This fly drive holiday package takes you through the beautiful states of Tennessee and Kentucky on a 8 night itinerary that begins in Chattanooga and ends in Louisville.
Fly into Atlanta airport and make your way to Chattanooga, nestled along the beautiful Tennessee River, home to stunning mountain scenery and the starting point of your fly drive holiday. Your base here will be the iconic Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal Station Complex & Hotel, the restored 1909 train station was made famous by the song “Pardon me boy – is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?”
From there you’ll drive along through the mountain towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, making your way to The Great Smoky Mountains, the oldest mountains in the world and a preserve of wildflowers, old-growth forests and rushing mountain streams. Hiking, horseback riding, rafting wildflower tours and mountain biking are just some of the activities you can enjoy here.
Back on the road, leave Tennessee behind as you arrive in Kentucky and your first stop of Lexington, the Horse Capital of the World and home to more than 450 Thoroughbred and Standardbred farms with many open to the public. You’ll also visit the nearby Covington on the banks of the Cincinnati River before continuing to your last stop, Louisville which is firmly embedded in the American national consciousness for its multimillion-dollar Kentucky Derby held each May at Churchill Downs. The Derby, known as the richest two minutes in sport, attracts 500,000 fans to this cosmopolitan and diversified city the first Saturday in May, but there is racing at Churchill Downs in April, May, June, October and November and the track is open for tours year-round.
Arrival in Atlanta
Chattanooga - Pigeon Forge (Gaitlinburg)
The Great Smoky Mountains
Pigeon Forge - Lexington
Lexington - Covington
Covington - Louisville
Fly from from Louisville
Day 1 Arrival in Atlanta
Arrive in Atlanta and head to Chattanooga
Chattanooga is nestled along the beautiful Tennessee River and surrounded by spectacular mountains and scenic beauty. Chattanooga has a newly revitalised riverfront, first class attractions, a free electric shuttle, a clean and Green environment, outdoor adventures, rich American Civil War history, a thriving music scene and plenty of annual events that offer year-round entertainment.
No visit to Chattanooga is complete without a visit to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal Station Complex & Hotel. This 1909 train station was made famous by the song “Pardon me boy – is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?” when it became the first record in the world to sell over one million copies. But you can still tour this historic complex; ride an electric trolley; spend the night in a train carriage; have “dinner in the diner” where your waiter will take the stage and sing you a song.
Day 2 Chattanooga - Pigeon Forge (Gaitlinburg)
Stay in the charming mountain town of Gatlinburg, filled with shops and attractions. Be sure to stop in Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and other attractions. Try skiing or the luge at Ober Gatlinburg. Travel the talent-rich, eight-mile loop of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, the largest group of independent artisans in North America. Take time to appreciate the lost arts here and take home a treasure.
Day 3 The Great Smoky Mountains
You’ll get a magical feeling in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’re in the presence of something fresh and, yet, ancient. The oldest mountains in the world. A preserve of wildflowers, old-growth forests and rushing mountain streams. The Smokies. It’s the ultimate getaway.
Bring your camera. The park has panoramic vistas with cascading rivers and majestic forests. Venture out on horseback at Sugarlands, and then cool off by rafting the Pigeon River. Cycle the 11-mile Cades Cove loop for some of the park’s best wildlife viewing. Learn about cantilevered barns and that mysterious blue haze over the mountains. Take the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage to see 1,600 kinds of flowering plants. Study the wildlife. In addition to the 1,500 bears in the park, the Smokies has more salamanders than anywhere else on earth!
Hike Abrams Falls and Mt. LeConte. Find a waterfall. The Smokies is a hiker’s paradise with more than 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short walks to strenuous treks that call for backcountry camping. The Appalachian Trail gives you a unique perspective with 70 miles of crestline trail. Cosby, with great campgrounds and a spacious picnic area, is a favourite among locals for the popular day hike to Sutton Ridge Overlook’s spectacular panorama.
