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Louisville to Dallas, spring time, 10 days, teenagers

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Feb 24th, 2014, 02:10 PM
  #1
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Louisville to Dallas, spring time, 10 days, teenagers

I am planning a road trip starting from Louisville KY.
I want to pass through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and finish in Texas, as we continue our quest to get to all 50 states.

I find the best fares are coming out of Dallas.
And I think that's a good place to end due to my ideal driving schedule of 4-6 hours at a time or less.

What I need help with is stop suggestions.

I do have ideas for Louisville and I'd like to stay a night in Nashville.
But, then what?
A mapping of the route shows the most direct route skips OK and is somewhat close to Mississippi. The route on the AAA plotter goes from Nashville to Memphis in TN, through Little Rock in Arkansas.

Any must-sees in KY and TN?
What should I do where in AR?
Where do you suggest is worth a route deviation into OK?
Do you think there is something near the route I can detour for in Mississippi?
And, what do you suggest that's truly Texas around Dallas?
(My husband, who is familiar with some of TX due to his work in the energy business, says Dallas is not real-Texas, although he admits that he hasn't been exposed to the city as a tourist.)

Can you help? We only have 10 days to cover the terrain.

We love history, natural beauty and fishing, pro-baseball and pro-hockey, quirky local stuff and eats, and museums. We are not into extravagances (but the occasional splurge could be considered) but we are not campers, as we are dumb city slickers. My daughter would love to try riding a horse; not so sure about the rest of the crew.

I have enjoyed stop and browse, then drive and stop and browse then drive, and I've also enjoyed driving and really getting to know a place and staying a night or two.

What suggestions and references do you have for each state on the trip?
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Feb 24th, 2014, 03:28 PM
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Ask at Churchill Downs - Kentucky Derby Museum how to get a ride on a horse in Kentucky. You might want to visit Mammoth Cave on the way south to Tennessee.
Whether you are Country Western or Elvis fans will dictate going to the Grand Ole Opry or Graceland.
Drive south from Memphis to Clarksdale MS to see the Delta Blues Museum.
Head west into Arkansas. Things to see in Arkansas include the state park where you can look for diamonds, the Bill Clinton Library and the Ozarks. Do some research on what you want to see in the Oklahoma City area.
Frankly I hate Dallas. San Antonio has things I like including the Alamo.
It would be easy to include a small part of Louisiana from Clarksdale Misissippi
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Feb 24th, 2014, 03:37 PM
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What month?

I have lived in Oklahoma for 45 years. Honestly, couldn't suggest anything other than places to eat and the OKC Bombing Memorial.

I live right on the Arkansas Line. I can suggest a lot of things to do in Arkansas(depending on when you are coming).

For Kentucky, I would see Mammoth Cave, Corvette Museum, Corvette Factory. Corvette Museum has an interesting Cafe. The Museum and Factory are right across from each other. I would suggest the "wild cave tour" at Mammoth(must be 16 years old).
You can do all of this in 1.5-2 days

For Tennessee--Pigeon Forge and Great Smoky Mountain areas. Zorb is a lot of fun there. Ziplinning, Dollywood, Parrot Mountain. For hiking in the smoky's do Abram Falls, Clingmon's Dome, Laurel Falls, and Grotto Falls. Cades Cove is a good place for a drive or bicycle ride. I like Climbworks Canopy Tour for you zipping. You will need 2-4 days here depending on how much you want to do. Would have other suggestions(depending on when you are coming)

Spend a couple of days in Nashville. I suggest eating at The Loveless Cafe. Also have "hot chicken" somewhere in Nashville.
1-2 days here.

Memphis--Peabody Duck, Graceland, Beale Street. I would suggest dining at Blues City Cafe, Rendevouz, of Gus' Fried Chicken.

In Arkansas--See Clinton Library in Little Rock.
See Crystal Bridges Museum in NW Arkansas. I can suggest several days worth of things to do in Buffalo River area and at several of Arkansas State Parks(depending on what time of year).

