Heading to Chattanooga, Tennessee for a road trip? You may want to check out the Tennessee Aquarium for a visit with the fish, penguins, rainforest creatures, and more!
Traveling to Chattanooga?
Heading to Chattanooga, Tennessee for a road trip? You may want to check out the Tennessee Aquarium for a visit with the fish, penguins, rainforest creatures, and more!
Traveling to Chattanooga?
Is your family planning a vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee? There are so many fun things to do in Gatlinburg, TN and the Pigeon Forge area that we have put together a full Gatlinburg Travel Guide for you. Our guide is full of places to visit in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. We share attractions, places to eat, suggestions on where to stay, and more for this East Tennessee region vacation destination.
A few tips:
Check out these Gatlinburg attractions and things to do near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN.
This mountaintop village theme park hosts a Rail Runner alpine coaster, ziplining, stunning gardens, a beer garden, a village with restaurants and shopping, an outdoor movie space, a treehouse play area, seasonal-themed events, and an awesome Chondola ride up and down the mountain. Admission ticket prices range from $20 – $29. The alpine coaster, Astra Lumina light display, gem mining, and ziplining are extra costs. You’ll want to read our Anakeesta review of tips and tricks on how to make the most of your visit to Anakeesta.
576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN
Read our KA review of Anakeesta to see how amazing this place is!
PINK Jeep Smoky Mountain Tours
Ride around in a bright pink Jeep and see all the very best sights in the Great Smoky Mountains and get the adrenaline going with their 4×4 off-roading course, built especially for PINK Jeeps. Tickets depend on the tour you choose but kids ages 18 months+ are able to do the tours and costs range from $57-$74 per person. Our PINK Jeep review gives you the lowdown on what to expect with the tour.
3152 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN
A truly fun experience for the whole family, Wonderworks is an indoor entertainment facility with a glow-in-the-dark ropes course, a 3-D roller coaster, a bubble room, laser tag, a climbing wall, an earthquake simulator, and tons more. You can easily spend all day here but allow at least two hours at Wonderworks to really do everything, more if you see the magic show (extra charge). Read our review of Wonderworks to get all the details.
100 Music Road, Pigeon Forge
Wonderworks could easily fill up a day of adventure while in Pigeon Forge. Learn more in our KA review of Wonderworks!
The iconic theme park is fun to visit any time of the year but they do have special events for summer, fall (a big pumpkinfest), and winter (a huge festival with a nightly parade and lights). The new Wildwood Grove encourages guests to explore their imaginations with an indoor black-lit playground, splash pad, rides for the whole family, and the new DragonFly coaster. Our KA Dollywood review will tell you all the best places to visit while at Dollywood. Adult tickets are $89 and kids are $79/each ages 4-9.
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN
Dollywood’s Splash Country
A wet and wild theme park that opens right next to the Dollywood theme park over the summer, Splash Country has a wave pool, multiple water slides, a lazy river, concessions, and a tube coaster. We love this theme park and it’s on our must-do list every summer! For the 2021 season tickets were $49.95/ages 10-61, $39.95/ages 4-9, and $39.95/senior citizens 62+. Parking is $15/day.
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN
Read our Dollywood Splash Country review, written by a local mom with lots of tips. Learn about the best things to do at the park.
Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show
If you don’t know, the Hatfield and McCoy families were two groups who really hated each other in rural West Virginia in the 1800s. The show is a dinner theater experience so you get all-you-can-eat soup, rolls, pulled pork, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slow, and corn plus a dessert. This was the best meal I had while in Pigeon Forge and my kids loved it as well. At the end of this show, you’ll leave feeling full and happy. The total time you’re in the theater is a little over two-and-a-half hours. Tickets are $59.99/adults and $34.99/kids ages 3-11 and under 2 are free.
119 Music Road, Pigeon Forge
Experience the history of the Titanic, and the stories of those aboard, at the Titanic Museum. You’ll find hands on exhibits, an audio tour, and even the largest Titanic replica ever built out of lego bricks! Want to know more? Check out our KA review of the Titanic Museum.
2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN
Learn why the Titanic Museum is a must-see when visiting Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!
Wild Bear Falls Water Park
This is an enormous indoor waterpark at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa in Gatlinburg. It’s open year-round and you can go even if you’re not a guest at the resort.
