Did you know Wilderness at the Smokies has three waterparks plus a hotel? Sign us up! Kristina took her family to Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, TN to experience this family-friendly resort and tells us all about it and why it’s such a perfect place for a family trip. Thanks to the Wilderness at the Smokies for providing us with media tickets.
If you are looking for a weekend trip, a few days for a family vacation, or a special getaway with a birthday kid or special occasion, the Wilderness at the Smokies resort is an excellent option. Why? Because you don’t even need to leave the property for entertainment and dining. Park the car and have a blast. And it’s all under three hours driving distance from Upstate, SC. We have all the details in our Wilderness at the Smokies review!
Looking for things to do in Sevierville, TN? Getting to explore Dolly Parton’s hometown of Sevierville, TN is quite the experience and something we cannot recommend highly enough, especially since it’s only a few short hours in the car away from the Upstate, SC. There is so much to see and do with your family in Sevierville, TN and we’ve got all the details for you right here.
Special thanks to Visit Sevierville for hosting us on this trip.
For an endless amount of family fun, Sevierville, Tennessee is the place to go. Even though it is located right next to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and many of the cool attractions you already know about are in Sevierville, we found that some really cool aspects of the area are more or less unknown – and we cannot wait to tell you about them.
We’ll cover everything from Sevierville attractions to Historic Downtown Sevierville, plus places to eat, places to play, and places to stay. And of course, you’ll learn all about the town’s most famous resident, country music star Dolly Parton. Her influence is everywhere and we absolutely love it.
Historic downtown Sevierville is a cute place to walk around and check out the shops, restaurants, and a gorgeous butterfly mural. In recent years, historic downtown Sevierville has been given a makeover with larger sidewalks, landscaping, new roofs, and new entertainment and restaurants.
It still holds an early 1900s feel, which I really loved, but you can easily see that it’s on the way up.
Having walked in downtown Gatlinburg many times, downtown Sevierville is so quiet and calm. New shops and restaurants are opening up and I think that any family looking to escape the crowds will love strolling around on Bruce Street and Court Avenue.
Here are a few things that we really liked about historic downtown Sevierville:
Dolly Parton Statue
There is a bronze statue of a young Dolly Parton holding her guitar right in front of the gold-domed Sevier County Courthouse. Dolly grew up in Sevier County and the statue, created in 1987, honors the star in her hometown. This is just a cool photo op so that’s exactly what my kids and I did.
125 Court Ave, Sevierville, TN
Jolene’s on Bruce Street
I was walking back to my car from checking out the Dolly Parton statue, a hanging sign caught my eye: Jolene’s. I spun around so fast and headed right for it.
Turns out that Jolene’s on Bruce Street is a boutique shop with clothing, jewelry, totes, shoes, greeting cards, notebooks, and all kinds of trinkets that pay homage to Dolly Parton. There’s a lot of sparkly stuff as you could probably imagine. I really loved this shop and hope to go back when I’m in the area next to see what new stuff they have.
112 Bruce St, Sevierville, TN
Sevier County Courthouse
Right behind the Dolly Parton statue is the Sevier County Courthouse. You cannot miss this building. It was built in 1896 and was the first courthouse in Tennessee to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you ever see the Sevierville skyline, which you can definitely see from various roads that lead into downtown Sevierville, you cannot miss the gold domes.
125 Court Ave, Sevierville, TN
Wings of Wander Mural
I love a good wall mural and the mural by Sevierville artist Pinkie Mistry at the little park in the heart of downtown Sevierville was just beautiful. It’s a huge monarch butterfly, a tribute to Dolly Parton’s song “Love is Like a Butterfly,” and is painted on the wall behind a large butterfly garden filled with Black-Eyed Susans, lilies, and milkweed.
My daughters and I had a lot of fun taking photos in front of the mural!
There are other murals around historic downtown Sevierville as well, including one on the wall of The Pines Downtown.
Where to Eat in Sevierville, TN
We had so many excellent meals in Sevierville that it was hard to choose our favorite. I was so impressed with the quality, quantity, and creativity behind the dishes we had.
Trotter’s Whole Hog BBQ
Located in historic downtown Sevierville, Trotter’s Whole Hog BBQ has an unassuming dining room with booths and tables, a couple televisions (one played old Bob Ross shows, which we loved), and a long counter. The letters on the menu board look like old school diner type. Don’t let any of this fool you.
