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Chicago to Atlanta (and Back) or Bust! - A 2 Week Driving Trip w/Kids

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Some of you might think I must be nuts but the truth is that I'm a bit of a romantic . Or perhaps it's that I am I just feeling a bit nostalgic... What I know for sure is that some of the best times I can remember as a kid growing up during the 1960s & 1970s were had during our summer family driving trips. Lately it seems as if I am attempting to re-create this childhood experience with my own family. Our family still talks about our tours of Wisconsin and of Michigan over the past 2 summers. But now it is time we venture a bit further from home.

I am not crazy about the idea of traveling south to an even warmer place in a few weeks but we are committed to being just north of Altanta 4 weeks from today.

I am working out our itinerary - and am seeking suggestions as to an actual route as well as recommended attractions. Some stops I am considering are the Great Smoky Mountain Nat'l Park, U.S. Space & Rocket Center (AL), & Nashville (TN). We've been told to visit Asheville (NC) ... And we've already explored the area between Chicago & St. Louis.

Neither I nor my wife have ever explored the areas we will be visiting. This will be our first visit to some of these states. I don't mind a circuitous route but strive for a balance between driving and exploring/having family fun. We typically enjoy a mix of activities including shorter hikes, zoo visits, museums, factory tours, limited amounts of biking, canoeing, & fishing, state fairs, wide open spaces, hanging out by the hotel pool or at the beach, etc. We live in a big city with pretty decent museums so we tend to seek out the more exceptional/unusual spots when traveling. We (OK, I) especially appreciate attractions with cultural or scientific significance (e.g. the Wright Bros. bike shop in Dayton, OH). Hands-on activities and exhibits are the best and tie for first place with anything having to do with water. And a little kitsch goes a long way.

So there you have it. Whatever it takes to pull the kids (ages 7 & 10) away from iCarly & Sponge Bob for the better part of a couple of weeks!

Suggestions anyone?

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