Visiting Gatlinburg With Your Family
Visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee offers a mix of breathtaking mountainous scenery; a national park chock full of nature trails, waterfalls and wildlife; and even outlet shopping and attractions geared specifically for the youngest travelers in your crowd. When traveling with a larger group, there are far more interests to consider, so choosing a destination like Gatlinburg offers plenty of choices in entertainment and activities to fit anyone in your family.
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular attraction in Gatlinburg. Resident black bears, deer, views of rolling pastures and colorful sunsets provide an easy way for the nature lovers in your group to get their fix. Take a hike through the mountains, rent bicycles and have a picnic in the woods, or cool off in a swimming hole at the bottom of a natural waterfall—all mere minutes from lodging.
Staying in a Gatlinburg vacation rental allows you to stay close while enjoying the seclusion of a backwoods property with the comforts of home. Many Gatlinburg cabins offer multiple bedrooms, pull-out beds and cots to sleep seven, eight and even 10+ travelers. You’ll enjoy the comfort of an on-site kitchen so that you can enjoy a home-cooked breakfast or dinner around the fire. Many also offer amenities such as hot tubs, enclosed porches and Internet access if you prefer to be “connected” during your stay in nature’s backyard, ensuring that everyone in your group continues to feel at home.
If your children meet the age requirements, consider a day of adventure on a whitewater rafting tour. To raft on the Class III or Class IV river rapids in Gatlinburg, you must be a minimum of eight years old or weigh at least 70 lbs. There are also several golf courses within and surrounding Gatlinburg that offer unique landscapes, as they are often built on the side of a hill overlooking the town below.
Consider taking a group tour on horseback, riding a zip line in the forest or even camping under the stars if the weather is agreeable. In winter months, your snow bunnies can enjoy a day on the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg, the states’ only ski resort that also offers an indoor ice skating rink.
Feel the need to visit a good, old-fashioned tourist attraction? Consider heading over to Ripley’s for a tour of the aquarium, fun zone and mirror maze before playing a round of miniature golf with the younger kids in your crowd. The Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum is also located in Gatlinburg, where you can marvel at the odd and wonderful from around the world.
Several museums, craft fairs and local go-kart and bumper car parks surrounding two, different, outlet malls in town are sure to keep your little travelers busy while mom takes a tour of the local eight-mile loop of artisan shops, studios and galleries. The Sky Lift and Aerial Tramway also offer an exciting way to transport the kiddos from one side of the park to another.
About the Author
Laura Hoot has been writing professionally since 2004, and currently manages content including travel ideas (http://www.homeaway.com/info/travelers/travel-ideas ) for HomeAway Inc. She also manages a household of three dogs, a cat, two chickens, and a brand new baby with her husband. She’s written for USA Today’s travel site, GirlsGetaway.com , Cheapo Air, Travels.com, Trails.com, eFilmCritic.com, The Budget Fashionista, Travellogged.com, and many more sites.