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Gatlinburg tn
Old 02-07-2012, 07:03 PM   #1
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Gatlinburg tn

We are thinking about gatlinburg tn for vacation this summer. Who has been there and where would you recommend going? Also my daughter and grandkids may come too. Anythingto keep a 7 and 4 year old entertained?

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Old 02-07-2012, 08:10 PM   #2
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Gatlinburg Tennessee

I knew I saw a Gatlinburg thread recently, but apparently it's in "Other Topics".

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Old 02-07-2012, 08:11 PM   #3
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We enjoyed a vacation in the area when our kids were young. It's been quite a few years, so my memories are a little hazy.

My best advice (and best memories): Spend lots of time in Smoky Mountain National Park, especially if the kids are from the city. It's beautiful.

Gatlinburg: nice enough town with some unique characteristics.

Pigeon Forge: everything you can imagine in a tourist town in the rural south. Go-kart tracks, cheap motels, steak restaurants with country music-singing waiters, etc. etc.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:29 PM   #4
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Plan on driving the kids through the Cades Cove area at the southwestern end of the park. One way nature drive through a beautiful valley loaded with dear, raccoons, turkeys and, sometimes, black bears. Historic home sites, churches and cemeteries from the 1800's to early 1900's. Check park website and try to arrive at the entrance early to beat crowds.

Hike to Abrams Falls from trail head at about midpoint along the road. Relatively easy hike to nice waterfall.

Pull off the road just about anywhere along the Little River and let them explore stream side

Pigeon Forge has all the tourist stuff. Shame to waste time on that though when a special place like the Smokies is just down the road a little further.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:55 AM   #5
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We vacation in Gatlinburg every year so we have done and seen about everything in the area. In addition to what has already been mentioned above, we like to pack a picnic lunch and pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Cherokee NC side of the Nat'l park. We follow that up to around Asheville NC. Pick a nice day and take a leisurely drive thru beautiful mountain scenary.

A day trip to Biltmore Mansion in Asheville is also great but I would not combine it with the drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I would make this two separate trips.

We stay in downtown Gatlinburg so we can walk most everywhere. Parking is expensive. There is a Ripley's Acquarium in downtown Gatlinburg which is really interesting if you have not been to one before. We like to stroll downtown in the early evenings, you can often stumble across a free outdoor bluegrass concert. You can take the tram up to Ober Gatlinburg then the ski lift top of the mountain. They usually have live music up there as well.

There was a cavern we visited for the first time last fall within a few miles of Gatlinburg. It was actually better than we expected.

Close by in Pigeon Forge is the Dixie Stampede and Dollywood. At least for us this is a "been there, done that" so we don't have any plans to go back. There are several theaters and dinner theaters in the area if you are into that Branson style of entertainment.

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is very touristy and normally overcrowded. Traffic can be problematic. DW likes to visit the Tanger mall for a few hours shopping. We also like to go out to the flea market that runs every Fri., Sat., and Sunday. There are hundreds of restuarants to cover every price range. Pigeon Forge is more oriented for kids and you basically have to drive anywhere you go. Gatlinburg, you can park and basically walk just about anywhere in town. I think it is geared more towards adults.

If you don't mind the touristy crowds you can easily send a week there and not get bored.
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:18 AM   #6
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We went there last year with extended family. We had 7 kids from 1 to 17. There's plenty to do, but in my opinion, hands down winner for kids is Dollywood. Actually, we all enjoyed it quite a bit.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:49 AM   #7
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I go there every April for the big duplicate bridge tournament. This year I am signed up for a 1 week hiking trip in Smoky Mountain NP with Elderhostel the week before. I know Abrams Falls is one of our hikes.

I can recommend the following restaurants in Gatlinburg:

Cherokee Grill
Best Italian Restaurant

I always stay at the Fairfield Inn at Traffic Light #1, it is a long walk into town but I am a Marriott person and I like to walk. Free Breakfast and free parking at the Fairfield Inn and they have a nice pool with water slide that your kids would enjoy.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:37 AM   #8
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I was there over X-mas. There are really 3 towns as you get off the interstate and head south. First is Seymour, lots of shops and touristy stuff. A few wineries that DW and my aunt went to. A fair number of hotels there too.

Pigeon Forge is the next town. It reminds me of Wisconsin Dells meets Vegas meets Disney. Tons of stuff to do for kids and adults alike, gokarts, min-golf, etc, etc. Dollywood is not far away. We found a couple neat restaurants, one served all their drinks in Mason quart canning jars...........

Gatlinburg is awesome. I went to Ripleys with my two kids, spent 3 hours there, and only hit about 2/3 of it. It is really neat. We had limited time there, but there is so much to do it is crazy. A lot of folks rent cabins up in the mountains for a truer experience. Next time I want to ride the tram and do more outskirts things. We had planend to go to Cade's Cove but we ran out of time. Blue Ridge Parkway is awesome..........
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:01 AM   #9
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You may want to check out this blog. They have lots of info on the area. - Family Travel in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #10
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Don't miss Smoky Mountain Knife Works.

Smoky Mountain Knife Works - home of the World's largest knife showplace
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:41 PM   #11
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We were there 6 months ago, we rented a cabin 4-5 miles from town. It was very nice, reasonably priced, and found it over the internet. there were plenty of cabins to choose from. We went in Sept, maybe that's why there were so many nice cabins available. grocery store was 3 miles away. anyway, if we ever go back, we;ll stay in a cabin again, it was very nice.
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Old 02-09-2012, 07:24 PM   #12
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I love Gatlingurg but it has been so many years since I've been there, I'm sure it has changed a lot. We used to stay just about downtown, but a block off the beaten path in a cabin type lodge with a babbling brook running right along side the rooms. Had a small back porch where you could just sit and listen to the water. Guess what. Last year we built a pondless waterfall in our back yard and it sounds just like that cabin in the Smokies. I sit out there often and think back about those times in Gatlinburg. Go! You'll love it.
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:34 PM   #13
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I just happened to drive through the Smoky Mountain National Park this very morning about 9am, on my way back down to Georgia. I'm a little off topic from the OP's question, but wanted to share a few pics that prove the park is pretty , even in February. There was frost in the higher elevations and a very light spitting of snow at the highest part of the drive.
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