Planning a trip for apple picking at Jeter Mountain Farm? This gorgeous farm hosts weddings, has seasonal u-pick flowers, fruits, and more plus an enormous indoor play area.
The views from the parking lot of Jeter Mountain Farm are sweeping shots of the nearby mountains, open space, and a beautiful building that seems to fit right into the landscape with its earthy hues of brown and green. The farm is a welcoming spot for families that has nearly two dozen varieties of apples, cider, live music, a wagon ride, and lots of other activities to enjoy.
Did you know that the famed theme park, Dollywood, has Homeschool Days? The park offers reduced admission and educational programs plus all the fun of the rides and experience of the attractions.
If you are looking to have an adventure, Dollywood will be offering Homeschool Days for families that are utilizing the homeschool option. These days focus on mostly science and math – and really, what’s cooler than learning about the laws of physics by riding a roller coaster?
Be sure to check out the newly installed whimsical area of the park, Wildwood Grove, complete with rides, including a new roller coaster called DragonFly. There is plenty to see and do at the park in addition to the educational programs offered these days.
What Do Homeschool Days Include?
Homeschool Days at Dollywood are geared for kids in Kindergarten through 12th and include a new curriculum, Science in the Park, that utilizes the scientific principles that make many of the rides at the park actually happen like velocity and speed.
There will also be lots of visual learning through craftspeople doing glass-blowing, candle making, and forging. The Tennessee Valley Authority partnered with Dollywood to create STEM-related learning experience that kids can do throughout the park. Some activities are learning about water filtration, kinetic energy, solar and wind energy, eco-friendly transportation, and weather.
Kids can also learn about the science of birds by visiting the 30,000 square feet Eagle Mountain Sanctuary at the park, which houses the largest collection of non-releasable bald eagles in the country.
Admission & Dates
Normal admission to Dollywood is $79+ for people ages 10-61 but on Homeschool Days, parents can take advantage of $39/ticket for kids in grades K-12 and $49/ticket for each accompanying adult. Huge savings!
To obtain the tickets, you need to call (888) 428-6789 at least 72 hours ahead of your visit. These tickets are not available at the gate. Parking is $20/car so plan for that cost as well.
Homeschool days for 2022 are August 8 – September 19, 2022. The park is not open every day so be sure to look at the calendar before planning your trip. Dollywood Splash Country also has homeschool days from August 5 – September 5, 2022 and tickets are discounted to $37/person.
Where to Stay
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is a beautiful hotel that offers free transportation to the park. The resort is offering 20% off a standard room for homeschool families Sunday – Thursday.
We’ve personally stayed at these places below and can recommend them as wonderful options for families.
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 review of our stay at this awesome hotel.
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 beat 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
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, very close to Dollywood, and maybe ten minutes from Gatlinburg. Camping cabins are rented April through October and start at $52/night.
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 here.
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 about 15 minutes from the main strip in Gatlinburg.
Camp LeConte 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 around $128/night. Read our review here.
1739 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN
Other Things to Do Nearby
There are a ton of things to do in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is minutes away – and it’s free. Anakeesta, the SkyBridge, PINK Jeep Tours, and lots more are all within a 20-30 minute drive of each other and excellent opportunities for both learning and fun.
If you’re trying to figure out a great vacation for your family that is within a few hours of the Upstate, has plenty of entertainment within walking distance, and is located directly on the ocean, the Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort may be just the ticket. Kristina visited the resort for a couple of days with her kids at the invitation of the Westgate and has all you need to know to plan a wonderful trip to the coast!
Traveling to Hilton Head Island with your family? There are lots of things to do in Hilton Head with kids! We came up with a list of the best activities on the island to ensure an awesome family trip while you visit Hilton Head Island. From dolphin watching to becoming a pirate, to playing mini-golf, to secluded beaches, and enjoying ice cream, there is no shortage of fun things to do on the island.
Ever been on a pirate boat? Pirates of Hilton Head will have your kids practicing their pirate lingo for the entire vacation. Kids get to dress up as pirates and fight off the bad guy in search of treasure during one of the most entertaining cruises on Hilton Head Island. We sent contributor Kristina to check it out with her family. Your kids will be saying “aye-aye captain” in no time on the Pirates of Hilton Head cruise!
If you’re looking for a fun family summer adventure that works either as a day trip or weekend getaway, whitewater rafting in the Smoky Mountains may be just the experience. Kristina took her kids and tells us why it is was a great introduction to rafting, even for little kids.
Does your family love hitting the highway and heading south to the seaside town of Charleston, South Carolina?
We’ve covered lots of different things to do and see in Charleston and you can find them all here in this Guide to Charleston. Everything from an itinerary for a long weekend without kids, to a list of things to do that, won’t break the bank. We’ve even included some things we plan to cover in the coming months.
If you’re looking for a way to get away from people, enjoy nature, and have an unbelievable experience right here in South Carolina, look no further than kayaking in the state’s only national park near Columbia at Congaree National Park.
You can walk across the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the country in Gatlinburg, just a few hours away from Greenville. We sent Kristina to do it because she won the coin toss. Here’s what you need to know if you want to go. Media tickets were given so we could review this incredible experience.
I think my mouth may have hung open the first time I saw a video of the SkyBridge in Gatlinburg when it was completed in May of 2019. It was gorgeous. And so, so high up in the air. I knew I had to go, no matter how scary getting up there may be. Sometimes you need to take those risks, right?
