I shared before how I plan our family roadtrips in order to get the most out of them for the least amount of money.
I wanted to share with you now how I am planning our next trip to Georgia.
I chart our route and looked for larger cities that we will be passing through.
I see that we are going through Lexington, Kentucky and Knoxville, Tennessee. I have nothing relatable in my head about either one of those places (do you guys? Do I just live too sheltered of a life?) so I Pinterest them to see what there is to do.
It looks like in Lexington there are some horse race type parks to check out but nothing that is screaming “us” so I’m moving on. I will also point out Lexington is about 4 hours from our house. I want to make sure we cover some distance in the first day of our trip so Lexington is about the closest place I would be willing to go to. Otherwise we’ll have too much traveling to do the next day as we make our way to Georgia.
So the next place I’m going to look up is Knoxville.
There look to be some things but I am not sure if that is where I want to be for very long. We are after all driving through so we don’t have a lot of time to spend.
I now check out our memberships’ reciprocal programs. We have memberships through the ASTC and the AZA. I see that there is a zoo in Knoxville that looks promising but we still have to pay 50%. That’s a great deal, don’t get me wrong, but I just want to make sure that that is something we commit to do with our time. After all, a zoo takes a large chunk of time to go through.
I check out the National Parks website and, duh! I see that Knoxville is just a hop, skip and a jump a way from the Smoky Mountains National Park. BINGO!
I think we might go that way. We love hiking and exploring so going that route ensures lots of fresh air, exercise, and it’s darn near free.
In case you’ve never been to the Smoky Mountains, it is near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. This is a really neat area but a huge tourist area that makes it really hard to stay on budget. I am sure we will do some things there but we try to steer clear of this area. An example of the area is when we went mini golfing. We went to a scabby kind of place with flaking paint and it was $60 for the four of us. Seriously. That is why we try to plan carefully what we do in the area and we look for budet friendly items.
The Smoky Mountains park spans over 800 square acres over North Carolina and Tennessee. While it is technically one park there are several sections and areas of the park including Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Clingmans Dome, and more. While there are lots of things to do I think we are going to be focusing on the Cades Cove area.
Cades Cove offers some of the best opportunities to spot wildlife. When we’ve been through the Smokies before we have spotted deer, bears, elk, and coyotes. We like Cades Cove because of the settlement you can explore as well as the nature. We’ve never had a lot of time to explore the area though, so I think that will be a perfect option for us.
We are so excited for our trip and can’t wait to get to the mountains!!!
I hope this kind of “me talking outloud to you helps you to see the madness behind my method for planning our trips. I can try to do this with another trip if it helps you! Let me know, friends!