as we leave Dallas? Also we would like to stop at an amusement park if there is one along the way for the kids.

    How many days do you think we'll need, since we don't want to do too many miles/day, and we'd like to spend a full day in Dallas and at an amusement park? Let me know also if you guys have any recommendations for other stops along the way. Anyway, any recommendations you guys have for us would be awesome. We'd really like to make this a fun and memorable experience for the kids.


  2. #2

    Default Those Tennessee mountains

    Hello (soon to be former) neighbor,

    I suspect what you're thinking of for the mountains of Tennessee are the Smokies. The Great Smoky Mountains NP is along the NC-TN border, west and southwest of Asheville, and excepting the Cumberland Plateau between Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville, represents the only mountains within the Volunteer State.

    If you're looking for mountains on the way out of NC, may I suggest the following:

    I-40 from Durham to Winston-Salem, US 421 through North Wilkesboro to Deep Gap (just this side of Boone), and get on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Deep Gap. That puts you on the BRP at about the 277 milepost and the far southern end is way down at the 469 in Cherokee, NC, at the gateway to the GSMNP. Between Deep Gap and Asheville, the BRP passes Grandfather Mountain (kid-friendly wildlife attraction and stellar views), Linville Falls, Mount Mitchell (a drive-up to just under 7,000'--highest point east of the Mississippi), and Craggy Gardens (great views and a network of trails). If you'd had enough of the BRP by Asheville, you can exit off and take I-40 into Tennessee. Just inside TN, the Foothills Parkway takes you to the ultra-kid friendly amusement park mecca of Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge. If you'd left Durham in the early morning, driven 120 miles or so of the BRP, then through the mountains on I-40 and on down to Gatlinburg, that's a full day.

    Can't help you much in MS and AR, at least not in terms of kid-friendly stops.

    Safe travels!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    How are you planning to get your stuff from NC to AZ? An RV makes a really horrible moving van. I'm also assuming you'll have to leave the RV in Phoenix, and find other transportation to Prescott. 7-8 days is enough time for the trip, but having a couple extra days could be helpful. You'd need 4-5 days to cover the miles you're talking about, and the rest of your time could get eaten up pretty quickly.

    If you'd like to start your trip in the mountains, then I'd head west on I-40/US-421 to Boone NC and hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway and follow that all the way to Smokey Mountains NP.

    In the Dallas area, for amusement parks, there is the original 6 Flags (over Texas). Its in Arlington, right by the Ballpark and Cowboys Stadium.

    The RTA Map Center should help you find lots more ideas along your way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not a Lot of Time to Spare

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Given the slower pace of travel by RV and the fact that you're going to be stopping in Dallas for a day, you won't have a lot of spare time on this drive. Those two activities will account for just about six days, leaving you just a day or two to parcel out among your stops, and Carlsbad itself really deserves at least a half day. So, yes, if you can add a day for your drive that would prove immensely helpful in making the trip enjoyable, especially for the kids who will be anxious to get out and see all the new stuff and to just run around some. But even if you can't scare up an extra day for the drive, making sure that the kids get some exercise every few hours will go a long way towards making the trip more fun.

    Specifically for your trip, the best way to "travel through the mountains of Tennessee" would be to head for Asheville and then west of there get off the Interstate and take US-43 south to US-441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. By the way, any time you visit a national park or monument with the kids be sure to sign them up for the Junior Ranger Program, they'll learn more and get some cool badges, certificates, and other (free!!!) souvenirs. Then it's back on I-40/30/20 down to Dallas. And, yes, there are things to do all through Arkansas and every other state. However, time constraints will pretty much force you to stay near the major through roads that you'll be traveling rather than getting too far afield. It also would be a great idea if you got a good atlas of the US that showed where state parks, historic sites, and other attractions were. Then show your kids the roads you'll be using and ask them to pick out some places where they'd like to stop. This will get them invested in the trip as well as let them know beforehand that there are limits to how far off those roads you can wander and how long you can stay at each place you stop. Frankly, with everything else you've got to fit into this trip, I don't see how you can squeeze in a day at an amusement park, even if you add a day to your plan. Besides, amusement parks are everywhere (including a great little one in Phoenix). RoadTrips should be about seeing what's special about the places you'll be traveling through.


  5. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Asheville to the Smoky mountains is a great idea. Thanks! Maybe we'll stop at Biltmore.

    We will drop the RV in Phoenix and rent a car or take the shuttle up to Prescott. Our stuff is being moved separately :)

    Keep the ideas coming!!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Possible [HUGE] savings.

    Cruise America have a refurb centre in Phoenix and often have big discounts available for people who are willing to deliver them there. It also means no large one way drop off fee usually associated with one way rentals. Whether there will be any available at the time you travel that are convenient to your start point is another thing, but it's worth keeping an eye on. Go to C/A site and click on 'Hot deals' and then 'Rolling into Arizona'.

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