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View Full Version : Need vacation ideas, photo opportunities


TammyC
9th of May 2009 (Sat), 21:26
So I am trying to plan a vacation for my husband and me for late September. We are located in southwestern PA and are looking to travel about 5-6 hours away. Any idea of areas that have lots of outdoor photo opportunities? Probably West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland or a little further south. Just thought I'd see if any of you have good suggestions. Thanks for any tips!!

Tammy

sparker1
10th of May 2009 (Sun), 07:19
Tammy, this would probably get more response in the "discussion" forum. However, here goes: PA has some beautiful areas in the fall. If you feel you want to go "away", WV is gorgeous, state parks being good locations. I love Kentucky for all the horse farms and beautiful country. Tennessee is a favorite in the fall (Oct is best), especially Great Smoky Mountain NP.

deletedpenguin
10th of May 2009 (Sun), 08:04
Are you guys both photographers or are you just looking to go somewhere that would be good for photography? I ask because if only one of you are a photographer, it might get a bit boring for the other. Why not go somewhere you both want to go - and make photo ops available to you. There's always something to shoot, everywhere. It's just about what you see as a "outdoor photo opportunities".

If you're looking for scenic landscapes, I'd second the Great Smokey Mountains NP.

seaside
10th of May 2009 (Sun), 08:24
Yeh, somewhere in the Smokies. My wife and I stayed a week at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina last fall. Lots of art and crafts, beautiful scenery and history. The Grove Park Inn was in itself a treat. Lots of places within easy driving distance to visit. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway offers lots of photo ops.

Of course, the N.C. coast is great too! Taking the ferries to the barrier islands is fun with many things to shoot (lots of light houses :D). Ocracoke, Cape Hatteras, etc.... September is a good month (especially toward the end of the month) as the tourist season is coming to an end yet its a perfect time to enjoy the coast.

kosin
10th of May 2009 (Sun), 18:34
If Great Smoky Mountain NP is to far for you I would suggest Shenandoah National Park which extends to Blue Ridge Parkway... Plenty of photo opportunities there for sure...

mikekelley
10th of May 2009 (Sun), 18:35
Fly to iceland!

It's about that length on a plane ;)

TheFloridaShooter
10th of May 2009 (Sun), 21:55
Scotland. My wife just said airfare to Europe is at a all time low

deletedpenguin
10th of May 2009 (Sun), 22:04
Scotland. My wife just said airfare to Europe is at a all time low

It is! We just paid $1100 USD roundtrip from Sydney Australia to Paris.

TammyC
11th of May 2009 (Mon), 21:20
Thanks for all the tips everyone. We are both into photography and our favorite part of any vacation are the photography trips. I've been looking into the Smokey Mountains. It seems absolutely beautiful and I'm figuring would be very pretty that time of year. And it seems they have some very nice cabins! And Shenandoah Valley looks great too! Thanks again for all the tips, I'll look into all of them!!
Tammy

TammyC
11th of May 2009 (Mon), 21:28
Also would someone be able to move this to the discussion forum that was suggested/
Thanks
Tammy

Win
12th of May 2009 (Tue), 09:12
I'd consider a trip to Newport, Rhode island, drive up through NY state. Take the ferry to Block Island from Newport. BI should be awesome in Sept, less tourists and some great places to shoot. Newport will give you some great ops , too, like the mansions.

Win

blueM
12th of May 2009 (Tue), 20:51
Not sure exactly where you are located, but here's a vote for going in the other direction. Philly to Boothbay Harbor is about 8 hours. Bar Harbor just a little bit further. Wonderful coastline everywhere you look.

TammyC
13th of May 2009 (Wed), 13:14
Not sure exactly where you are located, but here's a vote for going in the other direction. Philly to Boothbay Harbor is about 8 hours. Bar Harbor just a little bit further. Wonderful coastline everywhere you look.


