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Smoky Mountains Family Trip

Discussion in 'Southeast' started by BeardedBro, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. BeardedBro

    BeardedBro Member

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    Hi friends, I need help/tips/ideas on visiting the Smoky Mountains with 3 kids (4, 2, 0.5 years old) in tow in our Model X 90D. We’ve never been, and my wife and I wanted to spend maybe 2 days enjoying the scenery and serenity, without boring the heck out of the kids. We’ll be driving from South Florida to Chicago this summer, and would like to stay at Smoky Mountains on our return leg.

    For those who’ve made the trip, where do you recommend we ought to stay? Of course we’d like to stay where there would be a destination charger. If you’ve gone with young children/toddlers, what activities would you recommend?
     
  2. ewoodrick

    ewoodrick Active Member

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    The Smokies are pretty big, so there are a number of options, but for the first timer, with kids, and a relatively short stay, the answer would be the Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge / Sevierville area.

    Basically, just about anything that you want is available in the area, scenery, food, attractions, and shopping. If you really want to chill, then either Gatlinburg is probably the better place, especially with the kids being really young. There are a couple of low reliability J-1772 plugs, but generally I would recommend the Supercharger in Knoxville on the way in and sometime at a destination charger, say at Margaritaville on the way out.

    Gatlinburg is great for younger kids, you can walk up and down the street, some nice shops, some tourist stops, and candy stores. You also have the Aquarium (highly rated), sky lifts, and dinner theater and the titanic exhibit back down in Pigeon Forge. Gatlinburg is an extremely quaint little mountain town. There is a local trolley from one end to the other. For one of those unforgettable, simple family events, grab some Kentucky Fried Chicken and head into the park up to the Chimneys picnic area .
     
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  3. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    I have made that trip a few times in my Model S. I have strong views, but so will other people.
    A quick check with Plugshare will show you lots of charging options along the way for meal and lodging stops.
    I strongly recommend Asheville, NC for an overnight stay.
    First, your Tesla will be content.
    Four Hotels have Destination Chargers:
    (in order of children's probable preferences)
    Omni Grove Park Inn- a large semi-destination resort just out fo town with kid activities, multiple dining and recreation options and a really beautiful setting;
    Hyatt Place Downtown- surrounded by dozens of restaurants and shops but a bit more adult oriented than child;
    Bunn House/Albemarle Inn- both in old houses, lovely places but not too great for children.

    Then there is The Biltmore- absolutely a "must see" and with a plethora of outside and inside child attractions, adults too.
    The Asheville Supercharger is in a Shopping Mall very close to The Biltmore
    There are plentiful easy day trips to Blue Ridge sights, and quite easy since the 45 mph Parkway speed limit assures good range even with lots of climbs and descents.
    Among the threads about this area there are ones that cover nearly all questions.

    Heading South from Chicago the Superchargers are well-spaced and there are a few child gems along the way. The Gateway Arch in Saint Louis is really worth it, if just for the very strange elevator ride to the top. Kids really enjoy it, as do most adults.

    I could go on...
     
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  4. Saghost

    Saghost Well-Known Member

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    You might want to consider Helen, GA. It's maybe an hour north of Atlanta and a similar amount west of Asheville.

    They turned a little Appalachian town that was dying into a somewhat authentic German town as a tourist trap, with stylized Germanic architecture and several good German restaurants and a bunch of craft places.

    When I was there they had a single Semaconnect 7 kW charger in one of the municipal lots. There's also a small town a little to the north (Clayton, I think?) with a CHAdeMO and a little restaurant with a full 80A HPWC.
     
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  5. BeardedBro

    BeardedBro Member

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    Hi @ewoodrick, @jbcarioca, @Saghost

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply, much appreciated!

    I must say, I'm a little disappointed there aren't more destination chargers in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Nonetheless, we're super excited about the trip.

    Please do keep the tips coming if you think of anything else.
     
  6. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    Both of these have quite a few Blink chargers and there is a Destination Charger in Pigeon Forge. Those slow Blinks aren't great, but they will add a few miles, certainly enough to get you to a better place to charge. It will get better, but in the meantime, these are better than nothing. Don't forget the Destination Charger in Boone, NC
    Makoto's Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar
    The owner of Makoto's owns (by now maybe owned) one of the earliest S P85's, produced before there was badging on the cars. It's worth a stop just to talk with him while you have the only Japanese food in the region.

    Going through the Smokies will benefit from taking it easy, so fewer chargers will force you to enjoy some of those unusual Tesla experiences that are increasingly rare now that Superchargers are nearly everywhere. We've found a few interesting places in the Smokies by being forced to wait for a slow Blink.

    Make it lemonade and you'll have a good time. Plus, people really do mostly like small children, and the kids can enjoy a break.
     
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  7. arcus

    arcus Active Member

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    We've stayed at Christmas Inn in Pegeon Forge and had a blast last year. There's a destination charger at the hotel. Someone already recommended Biltmore and I'd second that if you've never been there. PlugShare is your friend on the stretches of the Blue Ridge Parkway where you might feel that you cut it too close for comfort. In 90D I don't think you would though.

    I've recently documented our last year's trip on my blog if you want to find out more about our Smoky Mountains experience (part III, IV and V in specific).
     
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  8. 1speed

    1speed Member

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    Hoover, AL
    I recommend you take a real GPS device with you if you plan on driving around the mountains much. You will lose cell signal a lot.

    We have small kids and we liked the Cades Cove loop. It's beautiful regardless of time (we did it mid morning) but I was told you see a lot more wildlife at dawn and dusk. There are a lot of stops to get out and walk around. If you like hiking, the Alum Cave trail is fantastic. My kids loved the dinner show at Dixie Stampede. The aquarium is alright, but not as good at the one in Chattanooga or Atlanta.

    Keep in mind Gatlinburg is very touristy and crowded downtown. Pigeon Forge is more spread out. We stayed in Gatlinburg and if I had to do it again I'd probably stay in Pigeon Forge or Townsend ("the quiet side of the smokies"). It just depends what you're into.

    Keep in mind, distance wise, stuff is close together but it can take a long time to get around.
     

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