When looking for a place to spend a great family vacation, Gatlinburg and/or Pigeon Forge, Tennessee are deserving to be at the top of the list. This year for our annual family vacation we traveled up to the Smokey Mountains into Gatlinburg, TN. It was the first time in this city for each of us so we were all very excited for the adventure. Since we arrived well before our time to check into our cabin, we passed the time by visiting the award winning Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Walking through the aquarium, we could easily see why it has been voted “Best Aquarium.” The children seemed to really like it and it offered a great under the sea experience. We also enjoyed the penguin exhibit.
Once we got the okay to check into the cabin later in the afternoon, we drove to Pigeon Forge where it was located. The GPS definitely took us through the peaks and valleys of the mountains making it a frantic journey to say the least, so once we finally got to the cabin, we were all just very relieved! Walking into the cabin was breath taking. It was so modern and spacious! There were about 25 of us attending this trip so having the large space for everyone to spread out and feel comfortable was definitely appreciated. The views from the cabin were also very amazing and it was nice to have four levels of balcony space to view the mountains from.
After everyone had selected their bedrooms and we were all settled in, we ordered in dinner from one of the local barbecue restaurants and continued to enjoy our first night in our beautiful and luxurious cabin. The children delighted in the indoor pool while the adults stayed up late conversing, laughing and having a good time being together.
The next few days of being in the mountains, we did the following activities: Ziplining – It was an awesome experience zipping through the trees. Even the smallest of our children had a thrilling adventure. This was one of the most fun activities we did together as a group.
Gatlinburg SkyBridge – The SkyBridge is one of the newest attractions in Gatlinburg and it boast being the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. It was a bit shaky going across, but it was not as bad as it appeared to be. The glass bottom in the center of the bridge was a bit scary to look down however. The view of the city below and the mountains across was at least worth the ride up the skylift.
Wine, Whiskey and Moonshine Tasting – How can one travel into the mountains of Tennessee and not indulge in that sweet Tennessee whiskey and/or moonshine. There were also several wineries so of course we had to get our sipping on.
The Island in Pigeon Forge – This family fun complex allowed us all to spread out and take part in the different activities being offered. The children were entertained by the ropes course and bungee jumping, while a few of us went into the 7D theater to become part of a virtual reality game. The large farris wheel offered a spectacular back drop and the dancing water fountain was amusing. The Island was quite a fun place to spend one of our evenings.
Anakeesta – Some of our family members caught the Chondola ride up to Anakeesta theme park in Gatlinburg. At this park one can enjoy zip lining, tree top adventures and good restaurants and bars among other entertaining activities.
Dollywood Splash Country – On the day we were scheduled to go to the Dollywood water park, there was a 65 percent chance of thunderstorms forecast for the area. We still took a chance and drove to the park, but as soon as we got into the parking lot, it began to pour. We never got the opportunity to go into the water park which was a bummer for all, but almost immediately after we got back to the cabin, the rain stopped and the sun peaked out again. We also never heard thunder which proved that the weather up in the mountains is just unpredictable. Thank goodness the cabin had a pool, but regardless, we will have to return to Pigeon Forge soon to fulfill our plans to go to Dollywood.
Shopping – The Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Parkway strip is not only full of entertainment and restaurants, but there are also some nice shops to go into and wander around. Money can be easily spent along the strip so having a budget before setting out can be a wise decision.
Great Smokey Mountains National Park – As a family we went just far enough into the Smokey Mountains National park to marvel at the scenery and get a bit of a hiking experience. We only wish that we had encountered a black bear along the way, but maybe next time.
Our family trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee was absolutely amazing! Between these two cities there are an abundance of things to do. If only our stay was longer, there would be so much more that we could have listed. Even spending family time in cabin was welcoming and relaxing. Our drives through the long winding mountain roads were also thrilling experiences. Everyone truly enjoyed their time in the mountains! Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are definitely places our family will return to in the future for vacations.