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Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

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posts: 2
reviews: 7
Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

As part of our USA tour, we will be driving from DC to Knoxville. Is Roanoke the best place to stop for the night or can someone suggest another nice place along the way to break up the journey? Also, anything of particular interest along I81 we should stop and see?

North Carolina
Destination Expert
for Myrtle Beach
posts: 1,035
reviews: 55
1. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

I'm assuming you will be driving I81 south. That's a lovely drive through the Shenandoah Valley. Roanoke is a good stopover place - plenty of lodging and restaurant choices. A little further south on I81 is Abingdon, Va which has good lodging, history, The Barter Theater and Heartwood (Appalachian crafts and culture). That would also be a good stop.

Roanoke, Virginia
posts: 253
reviews: 37
2. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

Personally, I would recommend a stop in Roanoke over Abingdon. Abingdon would be about 7 hours from DC, and is a very small town. There are great restaurants in Roanoke, in the downtown area and elsewhere. Roanoke is surrounded by mountains, but nestled in a valley. The Hotel Roanoke is a lovely upscale historic hotel in the center of downtown with easy walking to great restaurants, night clubs, outdoor dining venues, and museums. If you wish to avoid coming directly into Roanoke, you might consider stopping for dinner at The Homeplace - just a few miles from I 81 at one of the Salem (Roanoke) exits (in Catawba). Wonderful old country farmhouse with a huge wraparound porch serving southern food in a very picturesque setting.

Arlington, Virginia
posts: 7,889
reviews: 92
3. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

There's tons of things to see and do along I-81. I did a road trip along there just this summer and we drove all the way from D.C. to Knoxville in one day including several stops, so it's certainly do-able if you don't want to break up the trip with another overnight stop. (It should take just over 7 hours of driving + stops). Two of the stops we made were in Natural Bridge--Foamhenge and the Pink Cadillac Cafe. Both were fun.

If you want to take a more leisurely trip, then you could stop in Staunton as there's lots to see and do: Blackfriar's Theatre, Woodrow Wilson Museum; Frontier Heritage Museum. Another good place to stop along the way is Lexington. We were there just a couple weeks ago and stayed overnight, so you might want to do the same. In addition to the historical places such as Stonewall Jackson's home and the tomb of Robert E. Lee, Lexington is the home of Hull's Drive In Theatre. It's lots of fun if you will be there on a weekend from Sept. 27th to the end of October. (They are closed until Sept. 27th to replace their screen.)

posts: 2
reviews: 7
4. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

Thanks for all your suggestions! We are eventually heading for Memphis as our next base for a few days and we may do DC to Knoxville in one go but we don't want to be spending all our time on the road. Staunton looks like a great possible too. We don't want to be in big cities every stop.

Im guessing accommodation in Roanoke wouldn't be hard to come by. But what about Staunton? Its obviously alot smaller, is there still a fairly good choice of accommodation?

Arlington, Virginia
posts: 7,889
reviews: 92
5. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

There's plenty of hotels in Staunton. If you go to the Staunton forum and click on "Hotels" at the top of the page, you'll see reviews for 10 or 12 hotels and they all get good reviews so you probably can't go wrong.

posts: 12
reviews: 8
6. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

We are driving from Washington to Knoxville on route to New Orleans this December,withour kids.Are there any must do's along the way.I know its a lng drive but we would like to make an event of the drive.Any suggestions.


Arlington, Virginia
posts: 7,889
reviews: 92
7. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

It's hard to make suggestions not knowing your interests, but as I mentioned above, Staunton has a lot to offer--history, shopping and theatre. In fact, if you want to make "an event of the drive", I'd recommend attending a holiday performance at the Blackfriar Theatre. There's the traditional "A Christmas Carol" as well as the very un-traditional "Santaland Diaries".

8. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Knoxville

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