This BBQ place is amazing. They have traditional BBQ dishes like pulled pork sandwiches and rib platters but also Deviled Chicken Salad, Smoked Bologna, and Smoked Meatloaf.
We got the Waymore’s Sampler Platter, which had pulled pork, ribs, and half a chicken plus hushpuppies and two sides (we got green beans and mac & cheese). We somehow had leftovers after my family of four dug in.
They also have a giant beer wall where you can pour your own drafts from a variety of local and regional beers. You pay by the ounce.
Trotter’s is definitely a winner for delicious, family-friendly meals. They also have take out family meal deals if you want to grab something to go!
127 Bruce St, Sevierville, TN
Iron Forge Brewing Co.
Set back off the main road in Sevierville behind the Apple Barn lies Iron Forge Brewing Co, a brand new brewery and restaurant. The place is just beautiful with indoor and outdoor seating and a menu that is small but mighty.
The owners told me they thoughtfully picked their menu to give guests the very best of what they could offer for appetizers, entrees, salads, and desserts. I thought the menu was just the right size and wish my stomach was bigger because I could have ordered so many things off of it!
We ended up getting fried cheese curds to start, a strawberry salad, and three different smash burgers. Everything was amazing. I would a hundred percent go back for those cheese curds though plus order a hanging Bavarian pretzel with beer cheese because I have a weakness for soft pretzels.
All the beers at Iron Forge are brewed right on site. I tried a few and loved the lighter Bee Bait, a honey wheat ale. The brewery is both family-friendly and dog-friendly with a kids menu and outdoor games like cornhole and ax throwing (don’t worry, the axes are plastic). They also have Singo nights, which is bingo but with songs!
371 Lonesome Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN
Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin
A true Southern pancake house, Flapjack’s has everything you could ever want for a hearty breakfast: pancakes, French toast, omelets, egg platters, chicken & waffles, skillets, and more. The pancakes we got were super fluffy and delicious. Service was excellent, friendly, and fast.
My youngest daughter loved the Jr. Bear pancakes, which are pancakes arranged and decorated to look like a bear. My favorite was my husband’s order of Banana Nut Pancakes and the candied bacon.
If Annie, the General Manager, is there, be sure to thank her if you like your meal. She is the sweetest person and strives so hard to make Flapjacks a place you want to come back to again and again.
They are open for breakfast and an early lunch so be sure to go in the mornings! And while Flapjack’s is a local eatery, they have several locations in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and even one in Myrtle Beach, SC.
The iconic gas station convenience store is now open in Sevierville and it’s massive. With 74,000 square feet of retail space, you won’t find any shortage of culinary options here.
They have amazing brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, bakery items, salads, a wall of beef jerky, coffee, banana pudding, key lime pudding, and tons more. I’m not going to tell you how many times we went to Buc-ee’s on our trip to Sevierville but it was more than a couple of times!
Buc-ee’s Blvd, Sevierville, TN
Apple Barn & Cider Mill
Built in 1910, the Apple Barn & Cider Mill is one of Sevierville’s oldest establishments. There are even several apple trees around the property (you cannot do u-pick so don’t try). They have a huge barn full of homemade apple products, mixes, and home goods. They make their own apple cider, which you can buy by the gallon. They make their own cider donuts, hard cider, candy, and one of our favorites: ice cream.
The Ice Cream Factory at the Apple Barn opened in 1991 and is an old-fashioned creamery. It is a must-do when you visit Sevierville. We had such a hard time choosing what flavors to have.
I eventually went with Key Lime Pie and both my kids had a Rocky Road-type flavor. All the ice cream and baked goods are made right there so you’re getting everything as fresh as possible.
There is a restaurant as well there but we did not get a chance to try it. For those who love Christmas, visit the Christmas and Candle Shop.
230 Apple Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN
Where to Play
Within a ten-minute drive, you can find all kinds of fun places to play in Sevierville. Here are the ones we’ve tried!
The Pines Downtown
For a piece of Dolly Parton history, hand-tossed pizza, and fun games for the whole family, you must try the Pines in Historic Downtown Sevierville. This laid-back establishment was the very first place that Dolly sang when she was only 10-years-old on the Cas Walker Show.
