Constantly showering grandkids with gifts, always cooking for family gatherings, and always the source of so much unconditional love: grandparents are a gift to the family. It’s time to celebrate and give back for Grandparents’ Day. With so many options like picnicking, large group cabins for family reunions, and attractions for the whole family to enjoy together, The Great Smoky Mountains is a perfect destination to treat your kids’ grandparents (or yours) to an amazing day or weekend!
Picnic in Mynatt Park
Just outside of downtown Gatlinburg, Mynatt Park is a gorgeous park with picnic tables, charcoal grills, and heavy shade from the lush Smoky Mountain forestry. With many of the picnic areas located on the banks of a peaceful river, grandparents can enjoy some fresh air while watching their grandkids splash and play in the cool waters. Bring lawn chairs and hammocks to sit back and relax with your favorite cold fall drinks like apple cider from the The Apple Barn or growlers of seasonal brews from the Smoky Mountain Brewery.
Though it is early September, you will also be treated to the first hints of autumn. Shades of red, orange, and yellow creep throughout the green foliage to create a perfectly relaxing day with family in the Smokies. Other amenities you will find at Mynatt Park include: free parking, well-kept public restrooms, a covered pavilion, a playground, and athletic courts.
Cookout at Your Log Lodge
Celebrate Grandparents’ Day with both sets of grandparents and the whole family at an amazing large group lodge. Besides splitting the cost, your family will love the many amenities found in these majestic mountain cabins, like private indoor pools, theater rooms, and game-packed rec rooms! Throw some steaks on the grill and enjoy the stunning Smoky Mountain views while the whole family plays board games around the dining room table, grandparents help the kids toss bean bags in a game of corn hole, or the little ones watch a movie in the living room to give adults some moments of peace.
There is so much to do and so many ways to keep everyone entertained in these impressive log lodges, you will actually find yourself wanting to stay in to spend quality time with kids and grandparents!
Dinner Shows Everyone Will Love
From hilarious feuding families and captivating acrobatic displays to light-hearted murder mystery shows, you will have plenty of entertaining dinner shows to choose from along the Parkway in downtown Pigeon Forge! Let grandma and grandpa choose which show they would like to see, and it’s guaranteed the whole family will have a blast. With many of these menus boasting mouthwatering Southern cuisine and special dietary options, you also won’t have to worry about how to please everyone’s varying preferences or your pickier little eaters. Let the grandkids sit next to their grandparents so that their little laughter might inspire the more youthful, unabashed laughter in grandma and grandpa!
A Day in Dollywood
Dollywood has been a long-standing family friendly attraction in The Great Smoky Mountains with rides for every age, incredible theatrical shows, seasonal events, and state-of-the-art design. The newest addition, Wildwood Grove, is a perfect place for children and their grandparents to have fun together. Grandma and grandpa will feel young at heart as they walk hand-in-hand with their grandkids through magical fairytale settings filled with butterflies, fountains, forest friends, and a giant illuminated tree that captivates all who look.
During fall, Dollywood is also celebrating the Harvest Festival with kid-friendly Halloween displays, professional pumpkin carving like you’ve never seen, and delicious fall treats. Grandparents will love sharing in all this incredible joy with their grandkids, and being treated to some youthful fun is sure to kindle their souls.
Fishing with Grandpa
Fishing with my Papa in the early mornings are some of my earliest cherished memories. There are so many good fishing spots among the 2,000+ miles of streams and trout-stocked rivers in the Smoky Mountains. Let grandpa teach your young ones how to bait a hook, cast a line, and, most importantly, how to patiently relax while waiting on the first tugs of a caught fish. Pack a small picnic and some water shoes for when the kids inevitably cannot fight the desire to get in the water and get ready for a perfectly picturesque morning of fishing in the Smokies with grandpa.
The Arts and Crafts Community with Grandma
If your parents are anything like mine, they are constantly finding some new crafty thing to get into now that their kids have flown the coop and have families of their own. The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community is the perfect stop for any amateur artist or crafter. Filled with the heritage and generations of artisans, the 3-mile loop houses the nation’s largest group of independent artisans who are often present and eager to share their passions! Kids and grandparents can find an authentic souvenir together and get a little inspiration for their next craft session together!