Hit the Road with Moon Travel Guides!
Drive America's most scenic highway, from the green valleys of Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains, with Moon Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip. Inside you'll find:
- Maps and Driving Tools: 29 easy-to-use maps keep you oriented on and off the highway, along with site-to-site mileage, driving times, and detailed directions for the entire route
- Eat, Sleep, Stop and Explore: With lists of the best hikes, views, restaurants, and more, you can listen to live bluegrass, find the best barbecue around, or sip a glass of local moonshine. Drive past fields brimming with fireflies, spot wildlife like elk and bear, or hike a leg of the storied Appalachian Trail. Visit small mountain towns, get to know vibrant Asheville, or extend your route to explore the museums in Washington D.C.
- Flexible Itineraries: Drive the entire two-week route or follow strategic itineraries for spending time in Washington DC, Waynesboro, Roanoke, Asheville, Cherokee, Knoxville, and more
- Local Insight: North Carolinian and mountaineer Jason Frye shares his love of the Great Smoky Mountains
- Planning Your Trip: Know when and where to get gas, how to avoid traffic, tips for driving in different road and weather conditions, and suggestions for LGBTQ travelers, seniors, and road trippers with kids
Want to explore more of America on wheels? Try Moon Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip. Doing more than driving through? Check out Moon Great Smoky Mountains National Park or Moon Carolinas & Georgia.
About the Author
Though Jason Frye calls the coast of North Carolina home, his heart is with the mountains. Born and raised in the rugged Appalachian foothills in southern West Virginia, he developed an affinity for hiking and exploring the woods, coves, and hollows of the hills. His family vacationed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, deepening his love for this landscape with each visit.
Jason first encountered the Blue Ridge Parkway on a dark night, en route to the beach, when his family briefly followed this two-lane ribbon of highway across the Virginia mountains. Though the detour onto the Parkway lasted less than an hour, he knew he wanted to explore it further. In his 20s, he followed the Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia, even continuing onto Skyline Drive for an X-Files-inspired road trip. When he moved to North Carolina, he discovered the beauty of the southern end of this drive. To this day, he takes the Blue Ridge Parkway any time he gets the chance.
Jason is the author of two Moon guidebooks: Moon North Carolina and Moon North Carolina Coast. He also contributes to Salt magazine, AAA Go!, Our State and Our State Eats food blog, the Wilmington Star News, where he is a features contributor and dining critic, the Raleigh News and Observer, the Charlotte Observer, the blog of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, and a number of other print and online publications.
Read an Excerpt
From Moon Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile ridge-riding ribbon that runs from Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Along the way are opportunities for a multitude of recreational activities, including hiking, rafting, kayaking, as well as calmer strolls around stately historical sites. If you’re road tripping from Knoxville to Washington DC, here’s some ways to enjoy all the outdoor adventures the Great Smoky Mountains have to offer.
- Newfound Gap Road: Bisecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the 33-mile drive offers plenty of long-distance views, short hikes, and streamside driving.
- Andrews Bald: Hike to one of the prettiest high-altitude meadows in the Smokies.
- Catalooches: Camping in this secluded valley with Milky Way views is blissand driving through isn’t half bad either.
- Hen Wallow Falls Trail: An easy out-and-back day hike to a beautiful waterfall.
- Cades Cove: Cades Cove offers plenty of wildlife viewing and the largest collection of intact historic structures in the park.
- Rick Mountain: Hike up, up, up in the hills for gorgeous views of Cades Cove.
- Dollywood: Ride roller coasters and get a taste of southern Appalachian music, history, and culture at this theme park owned by a country music legend.
- East Tennessee History Center: Learn about the history and culture of Tennessee foothills at this downtown Knoxville landmark.
- Knoxville Museum of Art: This Tennessee marble building is filled with impressive contemporary pieces, including works by artists native to the city and region.
- Tennessee Theatre: The official state theater of Tennessee is an architectural marvel.
As you pull into the Shenandoah Valley, you’ll find memorable places of both human and natural historical interest.
- National Air and Space Museum: Showcasing the crowning achievements of U.S. aeronautics, this museum displays everything from the Wright Flyer to space suits and artifacts from the Apollo missions.
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: This moving memorial illustrates the rise of Nazi Germany and the atrocities perpetrated upon European Jews and other ethnic and social groups during World War II.
- Arlington National Cemetery: The second oldest National Cemetery contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the gravesite of JFK, and monuments, memorials, and headstones marking major events in our history.
- Manassas Battlefield National Park: The site of two bloody battles during the Civil War, this battlefield is the place where General “Stonewall” Jackson earned his nickname and the Confederate army earned two early victories and opened the way for a Southern invasion of Northern territory.
- Hogback Mountain Overlook: From here you can spot 11 bends of the Shenandoah River and mountains as far as you can see.
- Luray Caverns: Just west of Skyline Drive, these caverns were discovered in the 1870s and found to contain human bone fragments embedded in a stalagmite. Today, more than 500,000 people tour the caves annually.
- Mary’s Rock Trail: A moderate trail leads to a beautiful rock outcrop with sweeping views of the countryside.
- Dark Hollow Falls Trail: This short trail leads you to a beautiful 70-foot waterfall just off Skyline Drive.