Dear all,

with great interest I have been following the threads on this forum. Having moved to Chicago about a year and probably about to spend another year and a half, I want to try to see some of the MidWest area. Once back to Europe I expect to be back to the US, but will probably stick to the more standard locations like East / West coast. Last summer we explored around Lake Michigan which was beautiful. This year we want to visit friends in Charlotte but are having difficulties coming up with a reasonable plan. Problem is that we have two kids who will be 1,5 and 3,5 years in August/September when we want to take this trip. So having 8-10 hours driving days will probably not be a big succes. Nor will be stops which are predominantly adult oriented (big cities, museums, etc.). Iíve understood that Smoly Mountains is a very nice park to stay for a few days. So I am mostly looking for stops to break the trip from Chicago to the Smoky Mountains and the return trip from Charlotte back to Chicago. Is Mammoth Cave interesting / fun for kids to spend a night or two? The boys love the water, so ideally Iíd like to stay in a cottage / hotel which is on a lake or river (or has a pool, but prefer natural water).

We plan about spending 2 weeks on the road. I think 5 hour driving is about the max for one day.

Thanks for your help!