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Old 08-02-2021, 04:52 PM   #1
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Alternative to the Smokies

Good day fellow campers! My family and I have gone to the Smoky Mountains at least 30 times in the past 20 years. We love the combination of mountains, nature, unplugging right next door to great food and any kind of entertainment and shopping you could ask for. It is truly a unique feature of the area, which is probably why it's so darn busy these days.

We are looking for a new destination to try that has a similar feel. Here is a short list of what we're looking for:
  • Hiking (hilly or mountainous preferred)
  • Pretty views/scenic drives
  • A great spot with full RV hookups
  • some level of entertainment (something fun for kids)
  • A decent selection of food
  • Within 6-8 hours of central Indiana

I've searched other forums as well and others have suggested Branson, or new river gorge np. However, Branson doesn't look particularly nature-y and new river gorge np doesn't seem to have any full hookup spots nearby.

Looking forward to ideas
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Old 08-02-2021, 05:59 PM   #2
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Old 08-02-2021, 06:42 PM   #3
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Old 08-03-2021, 04:59 AM   #4
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We hiked the Smokey’s, best time is in May before school is out or October.
Other places we like that has mountains and hiking are.
We have been to all these areas more than once

Shenandoah National Park, we camp in Luray at the Jellystone
Asheville, hike the Blue Ridge
Traverse City, no mountains but near Sleeping Bears, great hikes
Mackinaw City, drive to the UP over the bridge, great hikes

All not far from Indiana
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Old 08-03-2021, 05:51 AM   #5
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Cumberland Falls CG in Ky. Less than 300mi from Indianapolis.
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Old 08-03-2021, 07:10 AM   #6
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Branson itself might not be "naturey" enough for the OP, but Mtn Home, Ark and other parts of northern Ark might fit that bill. And really close to Branson. Branson is more like Pigeon Forge, with emphasis on entertainment. Mtn Home is more like the Great Smokeys (only shorter mountains) with emphasis on hiking, fishing, rafting, other outdoors stuff.

But, as you admit in your post, it will be hard to find a better trip, that close to you, that has so much varied stuff to do.


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Old 08-03-2021, 12:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:53 PM   #8
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Petit Jean Mtn., Arkansas. Also nearby, the Buffalo River and White River areas.
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Old 08-03-2021, 01:35 PM   #9
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We like the area north of Knoxville TN. All kinds of things to do, Norris Lake, a great Pioeer Village, Oak Ridge, plenty places to shop, antique, tons of eating place, national forest, many full hookups.
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Old 08-03-2021, 01:42 PM   #10
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Shenandoah National Park is a great place and similar to the Smoky's. The Luray Caverns are nearby and the largest caverns in the eastern US

The KOA in Luray is also a pretty nice campground. We have been there a couple times
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Old 08-03-2021, 01:45 PM   #11
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I just spent a week in Granby, Co - It's 16 miles from RMNP and close to Granby, Grand Lake, Frazier and Winter Park - All very quaint/cool little towns.

Check our River Run RV Resort in Granby - Superb accommodations !!!

Edit - just realized it's a bit outside your target area - sorry about that
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Old 08-03-2021, 03:06 PM   #12
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Check out Bandy Creek campground at Big South Fork National Forest. Nice camping with lots of interesting hikes in the area. You could combine it with Mammoth Caves. Some nice COE parks near there.
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:24 PM   #13
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NC High Country.... Boone/Blowing Rock area. Blue Ridge Parkway is nearby, tubing/canoeing down the New River. Virginia Creeper Bike Trail is also nearby
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Old 08-04-2021, 07:47 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies and great ideas. We're going to give the Traverse city area a try. Not sure if Sleeping Bear will give enough of the nature/hills/hikes feel, but we'll see. Certainly going to hang on to all these ideas for the future.
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