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Six Family Activities in Gatlinburg

Six Family Activities in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg has everything you need for a great family vacation. Explore the Smoky Mountains’ nature, attractions, and activities that will ensure a great time for all.

The Great Smoky Mountains tourist center of Gatlinburg is an ideal spot for a family vacation. Whether you’re looking for opportunities for kids to learn about the fascinating Smokies or simply want to spend the holidays immersed in fun and excitement, Gatlinburg has a lot to offer.

Here are the six best family activities in Gatlinburg – from rides and arcade games to horseback riding under the open sky – you shouldn’t miss on your next visit.

1. Visit The Island in Pigeon Forge

With a carousel, roller coaster, arcades, and bumper cars, The Island in Pigeon Forge is an ideal spot for all-around family fun. 

One of the highlights is the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel that will take you up to 200 feet in the air. It’s where you can marvel at the glorious view of the Smokies and Pigeon Forge.

Once you’re done with the rides, take a stroll and check out the numerous shops situated on the Island. Then finish off the day with a sumptuous dinner at one of the restaurants while listening to the sound of live music. 

A perfect spot for family activities in Gatlinburg, The Island will provide ample fun for all while allowing you to feel the wonderful atmosphere of the area.

2. Explore Ripley’s Aquarium

While visiting an aquarium in the middle of the mountainous region might look a bit out of place, Ripley’s Aquarium is an unexpected delight. 

Among the sea life housed here are South-American piranhas, Japanese spider crabs, African black-footed penguins, and many more species that inhabit the oceans of the world.

The Shark Lagoon is a favorite of many, as you’ll see sharks, eels, sea turtles, and sawfish while going along the underwater tunnel on a moving walkway. Meanwhile, the Touch-a-Ray Bay and the Discovery Center are especially intriguing for kids, as they’ll have a hands-on experience with the more timid species.

3. Embrace the Outdoors at Anakeesta

Anakeesta offers an unforgettable outdoor experience suitable for kids and parents alike. 

After a scenic ride to the destination, you’ll get to the treehouse-themed Firefly Village where you can take time to look at the local crafts, browse the shops, and grab a bite to eat.

There are zip lines, treetop bridges, and a coaster where you can get the best outdoors fun while enjoying fantastic views of the surrounding landscape. The kids will also love the Treehouse Village Playground and the hunt for gemstones in the Anakeesta Gem Mine.

Combining the beautiful outdoors with plenty of great activities, Anakeesta is perfect for all those looking for unique things to do in Gatlinburg.

4. Have a Blast at Gatlin’s Fun Center

Another great place for family fun and games is Gatlin’s Fun Center, which features mini golf, laser tag, escape rooms, bumper cars, and more.

While the center might be most famous for the awesome mini-golf courses, the escape room experiences deserve a special mention. 

The themes are exciting and immersive, and each room will take you on a journey of exploration that will remain one of your fondest memories for long. There’s The Legend of Atlantis, Moonshine Hill Hootenanny, The Haunting of Hyde House, and Masters of Magic rooms, with each offering an adventure according to their themes.

Finally, if you’re up for some high-tech fun that will put your agility to the test, try out one of the four game modes in Gatlin’s Atomic Rush.

5. Embrace the Mountains with Sugarlands Riding Stables

There’s nothing like experiencing the Smoky Mountains while riding a horse. And the Sugarlands Riding Stables will provide just that.

Unassisted horseback riding on the uneven mountainous terrain will be best suited for adults or teens, but children aged five and above can participate in the adventure as well. The helpful staff members will make sure the kids have a safe and exciting ride.

An experienced guide will join you on the journey while you admire the view, and perhaps even encounter wild deer during the ride. Gorgeous, well-trained horses, the fresh air, and the incredible Smokies all make for a unique experience.

6. Ride Around the Track

If you’re in the mood for more fast-paced fun, don’t hesitate to jump in a go-kart and whiz around the tracks in this family entertainment park. 

After a drive on the Wild Woody track, no other go-kart ride will compare, as the track’s elevation and multiple levels will guarantee an adrenaline rush and plenty of excitement.

There are, of course, tamer tracks ideal for taking your kids for a ride. Those perfect for the little ones are the aptly-named Family Track, Rookie Track, and Kiddie Karts. 

But if you feel that driving isn’t safe enough, bumper cars are also available. And for a similar driving experience but on water, you can check out the Blaster Boats. 

Besides the driving fun, The Track features various excellent rides, including a carousel, Ferris wheel, swings, and many more. 

