Acadia or Smokey Mountains

We’ve been to the smoky mountains twice in the last few years and taken our young kids. First time our babies were 9 months, second time they were about 18 months.

I would recommend finding a chalet/house/condo that is centrally located. The first year we were very close to the national park and gatlinburg, so we had a lot of driving on the busy main roads to get back to pigeon forge. Last year we found a chalet closer to pigeon forge and Dollywood, but still within 15-20 minutes of Sevierville and gatlinburg. We used some of the side roads (teaster lane was one we used a lot to avoid the main drag in PF) to get around. It’s still a 4 lane road, but way less busy.

We’ve done the aquarium both years but it is expensive. If you happen to homeschool they do have a homeschooling discount that can save you some money. If you plan to do a lot of the ripley attractions (including the aquarium) you can normally get a bundle ticket that is cheaper than buying each one individually.

The overlook at the NC/TN border is nice and there is a short hiking trail there. It’s also near clingmans dome (strollers aren’t allowed on that path bc it’s such a steep climb).

You can request a visitor guide from all 3 cities and they normally have coupons in them. You can also find coupon books pretty much everywhere you go that can save you some money.

When we were there last year Quaker steak in Sevierville had free kids meals on Sunday. We didn’t know beforehand so it was a pleasant surprise once we got there.

It’s a great trip. Have fun planning!
 
Definitely going to look at the dollywood after 3pm thing... that might work great!

And great idea about the visitor's guides for coupons!

There are so many things to do there! I guess that's most tourist places. It's hard to choose and also not overplan the day. Not unlike Disney, I suppose!

I'm looking at using the trolley system in Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge. It seems like it might reduce the traffic stress, plus then we won't have to pay for parking and the trolley is an activity in and of itself!

Also looking at Annakeesta. I think the kids would like the sky lift up and the tree bridges.

I wasn't going to do the mountain coaster, but DH says it's a must for him. He knows it's over priced and maybe not "worth it", but he wants the experience.. hahaha! Anyone have a favorite coaster... there are a few?

Also saw a cute mini golf place in pigeon forge, Crave, that is all candy themed. Kiddos would love that even though mini golf on vacation always feels weird to me since we can do that at home.

The Bush's baked bean factory tour looks fun too.

My kids are all about FOOD! They aren't necessarily foodies because they aren't super adventurous, but not super picky either. They just love to eat and all memories for them revolve around the food we ate! Cracks me up because I'm the opposite and couldn't care less about food! So we always make sure food and snacks are part of the overall vacation experience.
 

smwisc

Member
Have fun! Please do write a trip report - that area is on my list for sometime in the next couple of years, and I too enjoy reading TRs and find them very helpful. :)
 
Also saw a cute mini golf place in pigeon forge, Crave, that is all candy themed. Kiddos would love that even though mini golf on vacation always feels weird to me since we can do that at home.

The Bush's baked bean factory tour looks fun too.
There are a ton of mini golf places along the strip in PF. We saw crave last year, but didn’t stop. We have gone to The Track the last two years. They have two different go cart tracks for adults, two different kid sized go cart tracks (for younger and older kids), some amusement rides for little kids, mini golf and an arcade. We liked the variety there (and the a/c in the arcade for the younger kids while the older one played mini golf with my husband). No matter which place you stop at you will probably find a coupon for it in one of the guides down there (never pay full price.)

We also did the bush bean visitor center. It is pretty cool to see all the advertising and ways the business has changed for them over the years. There is a special quiz kids can do - there are questions throughout the museum - and then they get a special prize at the end. You also get a free 4x6 photo taken with duke at the end. There are also a lot of varieties of beans that you won’t see anywhere else that you can buy in the gift shop.

There is a ton to do and see, and lots of money to spend if you don’t go in with a plan. :)
 

akaellen

New member
Definitely going to look at the dollywood after 3pm thing... that might work great!

And great idea about the visitor's guides for coupons!

There are so many things to do there! I guess that's most tourist places. It's hard to choose and also not overplan the day. Not unlike Disney, I suppose!

I'm looking at using the trolley system in Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge. It seems like it might reduce the traffic stress, plus then we won't have to pay for parking and the trolley is an activity in and of itself!

Also looking at Annakeesta. I think the kids would like the sky lift up and the tree bridges.

I wasn't going to do the mountain coaster, but DH says it's a must for him. He knows it's over priced and maybe not "worth it", but he wants the experience.. hahaha! Anyone have a favorite coaster... there are a few?

Also saw a cute mini golf place in pigeon forge, Crave, that is all candy themed. Kiddos would love that even though mini golf on vacation always feels weird to me since we can do that at home.

The Bush's baked bean factory tour looks fun too.

My kids are all about FOOD! They aren't necessarily foodies because they aren't super adventurous, but not super picky either. They just love to eat and all memories for them revolve around the food we ate! Cracks me up because I'm the opposite and couldn't care less about food! So we always make sure food and snacks are part of the overall vacation experience.
There is a great cabin we stayed in called ‘what-a-vu ‘ in gatlinburg. I think it’s listed on Vrbo


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