World’s Longest Yard Sale… What’s It Like?

Our Review of the World’s Longest Yard Sale…

There was lots of 'stuff' for sale at the World's Longest Yard Sale. The World’s Longest Yard Sale takes place each August along U.S. Highway 127 from Gadsden, Alabama… through the state of Tennessee… and up to Covington, Kentucky, just shy of Ohio.

They get upwards of 100,000 yard sale shoppers each year.

We went to the World’s Longest Yard Sale for the first time. So of course, we had to blog this!

And of course, you can expect to find the real "inside scoop" here.

Read on to see:

  • An example of all the trinkets for sale... The Incredible Hulk and Spider Man figurines. What the World’s Longest Yard Sale is really like.
  • Whether it’s worth making the drive.
  • Whether it’s all that’s it’s cracked up to be.
  • The high points (and low points).
  • What you should know if you go.
  • If we’d go again, or not.

Nothin’ But The Facts

It always starts on the first Thursday in August (see actual dates for each year below) and has been called

  • "the mother of all garage sales"
  • the "127 sale"
  • the "endless yard sale"
  • "the 127 Corridor Sale"
  • and plenty of other far-reaching and unbelievable titles

Still, the World’s Longest Yard Sale is what it is best known as.

It’s so well-known, it has been featured on HGTV, and in Southern Living, Country Living, USA Today, Newsweek, and virtually every major newspaper under the sun!

The "Longest Yard Sale" began in 1987 as a way to lure travelers away from the ever-popular Interstate 40 and I-75 and into the rural communities. It was a way to prove that the back roads have something to offer tourists too. Here’s more about the yard sale’s history.

Since then, the U.S. Highway 127 sale has grown to also include several side roads, including Highway 58 in Chattanooga — which becomes several different highway numbers before reaching Gadsden.

You can jump right into the World’s Longest Yard Sale from wherever you are along the way, or start at either end of the official route.

 


Shop Til You Drop

Slow... the 'World's Longest Yard Sale' ahead.Even though I would’ve liked to (…just to say I did it), there’s no way we could’ve done the whole 450 675 miles of yard sale this weekend — and we like to drive!

So we started in Dunlap Tennessee.

Then in Chattanooga, we jumped on a different route toward our final destination of South Carolina.

 

Highway 127 sale near McMinnville, Tennessee -- NOT the road that the World's Longest Yardsale is on! Highway 127 sign near Dunlap, Tennessee -- this is the CORRECT road that the 'World's Longest Yard Sale' in on!

 

NOTE: The 127 in McMinnville, Tennessee is NOT the 127 you want to be on! We made the mistake of confusing the two — which are both relatively near one another on the map. Fortunately, we noticed it right away and turned around to catch the 127 in Dunlap, Tennessee instead.

In fact, if you go yard sale shopping along the "other" 127, you’ll find things like this:

 

A porch sale???... Or just a way of life? Frigadaires are on sale here! There's nothing like a 'junkyard sale'.

 


Tips For Attending The "World’s Longest Yard Sale"


Pre-Travel Tips:

  • Take plenty of CASH! Consider plenty of small bills and a few rolls of quarters and nickels. Most do not accept personal checks or credit cards. 
  •  

  • A van overloaded with bargains and yard sale finds.Consider the type of vehicle you’ll be driving. You need something with lots of space for "stuff", because most people leave with more than they set out to buy. And you never know, you might find "a great deal" on something big & bulky that you’ve just gotta have. (We noticed that many people actually pulled a small TRAILER to haul all their "finds!) 
  •  

  • The following items might come in handy: plastic bags (like Walmart bags to carry your stuff wihle you’re shopping), boxes (to keep smaller items from rolling around in your car), bubble wrap (to wrap fragile items), large plastic garbage bags (for carrying stuff; protecting the interior of your car from mud/water), bungie cords (for securing things into place), and waterless hand soap (after handling all the "stuff"). 
  •  

  • At the 'World's Longest Yard Sale' you will find lots of ODD stuff for sale. Take a camera. From all the unique items you’re sure to see at this yard sale to the unique people you run into… you’ll find plenty to photograph! 
  •  

  • Don’t forget to print out a map of yard sale route (…and double-check that it’s actually in the car on the morning you set out for your trip!) 
  •  

  • Prepare for rain. Whether that means packing an extra umbrella or a rain poncho (yard salers usually prefer these), you don’t want to get there and find yourself up a creek without a paddle! 
  •  

  • If you’re doing the entire route, or planning a multi-day stay in one location, you need to make hotel reservations early… hotels book MONTHS in advance for this weekend! 
  •  

  • Some don’t want to spend big money on hotel rooms for a yard sale trip! So you might consider packing a small tent that is easy to set up, pack a few pillows, sleeping bags, and a lantern. Campsites along the way are not difficult to find.

     

127 Corridor Yard Sale.

Unique To This Yard Sale

  • Highway 127 traffic for the 'World's Longest Yard Sale'. Be prepared to stop a lot. You have to drive fairly slow… for many miles (hours!), and it can also be frustrating to try & find a place to park. Fortunately, there’s not a lot of horn honking or road rage. Instead, people are just leisurely strolling in and out of sale after sale along the route. 
  •  

  • It’s usually quite hot this time of year, so carry water with you every time you get out of the car. 
  •  

  • Fill up on gas when you can. You never know how backed up traffic will be, or how far til the next gas station (…or how long you’ll be "trapped" in a parking space until someone moves their car). 
  •  

  • Many shoppers have had a hard time finding a bathroom (word is, some small shops and gas stations don’t welcome the extra traffic), so diehard yard-salers pack a roll of toilet paper… just in case. 
  •  

  • A lot of really small town restaurants run out of food, so it’s not uncommon to see restaurants closed with notes on the door saying so. 
  •  

  • There were cars going in every direction and drivers doing stupid stuff like this on the roadside. It can be dangerous driving out there along the yard sale route… With vendors on both sides of the two-lane road, traffic can become slow, even come to a standstill, so remember to always use your turn-signals. Avoid sudden stops (like when you spot something you’ve just gotta have!). Don’t make U-turns (ah hem… Jim!). And pull as much off  the road as possible.

 

General Yard Sale Shopping Tips:

  • Vendors sell from sunrise to sunset (…and beyond). They say there’s only one way to insure that the "early birds" don’t get the worms: Be an "earlier bird". 
  •  

  • NEVER pay the asking price…haggle….they all expect it!

     

  • There were some rare finds like these old antique toys, including Howdy Doody.

  • Resist the urge to show any excitement for an item you’re interested in buying. Instead, try to look only mildly interested then talk them into lowering the price. Remember, early in the morning they may not go down on the prices much, but come the afternoon of the last day, they sure will. 
  •  

  • Here are some great tips on how to be a smart yard sale shopper from the Yard Sale Queen herself.
     

A traveling salesman... selling yard sale items and flea market items from his mobile trailer. This trailer-slash-yardsale-booth served as a flea market to go!

The Type Of Items For Sale

Jim early on: "I think these people traveled from other places to sell their stuff here — it’s not yard sale stuff at all!"

Many areas featured mini flea markets like this in designated areas, rather than yard sales at individual homes. True. It was really more like the "world’s longest stretch of flea markets" — which is kind of a good thing, since you can visit lots of different sellers at one stop.

There was plenty of antique junk for sale. Some are even starting to call the world’s longest yard sale "a vendor’s paradise". Over the years there have been more and more dealers (especially antique dealers) setting up shop along the road. And many offer dealer prices, rather than the typical yard sale prices that most are expecting.

There were plenty of clothes for sale, but more antiques than anything! From the Jamestown Tennessee website — Home & Headquarters of the World’s Longest Yard Sale: "We strive to make this a sale of antiques and oddities, and DISCOURAGE vendors from selling USED CLOTHING"… but there were plenty of clothes for sale.

We met a guy from Leesburg, Florida who spent $1000 just to get there. After a half-day of yardsaling, all he had to show for it were 10 carpenter’s pencils he got for a buck!

If you’re a lifetime collector of "stuff", then you’re sure to have a ball! There’s stuff you didn’t know existed, stuff you just have to have, and stuff you didn’t know you needed.

Is This Really The "World’s Longest Yard Sale"?

Vendors were eager to score a prime piece of land along Highway<br /> 127. This one took advantage of an old abandoned building downtown.Wondering if World’s Longest Yard Sale is truley the world’s longest? The answer is yes. Even though Antique Alley (which covers 502 miles of yard sales in May each year) is so popular, the World’s Longest Yard Sale now covers 675 miles!

For the record, the Antique Alley sale features people having "real" yard sales out in their front yards, rather than so many dealers who have rented a piece of land and set up shop.

Personally, I think the relatively new Coast to Coast yard sale folks are onto something… and they’re certain to become "the world’s longest yard sale" in no time. For now, until more vendors jump on the bandwagon, they’re content to be classified as "the Nation’s Yard Sale" and "the Great U.S. 50 Yard Sale."

Psst… it looks like there’s even more competition for the World’s Longest Yard Sale with the Highway 411 Yard Sale!

Everywhere you looked... a mega yard sale with hundreds of people!


Summary Of Our "World’s Longest Yard Sale" Experience

A roadside zoo???... 'Rabbits for sale, dog stays'. It was fun meeting new people, spotting lots of "weird stuff", and finding some good deals, but the truth is, we probably won’t be adding this to our Summertime Fun list of things to see & do each year.

The World’s Longest Yard Sale isn’t likely to become one of Jim & Lynnette’s annual events, so you’ll just have to check it out for yourself and find your own great bargains.

For real. If you haven’t been there before and seen it for yourself, then by all means… GO. It’s worth a visit. We’re just saying…

…Been there, done that!

More about the World’s Longest Yard Sale here.

Another review of the World’s Longest Yard Sale here.


UPDATE FOR 2011:  The World’s Longest Yard Sale dates for 2011 are: August 4-7.  Have fun, everyone! (If you go, leave your review in the Comments below so others will know what it’s really like!)

 

 

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusFlickr

Fun From Around the Web

  • T&D

    We did the yardsale for the first time last year (2009). It was great. We drove up from South Carolina to the Tenn. portion of the sale around Crossville. We went both ways from there. We enjoyed the trip very much. We plan to take the trip again this year (2010). We plan to start around Gadsden, Alabama this year. I have a question. Does anyone know of a good campground? We would love to camp and make that our base this year instead of a motel room. T&D

  • Anikk9903

    This will be our 2nd official long trip on the 127 Yard Sale we have always went to the local parts of it for years. My mom, my aunt and myself will pack up early Friday morning and head towards Alabama from Kentucky we absolutely love this trip for so many reasons We all LOVE YARD SALES and this is the ultimate in yard sales, we also go for the fun stops along the way, but most of all we love to go and be together it’s something that we all have in common and we thoroughly enjoy each others company. Happy Yard Sailing!

  • Rebecca

    This is our 2nd year to go, and we loved it. Yes, there are flea market type dealers (read: bundles of athletic socks), but there are also serious finds if you look. For example, we saw but did not purchase a gorgeous early American dough table. It was priced under $200 and was a beautiful piece. Just didn’t fit in our home. We also found several nice cake plates/stands for my collection. The 127 Sale is lots of fun, and if you’re open-minded, you may find a great deal on something you will treasure.

  • Pambolen

    For yard salers The Highway 60 yard sale is coming up the first weekend of October 1, 2,3. The sale is 200 miles long in Western KY. Hope some of you will adverture our way. Great antiques, Tell City Furniture, local sorghum is just some of the great deals.

  • T&D

    We took the trip again this year. It was wonderful as before, in fact we enjoyed it better than last year. We took our camper to Desoto State Park in Fort Payne Alabama. The park was wonderful. We also road the rim of Little River Canyon. We took the yard sale in down to Gadsden and up to Mentone. If you have not tried this area you will love it. It is along Hwy. 89. I would highly suggest the State Park for you campers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1546737531 Ron Davidson

    This is my 13th year selling at this great event….You can find me in Lawrenceburg Kentucky at US 127 & 151…there is over 100+ dealers at this spot with indoor restrooms and ac….be sure to find me on Facebook to get better directions to my both… so find us on FACEBOOK under Circle D Antiques & Collectibles….