But if you’d rather spend some time firmly on your feet, pay Fat Daddy’s Arcade a visit. It’s where the whole family can enjoy and compete in numerous games and get a chance to win some prizes along the way.

Have an Amazing Family Vacation in Gatlinburg

On top of the natural wonder that is the Great Smoky Mountains, the awesome family activities in Gatlinburg will make your vacation one of the most rewarding experiences. 

There’s plenty of attractions to see, things to do, and fun to be had that the kids will undoubtedly leave the Smokies wanting for more.

Refreshing and exciting, your visit to the Smoky Mountains will be a long-lasting memory and Gatlinburg will become a favorite location for kids and adults alike.

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10 Very Best Things To Do In Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Get ready to ditch the dull and dive headfirst into the fun-tastic world of Gatlinburg, Tennessee!

Located amidst the smoky peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this town cranks the charm to eleven.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature nut, or a foodie with a serious sweet tooth, Gatlinburg has something to make you squeal with glee.

1.   Hike (or Drive) Through a Smokies Wonderland

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker’s paradise, boasting over 800 miles of trails that weave through wildflower meadows, past cascading waterfalls, and up to mountain vistas that will knock your socks off (well, maybe not literally, but you get the picture). 

Feeling less like Indiana Jones? No worries, cruise along the scenic byways and soak up the beauty from the comfort of your car.

Read More: Family Activities in Gatlinburg

2.   Dive into an Underwater Extravaganza

At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, prepare to be mesmerized by the colorful school of fish, glide alongside graceful rays, and come face-to-face with toothy sharks (don’t worry, there’s a safe barrier there). 

This isn’t your average aquarium; it’s a full-blown underwater adventure with interactive exhibits and experiences that make you feel like Jacques Cousteau’s mini-me.

3.   Soar Above the Smokies (Without Wings!)

Calling all adrenaline junkies! The Gatlinburg SkyLift whisks you up Crockett Mountain for panoramic views that will leave you breathless. And if heights are your jam, don’t miss the SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. 

It boasts glass-floor panels, so you can see straight down (gulp!). But hey, no peeking down if you’re scared! The incredible views are worth the wobbly knees.

Read More: What to Know Before Visiting Gatlinburg

4.   Unleash Your Inner Tarzan at Anakeesta

Calling all explorers! Anakeesta is an outdoor playground nestled right in the mountains. Swing through the trees on canopy walks, zipline through the forest, or scream your head off on the thrilling mountain coaster. 

Feeling a little less adventurous? No problem! Take in the breathtaking views from a scenic overlook or relax in a rocking chair, listening to the sweet melodies of nature.

5.   Hit the Slopes (Even in Summer!)

Ober Gatlinburg is your year-round mountain playground. In the winter, carve fresh tracks down snowy slopes or perfect your ice skating skills. 

Come summer, this spot transforms into an adventure haven, offering scenic chairlift rides, wildlife encounters, and a chance to cool off with some mountain fun.

6.   Blast Off for Smoky Mountain Views!

Feeling like a space cadet? Gatlinburg Space Needle isn’t your ordinary elevator ride. Zoom 407 feet above town and witness the Smokies in all their glory. 

Imagine bragging about seeing for miles from a spaceship… well, almost! This observation deck is your launchpad for epic panoramic photos and unforgettable mountain vistas.

7.   Moonshine Magic for the Curious Connoisseur!

Ready to sample a taste of Gatlinburg history? The Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery isn’t your grandpappy’s hidden hideaway. 

Take a tour, learn the secrets of moonshine making, and then blast off on a flavor adventure with tastings that range from classic corn to wild watermelon

8.   Where Creativity Meets Souvenirs!

Calling all craft enthusiasts! Unleash your inner treasure hunter at the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community. This eight-mile loop road is a haven for handmade goodies by local artisans.  

Imagine unique pottery that fits perfectly in your hand, or jewelry so beautiful it deserves a starring role on your next selfie.

9. Hold on Tight for a Wild Ride!

Need a shot of adrenaline? The Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster isn’t for the faint of heart. Grab the wheel and control your own speed as you zoom through twists, turns, and breathtaking mountain scenery. It’s a screaming good time for the whole family (except maybe Grandma!).

Read More: Things That All Music Lovers Should Do When They Visit Nashville

10. A Feast for Your Senses!

Downtown Gatlinburg is a sensory explosion!  Stroll down bustling streets lined with unique shops, tempting restaurants, and lively entertainment.  Imagine the aroma of freshly baked fudge mingling with the sounds of street musicians. 

