U.S. Road Trip Re-Cap: Week Twenty (Tennessee and the Carolinas)

North to South's U.S. Road Trip Re-Cap: Week Twenty -- Knoxville, Asheville, Myrtle Beach, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Making our way south, we kicked this week off in Knoxville, Tennessee. Then, after hitting up yet another national park (pictured above), we explored the hip town of Asheville on our way to Myrtle Beach.

Note: I’m still catching up on our weekly road trip re-caps! This one covers September 20-26. 

Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville turned out to be a surprisingly hip city with an obvious love for college football. Our hotel was festively themed orange for the Knoxville Bulldogs, and the town’s main street offered several trendy indoor/outdoor food and beer establishments to choose from.

After exploring downtown Knoxville — which (fun fact) used to be Tennessee’s capital — we got out of the city to enjoy the outdoors at the Ijams Nature Center.

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You can get an overview of our trip each week here on the blog, but we’re posting more frequent updates of our cross-country U.S. road trip on Facebook and Instagram.

We’re doin’ Tennessee right with sunset beers on a rooftop bar. Next stop: Smoky Mountain National Park #NTSroadtrip2015 #StylishTravelGirl #knoxville

A photo posted by Diana Southern + Ian Norman 👫 (@northtosouthtravel) on

States Visited This Week

  • Tennessee
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina

Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, Tennessee

It was super chilly at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but we bundled up for an uphill hike to the observation tower, hoping to catch an awesome view of the fall colors that were beginning to sprinkle the park.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t see much due to the weather, but at least we got in some exercise on this road trip!

Fall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

States Visited in Previous Weeks

Total States Visited So Far: 39

California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Asheville, North Carolina

In Asheville, we met up with fellow travel blogging couple Amy and Nathan of twodrifters.us, whom we’d recently interviewed in our nomad couple interview series here on North to South. We stayed in Asheville for a few nights, wanting to get a feel for this notoriously hip small-town city, before heading to the coast in Myrtle Beach.

Stops/Landmarks

  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Highlights

  • Meeting up with the Two Drifters bloggers, Amy and Nathan Hartle, in Asheville, North Carolina
  • Spotting an adorable box turtle at Ijams in Knoxville — The entire walk around the Nature Center was actually really nice.
  • Staying in an overly-large Airbnb vacation home in Myrtle Beach — and having almost the entire resort to ourselves. Also, driving across a draw bridge to get to/from the resort section of town.
  • Seeing the beginnings of fall colors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

North to South and Two Drifters Bloggers meet up in Asheville

Notes and Insights

  • Myrtle Beach is somewhat of a ghost-town in the offseason. I’d been here with my family one summer when I was a kid, and there was a lot going on, but late September is a different story.
  • Knoxville was a surprisingly cool college town. It’s worth a stop if your road trip route takes you nearby!
  • The first time we ever paid for parking on a cell phone was in Asheville, North Carolina. Way to be tech-forward, Asheville!

Photo Gallery

All photos were taken by Ian and Diana with the Sony a7 II (Ian’s camera), Sony RX100 III (Diana’s camera — review here) and our smartphones.

Knoxville, Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Knoxville, TennesseeKnoxville, Tennessee Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, Tennessee Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, Tennessee Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, Tennessee Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, Tennessee Great Smoky Mountains National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park Great Smoky Mountain National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Week 21 Preview

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Universal Studios Florida (including the new Harry Potter World)
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium (featuring Winter the dolphin from Dolphin Tale)
  • Visiting family in Orlando and Safety Harbor

I hope you enjoyed this U.S. road trip re-cap! In case you missed them, check out our other weekly recaps from our road trip. Have you road-tripped to any of these U.S. locations? Tell us about your trips in the comments.

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About the Author

Diana Southern
In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.

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