The World's Longest Yard Sale takes place August 6-9 and stretches 654 miles across five states, from Gadsden, Alabama, to West Unity, Ohio. The official starting point (assuming you're traveling south to north), is Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden, Alabama, on top of Lookout Mountain. Haven't heard of the yard sale? Well a lot of others have. In fact, it's the 22nd anniversary of the sale, which keeps getting longer and longer! (Ohio has only been a part of it for four years.)
The good news is that the first 93 miles of the yard sale runs along Lookout Mountain Parkway, from Gadsden, Alabama, through a small section of Georgia and into Chattanooga, Tennessee. This is among the most scenic rural stretches in the country, so just the drive itself will be a pleasure. There are rock formations, hang gliders jumping off cliffs, waterfalls, tiny towns and villages, local dining establishments, and much more…
The yard sale kicks off in Noccalula Falls Park on Lookout Mountain in Gadsden, Alabama. Just steps from the yard sale is 100-foot Noccalula Falls, which drops into the Black Creek ravine and is marked by a bronze statue of the Cherokee princess Noccalula who, according to legend, plunged to her death after being ordered to marry a man she didn't love. Take a hike along Noccalula Falls Historic Gorge Trail, which winds through the park past an old pioneer village, where you can wander among old-world log cabins, a country store, and the lovely Gilliland-Reese Covered Bridge, which dates back to 1899. Also located within the 250-acre park are botanic gardens and ancient caves.
On top of Lookout Mountain is Little River Canyon National Preserve, one of the deepest canyons east of the Mississippi, and DeSoto State Park. Camping is available, as well as accommodations in log cabins or chalets within the park. On the Saturday of the yard sale, the park's free "campfire talk" will feature an outdoor lecture on Alabama's wild wolves.
Around Gadsden and along I-59 toward Mentone, you'll find plenty of motels and chain hotels. But take a detour off I-59 onto Highway 117 to the historic Mentone Springs Hotel in Mentone, which was built in 1884. If it's booked up (and it very well might be as the yard sale is one of the busiest times of year), don't worry: You can still enjoy the property and have lunch at Caldwell's restaurant.
If you continue north on I-59 over the border into Georgia, you'll be in for a treat at Randy's Restaurant. Located in the town of Trenton, Randy's is home to…the 48-ounce hamburger! Can't stomach that? How about barbecue by the pound? ($5.95 a pound, to be exact). Hey, when in Georgia…
If you can, swing by Cloudland Canyon State Park, one of Georgia's favorite parks. There is great camping available and small cottages for rent, but you can also spend a couple of hours just ogling the canyon views, or—if you're up for it—try the steep hike to the bottom of the gorge (warning: it's strenuous and involves 600 stairs). If you make it, you'll be rewarded by a view of two spectacular waterfalls.
The yard sale route then crosses the border into Tennessee. Although Lookout Mountain Parkway doesn't quite go through Chattanooga, it's worth stopping in the city for a few hours or overnight. Downtown Chattanooga has 2,000 hotel rooms and even three downtown bed and breakfasts.
And just on top of Lookout Mountain, about six miles from Chattanooga, is the spectacular Rock City. A walking trail will take you past absolutely enormous ancient rock formations thought to be more than 200 million years old. And from the high point of Lover's Leap, on a clear day you can get a panoramic view of seven different states!
Around Tennessee's Signal Mountain is where the yard sale picks up on Highway 127 (hence the nickname "Highway 127 Yard Sale").