If you are in Charlotte, North Carolina, and thinking about going to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, then make an adventure out of getting there in an RV. There are many different national and state parks to stop at on a Charlotte to Pigeon Forge road trip, especially if you are willing to drive a few extra miles. There are also plenty of activities for the whole family to do along the way. Consider this road trip itinerary from Charlotte to Pigeon Forge if you're looking to explore the best of Appalachia.
Shenandoah National Park
While you will have to go about 170 further north than you normally would to reach Shenandoah National Park, the immense scenic beauty of this park that was established in 1935 make the extra miles worth it. Scenic Drive is the only road through this park. You may want to tour Rapidan Camp, which President Hoover used as his summer White House so that he could go fishing in the nearby streams. You can go fishing in the same streams that he fished in, and you can go horseback riding, rafting, canoeing, and hiking in this park.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
When two underground plates pushed together centuries ago, they formed a low natural area that we now know as Cumberland Gap. Hunters, trappers, and explorers have been using the gap for hundreds of years to pass through the mountains. You can join a tour guide for a trip to see Hensley Settlement established here in 1903. There are over 85 miles of hiking trails in this park with many leading past caves. You will want to explore the four levels of Cumberland Gap Cave on a guided tour, where you can see the majestic cathedral and learn about the unique animals that live there.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Pigeon Forge is in the Great Smoky Mountains, and there are many adventures to be had in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park before you reach the city. Consider stopping at the Mountain Farm Museum to see how farmers lived in these mountains for a long time and to see the 1886 water-powered Mingus Grist Mill. Hike along Pigeon Creek Trail to see one of the tallest waterfalls in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Stop at the Cherokee Indian Museum to learn about the special relationship this tribe had with the land. Watch the Cherokee story unfold in front of your eyes at the "Unto These Hills" outdoor drama.
Crowders Mountain State Park
There are two areas at Crowders Mountain State Park that are immensely popular with rock climbers. If you are a beginner, try some of the climbs in the Main Wall area. Those with more advanced skills will want to climb in the Hidden Wall area. The reward for reaching the top of Crowders Mountain is an amazing view of the entire area. You do not have to be a climber to enjoy those views as many hiking paths are available nearby, including one that has 330 wooden stairs to the mountain’s summit. If you love to fish, then there is a 7-acre lake filled with largemouth bass and sunfish at this state park near Kings Mountain, North Carolina.
Grayson Highlands State Park
Grayson Highlands State Park is a 4,502-acre state park that offers alpine-like peaks near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain. This park near Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, offers some of the highest-elevation mountain bike trails east of the Mississippi River. Jumps across creeks make this ride particularly fun. Saddle up your horse and ride on miles of trails at this park. Everyone will want to see the wild ponies that the U.S. Forest Service released here in 1975. They may be descendants of the Assateague and Chincoteague ponies, and they serve the key role of eating low-lying grass near the balds. There are about 150 of these wild ponies, and do not be surprised if one gets close enough to beg you for your picnic lunch.
Grandfather Mountain State Park
Grandfather Mountain State Park found near Banner Creek, North Carolina, is right next to the 220-foot-long swinging bridge that is the longest suspension footbridge in the United States. There are 11 hiking trails in this park that range from easy to extremely challenging. Consider following the Daniel Boone Scout Trail to reach the summit of Calloway Peak, which is the highest point in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Mount Mitchell State Park
A dense conifer forest of native red spruce and Fraser firs covers most of North Carolina's Mount Mitchell State Park. Established in 1915, it is one of the oldest state parks in the United States. Start your visit at this park about 38 miles north of Asheville by stopping at Mount Mitchell’s museum, where you can learn about Dr. Elisha Mitchell, who the park is named after and who was the first Westerner to explore the Black Mountains. Then, head out on a hiking adventure to explore these mountains for yourself. You can hike to the summit where you can see amazing views of the mountains from the observation deck. Check the calendar as programs often happen at this park’s education center. Be sure to visit the restaurant with its lodge-like setting for hamburgers or other favorite grilled foods.
The Biltmore Estate, near Ashville, North Carolina, was built between 1889 and 1895 for George and Edith Vanderbilt. The home has more than 178,926 square feet. You can do many things at this location, including touring the home, attending a wine-tasting party, getting a spa treatment, hiking on over 8,000 acres, and seeing one of the oldest gardens in America.
Greensboro Science Center
You can have many adventures at the Greensboro Science Center, including visiting a zoo and an aquarium, watching science shows in a domed theater, and crossing the high ropes adventure course.
Reynolds House Museum of American Art
The Reynolds House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was initially built in 1917 as the home of R.J. Reynolds, founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and his wife. Enjoy seeing a variety of American artwork at this museum in Winston-Salem. The home has been restored with period furnishings from the 1920s. You can also see 28 outbuildings on this large estate.
World’s Fair Park
Originally constructed for the 1982 World’s Fair, this Knoxville, Tennessee, facility includes a five-acre performance lawn and the Sunsphere, which is a 266-foot-tall hexagonal steel truss structure topped with a gold-colored glass sphere. Check the schedule as concerts often happen at the Tennessee Amphitheatre on this property.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Greensboro is a great city to visit on a Charlotte to Pigeon Forge RV road trip because of its interesting combination of modern science and history. Consider spending the night at Greensboro KOA with its many planned programs or at Oak Hollow Campground, which features its own golf course. Both campgrounds offer dump stations.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Until 1913, Winston-Salem was two communities, but now it functions as one. Dixie Caverns Campground offers cavern tours and a dump station, or you may want to consider camping at the city-owned Oak Hollow Campground.
Part of the tri-city area, this region has it all from one of the world’s premier NASCAR facilities to quiet country parks. Warrior’s Path State Park Campground at Patrick Henry Reservoir is a wonderful place to camp, or you can stay at Bristol/Kingsport KOA, where kids can take pony rides.
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville brings many events to this community. Consider camping at Raccoon Valley RV Park, which features nature trails and a dog run, or at Southlake RV Park, which has a swimming pool. You can use the dump stations at Southlake or the Flying J Travel Plaza.