Today, you can play all kinds of board games, soccer pool, arcade games, duckpin bowling, and tabletop games at the Pines. It really fosters an atmosphere of having fun with your family and loved ones.
They serve sandwiches, appetizers, cheesesteaks, hand-tossed pizza, and cinnamon bread plus have a full bar. Everyone is really nice here and we ended up going twice during our trip because it was so fun!
230 Court Ave, Sevierville, TN
RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo
RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo focuses on education about animals in the rainforest. They are a family-owned operation and have been in business since the early 2000s. The zoo is beautifully structured with a huge gift shop that you’ll see when you first walk in. Once you get your tickets, you’ll head for the exhibits.
There are all kinds of interesting animals – many of which I had never even seen or heard of – that we got to learn about and see. Lemurs, lizards, macaws, toucans, monkeys, porcupines, and snakes all greet visitors and placards urge guests to read about each one and learn something cool about them. For example, I had no idea that venom from snakes has been used in cancer treatments.
They also have a few axolotls, a really unique salamander that lives in only one lake in the entire world. They are crazy cool because they can regrow limbs and some internal organs.
The Zoo also has a petting area for sheep and goats. You can feed them for a small cost. My kids loved getting to feed the cute and feisty goats. Plus, there were baby goats so that made me happy! My kids are 12 and 8 and really enjoyed this zoo.
109 Nascar Dr, Sevierville, TN
Skyland Ranch occupies 100 acres on top of a mountain in Sevierville. They are a new attraction and have some pretty neat things going on. For example, they’ve got the biggest mountain coaster in the Southeast at more than a mile in length. We tried it out and had so much fun running those rails.
They also have a relaxing chair lift up to the top of the mountain (or a shuttle if you’re scared of the lift), miniature horses, goats, and a lot of great entertainment.
When we were there, we got to see a very talented cowboy show off his gun-twirling, whip-snapping, and rope-swinging skills. We also got a taste of an awesome band who played some fantastic country music songs and we danced along to line dances in the evening. Your admission to Skyland Ranch is good for a whopping three days! Read our full review on SkyLand Ranch for all the details.
1620 Parkway, Sevierville, TN
With trampolines, a Ninja Warrior course, and a huge laser tag room, the 38,000 square foot Sevier Air is the perfect place to spend time indoors on a hot, cold, or rainy day. Weather always changes fast in the mountains and this place is perfect for the entire family to burn out energy.
266 Collier Dr, Sevierville, TN
Where to Stay
The Ridge Outdoor Resort
We stayed at The Ridge Outdoor Resort, a beautiful resort in the heart of Sevierville that has RV slips, glamping tents, and tiny homes. Our lodging was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom glamping tent with a living space, kitchen, and huge porch. It was fantastic! I couldn’t believe how much space there was inside this tent and how comfortable it was. All their tents have both AC and heat.
The resort also has two zero-entry pools, a lazy river, a catch & release pond, a deli and laundry facility on-site, two fenced in dog parks, a playground, a game room, and one of the pools has a hot tub. The place is also ideally located in Sevierville.
It’s not right in the middle of all the action so it’s very peaceful and tranquil but you won’t need to drive further than 10-15 minutes to get anywhere you want to go. We really loved our stay here and you can read our full review of The Ridge Outdoor Resort to plan your own trip.
1250 Middle Creek Rd, Sevierville, TN
Wilderness at the Smokies
This family-friendly hotel has three waterparks on-site, including Tennessee’s largest indoor waterpark. You won’t even need to leave the resort for entertainment and dining once you get there. Rooms are spacious and some suites offer bunk beds for kids. And it’s directly across the street from Soaky Mountain Waterpark. Read our Wilderness at the Smokies Review.
1424 Old Knoxville Hwy, Sevierville, TN
Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort
Stay in a covered wagon or tipi at this resort in Sevierville, TN for the ultimate pioneer adventure. The resort is close to Soaky Mountain and minutes from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Smokies. Read our Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort.
660 Gists Creek Road, Sevierville, TN
Making Memories in Sevierville
Ready to go to Sevierville, TN? We only scratched the surface of all the things to do there in East Tennessee, not even mentioning the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the treasure it truly is. This area is absolutely one of our very favorites to visit and we just fall in love with it again and again every time we go – we think you will, too.