Day 4 Pigeon Forge - Lexington
Lexington is the Horse Capital of the World and home to more than 450 Thoroughbred and Standardbred farms with many open to the public. In Lexington is Keeneland Race Course, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, where racing takes place in April and October. Located near Keeneland, Kentucky Horse Park offers a true equine experience. This is the only park in the world dedicated exclusively to the horse, which also hosts seasonal events and annual events such as the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day event.
Day 5 Lexington
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill is home to an impressive collection of Shaker architecture, furniture, artefacts and historians. With 34 Shaker structures, built from 1809 to 1875, the site is the country’s largest private collection of original 19th century buildings.
The Shakers were 19th century America’s largest and best-known communal society. Their movement began in New York shortly before the American Revolution, and by the 1840s, nearly 3,500 Shakers lived in communities from Maine to Kentucky. In 1805, a group of Shakers came to central Kentucky and established a village they named Pleasant Hill.
The Shakers chose a peaceful way of life. They were celibate, believed in equality of race and sex, and freedom from prejudice. A quest for simplicity and perfection is reflected in their fine designs and craftsmanship, and today the term Shaker-made is synonymous with excellence around the world.
Day 6 Lexington - Covington
Stroll across the Roebling Suspension Bridge (a prototype of the Brooklyn Bridge) spanning the Ohio River and take in the Cincinnati River Front with its parks, baseball and American football stadiums plus neighbouring entertainment and dining districts.
Cincinnati, founded in 1788, became an important supply point for pioneers heading west on flatboats and rafts and its population rocketed in 1811 with the establishment of a major steamboat river port. Today Cincinnati is a dynamic city with a definite European flavour rich in architecture and culture. It is also a proud sporting city, home to America’s first professional baseball team, the Reds, and the Bengals American football team.
The American Sign Museum located in downtown Cincinnati is the premier institution for preserving historic signs and promoting the contributions the sign industry makes to commerce, culture and the American landscape. Signs not only show us the way and invite us in (or not!), they reflect the history, technology, commerce, and culture of our communities.
Before there was Las Vegas... there was Newport, Kentucky. Rising from the profits of bootlegging during Prohibition, Newport quickly became the premier gaming destination of the United States. What happened in Newport, stayed in Newport!
Explore the streets where the mob made their millions, gamblers lost their lives, and ladies of the night earned their reputations. Join the gangster guides for a raucous, high energy presentation inside an old casino to explain the historic significance of Newport and discover how this little town gave birth to the modern gaming industry
It's always fun to learn the juicy secrets of a city's history. With the Newport Gangster Tour you can visit the buildings that actually housed casinos, brothels and speakeasies while learning about Newport’s connections to some of the most well-known crime figures in our nation’s history.
Day 7 Covington - Louisville
Continue to Louisville which is firmly embedded in the American national consciousness for its multimillion-dollar Kentucky Derby held each May at Churchill Downs. The Derby, known as the richest two minutes in sport, attracts 500,000 fans to this cosmopolitan and diversified city the first Saturday in May, but there is racing at Churchill Downs in April, May, June, October and November and the track is open for tours year-round. The next-door Kentucky Derby Museum is an excellent hands-on experience and has a magnificent audio-visual display that captures the Derby Day atmosphere on a 360o screen.
Downtown Louisville rolls gently down towards Main Street then abruptly lunges down to the river where the historic Belle of Louisville leaves for daily sightseeing cruises. Don’t miss the Slugger Museum and Factory and be sure to sample the Urban Bourbon Trail along Whiskey Row and around town.
Day 8 Louisville
Learn about the “Louisville Lip” and travel to the heart of Kentucky horse country, Lexington, before spending the night at a historic Shaker community.
The Muhammad Ali Center rises on the south bank of the Ohio River and has majestic views of Kentucky’s largest city where Ali was born Cassius Clay in 1942. Ali went on to boxing fame and fortune but in his heyday he was known as the “Louisville Lip” and a loquacious self-promoter responsible for some of the finest quips to emerge from a sportsman. The Ali Center is not obsessed with glory and triumph and it does not shy away from Ali’s failings, but his boxing achievements are the centrepiece and fans can watch his fights in a multimedia area as well as follow his brave and principled stand against the Vietnam War and racism.