We go to Dallas several times a year. Love to shop and dine there, but nothing I would suggest driving out of your way for in the way of tourism. I might consider San Antonio. You could also do The Schlitterbahn if you went there. It is the best waterpark ever!!! Do the one in New Bransfl. I like Big Bend(again depending on the time of year)-this would be a huge effort to drive that far though.

Frankly, I might skip Oklahoma and Texas. With only 10 days there is enough to do in Kentucky, Tenn. and Arkansas. While in the Smoky's you could drive an additional 1-2 hours and see The Biltmore which is on the North Carolina side of the Smoky's Eat at French Broad Chocolate while there.
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Feb 24th, 2014, 03:38 PM
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I like the historic plantation homes in Natchez, Mississippi.
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Feb 24th, 2014, 03:39 PM
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All of the hikes I mentioned in the Smoky's are fairly short and easy.
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Feb 24th, 2014, 03:56 PM
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And, what do you suggest that's truly Texas around Dallas?

Of course Dallas is true Texas because Texas is not limited to the stereotype of cowboys and ranch-hands from the Westerns. From the Piney Woods to the Louisiana border to the Gulf Coast to the LONG border with Mexico to the Hill Country to the Panhandle to the North Texas Metroplex there are a lot of different versions of Texas.

If your husband is looking for the stereotypical yee-hah factor, go to the Fort Worth Stockyards or Mesquite Rodeo.

But you're really better off not driving all the way to Texas from Louisville just to tick off a box on your list. Better to fly in, rent, tour the state (Dallas-Houston-San Antonio/Austin, points nearby each) then fly home.
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Feb 24th, 2014, 05:35 PM
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Sorry, I didn't mean to communicate that my husband was looking for stereotypical yee-hah (thanks for the smile.) I meant that he meant that Dallas is a city, to which we are rather accustomed. BigR's point is well-taken that huge Texas is a destination unto itself worthy of many days exploration.

We are traveling in April, spirobulldog.

Thank you all for the detailed suggestions.

I am disappointed to hear that there isn't much in OK! Perhaps you mean near the AR border?
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Feb 24th, 2014, 06:36 PM
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I am on the AR/OK border. Plenty to do in AR, not much at all in OK. There is fishing and lakes, but not really any good hiking. To me Arkansas has much more natural beauty. Their parks blow ours away(I'm sad to say).

Here are what I consider some outstanding places in AR. I did mention Clinton Library and Crystal Bridges.

Petit Jean State Park--There is an outstanding waterfall there and the lodge is ok. Normally great in April. I prefer seeing it after a heavy rain or several days of rain.
This is a fairly easy short hike

Buffalo River(this was the nations first national river). Specifically, the Upper Buffalo Area is best. Normally almost always great in April after rain. This area is one of America's Best Kept Secrets, IMOP.

Hemmed in Hollow Falls-5 mile fairly hard hike. This is the tallest fall in mid-America. Tallest between Appalachains and Rocky's.
Gloryhole Falls-3 mile moderate to easy hike. This is the best small waterfall on the planet. It's only 20 feet tall or so, but it is truly unique.
Lost Valley-easy 2 mile hike. This passes 2 nice waterfalls and then a 3rd waterfall(which is in the back of a short cave-take a flashlight) Very cool!
Triple Falls-this is about a 200 yard walk. The dirt road may or may not be kind rough. As pretty as any waterfall anywhere.
Hawkbill Crag AKA Whitaker Point. Very nice overlook, easy 2.5 mile hike. This was on the cover of Rand Road Atlus a couple of years back.
Bluff Trail--5 mile fairly easy hike to a nice overlook of the Buffalo River
You can kayak/canoe the Buffalo. Again, this depends on the water-level for the period you are there and your experience. Sometime in April beginners are fine, while other times you need to have a lot of experience it to attempt it. If you do kayak/canoe it, you can hike Hemmed in Hollow that way too(only about 1/4 mile from the river, so super easy hike there). www.buffaloriver.com has great cabin rentals(Clinton even stays in them occasionally). buffaloriver.com is also great for info/canoe rentals.

Mt. Nebo and Mt. Magazine are two other nice state parks. I like Nebo the best, but Magazine has a very nice new lodge.

