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Car Rental in Knoxville

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Car Rental in Knoxville: the Gateway to the Sugarlands

For the sports fan (and the fan of sports fan), seeing Knoxville on a University of Tennessee football game day is an unforgettable experience. But the city is also quickly becoming a center of great food and great microbrew beer, in addition to its convenient location as the gateway to the Sugarlands and the Great Smoky Mountains Park. As the hub of so much activity, Knoxville almost necessitates renting a car. Without hiring an automobile your travels will just be too cumbersome, slow, and limited to truly take in this thriving city and its beautiful surroundings.

Knoxville is a city that offers its visitors festivities year round, and the weather is pretty consistently good too. The weather is coldest in January and February. If you want to catch the sights of game day, you’ll want to visit during the fall, as football season runs from early September to late November.

The de facto national language of the United States is English. The currency is the US dollar. Currency exchange is highly available at airports and popular tourist destinations, and credit cards are accepted at the vast majority of businesses. ATMs are also easy to find throughout the city.

Knoxville is located at the intersection of the north-south bound Interstate 75 and east-west bound Interstate 40, making it a city typically accessed by car or public road transportation. However, the local McGhee Tyson Airport receives airplanes from numerous major American cities. Located 14 miles south of the city center, the airport is a great place to pick up or drop off your rental car, as all the major automobile hire services have a desk there. There are also numerous rental car agencies located along Interstate 40 south of downtown, as are one or two agencies directly in central Knoxville.

Located along the mountainous eastern border of Tennessee, Knoxville is an excellent base from which to camp and hike your way through the mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just 40 miles away from the city and forms a chain with the more distant Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest of North Carolina. The Sugarlands are located at the base of the Great Smokies. Tennessee gem, Chattanooga, just two hours to the south, is also well worth a visit!

Visa Regulations

38 nationalities can enter the United States as tourists without applying for a visa, though if you are among these nationalities, you are still required to fill out the ESTA in advance. Visit for more information. Everyone who enters the United States will be fingerprinted and biometrically photographed upon entry. If your nationality is not included on the visa-waiver program list, you will be required to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa in advance of your arrival.

Driving in Knoxville

While walking downtown Knoxville is becoming increasingly comfortable, you’ll want a car to navigate any of Knoxville’s other neighborhoods, which sometimes feature no sidewalks, and you should by no means make the mistake of just staying in the city. Rent a car to explore Knoxville at its fullest – you’ll miss out on a boatload of adventures if you are limited to public transportation!

Here are some regulations and tips to consider as you drive through Knoxville:

Right-Hand Driving

  • Traffic proceeds on the right-hand side of the road throughout the United States.
  • Unless otherwise marked, after coming to a full stop at a red light, you can turn right from the right lane if there is no oncoming traffic.

Typical Speed Limits

  • In municipal and residential areas: 30 miles per hour unless otherwise marked
  • On divided highways: 65 miles per hour unless otherwise marked
  • On the interstate: 70 miles per hour
  • Expect traffic congestion in the hours around 8 am and 5 pm and be aware of festivals and games that may clog university and inner city roads.

Other Regulations

  1. Street parking and parking garages are abundant throughout Knoxville. Street parking in the city center is regulated by time and fees, and can be scarce on game days, but is typically easy to come by. Parking in residential areas is typically unregulated.
  2. You can drive on your domestic driver’s license as a tourist throughout Tennessee.
  3. There are no toll roads in Tennessee.
  4. Residents of Tennessee can be licensed as young as 18 and select agencies may also rent cars to drivers as young as 18. However, you will likely have to be at least 20 years of age to rent a car, and you will face young driver surcharges until the age of 25.

Other Tips

If you’re headed to the Great Smoky Mountains Park on a summer weekend, take the scenic route to avoid traffic congestion on Interstate 40. Highways 441 and 321, while longer and windier, are both really enjoyable!

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