915 Westgate Resorts Road, Gatlinburg, TN
Dolly Parton’s Stampede
This is one of the more popular shows in Pigeon Forge and features horse stunts, lots of special effects, and a four-course meal plus dessert. Families love this show especially.
3849 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN
Lots of energy and fun at this dinner show in Pigeon Forge, the newest show to come to town. Kids will love the mermaids and pirate fights plus the water features of the show are always fun.
2713 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (and other Ripley’s attractions)
This aquarium was voted best in the nation with sharks, sea turtles, penguins, and a glass-bottomed boat and it sits right in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. You can read our review of the aquarium plus other reviews of Ripley’s attractions in Gatlinburg such as the Mirror Maze, 5D moving theater, and Guinness World Records Museum.
88 River Road, Gatlinburg, TN
Soaky Mountain Waterpark
Located just 15-20 minutes north of Gatlinburg is an enormous 50-acre waterpark with tons of slides, a lazy river, watercoasters, and a 35,000 wave pool. You will learn everything you need to know before going in our KA review of Soaky Mountain Waterpark.
175 Gists Creek Road, Sevierville, TN
Ole Smoky Moonshine
The distillery is the oldest in the state and you can taste several moonshine varieties for $5 – they are really good! Be sure to try the Buckeye if you like peanut butter. You can also see how moonshine is made through the glass walls of the distillery at the Holler in Gatlinburg, which totally counts for homeschooling your kids.
Locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
This snow tubing place is open all year round because it’s indoors! This place has real snow for the tubing lanes plus a snow area where kids can build forts and snowmen. Plus, it’s always around 60-70 degrees inside so you aren’t freezing. Kids must be 38″ tall to tube. If not, you can buy them a ticket just to play in the snow. Tickets start at $29.99 for an hour of snow tubing and at $36.99 for tubing plus 30 minutes of snow play. No reservations are needed. See our full review here.
2533 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN
Learn why Pigeon Forge Snow is such an epic place to play while visiting Pigeon Forge!
Just opened in 2019, the SkyBridge is a mile high and has a glass bottom in the center. It is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America and overlooks this mountain town and the surrounding Smoky Mountains. You have to take a chair lift up to the mountain to access the SkyBridge. Buy tickets in advance online to save a couple of dollars off each ticket. Read more in our KA review of the Gatlinburg SkyBridge here.
765 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN
I’m not big into shopping but the Boot Factory Outlet was awesome. They have amazing customer service – people who help you until you find what you want and make suggestions. They seem to genuinely care about service. I was blown away. The outlet offers a continuous deal of buy one pair of boots and get two free. I had to see it for myself because that didn’t seem real. It was! I walked out with three fantastic pairs of boots for my family, all well-made and of excellent quality. Highly recommend.
1842 Winfield Dunn Pkwy, Sevierville, TN
This is such a cool experience that we recommend for anyone looking for a super unique adventure underground. The Lost Sea tour explores the expansive Craighead Caverns with its rare rock formations. But the coolest part is the boat ride in the underground lake! You can read our KA review of The Lost Sea Adventure to learn more. It’s about an hour and 20 minutes from the Gatlinburg area. Visit Sweetwater Valley Farm nearby for awesome grilled cheese and milkshakes.
140 Lost Sea Road, Sweetwater, TN 423.337.6616
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The park is the most visited in the whole country, with over 11 million people visiting every year. And there is no admission cost whatsoever. The park boasts over 850 miles of hiking trails plus two long stretches where you can drive to see wildlife and take in the natural beauty of the area.
Get up to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the park, or Newfound Gap for stunning views of the smokies. Cruise through Cades Cove or Roaring Fork Motor Trail to see if you can spot black bears. Read more in our KA review of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all there is to do and see in the Smokies.
Please note that since March 1, 2023, the National Park has instituted parking fees to be able to handle the millions of visitors each year. Parking tags must be displayed anywhere in the Park, except for cars spending 15 minutes or less there. Fees are $5/single day, $15/up to 7 days, and $40/annual parking pass. You can buy them at the Visitor Centers or online.
