Day 11: 12 States in 15 Days

Stop 1: Gatlinburg, TN

Gatlinburg is a small town located in the mountains close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is also a popular gateway destination as it offers great views of the mountains, several amusement parks, lots of restaurants and hotels.

The most popular places to view the mountains are the Space Needle and the Sky Lift. However, you can also drive on Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook to get the same nice views for free. This is what we did and were not disappointed.

View from Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

View from Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

Stop 2: Great Smoky Mountains, TN

One of the most popular hikes is 4 mi Chimney Tops. It was our original plan to climb to the top of it, but because of crowds and heavy rains a day before we adjusted our plan. We were advised at the visitor center to drive to the Newfound Gap for the views and quick hike. Unfortunately, there were no leaves on the trees nor snow so we missed the most beautiful views.

For more details about the place, I am again recommending national parks website http://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm.

 

Stop 3: Nashville, TN

Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and is often called “Music City”. If you are interested in music and its history you can visit such landmarks as Grand Ole Opry (the oldest radio program in the United States), Ryman Auditorium (hosted the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974), Country Music Hall of Fame, RCA Studio B or Symphony Center.

If you are mostly interested in getting the feel of the city then go to the downtown. It is an amazing place for an evening walk, lively Broadway, lots of musicians, bars, pubs, people. We were there during the New Year celebration period and were lucky to attend their free concerts. Our final stop was this accidentally found a cool place with great beer and good people – Hops & Crafts Taproom.

 

Back to the main post
Day 12

12 States in 15 Days: from TX to FL and back

Flight: Orange County, SNA –> Houston, IAH –> Orange County, SNA
Dura12Statestion
: 15.5 days
Mileage: ~4200
Starting point: Houston, TX
States: TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC, TN, MO, AR, OK
Budget for 2 people: $2775 ($590 flight,  $415 car rental, $800 hotel + free points nights, $350 gas, $520 food, $100 other)

Map

  • Day 0: flight from the Orange County, SNA to Houston, IAH; night walk in the downtown
  • Day 1: explore Houston, TX; drive to New Orleans, LA (350 mi, 6 h); explore night life in New Orleans
  • Day 2: explore New Orleans, LA; drive to Biloxi, MS (90 mi, 2 h); drive to Mobile, AL (65 mi, 1 h); drive to Pensacola Beach, FL (70 mi, 1.2 h)
  • Day 3: drive to Panama City, FL (90 mi, 2 h); drive to Crystal River, FL (270 mi, 5 h)
    Continue reading