You might even stumble upon a one-of-a-kind boutique with the perfect outfit for your next adventure.

Read More: Fun Activities for the Whole Family in Nashville

This is just a taste of the exciting adventures that await you in Gatlinburg!

So there you have it, travel fam! Gatlinburg is a place where mountain adventures meet small-town charm. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready for a smokin’ hot time in the Great Smoky Mountains!  This is just a taste of what Gatlinburg has to offer, so get out there and explore!

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The 15 Best Vacation Spots in the USA During Covid-19

Plus How to Save Up to 72% on These Vacations

People are desperate to get out of their homes. Google searches for “when can I travel again?” continue to rise.

After helping tens of thousands of people with their vacation plans during the pandemic we have found that Americans still want to travel, but they have traded the international trips and flights for wide open spaces less than 1 day’s drive from home.

Here at in 2020, our customer data shows that the most popular couples and family vacations in the US are all wide-open spaces without large crowds. These are in order

  1. Mountains
  2. Beaches
  3. Towns in regional areas

See below what we believe are the 15 best Vacations Spots in the US During Covid-19. For many of these by getting access to unsold hotel rooms we can pass on savings of up to 72%. Wherever we have special deals we will share that with you below too so that you can save on your family vacation.

1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Known for the majestic beauty of the valley, Jackson Hole has long been a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. A great place to visit all-year-round for its mountains and terrains, one will never run out of activities in its great outdoors.

Flanked by Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges, Jackson Hole offers powdery skiing spots in the winter and beautiful hiking grounds in the summer. From luxury ski resorts to wild west towns, don’t miss the stunning natural sights of Jackson Hole.

2. Yosemite

While California is more popularly known as the seat of Hollywood, it’s natural wonders is something to boot. Yosemite National Park in California, one of America’s magnificent national parks, boasts 800 miles worth of hiking trails, glacier-cut rock formations, unlimited panoramic vistas, and waterfalls perfect for adrenaline junkies.

You’ll never run out of things to do from hiking through Yosemite Valley, climbing its rock formations, camping, and enjoying one of its many falls.

3. Grand Canyon

Explore the awestriking sights of the Grand Canyon National Park’s massive expanse of gorges, ridges, and rock formations. Admire the Canyon on the hiking trails of its North and South Rim or rafting via the Colorado River.

Located in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park encompasses 277 miles (446 km) of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. The park is home to much of the immense Grand Canyon; a mile (1.6 km) deep, and up to 18 miles (29 km) wide. Layered bands of colorful rock reveal millions of years of geologic history. Grand Canyon is unmatched in the incomparable vistas it offers visitors from the rim.

4. Lake Tahoe

Surrounded by pristine forests and snow-capped mountain peaks, renowned writer, Mark Twain described the dazzling expanse of shimmering blue waters of Lake Tahoe as “the fairest picture the whole earth affords.”

Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers that offers the best of both worlds. During summer, spend the day enjoying nature walks, hiking, cycling, and water sports. In the colder months of December to April, Lake Tahoe is a winter wonderland with activities for alpine and cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, and sleigh riding.

5. Cape Cod

Spanning a 40-mile stretch along the New England coastline, Cape Cod is considered one of the premier beach destinations in Massachusetts. Its beautiful sandy beaches and laid-back atmosphere makes it a perfect summer vacation spot for nearby Boston and New York.

When you’ve fully enjoyed basking in the sun, you can take a nature stroll or follow the bike trails in Cape Cod. In spring, you can take a ferry ride and enjoy the peaceful corners in Nantucket’s idyllic islands and Martha’s Vineyard. At any season, there’s plenty of places to go and visit for couples and families at Cape Cod.

6. Colorado Springs

With an elevation of 6,035 ft, Colorado Springs is another American wonder of nature that any hiker or trekker wouldn’t miss in their bucket list. Explore the glacier-carved Pikes Peak or be amazed in the expanse of red-sandstone formations and mountain views at the Garden of the Gods. 

Colorado Springs isn’t just for nature lovers but also offers something for the culture hounds. Leisure travelers can enjoy the funky art galleries in Manitou Springs, be brought back to the Old West in the Old Colorado City, or get inspiration with a tour from its four US military bases. Get your dose of adventure in Colorado Springs.

7. Gatlinburg

From nature to human-made attractions, you’ll never run out of things to see and do in Gatlinburg. The city is a gateway to the 520,000-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can hike, bike, and horseback ride in the summer and fall. In winter, enjoy that snow at its ski destination, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. 

