i am trying to solidify our plans for this year's vacation and would really appreciate any input anyone might have to help me. because of my work schedule, days of the week make a difference, so any ideas as far as traffic patterns go are also welcome.
here is my rough draft that i could use help with/ideas for:
---i have at least 7 days. possibly 8-9.
---most likely leaving Chicago Tuesday, Aug 2. (would like to start on monday, but don't think i can)
have to be back in Chicago (most likely) Tue around 2-4pm.
---traveling with 2 daughters, both 10 yrs old
*they are amazing road trip/travel companions!!! 2 years ago went on a 3500 mile/12 day road trip with them and two other adults and they were great and fun to travel with!!
*they are NOT picky eaters!! they will eat or at least try almost anything!! so any kind of interesting dining options are welcome!!
--- 18 yr old nephew MIGHT join us. He's a great kid and would be up for most anything we would want to do. he's super considerate of his 10 year old cousins and would have fun partaking in anything we'd decide on doing. However, if he DOES joins us, this will be part of my HS graduation present to him, so i would like to do something he would LOVE, but that would also be appropriate for my10 yea olds. it's ok if it is somewhat boring for them- they are ok with that because putting up with 1 boring (for them) thing on this trip would be THEIR present to him :) But it does have to be appropriate enough for 10 yr olds.
* he doesn't care much for hiking.
* goofy/weird stuff is a big plus (planning on going to Ripply's Odditorium (sp?) with him for sure)
---what would be a good about halfway point for stopping?
* just for spending the night Berea was recommended.
*Cave city KY, Mammoth caves. is there anything but the caves? if we are adding 3-4 hours it would have to be more thn caves.
* WOULD LOVE to have a Hot Brown at the Brown Hotel in Louisville KY again! what would be our possible options if we stayed in Louisville for a day (possibly on the way back)?
---i would like to spend 2-3 nites in Gatlinburg, at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort. Any thoughts? are there better options? is it fairly easy to get from the resort to Gatlinburg main strip?
*is there a better option if we are planning on including zip lining and rafting?
---Ober Gatlinburg; is it worth it getting the all inclusive pass?
---what might be some unknown little places near/around Gatlinburg, that aren't a tourist destination, but would be worth going to with our little group?
thanks a bunch in advance!!