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  1. Default Skyline Dr./Blue Ridge Parkway


    We (me, my wife and daughter) are planning a small family reunion in Gatlinburg, TN. We live in SW Pennsylvania, right around Pittsburgh.

    Well, we decided to drive Skyline Dr., VA and the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way to Gatlinburg. We definitely want to take our time getting there. Does anyone have any recommendations as far as sight seeing, cool things to see, and maybe a place or two to stay the night. My parents own a house around Blowing Rock, NC, so we plan on spending a night there. We were thinking about going in the Fall when it's cooler out. Any of the roads seasonally closed?

    Also, we have a 05' Mazda 3. I'm thinking we should rent something, any recommendations?

    I just want to make this a memorable experience with lots of pictures and possibly make this an annual occurrence.

    Oh and this site rocks by the way, glad I found some fellow road trip junkies. :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    Why would you want to rent a car when you have a nice economical car like that?

    Blowing Rock sets you up very nicely for driving to the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway then up through the park to Gatlinburg. You could do this in one full day (it's just over 200 miles), but if you really want to take your time, stick another overnight in there.

    Now, to get from Pittsburgh to the start of Skyline Drive should take you no more than 4 hours. From there to Blowing Rock is 400 miles of very slow road. You might be able to do it with one overnight. Between Front Royal and Roanoke, you are never very far from I-81, I'd probably drive till you feel it's time to start looking for a place to stay, then head over that way. I'm thinking maybe Waynesboro or Charlottesville may be a good overnight. Of course, if you have time and really want to make a lot of stops, add another night.

    There are no scheduled seasonal road closures, but when the snow starts flying, they don't necessarily maintain it. Generally, you would only find specific sections closed.

  3. Default

    Awesome, thank you for the response.

    Why would you want to rent a car when you have a nice economical car like that?
    I was thinking of comfort and such. Three People and luggage (my daughter has more clothes than me) in an small sedan would be cramped no?

    I was also thinking of the following itinerary after reading your suggestions.

    Day 1. Leave home and drive the quickest route to Skyline Dr. Drive the entire length of Skyline Dr, stopping to see the sights relaxing, and then stay at a hotel in Waynesboro.

    Day 2. Leave Waynesboro and start on BRP. See some sights and eventually end up at my parents in Lenoir, which is about 30 minutes south on US-321 and NC-268 (which is a beautiful drive in and of itself) of Blowing Rock.

    Day 3. Leave Blowing Rock and do the last leg of the BRP all the way to Gatlinburg.

    After the weekend we'll probably just take I-81 to I-77 to US-19N to I-79.

    Have you driven this road before? Anything you recommend seeing?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A whole bunch of us have driven the BRP, many times!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chriscim View Post
    Have you driven this road before? Anything you recommend seeing?
    There are about 25 threads that mention this route, but to get you started, you might like these three recently published routes that address different sections of the BRP...

    Cherokee to Cumberland Knob, North Carolina, on the Blue Ridge Parkway

    Cherokee, North Carolina to Gatlinburg, Tennessee via the Great Smoky Mountains

    Galax to Rockfish Gap, Virginia, on the Blue Ridge Parkway

    And then to get started on some of the BRP fans... both GLC and Foy are local experts:

    Foy's discussion about the Skyline Drive and this one

    And a couple more threads to speed you on your reading!

    Happy Planning!


  5. Default

    I have just joined this site. I, too, am planning to do the Skyline all the way down the entire Blue Ridge Parkway, then over to Gatlinburg via the Newfound Gap Road. Since I live in NC, hubs and I have always loved finding those elusive side roads that appear to lead to nowhere -- and we always take them. Rather than mess up our own car, we rent. It's just our preference, but there's nothing wrong with driving your own! We plan to drive to Front Royal Oct. 16, start our trek on the 17th, and return home on the 23rd. We decided a leisurely pace would be best, since the BRP is heavily travelled in Oct. I've already made tentative reservations at hotels along the way. And I generally follow recommendations folks make on TripAdvisor. I'm not looking to spend time in hotel rooms, so as long as it's clean and functional, I'm good. I did splurge on a nice B&B in Gatlinburg, though. While Gatlinburg is full of tourist traps, I still love to hoof it over there once in awhile -- but prefer to stay away from all the lights and noise. It just happens to be in one of the most spectacular areas EVER, so I never tire of finding that side road I missed on my last trip. . .

    I really appreciate the threads Mark mentioned, and can't wait to investigate! Chris, I hope you and your family have a fabulous time!

  6. #6

    Default Hello NC neighbor

    If you like side roads and a rather more detailed map depiction of the SD + BRP and surrounding areas, consider purchase of a DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer for both VA and NC. It'll set you back around $40 for the pair, but you should be able to click through to Amazon right from RTA and order them. I would not traverse the SD and BRP without mine.



  7. Default

    Is it true there's a $15 entrance fee to drive on the road? I've only read this on the Wikipedia entry, nowhere else.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Skyline Drive is the main road through Shenandoah National Park, and admission is charged unless you have a national parks pass. It's $15 per car, $10 in Dec/Jan/Feb.

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