Zipline, hike, ride horses, ride roller coasters, play – there ae so many outdoor activities for families in the Smokies
Anakeesta is celebrating the flowers of spring with Blooms & Tunes April 14 – June 5.
Also, putting the tunes in Blooms and Tunes, Anakeesta will feature live music four days a week by local bands at Black Bear Village. Free with admission, bands will perform every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon.
Without a doubt, spring will be on the menu at each of Anakeesta’s four dining venues. Enjoy seasonal cocktails infused with the flavors of spring and chef-inspired dinner specials including the Bleu Ridge Ribeye, the Creole Burger and Smoky Mountain Short Ribs.
There is a zip line adventure, gem mining, a personal roller coaster, treehouses, garden walks and a new splash pad. Among the trees are wonderful spots for selfies, viewing the scenery, watching downtown Gatlinburg. And food – from barbecue to southern foods with a view from the top.
Without a doubt, he park comes to life at night with twinkling lights and colorful light displays throughout Vista Gardens. The Treetop Skywalk transforms into Firefly Forest with lights projected above and below the canopy giving the sensation of being surrounded by thousands of shimmering fireflies!
Read all about Anakeesta here.
Gatlinburg Sky Trail, a scenic walkway connecting each end of the Gatlinburg SkyBridge that gives visitors the opportunity to take a leisurely hike in the mountains while enjoying new views of the now famous bridge. “At just over one-third of a mile in length, the SkyTrail is an enjoyable walk for adults, kids, and even dogs, offering three distinct sections.
The Tulip Tower is a 70′ steel tower set in the back of the ravine accessed by two rope bridges and features four elevated viewing platforms. Also, there is a special story behind the theme and story of this tower, with information on each level. At the top of the tower, enjoy a very unique view of the Smokies and the iconic SkyBridge. This is an adventure for all ages! The SkyBridge, billed as North America’s largest pedestrian suspension bridge, is 680 feet from tower to tower.
To get to the Sky Bridge, take the Skylift up to Skylift park. The lift takes visitors up and down the mountain for spectacular 360-degree views. Visitors get off at the new Skydeck, where they can sit outside, play outside. The SkyCenter at the SkyDeck overlooking Gatlinburg offers up “sweeping panoramic views” of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Dollywood amusement park opens March 11 for its 38th season and a celebration the 50th anniversary of one of Dolly’s biggest hits, I Will Always Love You. The festive celebration – a new event this year – will commemorate the art of songwriting and the stories behind the songs. Look for special park décor, limited-time merchandise and more.
Hear Live Country Music, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. March 11 – April 8.
Dollywood’s always popular Flower & Food Festival is April 21 – June 11. Wander through larger-than-life plant sculptures adorned in more than half-a-million colorful flower blooms, dance under the picturesque Umbrella Sky and indulge in a menu of garden-fresh flavors from Dollywood chefs.
In addition, Big Bear Mountain will be the longest coaster at Dollywood, taking guests of all ages on a family-friendly expedition in search of the Big Bear. Circling Wildwood Grove for nearly two minutes on 3,990 ft. of track, this gigantic coaster is a first of its kind at Dollywood with onboard audio, including music and announcements from Ned Oakley himself.
Dollywood’s Splash Country opens in May. When the temperature rise, Splash Country is a great way to cool off. Explore towering slides, sparkling pools, and family-friendly splash zones. Enjoy fun foods and treats too!
Soaky Mountain Waterpark opens May 13.
Water coasters, wading pools, FlowRider, slides, water obstacles and more fun in the water await.
175 Gists Creek Rd in Sevierville
Sevierville offers Ripley’s Old McDonald’s Farm Mini golf, located just past the Pigeon Forge city limits. Two courses for 36 holes of family fun for kids of all ages. Get a hole in one and you win a free game!
In Pigeon Forge, check out Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf. Like Old MacDonald’s, you have two courses. Ride a mine train to get to the first holes of each.
Gatlinburg offers Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini Golf and Hillbilly Golf. Hillbilly Golf an unforgettable downhill mini golf experience. A Smoky Mountain classic to be sure!
Big Rock Dude Ranch
Looking for horseback riding in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge? Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa is the Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge area’s premier horseback riding and outdoor adventure destination. Located just a short drive from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, enjoy horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains year round (weather permitting) seven days a week from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.
There’s also a petting zoo, gem mining and fishing!
Check out the virtual tour.
909 Little Cove Rd • Pigeon Forge
Lumberjack Feud and Adventure Park
Thrills, fun and excitement await visitors at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show & Adventure Park in the Smoky Mountains – all year long.
There’s the show – with feats of speed, agility and strength – and there’s personal adventure – participants can repeat some of what they see at the show in the lumberjack-themed adventure park.
Chamion lumberjacks – strong, authentic lumberjacks – speed to the top of huge trees, chop through wood at record speeds, stand and roll on logs in the water and much more.
