Along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Atlanta is the capital of Georgia and has an approximate population of a half million people. Although it was founded in 1837 as Terminus then Marthasville in 1843, it was not formally dubbed the City of Atlanta until 1847. The city has a warm climate with the average temperature being 63 degrees overall so outdoor activities are popular all year long. Visitors to Atlanta can enjoy a plethora of fun in its 343 parks that include over 3,600 acres of wilderness, water, and wildlife.
Some of the parks are major recreation areas like the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and Centennial Olympic Park, where the 1996 Summer Olympics were held. Other fun places in the city include Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta, and Six Flags Over Georgia. Of course, if you want to go to Legoland or Six Flags, you may want to wait until you have more time to enjoy it. You may be interested in stopping by some of the eateries, shops, and boutiques in Downtown Atlanta where you can get a bite to eat and buy some items for your road trip at the same time.
About two hours up I-75 you can find the City of Chattanooga in the southeastern corner of Tennessee. With an estimated population of 180,000, it is the fourth-largest city in the state. The first visitors to the area were thought to be in 10,000 BCE in the Upper Paleolithic time. Another warm city, the average temperature in Chattanooga is 62 degrees, making outdoor fun very popular all year long.
The Chattanooga Zoo, Lookout Mountain, and the many parks along the Tennessee River are all great places to enjoy the sunshine and nice weather of Chattanooga. However, if you want some indoor activities, you can choose from the Hunter Museum of American Art, Creative Discovery Museum, or the International Towing Museum. It’s always great to learn new things while on a road trip. In fact, the kids won’t even know they are learning because they will be having too much fun.
Heading east on US-64/74 approximately 1.5 hours, the Nantahala National Forest is a beautiful place to spend a few hours. This is the largest national forest in North Carolina with about 531,000 acres. If you’re an angler, you can choose from lake, pond, river, or stream fishing. The forest has 15 areas for lake and pond fishing as well as 40 for river and stream fishing. If you feel like a swim, Nantahala National Forest has half a dozen beach areas with the most notable being the Cheoah Point Beach. Pack up the beach toys and sunscreen for some fun in the sun on Lake Santeetlah in the Cheoah Point Recreation Area by Robbinsville.
Some other fun things to enjoy in Nantahala National Forest include rock climbing on Whiteside Mountain between Cashiers and Highlands. For those who like off-roading, take the ATV to Wayehutta OHV Trail System near Sylva. The forest also has 20 trails for mountain bikers. From the 8.7-mile Mouse Branch Loop in the Tsali Recreation Area by Bryson City to the 10 miles of trails on the easy 2.4-mile Loop Trail on Lake Chatuge in the Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area near Murphy.
Alright, you only have a two-hour drive on US-74/I-40 to get to your final stop of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. If you are looking for a place to camp, head to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is only about five miles out of town. The huge park has nine RV campgrounds with a total of 927 campsites, so you are sure to find a spot you like. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends and holidays.
While you are in town, take some time to visit some of the museums, parks, and restaurants in the city of Gatlinburg. Some of the other fun places to visit include the Gatlinburg Space Needle, Ripley’s Gatlinburg, and Dollywood, the huge amusement park owned by Dolly Parton. No matter what you decide to do while you are in Gatlinburg, bring your camera so you can share your adventures on your favorite social media sites.