Second in series on spring break getaways
You know that when Daylight Savings Time comes, the schools’ spring break vacation can’t be far behind. So with DST coming at 2 a.m. March 14, plan now where to go before hotels and B and B’s are filled.
Orlando or just about anywhere in Florida makes sense as a reward for getting through another Midwest winter. Indeed, O’Hare International Airport has several daily flights to Florida destinations.
Going by car, however, allows for some fun adventures along the way. Among them are Mammoth Cave National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
About Mammoth Cave NP: The cave has more than 350 miles of known passageways which makes it the longest cave in the United States. The park’s 52,000 acres are also worth hiking, biking, horseback riding and driving. Be sure to take a tour. Fees range from a basic $5 charge to Wild Cave Tour of $48 with several choices in between.
About Great Smoky Mountains NP: A drive through the National Park’s more than 800 square miles of forests and mountains means keeping the camera ready. Around almost every bend is another misty mountain lanscape, gurgling stream, momma bear and cubs or a century old cabin.
What to know if you go
Mammoth Cave is an easy six and a half hour drive from Chicago on a Google Map. It works out to about 400 miles mostly on I-90 east to I65 south through Indiana into Kentucky near Bowling Green.
To continue on to the Great Smoky Mountains Headquarters at Gatlinburg, you basically take I 65 to the Nunn-Cumberland Parkway east to I-75 and down to I-40. Mapquest and Google Maps estimate the drive from Mammoth Cave to Gatlinburg at less than five and a half hours.
Where to stay:
At Mammoth Cave: Mammoth Cave Hotel is in the park which makes an overnight stay an easy stopover.
At Great Smoky Mountains: The national park is near several Tennessee and North Carolina towns. Gatlinburg which has an aquarium the youngsters will like and an arts and crafts circle adults will want to see and shop, is at the base of the National Park Headquarters. If looking for four diamond luxury with photo album views check out the Lodge at Buckberry Creek.
Pigeon Forge looks like one large amusement park. But if looking for an amusement park go over to Dollywood. Dolly Parton’s amusement park doesn’t just have rides. It has craft sections where visitors can see skilled artisans making tools and decorative items. It also has excellent shows. Dollywood is good enough to spend a full day. Several chain hotels have moved to town but among the most interesting places to stay is the Inn at Christmas place.
Just be sure to leave time to explore the national park.
Find more good information on Mammoth Cave.
Visit Grand Rapids, MI to see Big Bugs and the Meijer Sculpture Gardens
For driving directions check Google Maps
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