See Elk in Cherokee or Cataloochee Valley
Elk were originally native to the area and have been reintroduced. They are thriving thanks to the protection of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Guests can see the majestic animals at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee, NC, right outside the park, or in the Cataloochee Valley. In the fall, the bulls loudly bugle and it’s quite the animal sound to hear!
The Smoky Mountains have some desirable swimming holes during the hot summer months. One is the Townsend Wye right near the entrance to the park in Townsend, TN. It’s a huge swimming hole with small rapids for tubing and deeper waters for swimming. The National Park’s official stance on swimming is that it discourages it.
Trout are stocked in the miles of rivers and streams that cut through the Smokies and visitors are allowed to fish from those waterways. In Tennessee, both residents and non-residents ages 13 or older must have a fishing license. In North Carolina, ages 16 and older need a license. Fishing is permitted all throughout the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Every year around June, the synchronous fireflies appear in the Smoky Mountains to do their annual mating dance. And it is a sight to see! Millions of these fireflies light up all around you then go quiet for about eight seconds and then light up again.
It is completely fascinating to see and we highly recommend trying to get a lottery ticket or booking a campsite at Elkmont during that time of year to see them. To enter the lottery, you pay $1 and if you win, your parking pass is $25. A campsite at Elkmont is around $30.
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas
The experience at Dollywood at Christmastime deserves its own review because it is so beautiful and enchanting. You and your kids can step into a life-size snow globe, watch a nativity show, and enjoy the rides. They have beautiful light displays as well. It’s an amazing time to visit the amusement park. Read what we loved about the Smoky Mountain Christmas in our review.
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN
Winterfest in Pigeon Forge
From the end of November until early February, Pigeon Forge is decked out in Christmas lights and guests can ride the trolley all around town (small fee) to check out the beautiful decorations. Shows and events correspond with the Christmas theme and the whole town becomes a winter wonderland. It’s totally free to drive around and see all the lights. Learn more with our KA review of Winterfest and be sure to pick up the guide that the City of Pigeon Forge offers, which includes coupons.
There are hundreds of places to stay in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area. All of these places we list below are places we have personally stayed at and where we’ve had excellent experiences. Reviews are all linked below. If you are not staying in a Gatlinburg cabin, then these campgrounds and hotels are the best there is for a family-friendly vacation Gatlinburg vacation. So, start planning your lodging today!
You can also use the map below from Stay 22 to find other options! When you book through the map and links, we may earn through an affiliate relationship with Stay22.
Margaritaville Island Hotel
A stay at this beautiful and trendy hotel will be a relaxing experience. Margarita makers are in every room and balconies overlook either the river or the Island at Pigeon Forge. You can explore the Island, take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, grab a margarita at the bar (or in your room), and just chill. Read our KA review of Margaritaville Island Hotel to learn why it is such a great option.
131 The Island Dr, Pigeon Forge, TN
Greystone Lodge By the River
One of the very last family-owned hotels in Gatlinburg, the Greystone dates back originally to the early 1960s and has become the go-to hotel for generations of families. The location cannot be beaten as it is steps from the aquarium and across the street from Anakeesta, within walking distance to shops and restaurants.
They also have a great pool and free breakfast. It’s perfect for families looking to have a restful and accommodating place to call home during their trip. We stayed there and absolutely loved it.
559 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN
Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge
A water slide, pool, beautiful rooms, on-site restaurant, arcade, and amazing staff make this spot an incredible place to stay. Relaxation and fun are perfectly balanced here. Read our review of Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge to plan your own trip.
149 Cates Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN
Kicking up the glamping a notch further is Camp LeConte, which offers a treehouse, safari tents, and a retro camper. You can even catch the trolley into Gatlinburg from the campground. Depending on the time of year, the two-person safari tent starts at around $136/night. Read our KA review of Camp LeConte and learn why we love it so much.
1739 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN
The Westgate Smokies is a beautiful resort overlooking Gatlinburg that has lots of different room types to choose from, a huge indoor water park, spa, zip line, mini-golf, two outdoor heated pools, and a fabulous restaurant. Read our review KA review of the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort to learn more.
915 Westgate Resorts Road, Gatlinburg, TN
Be blown away by the 17-room game mansion in Gatlinburg! It has more than 300 indoor and outdoor games and sleeps up to 20 people. This is perfect for a multi-family or big friends vacation and is about 15 minutes from the main strip in Gatlinburg.