Here are a couple of other attractions and things to do you might want to consider on your trip:
Visit Sevierville is an excellent resource for more things to do in the area and places to stay. Before and during my stay, I referenced their website and visitors’ guide multiple times. They also have discounts on their site for different attractions so it’s certainly worth a visit.
A one-of-a-kind experience awaits at SkyLand Ranch in Sevierville, TN, just under three hours from Greenville, SC, with its scenic views, miniature animals, amazing entertainment, and thrilling mountain coaster.
Thank you to Visit Sevierville for hosting us at SkyLand Ranch.
I had heard about SkyLand Ranch in Sevierville, TN when they first opened up in the fall of 2022 and had it on my radar to go when I got the chance because it just looked really cool with its peaceful and relaxing chair lift, thrilling mountain coaster, and gorgeous views. Let me say: I was not disappointed in my visit to SkyLand Ranch!
About SkyLand Ranch
SkyLand Ranch is a new attraction in Sevierville, TN, just under three hours from Greenville, SC, that sits on 100 acres on top of a mountain. Owners Lisa and Mark Williford are longtime mountain coaster operators and wanted to bring something new to Sevierville that tells the story of life on a ranch but with that thrilling ride of a mountain coaster and fantastic entertainment.
The decor of SkyLand Ranch is gorgeous. White barns, dark rocking chairs, natural wood structures, and a stunning skywalk that overlooks the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is what you can expect there.
The entire experience is unlike other attractions in the Smokies and you can tell that the owners put a lot of thought into the guest experience. Yet this is just the beginning. They plan to expand their offerings, which we’ll write about when they happen.
Getting up to SkyLand Ranch
The actual ranch is on top of a mountain, which you’ll reach either by a relaxing chair lift ride or a shuttle bus. After getting over my initial fears of chair lifts and my feet dangling high above solid ground, I have truly grown to love these lifts. The open air and views are a huge draw. I still hold onto my kids (not my sunglasses though…RIP) tightly but I’m no longer scared of these lifts.
The ride up to the mountain is not that long, maybe 10 minutes, and if you’ve been on other chair lifts in the area, this one is not as steep. But if you’re not into chair lifts, just take the shuttle up.
Once you get up there, take as much time as you like to explore all that SkyLand Ranch offers.
Wild Stallion Mountain Coaster
While I’d say it’s usually hard to choose a favorite activity at any of the cool places in Sevierville I’ve visited, it wasn’t hard at SkyLand Ranch. The Wild Stallion Mountain Coaster was our favorite thing we did at the ranch.
I rode with my youngest daughter, 8, while my other daughter, 12, rode by herself, as did my husband. I think that for the older kids, riding by themselves gives them this great sense of independence, which is a lot of fun for them (and us parents to see).
The coaster is the longest in the Southeast at 1.25 miles long. You’ll be on it for about eight minutes and you can control how fast or slow you go. Being the daredevil Jersey girl I am, I hit it fast until my daughter told me I needed to slow down for her sake. Well, okay.
The views from the coaster are also stunning. You can see the Smoky Mountains in the distance, including Mt. LeConte, which my daughters and I hiked this summer. Big accomplishment that I like to remind them about so we can do it again! You can see the strip of the beginning of Pigeon Forge as well and all throughout Sevierville. It’s beautiful.
While we rode the coaster during the day, you can also ride it late into the night for a totally other experience because you can see the flickering lights of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Plus, you get to basically ride a coaster in the dark. It’s like Space Mountain but way better. How cool is that? I was really hoping to do this but we just ran out of time. Gotta go back.
To ride the Wild Stallion, kids must be at least three years old and 38” tall to ride. All riders under 54” tall must ride with an adult.
The coaster is an add-on to your admission price but you can also just go to SkyLand Ranch to ride the coaster and not go up to the mountain. You can view all the ticket options on the SkyLand Ranch website. If you do the combo ticket, which includes admission + the mountain coaster and you want to ride the coaster again, it’s just $10/person for the next ride. The coaster is open until 11 pm while the ranch closes at 8 pm.
When we got off the chair lift at the top of the mountain to see the ranch, we were fortunate enough to arrive just in time for one of the shows. We got to see a cowboy show us his best Billy the Kid gun twirling and whip snapping moves before he got to some serious rope swinging action.
