Things to Do with Your Kids in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

by cgreen7090

Look here for a summary of things to do while on vacation to the great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. Options for lodging, dining, are included.

Fall and winter are fabulous seasons for road trips and vacations. The weather is cooler, there are fall festivals and holiday festivals, and there is time out of school for fall break and Christmas. A wonderful opportunity for those in the South is to visit The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is a plethora of entertaining and fun things to do no matter what time of year you go. Check out these ideas and see if your next road trip will include black bears, running creeks, Christmas shops, arts and crafts and more.

Lodging Options

A Myriad of Choices
    1. Resorts.
    2. Motels.
    3. Cabins.
    4. Campsites.
    5. Timeshares.
    6. Vacation rentals. 


The first thing you need to consider when planning a trip to the mountains is where you are going to stay.  This is mainly a question of personal preference.  If you like to be pampered, go for a resort-style property.  This is probably the most expensive option, though.  Most people I know prefer to get a cabin if they are going to stay for several days.  This allows for more than one family to stay together as a group, lodge-style.   If you're more adventurous, there are a plethora of KOA campsites available to get you closer to nature than ever.  But be ready to rough it.  This is truly a rural area of the United States.  If you're willing to go on a 2-hour sales tour of some new timeshare properties, you can score tickets to the shows and discounts off your lodging at nearby motels.  There is no lack of your traditional motel/hotel type places...from dated to brand spanking new.  Most are clean and vary in amenities.  Indoor/outdoor pools abound.  It's all about what you are willing to spend.  Many are pet-friendly, but some are not.  Just remember to ask first before booking.

For our most recent trip, my son and I stayed at the River Chase Motel.  The property has been there several years, but has been updated.  The rooms were affordable, clean, and the staff very helpful.  My son loved the indoor pool/water slide, which saved us a ton of money.  As long as he was swimming, we weren't out spending money at the other tourist attractions, of which there are tons.  You will not lack for entertainment here.  This motel is located at redlight #8.  Within walking distance there are plenty of dining choices such as Denny's, McDonald's, or Pizza Hut.  You might have to drive a mile or so down the strip if you want a fancy place like Tony Roma's.  They also have dinner shows at some of the theatres.

Visit Several Towns

They're all Great!

Watch Out for the Wildlife!

There's Bears in Them There Hills


Fun Things To Do

Are you surprised at the variety of things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains?  This area is so diverse.  Everyone can find something to love.  The populated towns of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Townsend all have fun things to do.  We stayed in Townsend the first night because it was the closest to the entrance to the National Park and Cades Cove, which has fabulous scenery, photo opportunities, and wildlife viewing.  If you love to see the leaves in autumn, this is the place to go.  Pastoral vistas, bubbling creeks and waterfalls, historic cabins and churches--unbeatable bang for the buck.  Entrance to the park is free with donation boxes along the route to help support the park.

1.Clingman's Dome

2.Ober Gatlinburg

3.Dollywood--A major amusement park built by Dolly Parton in her hometown, Pigeon Forge, with thrilling rides, fun shows, and fabulous music.  Wear your walking shoes, though.  It's a huge park!  In the summer, prepare to get wet on the rides.   Dolly has outdone herself!

4.Shows--The Comedy Barn, The Black Bear Jamboree, The Lumberjack Feud, The Hatfields and McCoys, the Dixie Stampede--and much, much more.  Magic, music, comedy. 

5.Hiking--If you love to hike and get active, this is the place.  Nature's trails, fresh mountain air, and panoramic breathtaking views.

6.Cades Cove

7. Scenic drives

8.Shopping--At least three outlet malls, maybe more.  We didn't have the time to take all of them in.  There are Christmas shops, candy shops, hunting and fishing stores, major brand outlets, specialty boutiques, bookstores.  You name, it's here.

9.Go-Karts--Buy a bracelet and visit 4 properties on one bracelet.  That's what we did.  In all, my son did four tracks of varying sizes and speeds.  We also played mini-golf and did the arcade.  If you like lazer tag, it's there too!


11.Mini Golf

12.Indoor Skydiving--Sounded interesting.  My son wanted to do this until he found out you must take a half-hour course to learn and then spend 20 minutes getting suited up for a 3-minute flight.  Still, if you're an adventure seeker, this is a unique opportunity.

13.Helicopter Tours

14.Zip Lining




18.Christus Gardens

19.Apple Orchards.  Get local.  We drove out Dolly Parton Parkway over to Cosby, Tennessee, to a beautiful apple orchard that sells over 100 varieties.  There is a candy shop there as well.

20.Tuckaleechee Caverns

Nice Deals on Places to Stay

Bid Here

Smoky Mountains Gatlinburg, TN Cabin Rental Mama Bear

Time left: 6 days, 12 hours
Fixed price: $165.00  Buy It Now

5 Nights, 2 BR Deluxe, Dec 18-23, Wyndham Smoky Mountains, Sev...

Time left: 1 week, 2 days
Fixed price: $545.00  Buy It Now

Smoky Mountains Gatlinburg, TN Cabin Rental Sugar Bear

Time left: 6 days, 12 hours
Fixed price: $140.00  Buy It Now

Sevierville, TN, Wyndham Smoky Mountains, 2 Bedroom Deluxe, 17...

Time left: 1 week
Current bid: $599.00  Place bid
Updated: 10/31/2012, cgreen7090
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ohcaroline on 10/17/2011

I lived there for 7 years and found it a most memorable time in my life. I liked Clingman's Dome especially and Cades Cove. Looking forward to returning for a visit.

Cindy on 10/15/2011

Especially when the leaves are changing like they are right now.

sheilamarie on 10/15/2011

Very pretty part of the country. I was there once.

cgreen7090 on 10/11/2011

It is not as bad as you think. My mom made it! You can take your time getting there. Thanks for stopping by!

SPB on 10/11/2011

This looks like a great spot to explore. I'm especially curious about that lookout you featured. Now the trek up there sounds a little exhausting lol.

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