There’s a reason Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the most-visited place. Between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding tourist attractions, there’s truly something for everyone here – from your curious toddler to your 13-year-old know it all to your obsessed little sister enjoy spending all your money…LOL!!
This was our first time traveling to the area as a family and the scenery from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg was the most beautiful thing you could ever see, especially at night! The travel distance took us about 6 hrs and 45 minutes to get to the hotel due to all the stop & go traffic, but we didn’t mind at all. The kids were so taken by the amount of activity in Pigeon Forge, they literally forget I just drive 6 hrs and needed to wind down. So, you can only imagine what happen when we finally made it to Gatlinburg!
ARRIVING INTO GATLINBURG!
The only thing I am going to say is WOW!!! Talk about a big tourist attraction. Everything was busy from the roads to the restaurants, souvenir shops, and pretty much anything else we could think of that made us say “LET’S GO THERE!” The sidewalks had it all!
I feel like, if you want to be near the national park and in the center of it all, Gatlinburg is surely a great place to stay and stay we did!
Usually when we’re traveling and staying at hotels; we have to take into consideration our lodging options. I love my family when it comes to lodging, they do not complain much as long as:
- We do not sleep somewhere that is rated low; we usually look at 3.5 to 4.5 star hotels for comfort and amenities purposes
- The price is fairly reasonably; we like to make sure our trip money will not be spent entirely on each night at the hotel
- Food and store locations are nearby
- Parking will be available; if we decide to walk throughout our entire stay
We decided to stay at the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson and everyone loved it. The hotel was located right in the center of it all. The price and room was great for the 1 1/2 nights we stayed. The kids and my little sister loved the complimentary hot breakfast. The staff was pretty amazing as well; we arrived a few hours early before check-in time and the receptionist had our room rushed to be ready within 30 minutes.
Spending the Day at Great Smoky Mountains
The mountains have been calling to me, every since we left home and with so much to do in the surrounding areas. We almost decided not to go. But we did!
We spent most of our time inside of the car, due to having a toddler with us. I didn’t want to take a chance on entering the deep part of the mountains with the kids and get lost or my daughter decides to be to curious and we end up on the edge of a cliff. Nope, no thank you! We were happy to drive around in the car and stop here-there to get a few pictures. I was just happy we were able to actually spend the day exploring the mountains and get away to see something different.
I must say, that I will definitely be going back to do a lot more than just drive around and see the forest. There was so much to look at while driving through the mountain. I can only imagine what else is out there! I would love to explore the different trails, visit caves, check out rain-forest, and from a far look at the wildlife. But, I will wait until my daughter gets a certain age to where I feel comfortable going deeply into the woods. I want to make sure, if we do have to run for safety. We can without me trying to haul a stroller around. I am just saying!
Check out the view: The View
Touring the Sidewalks of Gatlinburg!
Every since we arrived, you could barely see the roads let alone the sidewalks. It was so busy! So, I had to get up early just get a few pictures without the worry of being hit by a car or being in someone’s way.
There was so much to do for everyone, regardless if you had many to burn or just traveling on a budget. It didn’t matter, you could still enjoy yourself!
We had to stop and get gas at the local gas station. While pumping the gas, my sister notice there was riverfront not far away and we decided to let that be our first stop. If you are driving, it would be better to leave your car at the hotel and walk. We barely found a parking space to pull in to!
I honestly must say, I didn’t think my kids would like going to riverfront, but they really loved walking on the big rocks and tossing the small rocks in the river. My oldest son meet a few kids his age and they all started hopping from rock to rock, which lead him to slip in the water and getting his socks wet…LOL!! I know , I shouldn’t laugh but I told him to be careful and stop hopping. I hard head makes a soft bottom! But overall I was relieve he wasn’t seriously hurt, just his big ego. After that he was ready to go.
After leaving the riverfront, we decided to detour back to check out two places: Arcadia and The Chocolate Monkey before heading to Pigeon Forge seeing what they had for attractions, before our trip back home.
Check out the view: The View Heading Back To The Highway
I know for a trip like this due to all the attractions in both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. We will definitely have to make this a 4 to 7 day trip.
Check out the highlights of our trip: