Sorted out over Christmas my itinerary for my 16 day USA trip from England later this year. I've never been to Dollywood so I wanted to go there so I concentrated my trip around there. Parks as follows.
Six Flags St Louis.
Incredible Pizza St Louis (1 coaster tick)
Coney Island, Cincinnati. (1 coaster tick)
NASCAR SpeedPark (1 coaster tick)
Goats on the Roof of the Smokies (1 coaster tick - alpine style)
Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster (1 coaster tick - alpine style)
Ober Gatlinburg (1 coaster tick - alpine style)
Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster (1 coaster tick - alpine style)
Santa's Land, Cherokee ( 1 coaster tick)
Lake Winnepesaukah, Rossville
Fun Junction USA, Atlanta
Six Flags over Georgia.
If anyone has any tips, ideas or suggestions or what I should not miss I would be grateful for any advice. I will post this on the forum board as well, so I apologise if you see it there as well.
20 stops in 16 days and unless you are teleporting, you're looking at some windshield time. Yikes.
Granted, some of those stops are very near each other, (Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge questionable ticks) but some are a day's drive away.
I'll assume you're the type that just wants credits, spends money on an all -day ticket then does a quick in & out- because that's what this trip may take. Many of the destinations on your wish list are beautiful places with lots to do and I can't imagine not spending time to enjoy it all.
When I went to Europe I chose only 3 top quality parks and spent two days at each one. I could've made myself crazy by attempting a lot more but in the end I would've felt cheated out of wonderful overall experiences.
And what... no Cedar Point?
Wait... you've been there, right? Must be.
My mileage works out at about 1500 miles, which is not too bad when travelling in the States.
I do not do a quick 'in and out'. When I've ridden the coasters I go back and re-ride my favourite coasters until the end of the day. There are very few flat rides which appeal to me but I do check them out.
I have a full day at these parks, Six Flags St Louis, Holiday World, Beech Bend, Kentucky Kingdom.
I have two days at Kings Island.
I have three days in the Dollywood area.
I've been to Six Flags over Georgia and ridden all their rides but I deliberately chose a VERY late flight back to the UK on my last day, 22.50, so I can be at the park until at least 17.00 so I can enjoy re-riding coasters which I've done before.
Yes, I have been to Cedar Point twice in the last 6 years. And would love to go back on another trip. But the thing is the States is so large you CAN'T do everything.
Yes, I do 'tick' coasters but I do NOT only do 'ticks'. I make every minute at the parks count and re-ride my favourite rides until the end of the day. There is a lot of driving but that's the price you pay when you come to a large country which costs a fortune (relatively) to get to.
Here we go again...
Sorry I was only asking for any advice of people 'on the ground' so to speak. The internet is wonderful but it does has limitations.
A full day at Six Flags St Louis and Beech Bend sounds like way too much. Where are you flying in to? St Louis I assume? I would spend less time at Six Flags St Louis because there's a 4 hour drive including traffic waiting for you when you go to Holiday World.
Hey, let's ride (random Intamin coaster). What? It's broken down? I totally didn't expect that.
I fly into St Louis on the Friday and will be there for two nights. I will have all day Saturday at Six Flags, St Louis. On the Sunday will tick off Incredible Pizza St Louis. Also possibly St Louis city museum before driving to Rockport for Holiday World.
I don't expect to be at Beech Bend for the whole day (maybe only until 2.00 ish) I then have a 120 miles journey so a reasonably relaxed day. Thanks for flagging up the distance.
While you're in Gatlinburg, stop by Ole Smokys and Sugarlands moonshine distilleries, grab you a few sips. Beautiful part of the country, love it down there.
My only suggestion is if you have not been to Carowinds you might try to arrange you schedule to add it. However it would definitely add some drive time if you are flying from ATL.
Carowinds is a great park and I went in 2014. I will definitely go back on another trip but, as I'm flying back from Atlanta, will be a little too far for this trip. However, I'm looking forward to riding Fury 325 when I go there in the future as that is the only coaster I have not done there. There is also Intimidator.
Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but that doesn't sound fun at all. Too much running around.
Your plan certainly does sound ambitious, but to each his own, I guess. And it appears you have enough smaller, 2 hour parks that you can build some easier, rest days around. And it's a nice, logical progression of parks with very little backtracking or zig zagging.
Please please please... for the sake of those around you... take a shower in between SFoG and your late night, 8 hour flight. As someone who has been on more red-eyes than I can count, one thing that no one seems to think of is a little cleaning up before spending multiple hours in close quarters. Shirley (get it... airplanes?) you can find a truckstop with a shower close to the park. The one by SFMM is $12, quite a nice facility,and money well spent.
That's great advice and which many people don't think about. I normally head to the rest rooms and have a clean up and a change of clothes before my flight. A shower, if I can find one nearby, sound even better.
I accept it is a busy trip, bit I'm hoping that the smaller parks make it easy going. After visiting Campden Park on the Saturday I have all Sunday for driving over to Pigeon Forge area before having 3 days from Monday to Wednesday for Dollywood and surrounding small parks.
On the Thursday I only have a coaster at Cherokee (this may change) and then a drive over to Lake Winnie.
So hopefully it will all come together.
I'm assuming you're flying out of Georgia and not going back to St Louis, right?
One thing, i noticed is that even though the mileage says one thing, you are going to be driving over a lot of hills, and that actually might add more distance depending if you used the "crow flies" from RCDB.com
Yes, I'm flying back from Atlanta airport. By flying to St Louis and then flying home from Atlanta saves me about 900 miles on what my trip would have been.
Thanks for the note about distance. I used Google maps which, hopefully, will be more accurate as far as miles are concerned. Looking forward to travelling in the Smokey mountains.
You really don't need a full day at SF St Louis. And you can do half a day at Holiday World and the other half at Kentucky Kingdom.
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I spent a full day at each of those three parks and never felt bored. Maybe you could do each of those in a half day, but I have to say being rushed like that really doesn’t sound fun. Beech Bend, on the other hand, can easily be done in a couple hours.
Really, the whole itinerary doesn’t seem unreasonable considering that it’s a 16 day trip. I’m sure you'll be tired by day 16 though!
Depending on what time of the year you will be visiting, you might want to keep in mind that Dollywood is closed a large number of Tuesdays.
As for whether it is doable, I say go for it. Of course, that's coming from someone who enjoys driving almost as much as coastering. You might also put some thought into what type of vehicle you want to spend that much windshield time in. That can have a significant effect on how you feel about the down-time between parks whether you are a fan of driving or not.
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