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Old 07-29-2015, 04:39 PM   #1
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Need ideas for NJ to Tennessee

We want to take a trip from NJ to the smokey mountains. I'm looking for a good travel route and nice RV campgrounds the way down and while there. I want to drive down with our TT in 2 days and stay a week or so if we can find enough horseback riding and hiking to keep the family interested. Any ideas and opinions are very welcomed. Thank you in advance.
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Old 07-29-2015, 05:24 PM   #2
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Hi franknj,
From NJ the goal would be to get to I 81 as directly as possible. Stay on I81 South. It will merge with I40 West. Take exit 407 in Tennessee. Route 66 south. 4 lane highway all the way into Sevierville. If possible do not arrive on a Friday or leave on a Sunday. These are very heavy traffic days. A nice CG to stay at is at Natural Bridge / Lexington KOA | Camping in Virginia | KOA Campgrounds This is where I stay when traveling on I81. It is an easy off and onto I 81.

A CG you might be interested in once in the Pigeon Forge area is River Plantation at River Plantation RV Resort - RVC Outdoor Destination

Less than a mile from the CG is a Walmart Supercenter. In the entrance is a very large brochure and discount coupon rack. All the hiking you could want is in the GSMNP. Stop at the Sugarland Welcome Center (on Route 441 South) for a map and ranger advice depending on the kind of hikes you'd like to take. For horseback riding go to https://www.google.com/search?source...490&gws_rd=ssl and begin your search. You are also near all the shows. There are many shows to choose from. Within 2 miles of the CG are many attractions to keep the kids happy. Mini golf, go carts, carnival rides. Also are many restaurants of all flavors. If you decide to go, PM me and I can make some specific suggestions based on what the family likes.
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Old 07-29-2015, 05:50 PM   #3
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You can also go AROUND the mountain to the Waynesboro, NC area. there is a lot to do there also. Train ride in the Bryson City area.


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Old 07-29-2015, 06:03 PM   #4
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Stay away from Pigeon Forge on the weekends. It is a zoo.
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:19 PM   #5
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Great info...I was going to leave on a Sunday stay in Virginia (the Koa you mentioned would work fine if they have a 1 night stay avail) and then head on down to TN on monday and stay a week or so. I looked at the river plantation rv resort and it looks nice snd clean. Might just do the trick as we intend day trips for the most part. Great info....Thanks
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:33 PM   #6
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Another suggestion for an overnight on I-81 is the campground at Endless Caverns near New Market, VA. They offer a Passport America discount for one night.

We've stayed at River Plantation a couple of times. Nice place.
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:48 PM   #7
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I favor Gatlinburg. A few CG's there you can catch the shuttle, go downtown, eat, walk shop etc without driving parking etc.. Not aware of a bad campground there.

Hikes! Wow, a 1,000 hikes. My favorites. About 10 different waterfall destinations. If the family is up to it,,, the chimneys is a fantastic climb. Also, drive to clingmans dome, and hike either direction of the Appalachian as it travels the ridge tops,,,, or new found gap, hike to charlies bunion, or hike Mt Laconte. Oh, so much hiking. And near Cosby, hike to the biggest tree in the smokies, its massive.

Do visit Cades Cove, suggest a weekday as it also gets busy. Take a picnic lunch and find a place on the creek along the drive.

They shouldn't get bored.

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Old 07-29-2015, 07:51 PM   #8
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It is further from Smokey Mountain National Park and Gatlinburg, but we really liked Anchor Down RV resort in Dandridge. New RV Resort, Breathtaking Views, Fireplaces, BathHouse, STAY WITH US Anchor down was about 10 minutes further than River Plantation, but was off the main highway, and a beautiful campground. We were going to stay at Anchor Down a few days then go to River Plantation, but we ended up staying at Anchor Down as it was so beautiful. The place is immaculate and the owner is nice as can be.

BTW we heard that traffic was a nightmare. If you are going in August, you will find the traffic is lighter as southern kids are already back in school, and the area is less congested.
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:51 PM   #9
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ChrisinNJ's post that Anchor Downs is a very nice CG is accurate. If one wants to use Douglas lake activities (boating, fishing, swimming, etc). However, I 1/2 time in this area. If the GSMNP, shows and activities along the Parkway will be the entertainment, do not choose Anchor Downs. The traffic can be miserable from that area. 10 minutes from Anchor Down to the attractions on the Parkway is not possible. Just to get to Route 66 south is 10 minutes. From the Sevierville/Pigeon border it takes me 30 minutes to get to I 40.
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:30 PM   #10
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We just got back and stayed at KOA in PF. It was convenient. Our trip home took us to KOA in Harrisonburg for an overnight stop. Adequate. But the interesting thing we learned is that Wally World has a huge RV department at that store. There are 3 locations of a guy's stop "Workshop Tools" neat store. Bought a blower for blowing off the sand / dirt off the pad. $20.00 but the traffic OMG!!!! Also, IMHO KOA in Cherokee is nicer than PF. But it in the other side of the park.


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Old 07-30-2015, 12:56 PM   #11
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You can also look at Pine Mountain. We stayed there this year, the back-in sites along the back row are the largest, we had a pull through, but will take the back in next time. It is in the heart of everything.
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Old 07-30-2015, 08:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryKD View Post
10 minutes from Anchor Down to the attractions on the Parkway is not possible. Just to get to Route 66 south is 10 minutes. From the Sevierville/Pigeon border it takes me 30 minutes to get to I 40.
Actually I said that Anchor Down was 10 minutes Further from the activities than River Plantation. My personal opinion is that it was worth that extra 10 minutes in the car to stay at such a beautiful campground.

I can completely understand why someone would choose to be closer to the action. For me, if I am going to drive 30 minutes to something, I don't mind driving 40 minutes instead if the campground is nicer.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:12 PM   #13
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Hi ChrisinNJ,
Next time you visit the area let me know. I'd like to see you make the trip using only an extra 10 minutes. Of course obeying all traffic laws and during normal tourist travel times. The test could be from River Plantation to the Smoky Mountain Opry. Then from Anchor Downs to the Smoky Mountain Opry. (just an example)

All this is because many people stay at Anchor Downs and are disappointed how long it takes to get to the shows and attractions. Other than that Anchor Downs is a great CG. My comments are directed to those who might not be familiar with the area. If the shows, Parkway attractions and GSMNP are what a member wants to do, CGs along the Parkway would be a better choice.
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:08 AM   #14
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We have drove down to Tennessee at least twenty times. I-81 what a great interstate. Where to stay? Natural Bridge KOA or the Wytheville KOA are great choices to pull in and stay for the night.

Here is a website that will have "Where to stay" in the GSMNP area.
Listen to the last three of their podcasts. http://rvfamilytravelatlas.com/
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