If you are planning a trip with your church group, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains are a great choice. Among the many different wholesome attractions and activities, there is sure to be something appealing to every member of your group. Here are some of the region’s most popular activities to consider as you are planning your trip:
With over 500,000 acres of forest and 800 miles of trails, there is really nothing better to do in Gatlinburg than hang out in the Great Smoky Mountains. Your group could spend their entire day here, packing a lunch and enjoying the long trails of varying difficulties perfect for a group with mixed age participants. Bring your binoculars, as the Smokies are home to over 200 species of birds.
There are lots of delicious restaurants to choose from in Gatlinburg. The Parkway, Gatlinburg’s main street, offers food choices ranging from Tennessee’s famous barbeque to seafood and pizza. Your church can go to one of the area’s many family dining establishments to find cuisine that is varied enough to please a large group.
3. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Ripley’s is one of Gatlinburg’s most attended attractions—and when you stop in you will understand exactly why. This fully-stocked aquarium has over eight different exhibits to explore, from Shark Lagoon to their Lethal Weapons exhibit to their new Penguin Playhouse. Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most interesting sea creatures in the Discovery Center, where you and your group can touch the oddly fantastic horseshoe crabs. Best of all, Ripley’s offers group rates on admission, making it an affordable stop for your group.
4. Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park
Walk over to the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway to take a ride high above the Smokies. The Ober’s 120-passenger gondola will give you and your group the lift you need to take it all in. The trip, covering two miles in 10 minutes, will take you to the top of the mountain where your group can indoor skate year-round and ski or snowboard in the winter. Summer also offers an alpine slide, black bear habitat, bungee fun and miniature golf. Be sure to have lunch up there, too—you’ll want to spend as much time catching the mountain air as you can.
No matter your church’s denomination, there is sure to be a house of worship for your group. There are also revivals every day of the week in Sevier County. Gatlinburg is a great place for group worship, as the natural beauty of the mountains commands a strong spiritual quality.
These are just a few of the many options for your group to choose when planning a Great Smoky Mountain vacation. Be sure to ask wherever you plan to visit if they offer group discounts, a huge perk of traveling together. Regardless of what you pick, the family fun that eastern Tennessee offers its tourists is definitely ideal for any church group.