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Road trips in the Southeast
Old 03-18-2013, 06:39 AM   #1
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Road trips in the Southeast

We live in Fl and have driven up and down the east coast and out west quite a few times but never really been to as many places closer to home thinking that it was always more accessable for the future. The future is here and more time is available for shorter and more frequent week long trips.

I am interested to know anyones road trip experience/idea/recommendations as far north as NC, as far northwest as Arkansas and anywhere in between with the best time of year to visit.


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Old 03-18-2013, 07:54 AM   #2
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I love Hwy 17, and have enjoyed trips running from the bottom of SC along SC and NC coast. Pretty little coastal towns all the way and some bigger cities, too. Maybe start in Savannah and work your way up to Newbern and then over to Beaufort NC.
Good small towns to check out along the way include Beaufort, SC, Pawleys Island, Georgetown, SC, and Wilmington, NC.

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Old 03-18-2013, 08:06 AM   #3
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If you make it to the NC coast like Beaufort, continue on to the Outer Banks. A trip on Hwy 12 is unique. You can also tray a ferry ride. You go with your car. The ferry to Ocracoke is FREE, the longer ferries are reasonably priced.

If you go to the mountains, you must start with the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is one of the nation's gems. There are other rides in the mountains, but start there. Blue Ridge Parkway - Blue Ridge Parkway

As much as I like the coast, if I lived in FLA, I would start with a mountain drive. Oh wait, I did live in FLA and yearned for trees and topography, so that's where I started.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:08 AM   #4
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Badger: just saw your avatar is a cycle. It is maybe too popular these days, but another mountain drive is tail of the dragon. Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, motorcycle and sport car two lane tourism serving Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner28, Devils Triangle, and Six Gap North Georgia.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:17 AM   #5
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You can't go wrong taking a few days to explore the Natchez Trace. I haven't been on it in years, but something I plan to do in the near future. Lot's of good hiking trails along the way. Spring and Fall probably the best time.

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recent road trip
Old 03-18-2013, 09:14 AM   #6
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recent road trip

we just got back from three weeks on the road. from virginia to the gulf coast just south of Tallahassee, then west along the gulf coast. great beaches, old forts, shrimp po-boys, Naval Air Museum, ferry to Daulphin Island. then on to New Orleans for a few days. Out to Avery Island, home of Tabasco Sauce. came up the west side of the Mississippi River to Natchez, MS. stayed at the Devereaux Shields House, great B&B. Then drove the Natchez Trace Parkway all 444 miles of it to below Nashville. then took the interstates back to VA. had a great time and saw a lot of the country because we stayed off the interstates when ever possible.
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:49 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Natchez Trace sounds like it could keep me busy for a few road trips with some short hikes.

I haven't been to Tail of the Dragon but my wife and I took our motorcycles up through the Blue Ridge four years ago on our way to Maryland. What a great ride.

Many of my trips over the years up the east coast from Fl have been either I-95 if going way north (not so much a fun ride but had fun destinations) or up through central Ga to central and western NC. A coastal ride through SC and NC would be a nice leasurely change.

More suggestions are welcome. Especially for interesting places to visit whether historical, touristy, or outdoors with hiking. My wife loves to go for walks in the woods although my hikes are now limited to shorter easier trails. Our vacations and travel have mostly been with our sleeping bags and a tent but we have to shift gears now. Got to keep moving though.

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Old 03-19-2013, 05:38 AM   #8
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Helen, GA is interesting to visit and there are so many places around there to see. It's crazy during Octoberfest but fun. Just a few minutes north is Unicoi State Park where you can drive through the park and pay a fee to go to Anna Ruby Falls. It's a short, easy hike to the falls - one of my favorites in GA. If you continue north from Helen you pass through the winding turns of Unicoi Gap and pass by the Appalachian Trail. Then take SR 180 west to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in GA. Continuing on SR 180 west you can take a left at Richard Russell Scenic Hwy (SR 348) and enjoy the scenery as you wind your way back towards Helen. Along that road are two nice waterfalls - Raven Cliff Falls and Dukes Creek Falls. Raven Cliff is more advanced and a long hike. Dukes Creek is an easy one mile. Back near Helen is Smithgall Woods, another nice park with hiking and some small falls. Further west is Desoto Falls, two falls on different trail spurs. East of Helen is the Lake Rabun area with several waterfalls - Minnehaha Falls is impressive with just a short hike. Angel & Panther Falls are nearby. Continuing eastward you have Tallulah Gorge - some very impressive views there but lots of steps if you go down into the gorge.

Just a few of our favorites from north Georgia.
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:13 AM   #9
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We really enjoyed visiting the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. They have some amazing and fascinating space exhibits. If you are interested in that sort of thing and if it is along whatever route you pick, it might be worth a detour.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:01 AM   #10
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Check out the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina continuing into Virginia if you want to go further north. Scenic, and runs through or near some towns ranging from the larger cities of Asheville and Roanoke (VA) to smaller mountain towns such as Boone, Brevard, etc.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:41 AM   #11
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I grew up in AR and know a bit about it. If you draw a line from say Hardy to Hope and stay on the N.West side of the line, you have much to see IMO.

Some places that stand out are Blanchard Springs (campgrounds, springs, trout fishing, caverns) Mountain View is a quaint place and they have local music on the square (called Hootenanny) that is interesting & free. Took my wife here and she was hooked; love this area. Google Gaston's for a very scenic place to stay in the area too.

If you're into canoeing a river, try a few miles north of Hardy; Spring river is awesome for this and fishing trout, walleye, small mouth bass. Pretty float as well. Also for a relaxing float and 300ft bluffs, try the Buffalo River at Hwy 65. Very scenic.

If you want relaxing lakes and "touristy" stuff, Hot Springs is nice. Cabins are very nice on the Ouachita Lake area (east side of lake is my only experience). You can rent a pontoon boat and putz around a really scenic lake lined with hills & trees. This is the largest lake in AR (I think).

Some points to see may also include Eureka Springs (scenic and lots of B&B's) in the N.West corner and Petit Jean State park (scenic, especially in the fall & they have cabins too) in the center (West of Little Rock).

Heber Springs Lake and Batesville are a couple minor places to drive through too. All the roads are pretty good and many go North on 65 out of Conway to go up through the center of the state. There's also an Interstate road North of Ft. Smith that's "easy".

Never cared for the S.East side of the state; flat and nondescript for my taste.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dawg52 View Post
You can't go wrong taking a few days to explore the Natchez Trace. I haven't been on it in years, but something I plan to do in the near future. Lot's of good hiking trails along the way. Spring and Fall probably the best time.

Done the Trace both ways, partially and in its entirety, 3 or 4 times.....never get tired of it.

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