Let loose in Gatlinburg’s other attractions. Explore the Appalachian tradition in a moonshine tasting or visit the galleries and boutiques featuring Appalachian arts and wood crafts. To cap your trip, enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city up at the observation deck of Space Needle or hop on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram. No matter the season, Gatlinburg is a city worth spending your vacation in. 

8. Lake Placid

Tucked in the mountains of Adirondack, Lake Placid boasts great hiking scenes, world-class alpine skiing, and winter sports activities. Home to two Winter Olympics game, Lake Placid is a small town with wondrous sights and activities to behold. 

Whether you’re a snow sports pro or an adventure seeker, Lake Placid offers numerous trails and waterways to explore. A perfect getaway from the noises and bustles of New York City. 

9. Breckenridge

Breckenridge is a Colorado town at the base of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range. It’s known for its ski resort, year-round alpine activities, and Gold Rush history. Gearing for an ultimate outdoor experience? Breckenridge will not disappoint. 

During winter, take skiing or snowboarding at Breckenridge Ski Resort. And in the summer, discover Breckenridge nature from amazing hikes and bikes, to fly fishing or whitewater rafting. Whether it’s relaxed or ragged, there’s an activity for you in this town.  

10. Connecticut Coast

Coastal Connecticut or Connecticut Shore, spans Connecticut’s southern border along Long Island Sound from Greenwich in the west to Stonington in the east, as well as the tidal portions of the Housatonic River, Quinnipiac River, Connecticut River, and Thames River. The place is a popular weekend destination for families, couples. 

Soak in the sun while on a river cruise or enjoy a romantic getaway while exploring its breathtaking beauty from Bear Mountain to Long Island Sound. Brush up on your history and culture with the many sightseeing tours of this colonial town whether aboard a steam train or a riverboat. Coastal Connecticut is a definite vacation for all ages. 

11. California Wine Country

Take your palette on a joyride and get a taste of fine wine and cuisine in the premier wine-growing region of California Wine Country. Famed for its Michelin-star restaurants, boutique hotels, and luxury resorts, it offers one of the best gastronomic experiences in the United States. 

Start the day driving around the gorgeous scenery of Napa Valley or Sonoma County, then visit one of the many wineries and walk along its vineyards. If you’re looking to excite your senses and whet your appetite, California Wine Country is an excellent place to be. 

12. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is home to America’s vast natural wonders and wildlife species. With nearly 3,500 square mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot, you can’t miss exploring this nature park any time of the year.

Know for its red-tinged Grand Canyon walls, Yellowstone also features alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs, and gushing geysers, such as the famous, Old Faithful. A perfect vacation trip for any adventurous traveler. 

13. Ogden, Utah

A gateway to ski resorts like Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Nordic Valley, Ogden in Salt Lake City, Utah, is anything but the typical mountain town. Its three world-class ski resorts offer powdery snow landscape for anyone to traverse. 

This place is also a hot spot for anglers, canoers, and kayakers looking for adventurous waterways. The Ogden and Weber Rivers, along with over 13,000 acres of freshwater lakes are teeming with largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, perch, bluegill, tiger muskie, and walleye. 

14. Vail, Colorado

Right at the base of Vail Mountain, Vail, Colorado, is a small town with a massive ski resort. The Vail Ski Resort boasts 5,289 skiable acres, making it one of the largest single-mountain resorts in the country and a popular retreat for skiers and snowboarders. 

Summer travelers shouldn’t rule Vail out yet. It’s also a summer destination for some trekking and hiking with Eagles Nest and the Holy Cross Wilderness Area. Whether it’s tackling the snowy slopes or trailing through the wilderness, Vail’s small town has a vast nature opportunity to discover. 

15. Hotsprings, Arkansas

True to its name, Hot Springs in Arkansas is known for its naturally heated springs. Most of the springs are located north of Hot Springs National Park, where you can find Bathhouse Row, a stretch of historic bathhouses from the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center and the Buckstaff Bathhouse are two of the more popular bathhouses for its ornate interiors and luxurious feel. If you haven’t tried soaking in a natural hot tub and benefiting from it’s therapeutic properties, Hot Springs should be in your next relaxing getaway. 

Treat the cabin fever and travel safely with these fantastic destinations that could just be a drive away from your town. Get access to unsold hotel rooms and save up to 72%. Catch these amazing deals before it ends.

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