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From Atlanta to Nashville with 2 days in between- what to Do?

From Atlanta to Nashville with 2 days in between- what to Do?

Old Jan 4th, 2017, 03:28 PM
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From Atlanta to Nashville with 2 days in between- what to Do?

Hi there, we are coming from Scotland UK to Atlanta on 17th August and leave on the 30th August from Atlanta. We have booked a place for 2 nights in Nashville to be near totality for the eclipse. Nashville on 20th and 21st August so we need to kind of head in that direction. We have hired a car for the duration of our trip and would greatly appreciate any advice and suggestions on what to do between atlanta and nashville for 2 nights and then where to go when we leave nashville for the rest of the trip. We are thinking after Nashville to head to Memphis maybe St Louis, definitely New Orleans then heading east maybe stop at pensacola, Jacksonville and head up the coast and back across to Atlanta. We have a tonne of research to do so any suggestions will help immensely!
We like anything interesting, music and entertainment and formula 1 or motor sport, my man loves football. Not that interested in beaches for sunbathing but love beautiful coastline. We always go to Italy and Spain so this will be very new and unknown to us. We are really excited though!
Thanks in advance ��
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 04:23 AM
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Far too much driving, like Americans who want to go to John O'Groats then spend the next day in Skye before winding up in Glasgow for the night. St Louis is a real outlier. I would take it off your list.

The heat is going to be like Spain in August, but much more humid everywhere south and west of Nashville -- Memphis, New Orleans, Gulf Coast.

The climate in Nashville is quite a lot more pleasant, and the areas east of Nashville from Crossville through Knoxville through the Smoky Mountains to Asheville in NC are likely to be pretty nice and have good scenery and lots to do. Asheville and Greenville, SC are quite trendy theses days. It is a long half day's drive from Asheville back to Atlanta.

Before Nashville, I might head west to Talladega, Alabama, to visit the motor speedway, a far cry from F1, but lots of noise and smoke.

You then have a choice of going to Nashville via north Alabama (NASA and Redstone Arsenal at Huntsville) or further west via Muscle Shoals (famous recording studio beloved of Stones and Soul stars) with a jog to Tupelo to see Elvis's birthplace. Save Memphis, the Delta and New Orleans for another trip, preferably between October and May.
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 04:25 AM
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Chattanooga is a very nice small city in between ATL and Nashville with more arts/restaurants/sites than a city that size normally has. I could easily spend a couple of days there.
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 06:20 AM
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Ackislander your so right there about the Driving! We were talking about it last night and agreed we would need to reduce the distances also considering we won't be sharing the driving! Those are some great ideas, thanks for that. Brian thanks for the Chatanooga info, was wondering about stopping there and think we will do that now.

We are just going to stay at motels while driving around, is that the best option do you think?
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 06:48 AM
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I agree with Brian on Chattanooga with the caveat that to get there, you have to drive in full jetlag right across Atlanta south to north. Think about an American flying into Gatwick and having to cross London on arrival by the M25 or M1.

You can go to Talladega (100 miles) spend the night, and go to Chattanooga next day. The trip from Chattanooga to Nashville is only a couple of hours, but the smaller roads that parallel the motorway here and elsewhere can be charming. The area around Monteagle and Suwannee look nothing like the area around Banchory and Balmoral, but they are full of summer houses of inconspicuous wealthy Southerners and this make a pleasant drive.

Chattanooga is the home of Rock City, a kind of hanging garden superimposed on a Civil War battlefield. It was iconic for my generation because every second barn for hundreds of miles had a sign on the roof advising that you can "See Seven States from Rock City."
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 07:10 AM
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Good point - consider spending the night of arrival in Atlanta and start off fresh in the morning (if you haven't already done so).
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 08:15 AM
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Chattanooga was my first thought as well. Directly on your route and well worth a night or two. Downtown/north Chatt are fun, and if you're into outdoor activities you're close to places like Lookout Mountain and Cloudland Canyon State Park.

+1 the idea of staying in Atlanta your first night - I hate dealing with Atlanta traffic when I'm well rested, and would never want to tackle it jet lagged. You could take MARTA into the city and stay there one night, see whatever you want to see, then rent a car the next day and head northwest.

Regarding your lodging plans: If you plan to stay in downtown Nashville, I would book ahead, *not* just find somewhere when you get here (if that's what you mean). The tourism boom of recent years means that hotel rooms are in short supply, especially in the downtown core.

As for the rest of your trip - you've got tons of options, but will need to choose between coastline + tons of humidity and mountains + likely better weather. I would not want to be in New Orleans in late August (especially if I were used to UK weather), but that's just me; if it's been a longtime goal to get there and this is your shot, it might be worth it! Nashville will be plenty hot already - Memphis will be worse, and New Orleans will probably be awful. The Florida coast will be better with ocean breeze, but any amount inland and it'll be hot and sticky. Indoors will be air conditioned to death, but walking around outside will probably be pretty miserable.

