Blue Ridge Parkway Travel Planner App

Oct 13, 2012 View Comments by

During the height of the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s “New Deal” began a plethora of public works projects across the country in an effort to provide jobs for out of work Americans. Regardless of your views on the soundness of this strategy, as motorcyclists it’s hard to argue with one result—the Blue Ridge Parkway. Connecting the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina, the BRP is 469 miles of riding bliss. Along those 469 miles are numerous historical sites, restaurants, hotels and bed and breakfasts, scenic overlooks, hiking trails, campsites, and so much more. To make sense of it all you’d almost have to have a library of information dedicated just to the parkway. Luckily, there’s now an app for that.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Association has launched a travel planner app specifically for the BRP corridor. The app features a wealth of information that should prove very helpful for anyone planning, or in the middle of, a trip to the region. The app’s home screen offers six categories to choose from: Things to Do, Things to See, Things to Know, Services, Events, and Near Me. The Things to Do tab brings you an alphabetized list of potential activities from area attractions to skiing or snowboarding. Likewise, the Things to See tab offers a list of museums, nature centers, historic sights, overlooks, and many more visual treats. Things to Know gives a rundown of access points, emergency contacts, historical facts, and a variety of other useful information.

Touching any specific item from the lists brings up an integrated offline park map (not Apple’s dreaded new maps app for iOS 6) showing where the activity or place is located in relation to other attractions along the parkway. Touching an icon brings up information and a description of each interest point with varying levels of detail and, usually, a phone number and address. The app’s Services tab leads you to a list of restaurants, lodging, hospitals, restrooms, and other useful spots, while the Events tab takes you to a calendar of local goings on. The Near Me function uses your current location to determine possible points of interest nearby. Many surrounding communities are also included in the app giving an overview of the entire region.

For the most part the app works well with only a few glitches. When I first began using it, it did crash several times on my iPhone 4S, but since then I haven’t had this problem. One issue that does persist is that the opening banner will not fully load. This doesn’t affect the apps functionality, but it does mess up the aesthetics a bit. On the whole, the Blue Ridge Parkway Travel Planner App offers quite a bit of genuinely useful information in an extremely accessible format. Though I wouldn’t depend on it exclusively, I do plan on using it on my next trip to the parkway.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Travel App is available for free on both iPhone and Android. For more info go to www.blueridgeparkway.org.

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