We are in the far southwest corner of PA, very close to the West Virginia border. I think I put southeastern PA in my original post, sorry about that. (blond moment lol)

Thanks for all the tips everyone! I'm looking into all these places!
Tammy

blueM
15th of May 2009 (Fri), 19:11
very close to the West Virginia border

In that case I join those suggesting Blue Ridge Parkway. :)

TammyC
16th of May 2009 (Sat), 17:49
Ok so I think we have decided on the Smokey Mountains. Little longer drive than we were looking for but I don't think we can pass it up. Have any of you been there? Does the park have actual trails you can walk on or are you kinda on your own? Anything in the area any of you would recommend. Thanks again for all the advice!!

wlescall
17th of May 2009 (Sun), 03:16
I live in Northern WV and I just did a trip through Antietam National Battlefield, Shenandoah National Park, and the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. Shenandoah has walking trails and wonderful overlooks and vistas (when not obscured by fog - my luck). Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get enough time off work to continue down the Blue Ridge Parkway into NC.

rdricks
20th of May 2009 (Wed), 08:38
Ok so I think we have decided on the Smokey Mountains. Little longer drive than we were looking for but I don't think we can pass it up. Have any of you been there? Does the park have actual trails you can walk on or are you kinda on your own? Anything in the area any of you would recommend. Thanks again for all the advice!!

Smokey Mountain National Park is a great place. There are a lot of trails, and a lot of wildlife. If you stop at one of the visitors center they sell maps for various interests. Or for $10 (I think) you can buy a pack with most the maps in it. One of the maps we found particularly useful was a map of waterfalls in the park. Some right off the road, others a decent hike into.

To really see the area, be sure to take some hikes. There are trailheads every few miles off the roads. There are also a few driving tours that are nice. Cades Cove is a great place for wildlife viewing.

You really cannot go wrong. It is a beautiful area.

thisbejonas
20th of May 2009 (Wed), 09:25
I vote for the Smoky Mountain NP. Trails everywhere plus some thing easily driven to. Very busy during October but still worth it.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3042/2972730365_0c2bf3e2be_b.jpg

rdricks
20th of May 2009 (Wed), 13:09
Nice shot of the mill. Especially impressive you managed it with no people in it! ;)

cory1848
20th of May 2009 (Wed), 20:41
For those that have been to the GSM, what kind of vehicle did you take? I have been there many times before but has always been a motorcycle trip. Heading up in October with the wife and want to get some back country type of shots. I have a Ford Focus and an SUV. I know a lot of the good roads are dirt so thinking the SUV. Some of the scenic places I wanted to visit before I was unable due to being on my bike. Bike doesnt handle dirt very well, so would a car or SUV be better?

TammyC
20th of May 2009 (Wed), 21:11
Thanks again for all the tips everyone, I really really appreciate it!! We are getting so excited for this trip!! Another question for those of you who have been there. We are debating between Sept. 25-30 or Oct. 23-28th. When is the best time to visit to find the trees with the most color? I was reading online that they are peak between mid october to mid november, but someone mentioned to me that it was more colorful mid september. What do you guys think? Thanks again!!

thisbejonas
21st of May 2009 (Thu), 05:34
Late Oct is the peak. The shot above was taken late Oct of last year but they didnt have much rain so the colors were not very good but I think they have been having alot more rain this year so maybe better colors.
Try these sites for more info

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm

http://www.smokiesguide.com/fall_foliage/

And as fall gets closer this site will do updates on the colrs

http://fall.tnvacation.com/fall-color/weekly-foilage-reports/

thisbejonas
21st of May 2009 (Thu), 05:35
Late Oct is the peak. The shot above was taken late Oct of last year but they didnt have much rain so the colors were not very good but I think they have been having alot more rain this year so maybe better colors.
Try these sites for more info