Having visited most of our nations 59 National Parks, I'm sad to say that the only one close to me(Hot Springs) I would rank dead last and the only one I've been to that I wouldn't suggest ever seeing. That said, if you are in Hot Springs on Arkansas Derby Day(very similar crowd and many Kentucky Derby entries/winners have and do run in this race). Very exciting. It's usually about Mid-April. So, if you happen to catch that date, then you might as well spend a couple of hours visiting the National Park. Mainly the bath houses.


One interesting place in Oklahoma happens to be in my hometown. The Spiro Mounds. This is off the radar, but actually was the single most important Indian Site in the US about 400 years ago. A lot of it is in the Smithsonian in DC. Check their hours as they are quirky. This way you could come across the border and say you saw something in OK and really Indian Territory. The OKC Memorial is nice, but that is another 3 hours with little in between.
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Feb 26th, 2014, 07:01 AM
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TX--I would highly suggest Ft Worth over Dallas. You will get more of a "Texas" feel, even though it is a large city. The area north of town around the Stockyards is fun--they run a long horn cattle drive through town, the old stores, hotels, etc are as they were back in the day. Yes it is touristy but still a look at the old west days. Downtown Ft Worth is safe and fun at night for all ages.

Since you love pro baseball, you could take in a Texas Rangers baseball game (beautiful stadium) in Arlington, between Dallas and Ft Worth. Lots of other fun stuff for teens in Arlington as well. Dallas does have pro hockey but I'm not sure when their season is.

San Antonio is a several hour drive from the NE area of Texas. I would say the Austin/San Antonio area is your better bet for Texas but that will eat up a lot of your time.

KY--the horse farms on the west side of Lexington---this is what you see in pictures of KY--not Louisville. Very much worth an hour or so to drive along the backroads to see them and you can make an appointment to visit one of the bit time racing stables.

The Corvette Museum would be fun but they have a big sink hole right in the middle of the building. Several classic cars have fallen in. Not sure if the museum is open at this time.
Mammoth Cave is a neat experience and something teens would like. I believe it is still considered the largest cave in the world. It is a national park.

TN--not all that much for teens to enjoy in Nashville but the Grand Ole Opry is the classic thing to experience there. Nighttime in downtown Nashville is hopping but I don't know that teens could go in the bars to hear the music.
Memphis--Graceland but I doubt teens care about Elvis
It seems like Great Smokey Mtn National Park would be way out of your way but it is a great area.

Ark--Spirobulldog has excellent advice. Totally agree with his opinion of Hot Springs.
NW Ark (north of I-30/40) is the prettiest part of the state--more "mountainous" but a little out of your way if you are going all the way to TX.

OK--the OKC Memorial is worth seeing, especially at night (ethereal lighting). The museum is only open during the day though. If you just want to swing over for a small sliver of OK, Broken Bow Lake (north of Idabel) is a beautiful lake with a lodge and cabins. Just know it is slow, curvy driving once you get off the interstate in Ark.

I agree with Natchez. If you go that route, take in the Vicksburg Battlefield since you love history. That will take you pretty far south into Arkansas. You might end up missing Ark and OK if you go that route. Just depends on how much time you have at that point.

Are you flying back home or making a loop?
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Feb 26th, 2014, 07:50 PM
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Lots of good stuff here, especially in consideration of teens. Thank you all.
We are flying home.
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Feb 27th, 2014, 07:39 AM
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The Corvette Museum is open. While you can't see the cars that fell into the sinkhole at this time, there are plenty of others to see.
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Mar 9th, 2014, 04:15 PM
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As a Texan, I agree that Fort Worth has more of a true Texan feel than Dallas. The Stockyards is fun to walk around and see the sights. There are twice daily cattle drives, with a real herd of Longhorns, in and out of the stockyards. H3 Steakhouse at the corner of Main and Exchange is excellent

In Kentucky, if you want to pet horses and ride, you need to go to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. It's very family-oriented and is just beautiful. Springtime is very busy at the area's thoroughbred farms, so they often don't allow visitors, even with an appointment.
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