Mon, Nov 11, 2019
This April, Nate and I met my family in Tennessee, in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains! We stayed in a gorgeous cabin in Sevierville, just outside the town of Gatlinburg. I actually grew up visiting the Great Smoky Mountains every summer until I was about 10 years old because my mom grew up in the mountains of Tennessee. This beautiful area holds such a special place in my heart, some of my most dear childhood memories are in these mountains and I was so excited to show Nate!
My family drove in from Ohio and we flew in from New York and met them for a long weekend in April. The weather was lovely…cool crisp mornings and sunny 70’s by the afternoon. I would suggest going in April/early May, or October in the fall. I think both of these times would be absolutely gorgeous in the mountains!
This area is all about the outdoor activities and there are so many things to do! My suggestion would be to rent one of the many amazing cabins around Gatlinburg that are nestled into the mountains. Where you stay here is very important because your trip will consist mostly of outdoor activities during the day and then relaxing in the cabin in the evenings. So you want to love the place you rent because you’ll spend quite a bit of time there…and these unique cabins (which are all more like mansions) are half the fun of this area! Our cabin had three floors of balconies, a movie theater, game room, fire pit, and the most amazing views of the mountains from every single room. Although I am biased and feel we got the best cabin out there, in all honesty, most of the houses to rent there are like this! All the cabins on airbnb that I looked at had in-home movie theaters (if that gives you any indication of how most of the houses are). You can’t go wrong. But if you like what you see in my photos, this is the cabin we stayed in.
We made a lot of our meals at home in the cabin and ate them on the balcony, spent the evenings baking dessert and playing cards by the fire. It really is the most peaceful way to spend a vacation and we are hoping to go back as much as we can! We did go out to eat or get take out a few times, so I’ll link those places below, along with some of the activities we did. And just as a heads up…downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (the two main cities in the area) are…on the tacky side to say the least. They’ve somehow become their own little Las Vegas in a way with rides, attractions, and flashing lights. This part of town isn’t really my scene so we tended to stick to the cabin and outdoor activities, because the mountains are really the main attraction in this area anyway. BUT with that said, they do have some really fun and crazy stuff for kids. We took my 12 year old brother on a rollercoaster that goes up into the mountainside and he loved it! I won’t be listing those things down here but you’ll find yourself driving through this area whether you try to or not so you’ll be able to suss out for yourself if you want to try any of the attractions! With that said, as far as eating goes there are mostly chain restaurants and old southern restaurants (they aren’t as charming as that sounds). The exception to that is Applewood Farmhouse which has genuinely great food, and Mellow Mushroom (a southern pizza chain that’s really tasty and offers gf crust!). For the rest of our meals we got groceries at Publix in Pigeon Forge which is a really great grocery store (mostly found in southern states) that also happens to sell Jeni’s Ice Creams, score! Here are some activities I recommend in this area…