Between the constant testing, the endless homework, and reoccurring fight to get out of bed each day, to say the kids are elated to be out of school for the summer is an understatement. Now that the end of the year testing has taken its toll on the kids, they deserve a much-needed escape to the perfect destination with tons of exciting things to do, outdoor adventures to be had, and plenty of ways to relax and have fun at the same time. A Pigeon Forge, Tennessee cabin in the Smoky Mountains has all of this and more!
Fill your afternoons with unique attractions and your evenings with games, movies, and hot tub soaking. Reward the kids for all their hard work throughout the school year and let them help you plan their dream Smoky Mountain vacation that fits any budget. Go-karts, mini-golf, arcades…the list goes on and on, but here are our 4 favorite kid-friendly ways to make this vacation a trip to remember!
- Time to Play Outside
Like a patio and yard straight out of heaven, Foxfire Mountain has outdoor games and seating at the Wyile Cider Barn along with miles of hiking, ziplining, and ATV tours. Multiple hiking trails ranging in length and difficulty make this a great stop for families with children of all ages. Explore the terrain with the whole family to the longest swinging bridge in America, The Bridge to Prosperity, or take your older children and teenagers on a tour high above in the trees along the highest zipline in the Smoky Mountains, The Goliath! With so much to do, easily spend a whole afternoon exploring, playing, and relaxing on the patio at Foxfire Mountain.
Get your adrenaline pumping with a thrilling whitewater rafting trip down the Pigeon River during the first warm days of summer vacation. Splash down the class III and IV rapids of the Upper Pigeon River with your teenagers, taking on the swirling rapids as a team or ride down the calmer rapids on the Lower Pigeon River with your smaller children as young as 4 years of age.
With safety as their priority and well-trained, knowledgeable rafting guides, your kids can take a ride on the wild side on the white, foamy rapids without worries. Pack a picnic lunch to eat under the scenic pavilions or stop by the River Dog House for delicious eats after the family works up their appetites. Laugh and recount your favorite parts of the rafting adventure while eating and surrounded by gorgeous Smoky Mountain forestry.
Many adventures in the Smokies are free! Andrews Bald is a moderately easy hike leading to incredible panoramic views of the mountains. The recently renovated trail and moderate climbs are great for younger explorers. Lay out your picnic blanket amongst the wildflowers on the grassy mountain bald to relax with soul-stirring views as the kids play and catch bugs after enjoying a picnic lunch.
Slowly climb above the city of Gatlinburg in the Chondola sky lift to the magical Firefly Village of Anakeesta Mountain. Breathtaking views, shopping, stylish outdoor patio seating, and more awaits! Your little ones will love exploring the treetops as they climb along the rope bridges of Tree Canopy Walk. Older children can take a ride on the new exciting Mountain Coaster flying through the trees, around rocks, and along breathtaking dives! Enjoy a delicious dinner at The Summit Smokehouse before perusing the shops and enjoying a sunset by one of the outdoor firepits as your dreamy mountaintop day comes to an end.
- Unique Fun
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
The newly renovated 3-story building in the middle of downtown Gatlinburg is hard to miss with its signature giant cracks and the huge hovering marble ball that rotates over the water. From authentic vampire hunting kits and interesting artifacts paired with fun facts to full-size replicas of some of the “world’s largest,” the whole family will love spending hours perusing the 500 exhibits across 12,500 square feet of one of the country’s strangest museums!
Sweet Fanny Adams Theater
We know what you’re thinking, “Kids in a theater?” This is a show where laughter is strongly encouraged and silliness is welcomed with open arms, sometimes even onto the stage! The 1800s-style theater mixed with original stories adds to the peculiar fun within the intimate theater, where every seat in the house is great. Watch the infamous Dancing Trenchcoats and hilarious, fumbling Southern belles during every unique show the kids will be itching to join.
- Undercover Learning
The interactive exhibits and impressive design entertain so well, the kids won’t realize just how much they are learning. Watch how lightning forms and strikes in the Natural Disasters exhibit and take turns becoming an astronaut in the Space Discovery zone. All 6 exhibits will keep your kids (and even you) “oohing” and “aahing” throughout your hours of exploration and discovery!
Whip your wand and solve the trickster’s riddles as you hurry to save your fictional realm in Magiquest! The kids choose their adventure and their character to play before entering into their adventure the likes of Harry Potter and Bilbo Baggins. After defeating the dragon and breaking the spells, play 18 holes of black light Pirate Golf, step through the lasers Mission Impossible-style in The Vault, and escape 5,000 square feet of mirrors in the Odyssey!
- In-Cabin Shenanigans
If you are on a budget or want to spend quality time having fun, book your Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, cabin today! Spacious, welcoming interiors are perfect for board games by the fire on cool summer evenings in the mountains. Surprise your hard-working students with cabin extras they weren’t expecting such as indoor pools to splash around in or an in-cabin theater to watch their favorite DVDs from home on a big screen with surround sound. Plus, you get to reap some of the same rewards while staying in a cabin with breathtaking views, awesome amenities, and homey accommodations, because you had a long year, too!