Excellent Family Road Trip to Kentucky, Tennessee & North Carolina
Hi friends! I’m so excited to share our road trip from Wisconsin to North Carolina with you! This trip was a family Easter trip with our family of four, my parents, siblings, and their significant others, and I was so happy that we actually made the trip happen. I have learned some easy road-trip tricks and suggestions. I also have to give my hubby credit for being such a great sport! We had 7 of us in a car for a long drive to and from North Carolina.
With the wild and exhausting year we’ve all had, it felt like such a treat to getaway and unplug from the internet, be with family and discover things we never know existed! ♥
We chose a road trip to North Carolina, because two of my siblings/significant others live in that neck of the woods and we’ve never seen that part of the country. Also our kiddos (ages 9 and 7) have never been on a road trip and we all wanted to experience that together. Not to ruin surprises but it was THE BEST TRIP!!
How We Planned this Trip
Firstly, we needed to find a place to stay where all of us (9 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs) could stay together. We chose this AMAZING lakefront log home on the scenic Fontana Lake within the Smoky Mountains.
Our VRBO Log Home
We rented this log home via VRBO and it was the most beautiful place we have stayed. This place sleeps 16 people, allows pets, has a hot tub, has an actual movie theatre, fireplaces and fire pits, and so many fun activities too!! The location is remote with little internet access and/or cell service. There was internet in case we needed it but we tried to really focus on hanging out as a family and having fun!! Which we did.
Next, we needed a plan for the drive to and from Wisconsin to North Carolina. I found an extremely helpful app called Roadtrippers App. This app can be used on your phone and/or computer. You can create as many trips as you like! I created a trip to North Carolina and then a trip back to Wisconsin.
The Roadtrippers app is pretty easy to use. You start by adding your starting and ending destinations and go from there. I couldn’t imagine trying to plan a trip without it now. There are a few key app features that this app makes it so much fun and far less work!!
Reasons why Roadtrippers App is Awesome:
- Build your route in Roadtrippers and get an estimate on travel time and gas prices.
- Use their turn-by-turn navigation to lead the way. During our trip, we didn’t always have cell service and as long as this app was loaded, we could navigate while using this app.
- Discover amazing stops along your way and add them to your route. This was the coolest part. We found things that we didn’t know existed.
- Turn route stops on and off. We used this feature a lot for possible things to get checkout.
- Get more information about each stop, check out: Trip Advisor reviews, hours, phone, website, and more.
- Share your trip with anyone and they can follow along and add to your route!
I recommend paying for Roadtrippers Plus which is $29 for a year. It’s like getting a travel agent in the palm of your hands! The pro version includes: plan longer trips, offline maps, collaborate, live traffic and no ads! You can use this coupon code BTR5QTP to get $5 off your yearly subscription!
Things We Did and Recommend
Okay…the drive through Kentucky to North Carolina is gorgeous!! We drove through early Spring and it was still worth it. I can’t imagine driving through this summer or fall. I bet it’s breathtaking.
1. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Mammoth Cave National Park, is beautiful and we only saw nearby tours and not the actual national park. If you want to do the 1.5 hour to 2 hour tour, you need to buy tickets well in advance to tour the park.
Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 390 miles explored.
2. Kentucky Down Under Zoo (Our Favorite)
“A touch of the Australian outback in Kentucky”, Kentucky Down Under Zoo is an interactive educational Australian themed animal park and beautifully decorated cave, Kentucky Caverns. Where else can you hand-feed colorful lorikeets in a walk-in Aviary, help with the chores at the Woolshed, meet a Kangaroo (29+ of them) at the Outback, learn about Aboriginal culture, mine for gemstones…Oh and see adorable Lemurs!!
We call this sweet kangaroo Kevin. Kevin was napping! Did you know kangaroos are very soft like a bunny? We also saw a few mamas with the joeys feet hanging out of their mama’s pouch.
3. Gem Mining, North Carolina
We found this place on our Roadtripper App, Bryson City Gem Mine, in Bryson City, NC. Nantahala River Gem Mine is a gemstone mining attraction where you find precious gemstones including rubies, emeralds and sapphires. We bought two large bucket for $45 each and the amount and quality of the stones in each bucket was definitely worth the cost and experience. I recommend checking out this place if you’re in the area.
4. Tail of the Dragon, North Carolina
Tail of the Dragon has 318 curves in 11 miles, is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road. If you know my hubby, he’s a car enthusiast and loved this. Though if you have a fear of heights, this road may not be your thing, there are some sketchy edges on the road.
5. Cherohala Skyway, North Carolina
The nearby Cherohala Skyway is quickly becoming number two with its remote 60 miles of scenic mountain highway. Absolutely the most fun you will have if you are an avid sports car enthusiast!
5. Fontana Dam, North Carolina
Visit Fontana Dam while you are here. At 480 ft., Fontana Dam is the tallest concrete dam east of the Rocky Mountains.
Pics of Fun Things Along the Way
All 7 of us road together in a Sequoia Toyota that we rented – we didn’t want to put miles on any of our vehicles. This vehicle was very comfortable and fit 5 adults and 2 children. I would recommend purchasing a Thule Roof Rack for more storage, this was a life saver. We discovered that many other families did this as well and put bumper stickers on their roof rack. This is our new tradition to do the same and found a few stickers along the way!!
Here’s a fun Pink Elephant at a gas station in DeForest, Wisconsin.
if you’re looking for more Travel inspiration, check out my Pinterest Travel board. I’d love to hear if this post was helpful for you and if you have any similar adventures that I could feel inspired by!