There are many different types of vacations you can experience with your family. My family enjoys outdoor nature type vacations that bring us closer together. This year we took our first trip to the Smoky Mountains and stayed in Pigeon Forge, TN. After we decided on the Smoky Mountains as our destination, we started to research Smoky Mountains Activities.
The Smoky Mountains area is packed with exciting activities that are fun for all ages. Essentially, you have three main areas of activity.
We drove in through Knoxville, so Pigeon Forge was our first area to experience. Honestly, Pigeon Forge is not ideal for my family. We have two girls on the younger side and they just were not interested in the things Pigeon Forge had to offer. There were tons of “carnival type” attractions including go-carts, putt-putt, zip line things and many more. Really, the strip was dominated by go-cart places. Ideal for a family that has teens, especially boys. If you have boys, you’ll love Pigeon Forge.
Again this is another matter of opinion, but I also didn’t really care for the shops. They were filled with overpriced junk and most of them carried the same stuff. However, the Three Bears General Store was good. Had some unique stuff and was by far the best laid out. That’s where we bought the majority of our souvenirs.
The Christmas Place was extremely impressive. It had thousands of items that were very unique and it was all around a good experience.
The highlights of Pigeon Forge have to be Dollywood, The Dixie Stampede and the Titanic Museum. Each were 100% worth the ticket price and deserving of a slot on your itinerary.
Gatlinburg was more of our family style. The shops and general atmosphere were more to our liking. The main road was far easier to walk and literally provided a different experience with every step.
Gatlinburg also offers a ton of general activities include sky lifts, Ober Gatlinburg, Ripley’s Aquarium and many different restaurants.
Gatlinburg also provides excellent views of the Smoky Mountains from pretty much anyplace in the town.
Smoky Mountains National Park
The most exciting of all the Smoky Mountains activities we experienced has to be the Smoky Mountains National Park. You can spend an entire week exploring the park and never cross the same path twice.
The highlights have to be Newfound Gap Road Auto Tour, Cades Cove, Clingmans’s Dome and Laurel Falls.
The park provides photo opportunity after photo opportunity of some of the most breathtaking views in the country. It’s also a very active park with hundreds of miles of nature walks and hiking trails.
The wildlife in the park is plenteous. From butterflies to bears, it has it all. Yes, many bears can be seen in the Cades Cove area along with a large amount of deer.