Gatlinburg, Tennessee Trip Guide

Monday, August 13, 2012

This year, my family and I took another fantastic trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee! Planning a family vacation, searching for the best rates on a hotel, knowing all the good local eateries and finding attractions to enjoy can consume a lot of your time in the weeks before your trip. Hopefully this will help with your next visit to the Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg area.

Getting There!

Article:: Packing the {Honda} Pilot!

This year, the family and I will pack up and head to The Smoky Mountains for another fun family vacation! It is one of the most precious times of the year when we get to do this. I love getting to go out of town and spend time with just my husband and the kids. Having the opportunity to do this allows for added bonding time between the four of us. We don't take this blessing lightly. It is cherished and talked about all year long.

We typically borrow my in-laws' van when we go on vacation. Our older sedans just aren't up to a long, family road-trip. This year, we are taking a Honda Pilot on vacation! If you are confused like my son was - a Honda Pilot is a vehicle and not a person who flies airplanes. I actually took my son to a Honda dealership to show him what a Honda Pilot was. He was impressed. {Continue Reading}

Article:: Family Road Trip Vehicle - 2012 Honda Pilot

A family road trip to the Smoky Mountains starts with a great (and fun) vehicle! It, of course, must be large enough to comfortably seat all passengers, luggage and every random item that the children can't leave behind for a week. The 2012 Honda Pilot was a fantastic vehicle for the six hour trip from our home to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
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Article:: Fairfield Inn and Suites Gatlinburg North

As much as I love going on a road trip with the family and being gone for days - I am always so nervous about our overnight accommodations. If I haven't seen the hotel, how do I know it will be in a good location with friendly staff and be clean?

Our first trip to Gatlinburg, we waited until we arrived in the area before we decided on a place

to stay. I am glad that we did it that way. Some places that seemed quaint and relaxing in brochures and on a Google search - weren't really that when you pulled into their parking lots.

As soon as we drove into Gatlinburg, we saw the Fairfield Inn. The kids were immediately distracted by their swimming pool and slide. It wasn't a large pool, but perfect for the ages of our children.     {Continue Reading}


Article:: The Alamo - Steak House

One of our favorite local restaurants in Gatlinburg is The Alamo.  We talk about it for months before our actual trip. We place it at the top of our Gatlinburg To Do List. In fact, this year we ate at The Alamo before we even checked into our hotel!

Nestled by a creek where ducks swim and visitors are invited to relax in the shade and enjoy the beauty of the area - The Alamo is a nice place to enjoy a relaxing meal after a day of travel or hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Article:: Park Grill in Gatlinburg

Sitting at the edge of town and nestled cozily near the entrance of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of my favorite restaurants that Gatlinburg has to offer. Driving by and heading toward the park, we almost didn't notice Park Grill to our left. Since we love eating at places local to our vacation spot - we turned around and enjoyed a pleasant and delicious meal. {Continue Reading}

Article:: Carino's Italian Restaurant - Pigeon Forge

It's always exciting to find a new place to eat while on vacation. We typically try to stay with local restaurants while we are away. It's nice to try something we can't find around our hometown.

While Carino's Italian Restaurant isn't local to Pigeon Forge, it is also not a restaurant located closely to us.  We enjoy Italian food very much. Well, we enjoy food immensely.

On the Carion's menu we found a variety of appetizers, entree's and yes - deserts!  The kids enjoyed the Mozzarella with Marinara. I have never seen "Moazzarella Stick" with so much cheese in them! I tried a bite or two. Okay, maybe I took one of them from the kids. Continue Reading}

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Article:: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If visiting the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, Tennessee area - you absolutely can not miss taking a trip into The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hopefully, it is one of the reasons you chose to vacation in the area.

Unfortunately, you won't have time to visit every location within the park and travel every trail or see each waterfall.

We managed to narrow down our choices this vacation and hiked to Grotto Falls and to Clingman's Dome. Each on separate days.  {Continue Reading}

Local Attractions

Article:: Ripley's 3 D Moving {Now 4D} Theater - Gatlinburg

Another stop you will want to make while in Gatlinburg is the Ripley's 3-D Moving Theater. It has actually now been updated to 4-D! The kids enjoy rides and movies, so why not add the two together! The moving seats and #D glasses allow you to feel as though you are a part of the movie itself.

We watched the 4-D version of Happy Feet. Of course, you don't watch the entire movie - just a portion. You get to feel as though you are there, sliding on the ice and diving into the water. With snow actually coming at you and the feeling of sliding down the great hills of ice - it is a fun time.  {Continue Reading}

Article:: Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium - Gatlinburg

Passing by the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium in Gatlinburg, TN – you’re immediately drawn to the, well, odd displays that occupy the entrance. The over-sized heavy equipment tire, the giant granite ball floating on a thin layer of water and the robotic statues made entirely of random parts and items.
The kids immediately began to touch, push and move the granite ball. They were amazed that they were able to easily move something as large as they are.

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Titanic Museum - Pigeon Forge

I am so glad that on this trip to the Smoky Mountains, we were able to visit the Titanic Museum. Driving through Pigeon Forge, you can't help but take notice of the breathtaking ocean liner just before the mountain view.

Well, it isn't the entire ship.  However, it is very large.

The museum is located on the main road through Pigeon Forge - you will not miss  it as you drive by.  

Standing next to it, you can only imagine the grandeur of the RMS Titanic. {Continue Reading}

Article:: Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies - Gatlinburg

One of the most amazing attractions in Gatlinburg is Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. You will easily spend a few hours in amazement as you stroll by {and under} the various exotic displays.  I am fascinated with the natural world around us and enjoy introducing it to my children. {Continue Reading}

Article:: The Track - Pigeon Forge

Driving through Pigeon Force, the kids nearly had their faces pressed against the window in an attempt to check out all the attractions. There are so many exciting places to see and activities to choose from - it can be a little overwhelming.

One attraction will catch your immediately. Especially if someone is Bungee Jumping or trying the Sky Flyer as you pass by.