Stay Cool this Summer in the Smokies: The Top Waterparks and Ways to Play


Though the air may be fresh and crisp in the mornings while sipping your coffee on the back deck of your Pigeon Forge, Tennessee cabin, the Southern summer sun radiates over the beautiful forestry in the afternoons and temperatures can get pretty warm. You already have your swimsuits to soak in the hot tub at the end of an exciting day, so why not throw it on a little bit earlier in the day and hit up some of the area’s most fun water activities with the whole family?! There are plenty of ways to stay cool in the summer in the Great Smoky Mountains: whitewater rafting, tubing, playing in shallow streams, or choosing a cabin within one of the communities providing pool access! These incredible water parks and other aquatic activities make the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge your premier summer destination!

Wild Bear Falls Water Park
Located near Pigeon Forge in beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Wild Bear Falls is a stunning, state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor water park. Lounge, float, and watch the kids play in the largest indoor water park resort in the South, boasting 60,000 square feet, placing Wild Bear Falls as the 5th largest waterpark in the country! Besides the relaxing atmospheres while floating down the lazy river, the attention to detail in design, and multiple aquatic playgrounds the kids will love, you will love Wild Bear Falls prices. Kids under 3 are FREE and single day admissions start at just 24.95+tax, along with Military discounts, Night and Next-Day Splash Discounts, and Group Rates! Check out admission fees and more here.

Dollywood’s Splash Country
Dollywood is a long-standing staple and favorite among visitors to the Smoky Mountain area, and for good cause, too. Enormous aquatic playgrounds, expansive splash pools filled with fountains, and numerous giant waterslides provided for all ages secure Dollywood’s Splash Country as the most alluring waterpark in the area. Catch some waves in the large wave pool and bob down the lazy river before snagging some mouthwatering grub in your own private cabana for an entire day of fun in the sun!

Wild WaterDome Indoor Waterpark
Just up the Parkway in the sister city of Sevierville, Tennessee, is another indoor/outdoor waterpark featuring wild water rides the whole family will love. At Wilderness at the Smokies, you will experience unique water rides unlike anything you’ve ever seen! In Storm Chaser, you’ll fall 55 feet down a dark tunnel, drop into zero gravity funnel with several fast-moving oscillations, splashing into a pool below after experiencing “the storm”! All your family’s waterpark favorites are included, too, with lounge seating by the wave pool, a large lumberjack-themed interactive playground, Washout Mountain, and a 1,000-square foot hot spa for some serious relaxation.

Lazy Day Floating the River
Staying cool doesn’t always have to be waterslides and thrills, sometimes taking it slow on the Pigeon River while bobbing in an inflatable tube is one dreamy way to enjoy the great outdoors in the Smoky Mountains. At River Rage Tubing, tubers can choose from 3 routes along the Little Pigeon River, with portions of the routes that allow you to tour the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in a relaxing stream! Another great plus about your day on the river: it’s super cheap! For only $10+tax per tuber, you can hop on the river as many times as you would like, using the shuttle service to experience more than one route!

Whitewater Rafting on the Pigeon River
Turn up the thrills on the Pigeon River with an intensely fun whitewater rafting trip with WildWater! Take on class III and IV rapids with names like Powerhouse, Lost Guide, and Double Reactionary in between incredibly beautiful stretches of river. Even if you have younger rafters with you, WildWater offers a second trip on the Lower Pigeon River with class I and II rapids, perfect for families with kids as young as 4 years of age. Pack a picnic lunch and take advantage of WildWater’s picnic pavilion and sand volleyball courts to really round off an entire fun day outside in the sun.

Splashing and Fishing in Herbert Holt Park
With an easily accessible fishing pier right on the river, Herbert Holt Park is a free place to go and splash with your little ones in the river and maybe even cast your fishing pole with them! The park provides picnic tables, a playground, and a shallow portion of river you can splash around to cool off on warmer days in the Smokies – for free. It’s located right in downtown Gatlinburg, too, so you can pack dry clothes and mosey around the downtown Parkway and find even more Smoky Mountain fun to dip into.

Cabins with Pool Access
Sometimes, cooling off is as easy as taking a little walk down to your cabin resort’s community pool! When you stay in a Pigeon Forge, Tennessee cabin nestled in Sherwood Forest, Bear Creek Crossing, and a few others, you are afforded pool-side lounging already included in the price of your cabin! Check out our cabins with awesome indoor pools to splash around any time of year, too! You could also pick out a creek-side chalet, where the kids can walk out to the river in between movies and meals in the cabin.