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Trip 3: Congaree, Great Smoky Mountains and New River Gorge National Parks (and Biltmore Estate)

For our third national park trip, we drove from the Washington, DC, area to Columbia, SC, to visit the Congaree National Park, then traveled to Asheville, NC, to see the Biltmore Estate, then to Gatlinburg, TN, for a few days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and finally to Beckley, WV, for a few days at the New River Gorge National Park, which is the newest area in the US to be designated a national park. The trip took a total of eight days and the longest drive time between any two locations was about 6 1/2 hours from the DC area to Columbia, SC. Our total mileage for the trip, including all the driving in local areas, was around 1,700 miles. Our timing in Columbia, SC, allowed us to visit the South Carolina State Fair on their opening day. It is definitely worth researching what events are occurring in the local areas as you travel. We'll provide a park-by-park rundown of the sights we saw and pubs we visited at each location.

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