In addition to the other excitement, during intermission, kids events take place and the Lumberjacks also bring up children to be part of the show.
First, kids may help with the double buck or learn how to log roll or get a lesson on the axe that is used. Then, after the show, kids of all ages can play in the Lumberjack-themed Adventure Park – channeling their inner flannel!
The lumberjack Adventure includes:
- The Flying Ox – zipline roller coaster
- The High Woodsmen Challenge – lumberjack-themed ropes course
- Loggersports – compete in Log Roll, Boom Run, and Speed Climb
- Timber Towers – features two 80-foot free fall jumps!
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud & Adventure Park can be found at 2530 Parkway
White-water Rafting season is underway, indeed! So, check out our blog post on rafting, kayaking and tubing to find out about all the fun!
Ziplining has become big business in the Smokies with Zipline establishments popping up all over the area. So, if you haven’t been ziplining yet, it is a must for all ages. Other Zipline companies include, Wahoo Ziplines, Smoky Mountain Ziplines & Canopy Tours, FoxFire Mountain and Climbworks Smoky Mountains.
Also, Outdoor Adventures of the Smokies in Sevierville is a one stop shop. After all, they’ll be providing monster truck rides, helicopter rides, ATV rides, horseback rides, Jeep tours, whitewater rafting, river tubing, guided fishing trips and plane rides.
For horseback riding check out Walden’s Creek Riding Stables, Big Rock Dude Ranch and Five Oaks Riding Stables and Adventure Park. Five Oaks Adventure park also offers Zipline tours and you can even zipline at night.
Furthermore, for a unique experience, consider Outdoor Gravity Park of Pigeon Forge. You, or you and two of your closest friends, can hop into a clear sphere and slip and slide your way down the mountain. Cool off and laugh hysterically all day long.
Free Family Fun
Next, there are plenty of FREE things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains as well! The natural beauty and allure of the Great Smoky Mountain destinations of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg is easy to understand. Plus, with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as the backdrop, these three vacation destinations allow guests to discover some all natural organic and free fun.
Equally important, a visit to Cades Cove is a must. Plus when you get there, you’ll want to complete the 11 mile one way loop that winds around the valley, complete with wildlife, campgrounds, bike rentals, spectacular foliage in autumn, and facilities for horseback riding.
Pack up a picnic from a local carryout restaurant and hike right from your cabin or just picnic on your covered porch and take in all the beauty of the nature around you. You might see wildlife – but don’t feed them, no matter how cute they are – just observe and enjoy.
Additionally, if your family wants to check out a more secluded hike, we have a great list of the Seven Most Secluded Sites in the Smokies – you can visit with fewer crowds!
Here are some of the most popular destination hikes in the park, according to the National Park Service.
Fit To Hike
Additionally, before you even hit the trail, take your fitness level into consideration. You’ll find that a single mile on the trail is like walking three paved miles. If you don’t typically walk many miles in a day, heading out for a grand adventure that can last a full day may not be the best idea. Be sure to read about our favorite less strenuous mountain hikes.
Here are some favorite hikes to see some of the hundreds of types of wildflowers in the Smokies:
- Little River Trail
- Kanata Fork Trail
- Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail
- Porters Creek Trail
- Chestnut Top Trail
- Lead Cove Trail/Spence Field
For professionally guided hikes, check out the park’s 73rd Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage April 26-29.
Then, check out or Tips for hiking the trails.
Also, Ober Mountain Wildlife Encounter is home to a black bear family, including Minnie, BJ, Holly and Chief; River Otters that play at the underwater viewing area, beautiful Bobcats, Fox and Birds of Prey in an enclosed aviary. The Nocturnal House includes various species of native Smokies wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, flying squirrels, turtles and snakes.
In addition to that, The Wildlife Encounter at Ober Mountain is a privately funded, municipally sponsored zoo, licensed by the U.S.D.A. as an exhibitor.
Book a Cabin
It’s easy to focus on the family with some cabin-time in the Smoky Mountains. You can still get away from your own home and do something different together when you take a drive to the beautiful Smoky Mountains.
Rent A Cabin with a Swimming Pool and/or a movie theater
Moreover, some of our fabulous theater room cabins have popcorn machines and swimming pools – and all of them have outdoor hot tubs!
Check out just a few:
When you are ready to play inside, we have plenty of cozy, beautiful cabins in the mountains with amazing game rooms.
Pool tables, air hockey, arcade games, poker tables, foosball, ping pong tables and space to play board games – also, our game-room cabins have all the fun for your family to enjoy and make lifetime memories together.
See our Pinterest board on Pigeon Forge Luxury Cabins.
If your family is looking to spend some time together and create family memories that last a lifetime, we can help. Definitely consider, giving our friendly and helpful reservations team a call at 800-204-5169 now to book your stay!
Finally, check out our Smoky Mountain Travel Guide for more adventures. Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.