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Destination: San Antonio April 26, 2010

Posted by S. in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Road Trip, Tools, Uncategorized.
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Sunset at Morton's Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn.

A guide to planning your road trip from Washington, DC, to San Antonio

Part 2 of 3: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama

With Virginia and North Carolina in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start the second leg of Destination: San Antonio.  If you enjoyed the history of Monticello or the adrenaline rush of Sliding Rock, just wait until you explore Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.  About a two-hour drive northwest of Sliding Rock and downtown Asheville is Gatlinburg, Tenn., the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains.

At this point of the journey, the roads diverge and you must decide which route you’d like to travel: south or north; Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi or central to western Texas and Arkansas.  Nevertheless, whichever way is right for you and your Family, the journey will be exciting and memorable.

North and South Routes

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Gatlinburg)

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a myriad of opportunities for exploring the natural and cultural history of its ancient surroundings. The national park encompasses more than 800 square miles in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. No other area of equal size in a temperate climate can match the park’s diversity of plants, animals and invertebrates. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides countless activities such as scenic and historical drives, Elkmont’s synchronized fireflies and white water rafting.

Asheville, N.C., to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Asheville, N.C., to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The Parthenon (Nashville – North Route)

Built in 1897 for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition, Nashville’s Parthenon might have you thinking you’re in Greece. Both the building and a 42-foot statue of Athena are full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.  The Parthenon, amongst hosting events such as proms and weddings, serves as the city’s art museum.

I’ve been to the Parthenon in Athens, and the experience of visiting the reproduction in Nashville is at least equal to and perhaps surpasses the original.”

―TripAdvisor.com member Snakebite_Survivor of Chapel Hill, N.C.

Graceland (Memphis – North Route)

Driving through Memphis won’t add extra hours to your driving time, so don’t fret! If Tennessee and Arkansas are ideal for your travels, you should visit the King’s Graceland Mansion.



Many forget that Elvis served in the armed forces and historic items on display serve well to document this period in the King’s life. A visit to Graceland will leave you with a new found appreciation to the man we all know as the King.”

― Yelp.com member Hideki K. of New York, New York

Stone Mountain (Atlanta – South Route)

Frommer’s lists Stone Mountain as one of the 500 Places to Visit with Your Kids Before They Grow Up.  The park is home to the largest bas-relief in the world, which portrays three major figures of the Confederate States of America: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

DeSoto State Park (Fort Payne, Ala. — South Route)

Nestled atop scenic Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama, DeSoto State Park’s 3,502-acre wilderness is accented by rushing waterfalls and fragrant wildflowers. The park offers hiking, fishing, camping, swimming and horseback riding.  If you’re bringing your horses to Texas and want to stretch their legs – this is the place. DeSoto Falls, located in the state park, is more than 100-feet high and is one of the tallest and most visited waterfalls in Alabama.


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