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 review of the Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort to get a good idea of why it’s so cool!
660 Gists Creek Road, Sevierville, TN
Foothills RV Park & Cabins
If you are not into tent camping but are still looking for a cheaper option than a hotel, Foothills has bare-bones cabins to rent where you bring your own linens/sleeping bags and pillows. This is a good option if you’re really trying to stay within a budget but want someplace clean and comfortable.
The location is right on the cusp of Pigeon Forge and maybe ten minutes from Gatlinburg. Camping cabins are rented from April through October and start at $58/night.
4235 Huskey St, Pigeon Forge, TN
Inn on the River
The Inn on the River has pretty awesome amenities like both indoor and outdoor pools, free breakfast, free popcorn, hot chocolate, coffee, and tea, a free gift bag for kids, and really nice staff. Plus, they are located right on the main strip in Pigeon Forge and within walking distance to several restaurants and attractions. Read our KA review of the Inn on the River to help you decide where to lodge.
2492 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, 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. Learn why we love Wilderness at the Smokies for families in our KA review!
1424 Old Knoxville Hwy, Sevierville, TN
If you’re not headed to a lunch or dinner show, there are plenty of options to enjoy a good meal. Gatlinburg is known as the Pancake Capital of the World so be sure to hit up a good pancake house while you’re there.
Gatlinburg’s first pancake house, which opened in 1960, is hugely popular. Get there when they open and bring cash since they don’t take credit cards.
628 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN
Log Cabin Pancake House
Opening in 1976, the Log Cabin Pancake House serves up breakfast all day long and also has delicious pancakes (of course).
327 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN
Apple Barn & Cider Mill
The fried apple pies and apple cider donuts are what people usually come to the Apple Barn for. It’s worth it. Both are delicious and well-worth the calories.
230 Apple Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN
The Old Mill Restaurant
This is the place that people who have been to Pigeon Forge will recommend. They have generous portions and authentic, local Southern cuisine. Country fried steak, cornbread, and chowder are staples of a great meal here. They served breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
164 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN
Cliff Tops Bar & Grill at Anakeesta
If you are spending a day up on the mountain at Anakeesta, the Cliff Tops Grill & Bar is a great place to grab lunch or dinner. The Brisket Philly Cheesesteak is especially tasty and the kids meal of mac & cheese is also quite delicious.
576 Parkway Suite A, Gatlinburg, TN
Big Daddy’s Pizza
With a handful of locations in both towns, Big Daddy’s is a decent option for families who want something simple, easy, and pleasing to everyone.
Various locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN
The flagstone restaurant at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg, Southern Comfort serves up Lowcountry cuisine with a Cajun twist. It’s delicious and you’ll want to keep coming back for more. The hospitality is just as sweet as the s’mores dessert.
915 Westgate Resorts Road, Gatlinburg, TN
Looking for more travel ideas? Check out our Travel Guide, with ideas for travel throughout the Southeast and beyond!
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!(more…)
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:
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Within a ten-minute drive, you can find all kinds of fun places to play in Sevierville. Here are the ones we’ve tried!
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 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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1620 Parkway, Sevierville TN
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Ridge Outdoor Resort
1250 Middle Creek Rd, Sevierville, TN
If your kids love fish and ocean life, a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee should be on your list. The attraction is a super neat experience. You’ll see live shows, learn about creatures in the touch tanks, walk under sharks swimming above you in an underwater tunnel, and so much more. We have everything you need to know to plan your trip to this family-friendly and educational attraction.
Thanks to Ripley’s for the media tickets so we could do this review.
This article includes:
About Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
What to See and Do at Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg
Ripley’s Aquarium Live Shows
Homeschool Events and Sleepovers at Ripley’s
Tips for Visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Where to Stay Near Ripley’s in Gatlinburg
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s an excellent first stop on your way to Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’re only 20 minutes or less from downtown Sevierville, Wilderness at the Smokies, and Soaky Mountain Waterpark. Plus, you’ll most definitely find something you didn’t think you needed there, which is quite the fun experience.
