If you’re heading east on I-75 from Bowling Green, you’ll soon see the exit for Florence. This exit marks the beginning of a 70-mile stretch of road that will take you to the Great Lake which is located in the heart of the Southeastern United States. If you want to get away from it all and find some peace and relaxation, then this could be the ride for you.
Beautiful Scenery Along I-75
The first 50 miles or so of the ride are relatively flat and uneventful. You’ll pass through small towns and eventually enter the Great Smoky Mountains. The interstate winds through the mountains for the next 20 miles or so before running alongside the Tennessee River. You’ll then leave the interstate and follow the river’s edge for the rest of the ride to the Florence exit.
The views along I-75 are spectacular. The mountains are a fantastic blend of hues that range from light brown to gray. When combined with the thick foliage, it’s not uncommon to see a variety of wildlife such as deer, raccoons, and even bears. Unfortunately, as you may imagine, there are also several gun ranges along the way and people who like to hunt. Therefore, you must be alert at all times. However, these are the risks and challenges that come with a beautiful place like the Great Smoky Mountains.
Where To Stay
If you’re looking for a bed and some food that doesn’t involve fried chicken, then you could stay at one of the hotels located near the exit for Florence. There are quite a few hotels along I-75, all of which are more than willing to offer you a comfortable night’s sleep. In addition to a comfortable bed and good food, some of these hotels also provide you with a spectacular view of the Great Smoky Mountains. These are the types of places that sell you photographs and souvenirs, as well as give you discounts if you’re traveling with children or pets.
Getting To And From The Hotel
If you decide to stay at a hotel near Florence, then it’s a good idea to consider how you’re going to get there. Fortunately, there are plenty of amenities nearby including Walmart, Subway, Chili’s, and Jack’s Bar-B-Que. In addition, there are a few hotels with their own private garages where you can leave your car. If you get a chance, you should eat at one of the nearby restaurants such as Jack’s Bar-B-Que, or Primanti Brothers, which is also located nearby. Another great option is the Red Fox, a family owned bed and breakfast located in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Sights To See
You are now roughly 70 miles from Florence, and the scenery starts to change. The road winds through thick forest and eventually enters Roan Mountain. From there, you’ll get a panoramic view of the city of Knoxville. Due to its elevation, the air is clear, which gives you a breathtaking and unique view of the city. The top of the mountain then leads you into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can spot some of America’s most iconic animals.
It’s always nice when a place knows something you don’t. In this case, the Great Smoky Mountains actually know a lot about the history behind the name. Although the area was once inhabited by Native Americans, it was the settlers from the west who named the Great Smoky Mountains. Some of the most prominent incidents that took place in the region include the Cherokee War of 1812, the Great Smoky Mountains wildfires of 2011, and the battle for Fort McHenry in the Civil War.
Another thing the Great Smoky Mountains know is how to keep its residents cool. The climate is perfect, which is fortunate for the thousands of acres of forest that cover the region. The climate is part of what draws people to the area. Some of the most prominent tourist attractions in and around the park include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visitor Center, the Oconaluftee Indian Village, and the Bledsoe Bridge
It’s a shame the Great Smoky Mountains have to exist in the shadow of all the bad things that happened here. Sure, there are still some tensions between the local Native Americans and the federal government, but for the most part, the forest is a tranquil place. For anyone who wants a scenic drive and some tranquility, then the Great Smoky Mountains are a must-see.