We loved watching his amazing talents and getting to see some old Western skills that you really don’t get to see elsewhere. He was fantastic and a great introduction to Skyland Ranch.
Not long after the cowboy performed, a local band setup to start their country music set. They were really good! They did some cover songs and a couple of their own, which I loved. I’m a big country music fan so I thoroughly enjoyed their music.
A lot of people took to the rocking chairs in the shade and just hung out, ate lunch, and enjoyed the entertainment. It was definitely relaxing. My husband and daughters played cornhole while we listened to the music. It was great.
In the evening, we came back up the mountain to go line dancing, which was awesome. Even though I grew up in New Jersey, I’m a country girl at heart because my parents actually took my siblings and I line dancing. Yes, there were several places to go line dancing in NJ. So I got to show my kids what a great line dancer I was and I think they thought I was cool for five seconds. Proud parenting moment.
There is also a cute little playground that is partially shaded and a big area with picnic tables next to the playground that is totally shaded for parents to hang out or to have lunch or dinner.
Gem mining is available and there are three options: the large gemstone package is $10 plus tax, the Emerald Bay package is $12.00 plus tax, and the BIG BAG package is $30.00 plus tax. You have access to the mining for as long as you like. It is not time based. The gem mine is located next to the playground. SkyLand Ranch also has BB gun shooting range, the SkyLand Shootout BB Gun Shooting Range, which costs $9.99 plus tax for 15 minutes of unlimited shooting.
Definitely don’t miss the big sky walk called Legacy Lookout. You can read about the history of Sevierville as well as learn what mountains you’re looking at in the distance and get incredible photos of you and your family.
The ranch has daily entertainment so be sure to check the website before you go or give them a call to see what’s on the schedule.
Animals at the Ranch
SkyLand Ranch has several miniature horses and there are even goats to play with. Y’all know how much I love goats. They were our first stop once we got off the chair lift.
I was so surprised at just how clean the animal enclosures were. They were nearly spotless. Actually, everything at SkyLand Ranch was spotless.
Once you are on the chair lift, you’ll get a view of the donkeys and alpacas, which are adorable. They have sheep and longhorns at the ranch.
Shopping & Dining
You don’t go all the way up to the mountain not to have food and shopping. There’s both a food court with pizza, sandwiches, and ice cream plus food trucks at SkyLand Ranch. The food trucks have BBQ, nachos, soft pretzels, street corn (delicious), and burgers.
There is no shortage of retail therapy to be had at SkyLand Ranch either. They have a huge store up on the mountain with quality apparel, cowboy and cowgirl hats, Western toys and games, SkyLand Ranch branded items, mugs, sparkly dresses, and all kinds of neat stuff. I almost walked out of there with a pink sparkle cowgirl hat.
Here’s the cool thing about admission to SkyLand Ranch: your ticket is good for three days of admission. Three days. You don’t find that anywhere in that area.
Ticket prices are $21.99/ages 10+, $12.99/ages 3-9, and free/ages 2 and under. Season passes are also offered at SkyLand Ranch.
Free parking is available as well. Dogs are not allowed due to the ranch having animals of its own. Service animals are accepted.
If you want to be close to all that the Sevierville, TN area has to offer but not be in the middle of crowds, The Ridge Outdoor Resort is the place to be. Kristina and her family spent a couple of nights here exploring what the resort in Sevierville has to offer and she’s got all the details on how to plan a great family trip here.
Thank you to Visit Sevierville for inviting us to stay at The Ridge Outdoor Resort.
When on vacation, I love to try new things and experience unique adventures. But I also enjoy some downtime and relaxation and The Ridge Outdoor Resort in Sevierville, TN is absolutely perfect for both of those goals – and it’s just three hours from Greenville, SC.
My family and I stayed in one of their glamping tents and had such a great time exploring Sevierville but also hanging out at the pools and resting up for our next adventures. Here’s why I think you’ll love a stay at The Ridge Outdoor Resort.
About The Ridge Outdoor Resort
Having only opened in 2019, The Ridge Outdoor Resort has already established itself as one of the area’s best luxury RV and camping and glamping resorts. They have multiple options for lodging, many amenities, and they are surrounded by 50 acres of Smoky Mountain beauty.
