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Fall Foliage Road Trip in the Southeastern US

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I've been on several road trips to Florida from Maryland in the spring and summer. However, I've never driven down the southeastern coast of the US during the autumn. As such, I've decided to do a fall foliage tour of the south eastern region this year on the way back from Florida to Maryland. I'll be leaving from Florida on Oct 25th. Time is not an issue (possibly 2 weeks). And as such, veering off I95 a little bit but very much is not an issue.

1. So far, I'm looking drive from the Smoky Mountains (Newfound Gap Road 33 mi) through Blue Ridge Mountains (Blue Ridge Parkway - 469 mi) and through Shenandoah National Park(Skyline Drive - 105 mi/3 hrs). I'm hoping that this route will take us from North Carolina all the way to VA.

2. Smoky Mountains - the park's best "smoky" views from Clingmans Dome, highest peak (6,600ft above sea level), which is a very difficult hike. One of the people traveling with us has a bad back, so we won't be able to do hard hikes. Are there any other spots that are really good for smoky views?

3. Blue Ridge Mountains - I read that the most scenic part is in the VA part of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Otter Creek and Roanoke Mountain, a 62-mile stretch that crosses the James River Gorge and climbs up Apple Orchard Mountain, the highest parkway point in Virginia. Does the Blue Ridge Parkway pass through this area? Are there any other spectacular foliage areas/drives?

4. Shenandoah National Park - I read that the most beautiful part is the Central District, between U.S. 211 at Thornton Gap and U.S. 33 at Swift Run Gap. Is the Skyline Drive close to the Central District? Are there any other spectacular foliage areas/drives?

5. I'm hoping I can get advice on where the most breath taking spots/routes are. We're not planning to spend the entire trip in a car so mini, non strenuous hikes are ok (just being careful about the hiking trail b/c of the member with the bad lower back). Also, if anyone knows of any great places to stop in other states like GA or South Carolina, please share!

6. I've also read that weekend traffic is terrible in all of the parks. Is the traffic as bad during the weekdays?

7. Also, would sleeping in a tent be too cold around that time?

Thank you!

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