There is so much to see and do at Buc-ee’s that you’ll probably want to make a return trip before you head home. We encourage all the trips to Buc-ee’s that you feel you need to make.
Buc-ee’s Blvd, Sevierville, TN
Ready for a perfect day trip or summer vacation? Dollywood is a popular place to visit for Greenville families as it’s tons of fun and only three hours away. While you’re there, you can beat the heat by spending some time at Dollywood’s Splash Country. Kidding Around’s Kristina visited this water park with her kids and gathered up all the insider information plus tips and tricks so our readers will know exactly what to expect when they plan their own trip!
Media tickets were provided for this review.
Find a place to stay near Dollywood. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.
I had never been to a giant water park before packing up the kids and heading to Dollywood’s Splash Country, a mere three hours from Greenville. I had no idea what to expect. Water slides? Pools? Some splash pads? Upon entering Splash Country though, I was more than surprised that the waterpark had all of those plus tons more. I shouldn’t have been surprised though – the water park and Dollywood is ranked by USA Today as one of the very best in the country.
So if you haven’t been to Splash Country, I’ve got all you need to know here. And if you have been but need a little more incentive to go back, I’ll tell you all about what we did and tell you about some of their new rides. The 2022 season opens Saturday, May 14, 2022. See their calendar for operating hours when you want to go.
The waterpark opened in 2001 on 25 acres next to the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge. It’s under the same brand as Dollywood, of course, which means it’s held to high standards of hospitality, cleanliness, and family fun. It didn’t disappoint on any of these factors.
When it opened, it had a 25,000-square-foot wave pool, a lazy river, a children’s interactive area, tube rides, and two extreme body slide rides, plus a restaurant. Since 2001, the park has added a whitewater rafting tube ride, the Bear Mountain Fire Tower™ attraction with smaller water slides and a huge climbing structure, a 70-foot high water slide, a huge area with a grotto, waterfalls, slides, a leisure pool, and splash pad for kids, a multi-lane mat slide ride, a water coaster (the first one in Tennessee), and lastly, the TailSpin Racer was added in 2017. The park has added food stands, water retreat cabanas, and shaded areas as well.
Two things immediately stood out to me about the waterpark: the cleanliness of the entire park and the staff’s attentiveness. No trash was lying around, the pools were all clean, and the rides were spotless.
And the staff were incredibly attentive and kind and helpful. The lifeguards had their eyes glued to the pools at all times, and the larger attractions like the wave pool were well-staffed, where I counted at least 10 lifeguards stationed around the huge pool. The staff and lifeguards at all the rides were well-trained on safety protocol and gave riders precise instructions on safely enjoying the water activities.
Life jackets are available for free all over the park, from little kids to adults. Just pick one up. The park discourages guests from bringing their own life jackets or puddle jumpers, but I saw plenty of them while there. And don’t bring pool toys as they are not allowed.
Splash Country has several food options inside the park, nachos, tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, and plenty of desserts like Dippin’ Dots and ice cream. Expect to pay at least $10-15/person for whatever you choose to eat.
Dollywood thankfully understands that families may want to save money on dining and bring their own food. Even though they don’t allow food or drink inside the park, you can leave the park and come back in to get your hand stamped. We packed a cooler for lunch, left the park, ate our cheap lunch, and headed back inside for more fun. There are picnic benches with umbrellas for shade at the park entrance if you’d like to eat your lunch there.
Passes to reserve your spot in line and cut down on wait time are available, which could come in useful on busy days. The TimeSaver H2O costs between $55-$70 per person and allows guests to enjoy other attractions while virtually waiting in line for popular rides.
We went during the beginning of the week of July 4th and it was crowded. While we didn’t have to wait too long for any ride, maybe 25 minutes tops, I was certainly a little envious of the people who had the TimeSaver pass since they zipped past us in their own lane. Even shorter wait times can be trying on a tired kid so getting the TimeSaver H2O pass may be worth it.
My favorite areas of the park were the giant wave pool Mountain Waves, the roller coaster raft ride, the Big Bear tube ride, and the Bear Mountain Fire Tower™ with all its water slides. Oh, and the multi-lane mat slides – my oldest daughter and I raced down a couple of times. It was a blast. We spent all day there and my kids were not happy to leave.
