Our first KOA experience was a mixed bag. The location and grounds were very nice, but the cabin itself was a pretty small 1-room affair. Wherever they were available I reserved two-room cabins (or if you prefer the more formal term, kabins). They are usually about $10 more but I suspect it will be worth it. We also left the air conditioner off thinking it would be cooler, but it got stuffy in the night and between that and the squeaky mattress pads a couple of us slept fitfully until Rebecca got up and turned the conditioner on. After that we all slept better.
I got up and made some coffee in the communal outdoor kitchen. We had pop-tarts and fruit for breakfast and then packed up, getting on the road around 10:30. Not a bad one night stop, all-in-all:
We decided on the southern route to Smoky Mountains by Cherokee, NC. It was a little longer but took us through the center of the park rather than through Gatlinburg, TN, which we would go through on our way out. We planned to stop at a grocery store on the way there and had trouble finding one until Cherokee itself. That's an interesting place. It feels very remote and sparsely populated as you drive through the Cherokee reservation into town, and then you turn a corner and see this enormous casino looming over the road. I didn't get a chance to take a picture, but there are some here.
We stopped at a Comfort Inn and a nice desk clerk gave us directions to a nearby Food Lion to stock up for the next two days. I secured a box of Krispy Kreme donuts but apparently we needed other things as well, like fruit and vegetables.
We got on the Parkway around 1pm and spent about an hour and a half driving the twisty and mountainous route to our campground, stopping for a few pictures along the way: