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The Great Smoky Mountains in the southeast along the North Carolina border in east Tennessee, US, is the perfect family vacation spot, with thousands of tourists visiting each year. The best thing about the Great Smokies is its easy approach and access from all the major cities. So you can drive up there with your families for a weekend getaway.
However, it might take more than a weekend to explore all the attractions the destination offers. Whether you are a nature enthusiast looking for a mountain adventure or family fun, the Great Smokies are perfect for letting loose and getting lost in the wilderness and adventure.
Whether it is your first or tenth visit to the Great Smoky Mountain ranges, here are some special destination tips that you might find helpful and exciting.
Things to consider for your next trip to the Great Smoky Mountains
Plan Your Stay in the Smoky Mountain Cabin
To experience the full mountain adventure, book your stay in one of the cabin rentals in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. It perfectly encapsulates the essence of the mountains and helps explore the wilderness while enjoying all the modern amenities and facilities.
The cabins are ideal for large groups and big families because you can all stay under one roof and get a chance to bond during your vacation. The Great Smoky Mountains cabins offer more than just a place to stay. It offers discounted and special packages to its guests for shows, outdoor and indoor pools, Jacuzzies, game rooms, exercise facilities, wedding venues, spiritual retreats, and family reunions.
The best thing about cabin rentals is that you will find all the major attractions near your lodge while enjoying peace and tranquillity with exotic mountain views. In addition, it can be the best stress reliever away from a busy life.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Your Smoky getaway would be incomplete without fully immersing yourself in outdoor activities. The Great Smoky Mountains have several hiking trails for you to explore. In addition, you can choose a cable car or scenic jeep ride to go up the highest mountain peaks. The most popular hiking trails include Cades Cove, Laurel Falls, Roaring Fork, and Alum Cave. You will come across more than 100 waterfalls on these trails.
Do not miss SkyLift Park while you are at it. It offers a scenic SkyTrail hiking path, SkyBridge, and Tulip Tower observation area. The mountain shop at SkyCenter offers delectable delicacies. In addition, the SkyDeck amphitheatre offers mesmerizing mountain views.
With its ski area and amusement park, Ober Gatlinburg is a place for all. It’s Aerial Tramway is not one to miss. In addition, it hosts activities and events regularly.
The night walk amongst the stars atop Anakeesta peak is an out-of-this-world experience. In addition, it offers zip-line courses, mountain coasters, and treetop skywalks, among several other outdoor activities. You can also shop for merchandise, eat and relax while you are there.
Check for Festivals and Events
The Smoky Mountains keep hosting year-round festivals and events. Remember to check them out during your visit. You can check the LEAF festival or take your family to participate in fall and harvest-related celebrations throughout Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
You may come across folk, heritage, or pottery festivals. From witnessing Orioles during playoffs to Scottish games, craft beer, and wine walks, there is nothing the area does not offer.
Several tourists plan their visit to celebrate Memorial Day amid the Smokies. The parade starts early morning and ends with live performances and dances in Gatlinburg streets.
Winter and summer sports festivals are common in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge alike. In addition, the Christmas Village in Pigeon Forge houses themed Christmas shops and hosts Christmas festivals during the holiday season. During summers, you can go summer tubing and indulge in water activities during events in theme parks.
Consider Off-Season Visits
Off-season visits are great if you want to avoid the crowds and are looking for off-season discounts. January is the best month to plan your visit if you want the Smokies all to yourself.
You can go for an unconventional frosty picnic amid the Appalachian hinterlands and enjoy the views in peace. However, do not forget to pack your warmest clothing and rain jacket, and look out for snowstorms for possible roadblocks.
Off-season visits could prove to be budget-friendly if you travel with larger groups. In addition, you can fully enjoy your visits to the most popular places and attend regular events without large crowds hampering your way.
It could be the best way to find peace in Mother Nature and find a chance to get away from a stressful routine.
Find Shopping and Entertainment Spots
You will find numerous shops and entertainment centres in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. In addition, the Parkway in Pigeon Forge houses several boutiques, antique shops, restaurants, and cafés. Perhaps you could visit it near the end of your vacation and get gifts and souvenirs to remember your trip by.
The Island in Pigeon Forge, right off the Parkway, features dining options such as Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, Yee-Haw Brewing Company, Dick’s Last Resort, and Margaretville. The retail vendors include local artisans, cigar shops, toyshops, and glass gift galleries, among many more.
Ole Smoky Moonshine in Gatlinburg or the Sugarlands Distilling Company offers a range of moonshine tastings and tours.
In addition, you can play golf in one of the mini golf courses or visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to indulge the kids and yourself in aquatic life and get a chance to pet sea creatures. It is the best way to spend a cold rainy day in Gatlinburg.
Enjoy Dinner Shows
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are famous for entertaining their hungry guests with live-themed shows and performances. Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Pigeon Forge delights its visitors with musical productions, horseback riding stunts, and phenomenal special effects while they munch on four-course meals with dessert.
Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud features food fights between Hatfields and McCoys, the longest-running food feud in history, while guests eat homemade Southern-style delicacies. The show ends with singing and dancing with sidesplitting comedy.
Similarly, Pirates Voyage is a pirate-themed live dinner show with mermaids, pirates, life-size pirate ships, and battles on land and sea. Again, kids can get a chance to get a makeover before the show for a fully immersive experience.
Make the most of your next visit to the Smokys by staying in cabins with your family and taking full advantage of the amenities. Enjoy the outdoors by going on hikes, scenic jeep rides, and getting to the highest peaks.
With national holiday celebrations, you will find year-round festivals and events happening all over Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. So do not forget to miss those.
Moreover, find shopping and entertainment centres and take guided tours of museums and other places.
Consider off-season visits to get special discounts and packages. However, look out for snowstorms and wear warm clothing for extreme weather.