Other popular attractions at Dollywood Splash Country are:
You can see a list of all the rides and height requirements for Splash Country Online.
Little Creek Falls is an attraction that has no standing water. It’s the perfect place for babies, toddlers and little ones to play and stay cool.
Here’s a list of things you’ll want to bring to Dollywood’s Splash Country:
If you plan on going to Dollywood more than twice a year, a season pass is a good investment for both the theme park and Splash Country. If you stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, which you can literally see from the park, there is a free shuttle also that will take you to the park from the resort.
For the occasional promotion of tickets and sales, follow Dollywood on Facebook or sign up for their email newsletter. If making fun memories with your family is on your list this summer, make a trip over the mountains to Dollywood’s Splash Country!
Have you been to Dollywood’s Splash Country before?
Plan the best trip with our Family Guide to Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg
While you’re here, don’t miss the Great Smoky Mountains.
Smoky Mountain National Park
Is your family planning a vacation to Chattanooga, Tennessee? Things to do there are endless! There are so many fun things to do in the Chattanooga/Lookout Mountain area that we have put together a full guide for you. We will share attractions to visit, places to eat, suggestions on where to stay, and more for a Chattanooga family vacation!
This article includes:
What Is There to Do in Lookout Mountain
Downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee Things to Do
General Area of Chattanooga, Tennessee Things to Do
Where Should We Eat in Chattanooga
Where Should We Stay in Chattanooga
Find a place to stay in Chattanooga. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.
Spending just a weekend in Chattanooga? Don’t miss this easy family itinerary for a weekend getaway to Chattanooga, TN. We’ve done all the planning work for you!
Rock City is a 4100-foot garden trail that winds through natural rock formations. One of the most significant parts of the park is a lookout point where you can see up to 7 states.
1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, GA
Learn More about Rock City at Lookout Mountain, Georgia in our KA review!
Take an elevator 26 stories down to see a cavern and the waterfall that it hides over 1,000 feet underground.
1720 South Scenic Hwy, Chattanooga, TN
The [Hotel Chalet] is fun to visit, even if you don’t stay there. We also took a cruise on a river boat. Nearby to Chattanooga is Rock City, which was a lot neater than I was expecting. We also went down into caves and saw Ruby Falls and took an incline railroad ride. We did a combo ticket for the falls, railroad, and Rock City attractions.Ashley
The railway descends Lookout Mountain with a descent that goes up to 72.7% grade. This grade is one of the steepest railway grades in the world.
The top of the railway offers a panoramic view of the surrounding areas.
Tickets are round-trip.
3917 St Elmo Ave, Chattanooga, TN
This National Park is the site of a famous Civil War battle near Chattanooga that was called the “Battle Above the Clouds”.
110 Point Park Road, Lookout Mountain, TN
Did you know that the same people who designed downtown Greenville, designed downtown Chattanooga? It has a very “Greenville” feel to it.Tina
This 13-acre zoo has six major areas with 4-5 exhibits in each. The zoo also offers multiple programs throughout the day, has a choo-choo train, camel rides, and a carousel. This zoo is a great option to fill out your itinerary during your Chattanooga family vacation!
301 N Holtzclaw Ave, Chattanooga, TN
Check out our KA review of the Chattanooga Zoo, the perfect place to visit during your family vacation!
The Creative Discovery Museum includes 15 permanent exhibits and a temporary exhibit.
The family-friendly exhibits include a Culinary Corner where kids can pretend to cook, an Evacuation Station that allows kids to dig in the sand, and a Lookout Tower that gives kids a 3-story view of the city.
321 Chestnut St, Chattanooga, TN
This pedestrian bridge is a fun way to see the river and explore Chattanooga. The bridge leads to the Tennessee Aquarium and Hunter Museum of Art on one side and Coolidge Park, Renaissance Park and it’s surrounding art shops and restaurants on the other side.
1 Walnut St, Chattanooga, TN
Aquarium, Zoo, both are great! Ruby Falls is fun, the incline train will take you up the mountain. There is a fountain downtown the kids can play in. There is a great hot dog place their as well near the fountain, but can’t remember the name. We found a great house to rent. Chattanooga is our go to summer destination; we love it!Candace
Tennessee Aquarium is known for its wide variety of fish, animals, and plants that live in fresh and saltwater.
The aquarium includes several touch tanks, a butterfly garden, a rainforest area, and other unique exhibits in addition to fish tanks.
1 Broad St, Chattanooga, TN
Aquarium is a favorite, especially with younger kids, because you follow a “path” through the entire space vs the hub and spoke model in Atlanta.Theresa
Find out what makes the Tennessee Aquarium a must-see on your Chattanooga family vacation!
This downtown Chattanooga park should be on your itinerary. It’s located right beside the Walnut Street Bridge.
The park includes a 100-year-old restored carousel and an interactive water fountain. Admission is a $1.
150 River St, Chattanooga, TN
The carousel is unforgettable! Coolidge Park and walking the huge bridge is another favorite. I would agree that their downtown is similar to Greenville. Enjoy!Christa
Enjoy the outdoors at this 23-acre wetland is a beautiful spot to explore nature in downtown Chattanooga.
River St, Chattanooga, TN
This park is located on the riverside near the Tennessee Aquarium and the Southern Belle Riverboat. It offers a playground and a large amphitheater.
201 Riverfront Pkwy, Chattanooga, TN
The downtown electric trolley in Chattanooga is free to ride and provides an easy way to transport your family around the downtown area. This is a must-do on your Chattanooga family vacation, simply because it is always fun to ride the trolley!
This river cruise company offers several different daily cruises, including 1.5 hour tours, lunch and dinner cruises, and sunset cruises.
You can enter the dockside boat’s gift shop for free even if you aren’t booking a cruise.
201 Riverfront Pkwy, Pier 2, Chattanooga, TN
We liked the dinner cruise with live music and dancing the kids really enjoyed the dancingNichole
This public area at the Hotel Chalet at the Choo Choo has outdoor games, a scenic seating area, and actual trains. It’s a great area to let the kids play while you relax.
1400 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN
If you are visiting during baseball season, be sure to check out the Chattanooga Lookouts schedule to see if they have any home games during your visit.
201 Power Alley, Chattanooga, TN
This award-winning climbing gym has a number of unique climbing fixtures including an outdoor climbing wall that overlooks the city.
219 Broad St, Chattanooga, TN
If you have older kids on your Chattanooga family vacation, then the Hunter Museum of American Art is a great museum to check out. They have art in a variety of mediums, interesting special events, and rotating exhibitions.
10 Bluff View St, Chattanooga, TN
A great one-stop area for multiple things to do, the Bluff View Art District has dining, art galleries, a coffee house, and excellent views of the city!
411 East 2nd St, Chattanooga, TN
Often recommended by locals, Raccoon Mountain Caverns specializes in educational tours of the Raccoon Mountain Cavern. The caverns are a must-see during your Chattanooga family vacation!
We took this tour as a family and were impressed with the tour guides’ ability to entertain even the smallest children while still giving a full presentation of the history and science behind the cavern.
Raccoon Mountain also has a campground, RV park, and cabins.
319 W Hills Dr, Chattanooga, TN
This popular amusement park is only 15 minutes from downtown Chattanooga. The park includes thriller rides, family rides, and kiddie rides, and also has a 5-acre waterpark.
1730 Lakeview Dr., Rossville, GA
Visiting this museum is an adventure because the museum is an actual running train and your visit includes a train ride.
4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, TN
You can take this easy trail to a stunning, crystal-clear swimming hole to relax with your children. You can hike past the swimming area to see a waterfall as well!
Mediterranean/Middle East Restaurant that serves lunch and dinner
5966 Brainerd Rd., Chattanooga, TN
Ankar’s Hoagies on Brainerd Rd. Steak in a sack (pita) & onion rings are to die for! We eat here every time we go back. Taco Mamacitas on North Shore. Best sangria we’ve ever had. Bones BBQ on Brainerd Rd. Classic southern style and their banana pudding alone is worth a visit!Amy
A fresh-Mex restaurant that serves taco fusion.
109 North Market St, Chattanooga, TN
Handcrafted, small-batch ice cream with seasonal flavors
3 locations including 1401 Market St, Chattanooga, TN
City Cafe (southern dinner but delicious share a meal). Taco Mac (kid friendly- during the day bar)Mary
Taco Mac is known for their buffalo wings and draft beers.