Heading east from Nashville (or Memphis) to the Smokies, Asheville, and/or Greeneville would be a nice loop back to Atlanta with much more pleasant weather, but definitely no coastline. With the motor sport interest, you might see if Bristol Motor Speedway does tours or anything similar - it's a big racetrack near the Tennessee/Virginia border. Doesn't look like they have any events while you're here, but I don't know if they have the speedway open for visitors the rest of the time.
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 08:20 AM
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Thanks guys, this all sounds very interesting! We don't arrive till 10pm in Atlanta and have a room booked at an airport hotel then will go pick the car up next day unless I can sweet talk them into dropping the car to me. Will speak to them at the airport on arrival. I read that the traffic is pretty extreme going out of Atlanta on the i75 heading to Chatanooga, is there an alternate route you think may be Quieter? What is the best time to leave Atlanta during the day to avoid heavy traffic, I guess the rush hour begins around 4.30pm?
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 08:26 AM
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Having lived in Atlanta and still making regular trips there, I can tell you that rush hour starts earlier than that, especially on a Friday. I try to be heading out of the city by 3:30 PM at the latest and still expect a bit of stop and go on the interstate until well outside the city. On a Friday, I'd want to be on the road by 2:00 PM at the latest.
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 08:38 AM
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Yep, totally agree with Brian - I'd actually leave earlier than that, unless there's something you really want to do in Atlanta.

Let's say you do go to Nashville via Chattanooga: With that schedule, I'd have a leisurely breakfast and head out of town mid-morning or at least by lunch. That way you'd be in Chattanooga before rush hour there (it's a smallish city, but I-24 [motorway] there gets quite packed at rush hour). If you stay downtown, you can get there early/midafternoon and walk or take Uber/cabs to wherever you go downtown that night, maybe spend Saturday at Lookout Mountain or whatever you'd like, and head to Nashville either that night or Sunday.
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 06:09 AM
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Thanks for all the helpful information. Much appreciated.
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 04:31 PM
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Kentucky is north of Nashville but not much cooler, if any. It's a beautiful state, though, with varied scenery.
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Old Jan 6th, 2017, 06:29 PM
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From Atlanta, travel to Chattanooga and see Ruby Falls (plan about 1/2 day there--will be nice during hot days bc much cooler in the caves). Lookout Mtn is great and several zip line places around there. Also Ocoer river is awesome for white river rafting.

Save the "city stuff" for Atlanta and Nashville. Spend a day in South Nashville in Franklin(might see Keith Urban or Tim McGraw .area for cute shops and also visit Arrington Vineyards for a picnic.
In Nashville follow the Fodors guide for attractions.
Plenty to see and do and EAT. Make reservations a couple of months in advance via open table app for the really Hot places.
Hit Broadway at night and listen to all the live music from the various honky tonks.
Parking downtown is pricey ($30-50) and hard to find so make sure to plan for that.

Probably won't have much time for other places mentioned. Definitely save New Orleans/Florida for future trips.

Enjoy The Real South! We welcome y'all!!
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 01:21 AM
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SongstaD I like the sound of the falls and the zip lines and also the advice about booking tables well in advance, and the south nashville nights out, plus the right app to Use! thank you.

Can anyone recommend an app or website for booking short stay accommodation like cabins, apartments or studios. Have looked at airbnb and tripadvisor rentals but wondered if theres any others that would be helpful.

We booked 2 nights in Nashville through Airbnb, we did that to be sure of a decent place to stay during the eclipse and in case it was too busy leaving not much available. I have noticed lots of places booked out along the way to Hopkinsville as that's mentioned as one of the best places to view the eclipse on the website. We will see it just fine from Nashville just not for as long.
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Old Jan 7th, 2017, 05:47 AM
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vrbo.com
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Old Jan 13th, 2017, 06:42 AM
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If you leave Atlanta around 10:00 A.M. to 11:30 or around 1:00 to 2:00 P.M., on a Friday you should be O.K. As Brian says, Friday rush hour starts very early--I live in the ATL and still have problems figuring it out.

You are music lovers, so I'd go to Memphis--great music scene but very different from Nashville--Sun Studios where first Rock n Roll records were made, Beale Street, a reconstructed Stax records studio, Graceland. Then head south to Clarksdale, MS, to visit the Blues Museum (if you're into the blues). You could continue down the Mississippi River a ways--maybe to Natchez MS then maybe double back on the Natchez Trace Parkway to see Tupelo MS, before returning to ATL on I22 and I20--you could see Talladega Speedway on the way You don't have time to do justice to New Orleans and at that time of year it would be very unpleasant.

Have a great trip to our part of the world!
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Old Jan 13th, 2017, 06:58 AM
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You could go north from Atlanta to Pleasant Hill Kentucky, a restored Shaker community. You can also see the Kentucky horse country there and then head for Nashville.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 11:40 PM
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Thanks all, your advice has been very helpful. Starting a new thread now as I have another dilemma!
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