Family Vacation Ideas in the Southeast
If you’re looking for Spring Break ideas, the Southeast provides the perfect weather for a March escape. Prefer a nice hotel nestled in an urban oasis of activity? Would you rather slow down and feel the charm of a small mountain town? Or perhaps, you want to completely unplug and gaze at the stars in the night sky? These destinations have something for everyone.
Too busy to read through a million blogs and guidebooks to plan a family vacation? Don’t worry, it's already been done for you. Simply Awesome Trips offers family trip itineraries to destinations near and far. Everything you need to know: where to sleep, eat, and play! All organized into detailed day-by-day plans. No lodging research needed or activities to plan out-- it's all covered in detail here, saving you time and effort that you would rather spend on your vacation, not planning it.
These southern cities have it all—a great food scene, museums, festivals, shopping, plus easy access to the great outdoors should you choose to leave the oasis of the city. Stay in the heart of the city, park the car, and walk to all of the city’s best attractions. At the end of each day, enjoy a nice dinner and relax in the comfort of your hotel.
Knoxville offers fantastic restaurants, local shops, craft breweries, art galleries, and a world-class zoo. There are plenty of activities for any family to enjoy in this fun city. Enjoy exploring Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness together during the day while savoring the amazing food and charm of Knoxville’s thriving downtown at night. Find out more here!
Chattanooga has no shortage of things to do for kids and adults. Climb in one of the largest climbing gyms in the country, walk across one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, visit Civil War battlefields, admire a jellyfish exhibition at the wonderful Chattanooga Aquarium, and enjoy a wonderful downtown dining scene. Find out more here!
Asheville makes for a terrific family vacation. This fun, artsy town offers fantastic restaurants, shops, art galleries, and an endless choice of family-friendly local craft breweries. It’s also surrounded by the Blue Ridge mountains, so you’ll find plenty of scenic hikes nearby as well as a river perfect for floating. Find out more here!
Calling all foodies and outdoor lovers! Greenville’s picturesque, riverfront downtown has a vibrant food scene, shops, and art galleries. After your urban exploration, take a hike or bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 20 mile paved bike trail running through downtown and leading to fun food stops along the way. Find out more here!
Louisville is a compact city that’s easy to walk around and conveniently has 6 of its major attractions, such as the Louisville Slugger Museum, within several blocks of each other. It is also easy to experience the outdoors at its fantastic Waterfront Park where the pedestrian Big Four Bridge take you over the Ohio River. All of this, plus the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, make Louisville an excellent vacation choice no matter the weather outside. Find out more here!
Charming Mountain Towns
We love these charming mountain towns, because you can enjoy a quiet stroll down Main Street with locally-owned shops and restaurants, or venture out to enjoy nearby hikes and bike rides. At the end of each day, you can easily return to town for lodging, a local craft beer, and a great meal.
Abingdon is a beautiful, quaint town in southwest Virginia. Catch a show at the famous Barter Theater and stroll around Abingdon's historic downtown. Seek more adventure with a bike ride along the Virginia Creeper Trail (a 34 mile rails-to-trails pathway) or with a hike along the trails at Grayson Highlands State Park, famous for its soaring views and wild ponies. You'll find plenty of memorable family fun in Abingdon. Find out more here!
Brevard is a smaller, more affordable version of Asheville. This charming mountain town is filled with shops (including a great toy store), restaurants, antiques, and art galleries. It’s also home to Dupont State Forest, which offers plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails to explore. The Hunger Games movie was filmed at Dupont where you can visit Triple Falls, the most recognizable mountain scenery in the movie. Find out more here!
Johnson City, TN
Johnson City is a small town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and their logo aptly states “start your adventure here.” It’s a great hub for biking, hiking, and even exploring a fossil site. A revitalized downtown offers terrific restaurants and breweries in a quaint setting. You can spend a day hiking the Appalachian Trail at nearby Roan Mountain State Park, bike a local family-friendly bike path, and return to downtown to grab some tasty tacos and a local craft beer. Find out more here!
Sometimes you simply need a complete change of scenery from the hustle and bustle of life. These outdoor destinations are the perfect opportunity to unplug from your devices and connect together as a family.
Experience stunning overlooks, hike to some of the most beautiful and accessible mountain balds you’ll ever see, go fishing, visit a waterfall, hug a giant tree, and enjoy views for days as you drive along this 43-mile National Scenic Byway stretching from Tellico Plains, Tennessee to Robbinsville, North Carolina. Pitch a tent or rent a cozy cabin as your basecamp for exploration. Find out more here!
Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Spring is a great time to visit the Smokies before the crowds arrive in the summer. You’ll find plenty to do here, both in the national park and outside of it. Hike, bike, explore a cave, and relax in your mountain cabin at night, roasting marshmallows by the fire. If you feel too “unplugged”, you can always venture out to nearby Dollywood! Find out more here!
Big South Fork National Recreation Area
You’ll find some of the best stargazing in the Southeast here at Big South Fork. Located on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, Big South Fork may have more natural arches than anywhere else in the Eastern US. You’ll find plenty of easy trails for the family, and camping at its wonderful Bandy Creek Campground will serve as the perfect base for all your fun activities -- hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, swimming, and stargazing. Find out more here!
What Makes Our Itineraries Unique?
Where To Stay
The lodging choices for each destination have been carefully selected for their ideal location, price point, safety, and proximity to the day’s activities. We tell you the best area to stay so you can minimize driving or walking distances and maximize your moments having fun. Knowing what part of town to stay in is a huge part of making a trip a success, and that’s hard to do when you are not familiar with a destination. We save you time and energy by doing all the research for you.
Where To Eat
Local dining establishments are highlighted. The kind where children are welcome but isn't necessarily a restaurant geared primarily towards kids. You won't find many restaurant chains in our itineraries, just good local food mirroring the destination's culture. This could mean a food truck, a pizza place, or a nice sit-down restaurant, but always delicious. If there are any local brews, specialty foods, wines, or coffee houses around, we'll mention those too.
Where To Play
The organization of each day has been thoughtfully planned in order to group activities together by proximity, ideal time of day to visit, and the best nearby dining choices. It’s all been laid out for you, along with directions, maps, travel tips, links to more info, and more. We cover the most worthwhile activities to do in a destination (based on our own family’s reviews) without forgetting that vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing, not a list to be checked off while hauling around whining children.
You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities for the family as well as cultural and historical sites unique to the destination. Many itineraries include easy hikes, bike rides, and float trips that have been selected for their kid-friendly length and ease of difficulty as well as their scenic beauty. (Always worth it!) We are all about getting families outdoors so we include as much fresh air as we can in our itineraries, whether it is a day-long trek in a national park or just the location of a fantastic playground perfect for a break from sightseeing.
At the founding of Simply Awesome Trips, we agreed to travel as we always have with our families—on our own dime. No free nights, no comped visits, not even any swag. We continue to feel good about that decision. We do participate in affiliate marketing with some of the companies that we personally use (Booking.com, VRBO.com). They don’t pay us to write, we simply get a commission if you enter those sites through our “gate” as opposed to say a Google search.
But we also recommend lodging, restaurants, and activities, where we don’t receive any commission, such as Airbnb or private rental companies. We don’t change recommendations based on vendor. If it’s good; it’s good.