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm

http://www.smokiesguide.com/fall_foliage/

And as fall gets closer this site will do updates on the colrs

http://fall.tnvacation.com/fall-color/weekly-foilage-reports/

thisbejonas
21st of May 2009 (Thu), 05:35
Late Oct is the peak. The shot above was taken late Oct of last year but they didnt have much rain so the colors were not very good but I think they have been having alot more rain this year so maybe better colors.
Try these sites for more info

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm

http://www.smokiesguide.com/fall_foliage/

And as fall gets closer this site will do updates on the colrs

http://fall.tnvacation.com/fall-color/weekly-foilage-reports/

thisbejonas
21st of May 2009 (Thu), 05:41
Late Oct is the peak. The shot above was taken late Oct of last year but they didnt have much rain so the colors were not very good but I think they have been having alot more rain this year so maybe better colors.
Try these sites for more info

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fallcolor.htm

http://www.smokiesguide.com/fall_foliage/

And as fall gets closer this site will do updates on the colrs

http://fall.tnvacation.com/fall-color/weekly-foilage-reports/

Sp00ks
21st of May 2009 (Thu), 06:17
Blue ridge parkway. Pick it up in VA and follow it SW into Cherokee. Many overlooks, gorgeous scenery. Waterfalls, overlooks, and some stuff off the beaten path as well.

rdricks
21st of May 2009 (Thu), 08:18
Thanks again for all the tips everyone, I really really appreciate it!! We are getting so excited for this trip!! Another question for those of you who have been there. We are debating between Sept. 25-30 or Oct. 23-28th. When is the best time to visit to find the trees with the most color? I was reading online that they are peak between mid october to mid november, but someone mentioned to me that it was more colorful mid september. What do you guys think? Thanks again!!

Definitely late October if you want color. Sept is a great time to be there, but the color change will not have started yet. Oct 23-28 should have good color.

thisbejonas
21st of May 2009 (Thu), 12:24
Sorry for the quadruple post i kept getting an error

TammyC
22nd of May 2009 (Fri), 20:26
Definitely late October if you want color. Sept is a great time to be there, but the color change will not have started yet. Oct 23-28 should have good color.

Thanks for the tip. I think we've decided on Oct. 23-28th. We are so excited for this trip. Now it's gonna kill us to wait lol. Any other tips or suggesstions you guys may have are always appreciated. Seem's like Cade's Cove is the must visit spot for wildlife. We plan to head out early each morning to try and beat the crowds.

Thanks again everyone!!

thisbejonas
22nd of May 2009 (Fri), 23:31
Hiking boots, bottled water, and layered clothing. If you go up high in elevation in the mornings it will prolly be very cold but it will warm up very fast especialy if you come back down the mountains. Make sure and visit Clingmans Dome, you can go up to the observation platform but really you get just as good of a view from the parking lot. Cades Cove will be packed from open till close and during that time of year the park rangers are not very tolerant of you stopping as it is a one lane road and causes problems. Take lots of storage for your pics....you will fill up your cards very fast. O and when in gatlinburg and pigeon forge.... dont stop when they try to hand you pamplets....tons of time share salesmen there and can get very pushy if you give them any attention.

TammyC
23rd of May 2009 (Sat), 08:42
Hiking boots, bottled water, and layered clothing. If you go up high in elevation in the mornings it will prolly be very cold but it will warm up very fast especialy if you come back down the mountains. Make sure and visit Clingmans Dome, you can go up to the observation platform but really you get just as good of a view from the parking lot. Cades Cove will be packed from open till close and during that time of year the park rangers are not very tolerant of you stopping as it is a one lane road and causes problems. Take lots of storage for your pics....you will fill up your cards very fast. O and when in gatlinburg and pigeon forge.... dont stop when they try to hand you pamplets....tons of time share salesmen there and can get very pushy if you give them any attention.

Thanks for all the great tips. At Cades Cove, can you only drive through or is there any way you can walk through this area? We'll have to go through twice, once so I can take pics and once so my husband can lol :D

thisbejonas
24th of May 2009 (Sun), 03:23
Certain days the loop is open to walkers etc only but I dont remember what days and times.