The Ridge Outdoor Resort currently has more than 150 RV sites, eight glamping canvas tents, and five luxury tiny homes. They have two zero entry pools, a hot tub, two bathhouses, two dog parks, a catch-and-release pond, laundry, on-site deli, playground, kids room with games, and fitness center.
We really enjoyed our time at the two pools located at the resort. Both are zero-entry pools, which are perfect for smaller kids who can’t swim well or at all.
The pool closest to the main building at the resort has a hot tub and the pool is about five feet deep. They also have umbrellas and chairs you can relax in right in the shallow water in the pool. I loved that! There’s a bathhouse right next to the pool if you need.
The other pool, located on the opposite end of the resort, has a small lazy river and covered tables and chairs plus bathrooms. My kids went around that lazy river a seemingly infinite number of times, with and without tubes.
There are tubes provided plus plenty of lounge chairs at both pools, which is really nice for catching up on all that reading I had been meaning to do. There are large umbrellas if you’d like to sit in the shade and plenty of sunny spots if that’s your thing.
You can request pool towels from the registration desk.
Our Glamping Tent
I’ve stayed in glamping tents before but none as large and accommodating as our two-bedroom, one bathroom tent at the Ridge Resort. It was amazing!
There is a huge porch with a gas fire pit, oversized chairs, and a picnic table. Once you step inside, there’s a good size living space with a table, sofa, and television plus a kitchen. Head down the hallway and there’s a full bathroom and two bedrooms. I was impressed with how much they fit into this tent.
Tents all have air conditioning and heat so you can stay any time of the year and be comfortable. We stayed during July and it was really, really hot but the tent was cool, especially at night. Because it is a tent not with solid walls, the air conditioning and fans are louder than they are in a house but honestly, it didn’t bother me at all. I sleep with a white noise machine so this was actually perfect. I wish I could have spent a longer amount of time here because it was so comfortable and relaxing. For our family of four, it was the perfect size and never felt cramped.
I especially loved the porch because it somehow got a nice breeze even in 90+ degree heat during the day. I had morning coffee out there and didn’t want to leave. As of this writing, glamping tents are offered at $210/night. Some are pet friendly.
Tiny Homes & RV Slips
There are five tiny homes at the Ridge Resort that can sleep anywhere from 1-6 guests and come with all the modern amenities of glamping: a kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. Each tiny house also has AC and heat so they can be enjoyed year-round.
I don’t have an RV so I’m truly not well-versed in RV language but the Ridge Resort offers both Premiere and Signature sites. All sites include all the amenities at the resort plus the Signature sites also have an outdoor wood-burning fireplace, outdoor television, grill and individual hot tub. I may need to start researching RVs.
Fishing, Golf Carts, Kids Room & Other Amenities
The amenities at the Ridge Resort are awesome and family-friendly. While our favorites were the two pools and hot tub, the resort also offers golf cart rentals, a golf simulator, free wifi, two dog parks, and seasonal activities.
They also have a deli on site that you can order food from right from your phone. There are plenty of restrooms and bathhouses at either end of the resort plus a camp store if you need any last-minute items.
If you are like me and absolutely love Jeeps, you can rent one from the resort to bop around in during your time in Sevierville. They are $125/day + tax.
Overall Mom Review
Looking for The Ridge Outdoor Resort reviews? Here’s our mom review.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Ridge Outdoor Resort in Sevierville, TN with my family. They just made it so easy to relax, which I find is often a tough thing to do in my daily life. Besides the pools and the beautiful glamping tent, my favorite thing was the location.
We had to drive no more than 10 minutes to get anywhere we needed to go. Everything was so close but we weren’t in the midst of all the action, just close to it, which made our trip there so much more peaceful and relaxing.
If you’re looking for a unique glamping experience with lots of amenities in an ideal location in Sevierville, The Ridge Outdoor Resort is it.
As of July 2023, the new Buc-ee’s in Sevierville, TN, just three hours from Greenville, SC, is the largest in the world and it’s incredible. Kristina took the plunge and visited this massive beaver wonderland and has all the details. Thanks to Visit Sevierville for inviting us to experience their beautiful town!
I’ve been a Buc-ee’s fan for several years having been introduced to the amazing wonder that is the massive gas station/shopping haven/jerky and fudge operation when I’ve traveled to Texas where the original Buc-ee’s started. The largest one in the world opened just three hours from Greenville, SC in Sevierville, TN and I could not wait to go. I was counting down the days till my next Buc-ee’s experience and it did not disappoint.