The SkyBridge is part of Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, which was founded in 1954, way before the town became the destination it is today. The park is the longest running attraction in Gatlinburg, which borders the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The national park is the most visited in the entire country. Last year, more than 12 million people stepped foot in the Smokies.
But the views are still the same as they were in the late 1950s – sweeping and majestic and unforgettable. You have to take a gondola up to the SkyLift Park, five hundred vertical feet to be exact. Just don’t look backwards and you’ll be fine.
The SkyBridge was completed in May of 2019 and holds the record of being the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. It’s 680 feet in length and sways 150 feet off the ground. There are glass panels in the middle of the bridge, which honestly I didn’t even think about until I had to walk across 30 feet of it. You look straight down. It’s terrifying but also awesome.
The people who run the SkyBridge social media pages are geniuses. You may have seen the videos of the bridge all lit up in Christmas lights around December or when snow was falling in the mountains or when the leaves were bright reds and oranges in the fall. They do such an amazing job of bringing viewers onto the bridge who have never been yet still entice them to go. At least that was my opinion and one of the reasons why I really, really wanted to walk the SkyBridge.
If you’re wondering if you can feel the bridge sway, the answer is yes. If you’re wondering if it’s worth the five hundred feet vertical ride in the yellow gondola with nothing but a bar separating you from a long drop, then yes, it’s worth it. The views going up and down the mountain are incredible. You can see all of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. We got lucky and the clouds were moving between the peaks of the mountains, creating a surreal view. I could never get tired of that view.
This is such a unique attraction that is just amazing and I certainly recommend it when you visit Gatlinburg. And don’t you want bragging rights for walking the longest pedestrian bridge in North America? I did.
Walk the SkyTrail
New for 2021 is the gorgeous SkyTrail, a trail that lines the ridge around the mountain. Part of it is a boardwalk and the other part is natural dirt. The views are just spectacular and you can go across the mountain without actually walking the bridge. Just don’t run into a bear! It’s a great opportunity to build you the courage to talk the 700 foot walk across the swinging bridge.
I had no idea that the wildfires of 2016 totally destroyed Crockett Mountain, where the Sky Park is located. There are plaques around the trail that talk about the devastating fires and what happened in the rebuilding process plus how the SkyBridge was engineered. If you’re a homeschooling family, this totally counts as an awesome field trip.
The trail is brand new and is an entirely unique experience. There are no hills (I mean, you’re already at the top of the mountain) so it’s an easy walk. Most of the trail is only open during the daytime hours for now.
Climb the Tulip Tower
Also new in 2021 is the steel Tulip Tower rising 70 feet in the back of the ravine behind the SkyBridge. It has four floors and is accessed by two rope bridges.
The tower has educational plaques inside the middle of each floor that talk about the wildfires, local wildlife and native plants and trees. The tower is so named because the Tulip Tree was one of the last remaining trees when the wildfire swept through the mountain and wiped out the park. So the tower is named for the resilience of the tree and all those people who rebuilt the park and those who lost their homes (five SkyLift Park employees lost their homes because of the fire).
Again, the views are unreal. I legitimately took 100 photos of the bridge from all along the SkyTrail and the Tulip Tower. The tower is open for daytime use.
Relax, Eat, and Drink at the Sky Deck
What makes a great view even better? Food and drink! The gift shop at the park is awesome. It has all kinds of cool bridge-related items plus the warmest winter hats I think I’ve ever felt. They also have a basic menu of pizza, pretzels, and snacks plus coffee.
Head upstairs and grab a craft beer and an outside table and take a deep breath while you gaze at the scenery. It’s breath-taking. These views are incredibly unique. If you’re going to Smokies, why not see the sweeping views they offer right there at the park? Just do it.
There are rocking chairs and tables outside on the deck also. We saw plenty of people just rocking away their worries up there. I would have swiped one to do the same but they were all full.
Tickets to the SkyLift Park, which include access to the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, SkyTrail, Tulip Tower, and Sky Deck are $29.95/ages 12-64, $18.95/ages 4-11, $23.95/seniors, and kids 3 and under are free.
Your ticket is good for unlimited visits for the same day so if you wanted to get up there in the morning, take a walk across the bridge, climb the Tulip Tower and then come back for sunset, you’re welcome to do that. If you purchase your ticket after 8 pm, you get to come back for free the next day.
The SkyBridge opens at 9 am and closes at 10:30 pm during the summer and 9 pm other times of the year. We were planning to head back up there during sunset but my kids were tired from a long day of fun. But I Imagine those views would be spectacular during dusk and for the seasonal lights that adorn the bridge. They are open all year round, seven days a week except for Christmas Day and Maintenance Week (January 17-21). See full hours here.
I recommend parking at the garage next to Ripley’s Aquarium, which is about a five minute walk to the SkyLift Park. It costs $10 all day as of November 2021.
Follow the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park on Facebook and Instagram for beautiful photos and videos, which will probably entice you to go there on your next visit!
Hoping for a date night on Hilton Head Island while you’re on a family vacation? Kidding Around’s Kristina has found the answer with the Art Cafe on Hilton Head Island and a neighboring restaurant, Rockfish. Here’s her review of both the Kids Night Out event at Art Cafe and the Rockfish restaurant.
Date nights are hard to come by for many couples who have kids. I think a date night on vacation would be pretty awesome because you’re already in relaxation mode, away from your daily life at home and work, and have that time to focus on each other. But finding a reliable sitter while away from home? I haven’t mastered that yet – which was why I was thrilled to find the Art Cafe on Hilton Head Island because they offer the perfect solution for couples wanting to get in a date night while on vacation.