Road trips are a lot like parenting. It’s not as much about the destination as it is the journey, and as parents, we know the journey can be pretty amazing—especially if it’s one filled with the blues, beaches, and your babes in the backseat! Keep reading for inspiration on five fab routes through the South that’ll have you all whistling Dixie.

The Scenic Smokies: Nashville to Asheville (Tn and Nc)

Take a ride through the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee and the cradle of country music, through the heart of Rocky Top, and right on into the soulful city of the Smokies.

What to See: Kicking off your trip in Nashville, don't miss a visit to the Grand Old Opry, where backstage tours can be arranged in advance, or a stop in one of Broadway's famous honky tonks (go early with kids; lunchtime at Robert's Western World is just the right speed). Heading east towards Knoxville, check out the Sunsphere at downtown's World's Fair Park, and pull over for a laid-back festival at Market Square. Continuing towards the mountains, don't miss the Cades Cove Loop in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and get an eyeful of opulence at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Also excellent options in the Asheville area are a visit to the Sierra Nevada Brewery, located in a parklike setting, or a day trip to Grandfather Mountain, with it's mile-high swinging bridge.

Good to Know: The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the nation's most visited National Park, so be sure to hit Cades Cove early in the day, or on weekends, when it's pedestrian-only in the earliest hours.

Where to Eat: You can't go wrong with Biscuit Love in Nashville and Puckett's Grocery in Franklin, just to the south of Nashville. For an old-school pharmacy soda fountain, hit Long's Drugstore in Knoxville, and don't miss a visit to Tupelo Honey or Buxton hall BBQ in Asheville.

Where to Stay: Make memories at Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, Opryland Hotel or Union Station in Nashville. Located between Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, a perfect base for exploring the park.

Photo: Lee Coursey via Flickr 

 

What’s your favorite route through the South? Tell us in the comments section below!

—Shelley Massey