As you head east on your Knoxville to Huntsville RV road trip, you'll find several state parks that are worth a visit along with tons of museums and family attractions. At the beginning of August, you can hop on US-127 and visit some of the sellers who set up along the World's Longest Yard Sale, which often appears on television. Though it takes less than four hours to drive between the two destinations, stopping at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park for the night or heading to Great Smoky Mountains National Park can extend your trip by a few days or longer.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The only national park on your road trip from Knoxville to Huntsville is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As one of the nation's biggest parks, it has more than 500,000 acres for visitors to explore in both Tennessee and North Carolina. The main entrance in Gatlinburg is closest to your trip and puts you near Dollywood and other sites. Some of the popular trails that you may want to visit inside the park include the Laurel Falls and Chimney Tops trails.
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park makes it easy for you to stay as little or as long as you like. This park has a Gem Mine where you can mine for precious gemstones to take home and gives you access to Cumberland Falls. Guests can take a tour of the Pinnacle Knob, where a massive fire swept through in the 1930s, and check out the Eagle Falls Trail. You can grab tickets for the Rainbow Mist Ride and get closer to the falls, too.
Seven Islands State Birding Park
Another Tennessee landmark worth your visit is Seven Islands Birding Park in Kodak. Only 19 minutes away from Knoxville, this park lets you forget all about city living and enjoy nature. Most guests come for the chance to see thousands of birds following the migration trail. There are also more than eight miles of hiking trails that take you through the park and to the water. You can take bikes along this paved path as well.
Big Ridge State Park
Big Ridge State Park lets you explore the Appalachian Valley in new ways. You'll find around 15 miles of trails for experienced hikers and beginners who prefer paved trails. There are cabins that you can rent if you want to spend a night away from your RV, along with a campground that has full hookups. In addition to junior ranger events, this park hosts special activities for visitors, including a critter crawl where you can frolic with critters in the creek and classes that show you how to make butterfly feeders.
Monte Sano State Park
Once you reach Alabama, consider swinging by Monte Sano State Park. Located on Monte Sano Mountain, the park is close to the nature preserve of the same name that is close to Huntsville. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the structures that you see in the park, including the cabins you can rent for the night and some of the trails. Some landmarks date back to the early days when the park served as a sanatorium for those in poor health.
On a road trip itinerary from Knoxville to Huntsville visitors heading east can stop by the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. It takes more than two hours for you to see everything in the aquarium, which is open daily. You can purchase tickets to the aquarium and get IMAX tickets to see one of the available films. Before you head into the aquarium, stop by the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, which is right outside on the plaza.
Lookout Mountain offers tons of things to do, including a tour of Ruby Falls. This is both the deepest and tallest underground waterfall in the country. Its name comes from the deep red color of the water as it reflects off the nearby red rocks. Though you can tour the falls during the day, there are also lantern tours that offer a fun way to see them. These tours take you deep underground with a guide after the sun sets.
McMinn County Living Heritage Museum
Take a step back in time on your Knoxville to Huntsville road trip with a stop by the McMinn County Living History Museum. Built in 1982, the museum houses more than 30 exhibits and thousands of artifacts that detail the history of Tennessee. Volunteers work in period costumes as they show visitors how early settlers used tools and some of the other artifacts. It's helpful to check the calendar of events to see what will happen during your visit.
Mayfield Farm Park
Visitors of all ages get a kick out of Mayfield Farm Park, which is open on a seasonal basis. The Fall Festival offers three corn mazes and a pumpkin patch. Some of the mazes are more challenging than others. There is also a zip line and tractor tire swing along with other activities for kids. Similar activities are available during the Spring Festival. If you visit in September or October, you can get tickets to the Mayfield Haunt, too.
You may want to hit Dollywood before heading east to explore the theme park owned by legendary country music singer Dolly Parton. She created this park as a way to remember her early years. There are multiple thrill rides, such as the Barnstormer and Blazing Fury, and the Chasing Rainbows Museum, which houses some of Parton's memorabilia collection. You can also buy tickets to the separate water park or stop by the Dixie Stampede for a live show and dinner.
One of the biggest cities you'll pass through on your Knoxville to Huntsville RV road trip is Chattanooga. Though you can explore Ruby Falls and the Tennessee Aquarium, don't forget about the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, which offers a look at the history of the railroad system. At the Hunter Museum of Art, you'll find thousands of pieces created by artists from Tennessee and around the world. Chattanooga is also home to dump stations and great campgrounds that are close to the Chattanooga Zoo and other attractions.
Home to around 41,000 people, Cleveland is just a short drive from Chattanooga. You can bike or hike through the Cherokee National Forest and take a rafting trip down the river. Outdoor enthusiasts will also find horseback riding and ziplines along with hiking trails and parks. The Red Clay Historic Park covers more than 260 acres and has many exhibits dedicated to the Cherokee people who once lived there. Spend even more time in Cleveland when you stay in one of the nearby campgrounds that are close to dump stations.
Athens is a great place to stay if you want clean dump stations and access to some of the top campgrounds in Tennessee. The Eureka Run Trail is a paved trail that allows you to burn some calories as you run or walk. If you have an interest in history, learn more about textiles in the Englewood Textile Museum. There's also the Athens Regional Park, which has multiple play areas.
Scottsboro is so close to Huntsville that you'll have no problem finding a nearby campground. When you aren't camping, you can explore the Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to thousands of bats that live on more than 230 acres. Stephens Gap is a cave that is open to the public and has a huge pit with a waterfall. You may want to check out the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center and Scottsboro Boy's Museum & Cultural Center if you have an interest in local history. Don't forget to check out some of the nearby dump stations, too.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Knoxville to Huntsville, 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 Knoxville or Huntsville.