Roadtrip with RVshare Jacksonville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The difference in topography between Jacksonville, FL, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is indicative of the incredible diversity in the terrain of the United States. Where Jacksonville is full of sandy beaches, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 500,000 acres of stunning mountains with high ridges and deep canyons. A trip from the seaside city to these mountains passes through not only different terrain, but cities with unique histories. State parks line the way, providing fun places in which to relax. There are four national parks, other than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, within driving distance of the direct route. To enhance your journey, follow this road trip itinerary from Jacksonville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Jacksonville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip length: 7 hours 38 minutes
  • Mileage: 483 miles
  • Fun fact: Jacksonville has 1,100 miles of shoreline and 22 miles of beaches, making it the city with the most waterfront in the United States

Nearby National Parks

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is the only national park, other than your destination, that lies directly along the route of your Jacksonville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is an unusual park incorporating features of coastal bayous and hilly landscapes. The Congaree River runs slowly through this area, creating a watery environment in much of the 26,276-acre park. The resulting swamp-like terrain protects aquatic animals like alligators, muskrats, and beavers. Bald cypress and mangrove trees exist in this part of the park, much like they do in the Everglades or the bayous of Louisiana. The remainder of the park is dry hills covered by the tallest hardwood forest on the east coast. The deep canopy of this section of the park shades hiking trails and wildlife that includes such animals as raccoons, possums, and eastern squirrels. 

New River Gorge National Park

To reach New River Gorge National Park, you'll need to detour 282 miles northward from Asheville. The 72,708-acre park consists of the New River, its gorge, and the hills that line the canyon. Though the stream is dubbed the "New River," it is the oldest river in the Appalachians. It has been flowing so long that it carved deep gouges into the hardest granite found in the eastern states. Hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails lead into the mountains, across high ridges and spectacular views of the entire valley. In the fall, this park presents hillsides that blaze like fire. The streams are rich with fish, making this park one of the favorite places for anglers in the Appalachians. 

Shenandoah National Park

Located 302 miles northeast of Asheville, Shenandoah National Park is a maze of mountainous terrain. High ridges and deep valleys greet visitors at every turn. Hiking trails lead to overlooks with panoramic views that inspire awe. The mountains are covered with forests of deciduous and evergreen trees, creating a unique checkerboard effect. Rock climbers come to this park to scale vertical cliffs. Anglers come for the pristine lakes and roaring streams full of fish. The wildlife includes black bears, deer, elk, and smaller mammals like possums and raccoons.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park lies 374 miles west of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visitors to this park get a treat they will not find elsewhere with a cave system that runs for over 400 miles. While some of the initial caverns like the Rotunda are marked by 19th-Century visitors who signed their names to the walls and ceilings, most of the caves are pristine. Flowstone, stalactite, and stalagmite formations greet visitors in the deeper caves with colored lights dancing across their surface. Above ground, the park protects 52,835 acres of woodland with undulating hills covered in hiking trails. Streams full of fish run throughout the park, beckoning enterprising anglers to try their luck.

Nearby State Parks

Skidaway Island State Park 

Skidaway Island State Park, located close to Savannah along the coast of Georgia, is an excellent example of the use of an unproductive area to create a place of enjoyment. The park is situated on an island surrounded by tidewaters. It is an anglers dream with freshwater and seawater fishing encapsulated in a small area. Migratory birds visit this park on their journey north or south. Hiking trails run through the park, skirting dunes and entering an occasional group of trees while venturing to seawater marshes.

Aiken State Park

Located 57 miles southwest of Columbia, SC, 1,067-acre Aiken State Park provides a great respite from the road. Sitting beside an artificial lake and along the Edisto River, the park provides easy access to incredible fishing. Hiking trails run throughout the park and along the shorelines of the lake and river. Children can swim in a designated area or play on a modern playground.

South Mountains State Park

South Mountains State Park is situated 77 miles east of Asheville. The 20,949-acre park is the largest in the North Carolina system. There are over 40 miles of hiking trails, one of which leads to a spectacular 80-foot waterfall. Other trails lead to overlooks atop high ridges that provide panoramic views of the mountainous area. Several mountain streams offer excellent trout fishing.

Along the Way

American Prohibition Museum

In Savannah, GA, 139 miles into your road trip from Jacksonville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stop to visit the American Prohibition Museum—the only museum in the country dedicated to the study of prohibition. After enacting the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, distilling, transportation, and alcohol consumption was immediately banned in the United States. Unfortunately, prohibition led to a boom in criminal activity. This museum documents the history of temperance that led to the adoption of prohibition and the wave of crime that brought it down.

South Carolina State Museum

The South Carolina State Museum sits in the state's capital, Columbia, SC, 289 miles into your Jacksonville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park RV road trip. The museum is inside a specially designed state-of-the-art building with a planetarium, 4D active theater, and observatory. Its four stories hold permanent and changing exhibits focusing on the roughly 14,000 years of the South Carolina region's history.

Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Stop by the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville, NC, 442 miles along your road trip from Jacksonville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to see the childhood home of one of the most influential writers during the 20th-Century. The house is the real-life model of the one depicted in his famous novel, "Look Homeward Angel." During his boyhood, his mother operated it as a boarding house. Today, it retains most of its original furnishings and is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah is recognized as one of the most famous towns in the United States. Mentioning the name brings to mind elegant homes and romantic locations. There are several points of interest to see in the city, including monuments, museums, and wildlife preserves. While you are here, take advantage of its dump stations or stay a night at one of the campgrounds in the area.

Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia represents much of southern history. It was the initial location that declared the secession of a state that brought the Civil War. The town was burned to the ground during Sherman's March. Since then, new construction has created mansions reminiscent of those that decorated the city before the burning. Many are now museums concentrating on different facets of South Carolina history. While you are here, take advantage of the dump stations and campgrounds that Columbia offers.

Asheville, North Carolina

Established in 1792, the town that became Asheville grew into an important outpost in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Frontiersmen like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett passed through the town several times traveling east or west. The city retains that pioneering attitude with a mix of restaurants like the Plant Vegan Restaurant that offers imaginative and innovative meals. While you are in the city, take the time to clean your tanks at one of the local dump stations. To stay a night or two, register at one of the many campgrounds in the area.

Find Adventure from Jacksonville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Rent an RV

When you follow this road trip itinerary from Jacksonville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Jacksonville or Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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