The original Buc-ee’s popped up in 1982 in Clute, Texas and the cute little beaver with buck teeth became the mascot for the gas station convenience store. But everything is bigger in Texas, and Buc-ee’s is no exception. In 2003, the brand started to expand and hasn’t stopped. It’s long since been a destination for travelers.
They are probably the most famous for their endless flavors of beef jerky, made in-house, and their Beaver Nugget snacks. I have no idea what they are but people love them. I happen to really enjoy their brisket sandwiches, fudge, and jerky. Everything is pretty awesome there though and you can’t go wrong stopping in.
One thing that Buc-ee’s always gets high praise for is their spacious, clean restrooms. It felt like there were dozens of stalls in the bathroom. Everything was perfectly clean and there was no waiting in line for the women’s restroom, a big win in my book. Plus, clean bathrooms are always a win.
Buc-ee’s: Sevierville, TN
The new location in Sevierville, Tennessee of Buc-ee’s defies all imagination. Whatever you think it will look like, think bigger. Much bigger.
The Buc-ee’s in Sevier County opened Monday, June 26, 2023, off Interstate 40 as the largest travel center and Buc-ee’s location.
There are 120 gas pumps and the gas there was cheaper by far, like 15 cents a gallon at least, than anywhere else on our drive from Greenville to Tennessee.
The car wash is 250 feet long. That’s a little less than 100 feet short of a football field.
The retail space is a whopping 74,000 square feet and it’s truly a sight to behold. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t know where to go first when you walk into Buc-ee’s in Sevierville. It’s ok, a friendly Buc-ee’s employee will greet you and help you out if needed. Everyone at Buc-ee’s is ridiculously nice and kind and they look like they are having a blast working there. They literally do cheers at registers. I don’t know what for but it’s fun.
From the lady who was making the fudge to the guy cutting up the brisket to the woman who helped us get into a fitting room to try on Buc-ee’s shorts and bathing suits, everyone was so awesome and nice.
Buc-ee’s is known for paying their employees well and posts all around the store and outside that they are looking for help and what their pay scale is. They start pay at $17/hour at the Sevierville location.
One of the neat things about Buc-ee’s in Sevierville is that it is part of a larger project called the 407: Gateway to the Smokies, a plan put in place by the Eastern Band of Cherokees to convert 200 acres into a tourist destination and entertainment facility. Ground was broken in 2020 and Buc-ee’s is the first major retailer to set up shop.
What you can buy at Buc-ee’s
Really, the question is what can’t you buy at Buc-ee’s? Need some snorkeling gear? They have it. Need glassware or a cutting board? They have it. Need a cozy set of pajamas? They have it.
Need a lunch box or cooler? They have it. Need hunting gear? They have it. Need toys for Christmas? They have them. Need shoes or bathing suits or flannel shirts or hats? They have all of that. Need tea towels and jewelry and lavender-scented pillow spray? They’ve got those.
Plan to spend some significant time here to look through all the cool stuff they have. It’s truly a lot of fun.
The food at the store is also really, really tasty. You’re gonna want to risk it for the brisket here. Fun fact: Eight-time world BBQ champion Randy Pauly is the director of barbecue at Buc-ee’s. He extensively trains staff on how to make the brisket just right.
They also have an assortment of chicken and club sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, and subs. You can get banana pudding, cookie dough balls, or key lime pie cups for dessert.
Definitely don’t miss their bakery and homemade fudge section, which is enormous, as is everything at Buc-ee’s. They make their fudge right in front of you and it’s very tempting not to buy as much as you can carry.
How to Find Buc-ee’s in Sevierville
You’ll start seeing billboards for Buc-ee’s about 90 miles away when you drive from the Upstate. It’s a great motivator to skip bathroom breaks and make a beeline for the beaver. Buc-ee’s is right off of I-40 West at exit 407.
There’s a relatively new waterpark in Sevierville, TN called Soaky Mountain Waterpark. The park is right outside of Gatlinburg and we have all the details. Kristina took her kids to Soaky Mountain and shares information about the park and tips on how best to enjoy it with your family so you can plan your own visit to Soaky Mountain Waterpark.