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  1. Default Mid-April Road Trip From Chicago

    Would like to take my wife and children(girls,2 and 8) on a road trip this April. Any suggestions? I have the whole week of 4/11-18. Was thinking maybe Smoky Mountains. Anyone every been? Too crowded? I'm open to any suggestions. Thank you.

  2. #2

    Default Bare Trees.......... not only the title of a classic (pre-Buckingham and Nicks) Fleetwood Mac LP, but it also describes the Smokies scenery in early Spring.

    Hello Drifter,

    If you seek respite from Chicago's blustery early Spring weather, you might need consider going farther South or at least somewhere in the lower elevations. Generally speaking, the tempratures in the mid-to upper elevations at GSNP will be just like that which you left behind in Chicago. The deciduous trees may be hinting at budding out, but will be for the most part completely bare. There is a distinct possibility of a late snowfall or an ice storm. Then again, it's possible the Smokies could see a series of bluebird days with temps in the 60s-70s in April.

    That said, I'd be mighty surprised it GSNP was crowded in mid-April. Your children are young enough to enjoy the touristy stuff in Gatlinburg, TN, so they'd probably rate the destination as a winner even if the weather made the Park itself inhospitable.

    If you're willing to travel a somewhat farther, kids always seem to enjoy the Myrtle Beach area of SC. Millions and millions of Canadians and New Jersey-ites can't be wrong, can they?

    Enjoy the planning and the trip!


  3. Default Smoky Leaves

    Very intelligent, insightful response, just the kind of thing I was hoping this site could offer. I like the Myrtle Beach idea. Golfed there once and it seemed very family oriented.

  4. #4

    Default Family fun

    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Very intelligent, insightful response, just the kind of thing I was hoping this site could offer. I like the Myrtle Beach idea. Golfed there once and it seemed very family oriented.
    Yes, Myrtle Beach is quite family-oriented. I was perhaps uncharitable to the provenance of so many of the Grand Strand's visitors. It is clearly a popular destination, and the Spring weather is much more likely to be enjoyable than in the mountains. Nearby are smaller, more intimate beach communities between Wilmington, NC and the NC-SC state line. Many find Wilmington itself to be a desirable destination. Check and see when the annual Azalea Festival is scheduled for this year.



  5. Default Hhi

    Foy, how's Hilton Head, besides expensive?

  6. #6

    Default Haven't been there, but....

    ......I've been to HH's "stepsister" Kiawah, near Charleston. I thought Kiawah was very nice and all reports are HH is even moreso. I guess it's mostly a matter of personal tastes. HH might be described as very high end, la-de-dah, and perhaps some would find it downright pretentious. Kiawah perhaps somewhat less so. Myrtle Beach might be said to appeal to more of the middle class/working class, as would most of the NC beaches.

    I don't personally enjoy the uber-landscaped frilliness of Kiawah and what appears to be the look of HH. The Myrtle Beach highrises and amusement parks don't appeal to me, either. I'm more on an old-style cottages, fishing piers, crabbing in the Sounds, and surf-fishing type, so NC's beaches appeal to me. Not being a golfer, the courses have no effect on my choices.

    Kiawah is much navigable by bicycle, but yours are a bit young for that, I guess. I suppose it's safe to generalize and say if you like high-end resorts and all the amenities, HH or Kiawah are good choices. Something a bit more pedestrian, MB or the NC beaches.

  7. Default ??

    What is "Middle Class"? I remember that term from when I was a kid, but I think it went the way of knickers or the Dodo bird. :} I'm more like the working poor, and my tastes run along your lines. Just wanted to make sure there was enough to do for the kids, something they would remember. Actually, my wife has family in Miss. so we have been reading about the Natchez Trace on this site with interest. Any experience with this route? Kids might get a little bored, but it should be warm enough, and they'll enjoy their cousins company when we arrive.

  8. #8

    Default Wish I knew.......

    ........what middle class was, myself. I just know I don't qualify for membership in certain clubs because I'm somewhere below "high class" and whenever the "middle class" gets a tax break from Congress, I don't see any of it because I am supposedly "wealthy". Who knows?

    My sons, then 12 and 8, enjoyed Kiawah when I attended a long weekend convention down there. BUT, it was mid-summer so they spend the days in the ocean and pool and were big enough to ride their bikes all over Creation. Sounds as though neither would be the case with your trip timing and kids' ages. If your older one likes amusement park ride, seems like Myrtle Beach would be the place. I assume the rides, etc, would be open in mid-April but I have no way to know that for sure.

    And don't let me turn you away from the Smokies, as Gatlinburg is chockablock full of attractions which might well appeal to the youngsters and their parents alike, especially if you like country music (Dollywood, etc). And you might just get some bluebird Spring days in the mountains--who knows? I cautioned about that just because I've seen many a "flat-lander" come to the NC mountains, during my college days up there in the 1970s, without the understanding that it is usually 15-18 degrees colder up there than at equal latitudes at lower elevation.

    I've spent many an hour on the Natchez Trace between Jackson and Eupora, MS, having spent 2 years drilling on both sides of it near Ackerman, MS (and you can now see the lignite coal mine we were working on, from the Trace, much to the chagrin of the National Park Service). That part of the Trace is a nice, smooth, leafy, rolling hills ride through the country. It's a fine low-stress way to get from Nashville down home to see the folks, but unless something's been developed in the way of nearby attractions since about 1981, I don't envision the kids being too excited about it.


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