Family Vacation In Gatlinburg & Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains for a family vacation
Great Smoky Mountains
Anyone seeking a great family vacation in nature can’t go wrong by heading to Gatlinburg. This beautiful town is known as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Meanwhile, the park has all the outdoor activities any family could want with hiking, mountain biking, walking and horseback riding. Naturally, along the way, families will spot plenty of local wildlife. What exactly is available for a family vacation in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Read on to find out.

Activities for a family vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

As the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is the ideal base for a family vacation. In fact, there are three park entrances perfectly located downtown.

In the park itself, families will have access to miles of trails, ideal for all kinds of activities. Depending on the age of the kiddos, trails offer hiking, walking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Trails vary from short, easy trails for younger family members, to all-out great hikes for older children.

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Besides land-based activities, the park also features whitewater rafting for older family members or kayaking for the smaller kids. Naturally, whether hiking or on the water, families should keep a lookout for all types of local wildlife, including deer, elk and the occasional black bear. Keep that camera ready for the perfect Instagram post!

Activities for the family in Gatlinburg

Meanwhile, there are plenty of family-friendly activities in the town itself. The kids will love seeing the penguins, sharks and stingrays at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Schools of smaller fish are fascinating for the kids, as is the touch pool where they meet marine creatures up close.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, Tn
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Parents and older kids will love browsing the galleries of the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Here they can buy local artisanal products and artwork to take home as gifts for the rest of the family or as souvenirs of the visit.

Space Needle and Calhoun's
Space Needle and Calhoun’s
Get the best views in town at the top of the 407-foot Gatlinburg Space Needle, or catch the views from the treetops on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. In the evenings, dine on scrumptious ribs at Calhoun’s!

Where to stay on a family vacation in Gatlinburg

Families have plenty of choices as to where to lay their tired heads after a fun, busy day. However, one of the best spots for a family vacation is Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Waterpark. In fact, the resort is a destination in its own right with plenty to do for the children.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be a vacation in Gatlinburg without a visit to Dollywood, where the kids can have fun in the large indoor and outdoor water park. Here, larger families can choose a three-bedroom unit for plenty of room and privacy.

Take a trip to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring or summer for the perfect, active family vacation. Readers can find more information at the official website.

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Anne Sewell

Freelance writer and travel writer who has lived in Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa, now living happily on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain.

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