We are planning a trip to the Smokies area in August and are looking for some input in planning. In addition to the smokies, we would like to visit Asheville, NC, Chattanooga, TN, and Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. We would be travelling by car from the southern New Jersey area. I have mapped out the following rough itinerary:
Day 1: Drive to Asheville. Stop at Luray Caverns, VA enroute.
Day 2: Biltmore Estate
Day 3: Chimney Rock Park, then drive to Pigeon Forge
Day 4: Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park
Day 6: Dollywood
Day 7: Drive to Chattanooga. See the Lost Sea in Swiftwater enroute
Day 9: Tennessee Aquarium, plus any other points of interest in this area.
Day 10: Drive to Mammoth Cave. Possibly see one or two of the private caves in the area (i.e. Diamond Caverns, Cave Museum in Horse Cave)
Day 11: Tour Mammoth Cave
Day 12: Kentucky Down Under
Day 13: Head for home
I am looking for input as to any other points of interest I may have missed. We are a family of three (2 adults & a 9-year old). We enjoy caves, moderate hikes (no more than 1.5 miles) nature walks, historic homes, museums, and scenic drives.
Please let me know if I have alloted too much/not enough time for any area.
Also, I would appreciate opinions on Dollywood. I am not an amusement rider, nor do I enjoy country music. My husband and daughter enjoy rides but not the music. Is it worth the high admission?
Is Ober Gatlinburg worth seeing, or is it touristy?
Finally, would you recommend going to both Ripley's Aquarium and the Tennessee Aquarium, or is one enough? Which one is best?
Thanks in advance for your opinions/input.