If you’re dreaming of the Smoky Mountains right now, we can help! We need to be creative when it comes to dealing with our cabin fever, spring fever and the bite of the travel bug. We looked into Facebook Live events, Webcams and virtual visits to help you enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains from afar until you can return to its beauty in person.
Spring has sprung in the Great Smoky Mountains. The wildflowers are in bloom, the trees are sprouting their colors before the leaves fully open. Fun fact – red bud trees have purple flowers!
We have scouted out many ways for you to enjoy the Smokies, their beauty and wonder from the safety of your home. From virtual trips to Web cams, live aquarium conversations to educational projects to supplement that online e-learning curriculum, here are our ideas.
For starters, check out the Smokies via these videos – some are merely the view at different times of day; some are a journey you can take virtually. And our blog post on history of the park.
This trek through the mountains video was made yesterday – a sunny spring day. There are wildflowers and black bears cubs! It is incredibly soothing.
Here’s an entertaining tour with some spring breakers from a few years back who put their hikes to music.
Waterfalls of the Smoky Mountains
How about this waterfall video with some of the happiest music – something to put on your screen or TV while you make dinner or to sooth your children as cabin fever continues.
Check out our blog post about waterfalls for more pictures and ideas for your trip to the Smokies when we can travel again!
Take a virtual walk across America’s largest suspension bridge.
Billed as North America’s largest pedestrian suspension bridge – Sky Bridge in Gatlinburg is 680 feet from tower to tower. There are long-term plans for some attractions on the other side, but for now, the bridge in Gatlinburg is an experience all its own – with fantastic views.
This video was taken March 26 – an early morning view of The Sky Bridge. Walk across the nearly 700-foot-long bridge to watch the sun come up with your video host. It’s a wondrous site.
Here is a fantastic 360-degree view as well.
The SkyLift Park and SkyBridge Facebook page of views and videos from the SkyBridge.
This sunrise video from the bridge is stunning.
Cades Cove is a favorite destination for many people visiting the Smokies. In fact, if Cades Cove was its own National Park, it would be the third most visited national park in the country! With more than 11 million people coming through the Smokies each year, and nearly 4 million of them choose a trip to Cades Cove, where “nature and history are on display.”
Cades Cove is a valley surrounded by mountains where wildlife viewing is a favorite of visitors. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible, according to the National Park Service.
“For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271. Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park.”
Scattered along the 11-mile loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures.
Here is another virtual tour to enjoy:
Read more about Cades Cove in one of our blog posts.
Residents are sharing videos too!
This family has wildlife and the calm serenity of the Smokies in their back yard.
Taken on March 19 with this description: “Since you can’t come to the Smoky Mountains, we are bringing the Smokies to you. Like most everyone, we are social distancing ourselves for the next 2 weeks. We realized that we were lucky enough to have a great Smoky Mountain view from our back yard. So we grabbed 400 feet of extension cords and network cables and ran them thru the woods. We commonly see deer, skunks, opossums, hawks, and even the occasional eagle. We hope that this feed helps brighten your day and we will do this again weather permitting.”
How awesome is that?
Want to see all the Smokies through all the seasons? Check out this video from Smoky Mountain Explorer’s film trailer for “Seasons of the Smokies.” The film is being released on May 22.
Even more places to find photos and videos!
The National Park Service’s Facebook Page also has some beautiful videos of views, wildflowers and wildlife!
NPS is hosting a picture challenge. Join the challenge of posting a picture of a Great Smoky Mountains National Park landscape from a place where you’ve been in the park! The main requirement is that you NOT appear in it. Just a picture, no description.
When you need a little moment of live nature, check out these great webcams operated by the national park.
Webcam at Clingmans Dome (Operational April – October because of winter weather conditions)
Local businesses provide views of Gatlinburg of the Smoky Mountains, including Anakeesta and the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Of course, American Patriot Getaways offers webcams too. Not only are these views of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge a little different, you can also rent the cabins where we have the cameras mounted. Experience the view at home and get ready for your vacation later this year!
Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies is offering daily events throughout each weekday – from penguin painting to children’s story time, elephant toothpaste, feeding time and Q&A’s with the aquarium’s many experts. Live events are listed on the Web site and also on the aquarium’s Facebook page, where saved live videos are posted.
Coming up this week are a hydrophobic sand experiment – aren’t you dying to know WHAT that is? I am. Feeding Time Live is with piranhas on Wednesday, along with learning about the spiny crab. Thursday’s lineup includes Story Time Live! And Q&A with a marine biologist. And on Friday is Jelly Livestream.
The aquarium also has educational materials that can be downloaded to help with your homeschooling. Pre-K, elementary and middle school materials that include arts and crafts are available.
Another attraction with lots of history is The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge. Virtually step aboard the ship that was built to half-scale of the original luxury cruise liner, which was 882 feet in length. Through a four-part virtual tour series, visitors will walk through the exhibits and hear stories and interesting facts about the “unsinkable” ship that went down on April 14, 1912.
Read more about the Titanic and the museum in the Smokies on our blog.
Want more education? How about a talk with naturalist Ila Hatter?
Let’s not forget about the shows you want to see in the Smokies!
Artists and entertainers are going live too – just for you!
Smoky Mountain Center for Performing Arts in North Carolina is doing a special editions of its “Sing for Your Supper” series. Check out past performances and upcoming live events on the group’s Facebook page.
Entertainers from Dollywood are hoping for “Brighter Days Ahead,” as Dolly Parton says and are sharing some of their love and joy via live events.
Miss Lillian (The Chicken Lady) plays her ukulele and chats viewers on a regular basis now that the park is closed. Last week, Chicken Little was wearing a mask and Miss Lillian told Chicken Little she was safe and that the masks are better for the healthcare workers. True!
Miss Lillian also hosts a Learn to Play Ukulele series with the man behind the music – Bobby Prince.
On Thursday, Dolly Parton will read “The Little Engine That Could” as the first video of her read-aloud series – “Goodnight with Dolly.” What a fun way to put your little ones to bed.
While you are doing all this virtual touring, learning and singing along, how about ordering some of your favorite Smoky Mountain treats to add to the experience.
Get yourself some blackberry preserves, stone ground corn meal, hot & sweet garlic pickles or some apple butter via Great Smoky Mountains Association
Some more kid project ideas:
Build a model of the Great Smoky Mountains or draw or paint them.
Build a waterfall like those in the Smokies – maybe this will be a new water feature for your home.
Build the Titanic! Or make your own puzzle of it.
There is so much to look forward to in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains!
When you book one of our Gatlinburg cabins , you’ll be close to all the action, excitement, and new attractions the area has to offer when you make it back to visit.
Give American Patriot Getaways a call at 800-204-5169 and let our experts help you find the right cabin and all the right fun, food and entertainment for a future trip. It will give you something to look forward to!
As always, we offer third-party travel insurance through Mountain Trip Preserver and RedSky Travel insurance. Available for purchase from the time you book until 10 days prior to your arrival, we highly recommend all guests always purchase travel insurance to protect their hard-earned vacations. More information can be found on our website and during your online booking process.
For more adventures, go to our Smoky Mountain Travel Guide.
We hope to see you in the Smokies very soon!