423 Market St, Chattanooga, TN
Bea’s Restaurant serves family-style fried chicken dinners.
4500 Dodds Avenue, Chattanooga, TN
Good dog. It’s a hot dog place in downtown that has plain ones but also funky unique onesJennifer
Good Dog serves a variety of hot dogs including high-quality all-beef hot dogs, vegetarian hot dogs, sausages, and more. Their menu includes vegan and gluten-free options. They offer several housemade ketchups and condiments with their meals.
34 Frazier Ave, Chattanooga, TN
Note: This bar/restaurant is 21+ for all meals but brunch. Brunch is from 10:30-3 and is upscale American southern cuisine.
55 Johnson St, Chattanooga, TN
Urban burger joint
12 W 13th St, Chattanooga, TN
Fried chicken and Southern foods
526 E ML King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN
205 Manufacturers Rd, Suite 110, Chattanooga, TN
2213 Hamilton Pl Blvd, Chattanooga, TN
We just got back from there! The restaurant 1885 right by the Incline Train has sidewalk chalk through their entire outdoor seating and our two year old played all through dinner. Super yummy burgers too. And I second Urban Stack. And the BEST coffee shop we’ve found in all our US travels was Goodman Coffee in the warehouse district shipping downtown. So. Good. Those little energy peanut butter bites they makes were great at the start of our day at the Aquarium.Sarah
Located near the St. Elmo Incline Railway station.
3914 St Elmo Ave, Chattanooga, TN
Warehouse Row, 1110 Market St., Chattanooga, TN
Boathouse and Foodworks for full-service. I haven’t been to Big River Grille in years but it is close to aquarium and has pool tables. Mr. T’s Pizza and Purple Daisy (both in St. Elmo near Incline) are budget-friendly local spots. Lupi’s for specialty pizza.Elizabeth
Seafood, oyster bar, and traditional fare with riverfront dining
1459 Riverside Drive, Chattanooga, TN
205-C Manufacturers Road, Chattanooga, TN
Near the Tennessee Aquarium and Children’s Creative Discovery Museum.
222 Broad St, Chattanooga, TN
From scratch pizza.
3924 Tennessee Ave., Chattanooga, TN
Barbeque and picnic foods, located at the base of Lookout Mountain.
4001 St. Elmo Ave, Chattanooga, TN
406 Broad St A, Chattanooga, TN
Formerly the Chattanooga Choo Choo, Hotel Chalet at the Choo Choo is an iconic hotel and is a classic choice for visiting Chattanooga.
1400 Market St, Chattanooga, TN
The room we were in was a converted old boxcar. It was so fun. We also went to the aquarium. I was very impressed with it. It’s probably one of my favorite aquariums.Alexis
This popular bed and breakfast on Lookout Mountain has a scenic garden trail, a pool, and a gazebo with a jacuzzi.
1206 Lula Lake Rd, Lookout Mountain, GA
My parents live on Lookout Mountain. A great place to stay is the Garden Walk Inn. The carousel downtown is a must ($1). Then you must get Clumpies Ice Cream! The children’s museum is great for under 10. The aquarium is cool but lots of walking my 6 year old couldn’t make it all day. . . Raccoon Mountain caves are a few minutes further but way better. They have excursions for all abilities. The towing museum is great for any toddler who loves vehicles (but all you need is the free gift shop you can’t touch anything in the small museum). McKay’s used books is heaven for any reader and you must eat at City Cafe!Mary
2321 Lifestyle Way, Chattanooga, TN
We enjoyed staying at the Embassy Suites rooms are great for families and breakfast is our favorite of hotels.Nichole
Cloudland Canyon State Park has a variety of styles of camping sites, cottages, and yurts available for reservation. Your family will have access there to hiking trails, horseback riding trails, bike trails (and rentals), cave tours, and more depending on the season.
122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road, Rising Fawn, GA
We stayed in a cabin at Cloudland Canyon Park.Deirdre
If you enjoy staying at an Airbnb, our family stayed at Country Corner in the City. It comfortably slept eight people (two families) and was pet-friendly.
For even more ideas on fun family trips near Greenville, see our travel guide.