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  1. Default moving from Philadelphia to Houston.. road trip!

    So it turns out we will be moving to Houston in couple of months.. we had been planning a road trip to smokeys in September but now just extending it on to Houston from there.

    We are a family of four- husband, wife, almost 4 year old, and 1.5 year old.

    We will have two weeks to travel but it can be adjusted.

    We love nature, being outdoor, family hikes etc.

    We are taking blue ridge parkway to smokies, spending couple of days in Ashville, but no idea about what to do after that.. any recommendations please?

    we dont want to be in car too much for the sake of kids so we can add in days if needed.. please guide.

    I plan to order the atlas Rand McNally one that I see gets high recommendations on this website.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A good start.

    Two things stand out to me, in your post. Recognizing that short days with frequent stops will be best for the children, and that having good paper maps (road atlas) is an essential in both the planning and when on the road.

    Since you are already in the US, you can purchase the road atlas at any stationer or most big box stores, even some truck stops. You'll probably find that the 2015 edition could be as little as a couple of dollars, since the 2016 edition is due out any day now. (I was surprised last year to see it for as little as $2.)

    If you are a member of AAA, you will be able to pick up individual maps of each State there. With 14 days, you will have lots of time to check out attractions of interest, and still not have to be in the car for too many hours a day.

    Have a great trip.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Other Stops Your Kids Might Enjoy

    For children as young as yours, finding places they'll have fun at is easy. Anywhere with open green space where they can run around and play will fill the bill. State Parks especially can be great places for kids. Look for those with swimming holes and/or small playgrounds. These can be amazingly cheap, even free, for day use. Just do a search on 'statename state parks'. They frequently have a statewide map which will help you find those near your route.

    Besides Great Smoky Mountains National Park, some other 'larger' stops you might want to consider include Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, the Creole Nature Trail, and the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge. In fact wildlife refuges are another great, underutilized resource.


  4. Default

    Thank you.

    I saw the 2016 road atlas on Amazon for 10 bucks.. Should I just buy that one or check locally first?

    Thanks azbuck for recommendations.. I will check them out and include in our trip.

    I guess my next step is to outline and itinerary and share for it to be reviewed.. I will be back later :)

    In the meantime if anyone has more recommendations please share :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Pick up an atlas at your local Wal-Mart or bookstore. Probably will be around the same price at Wal-Mart as on Amazon, but you'll have it faster.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    They are cheaper at Walmart, because they are customized with ads and a list of all Walmarts in the US.

  7. Default

    Thank you all... I will pick it up from walmart to fine tune my itinerary.

    Any recommendations for things to do with kids in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana?

    I am going to check out teh state parks but just wondering if anyone has ideas :)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Your kids are young enough not to remember much of the trip anyway, so I'd say definitely get to the Space and Rocket center in Huntsville, AL, that was mentioned (by AZBuck) above. Another place might be Vicksburg National Military Park, in Vicksburg Ms. You may enjoy the history there (major Civil War battle), but the kids will love the huge green lawns and maybe the almost-4 year old would love the "big boat" (i.e. battleship USS Cairo). (I have a grandson that's 2-1/2 and he would love that!)


  9. Default

    Thank you.. here is my preliminary itinerary..does this sound doable? should I add or take out anything?

    Philadelphia, PA (Leaving Friday afternoon)
    Raonoke, VA (Leaving Sat evening)
    Boone, NC(leaving Sun eve)
    Blowing Rock, Ashville, Cherokee (Blue Ridge Parkway loop) (Monday and Tuesday)
    Gatlinburg, TN (Smokies) (Wed and Thursday)
    Lookout Mountain, GA (Friday)
    Birmingham, AL (Sat)
    Natchex, MS (Sun)
    Baton Rouge, LA (Mon)
    Houston, TX (Tuesday

    My husband will have to report to work Thursday so I am keeping Wednesday free just in case!!!

    we dont have to do much after our smokies trip since we can always do south from Houson while we are there for couple pf years.. we will do more road trips to LA/MS in future so for now these are more like break areas for kids to stretch their legs than the actual visit itself!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Why so late?

    Why are your first couple of days driving so late? potentially having you driving with peak hour traffic and in the dark. This will not set you up well for the trip ahead nor will you see some of the magnificent country through which you will be driving.


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