A Travel Guide to Tennessee: Family-Friendly Vacations

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Looking to vacation in Tennessee? The beautiful backdrop of the Appalachians, southern charm, and unique vacation destinations make it an excellent choice for a family-friendly vacation. We’ve visited several cities throughout the state and collected dozens of reviews to help you plan your next trip. You’ll find unique places to lodge, dining options, adventure recommendations, and more for cities like Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Travel Guide to Tennessee, with information for family friendly vacations.

Where Would You Like to Explore?

A Family-Friendly Vacation to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

If you have never been to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, you are in for a treat! The area has grown rapidly over the last 50 years and includes some out-of-this-world attractions, is near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and has a lot of great places to lodge.

Things to Do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Enjoy snow tubing all year round at Indoor Snow Tubing in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
See the magical Christmas lights at Winterfest, which starts in November and ends in February!
During Winterfest, you can enjoy the epic lights on the Wonder of Light Walking Trail
The Island at Pigeon Forge is a great one-stop for an amazing day of shopping, fun attractions, and food.
Ever seen the world from upside down? You can at Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge!
Soar over America in an immersive theatre at Skyfly at The Island at Pigeon Forge
Cruise around the Smoky Mountains with Smoky Mountain Pink Jeep.
The Titanic Museum is a truly immersive experience in a replica of the ship itself, right off the Boulevard!

Wildwood Grove at Dollywood


Homeschooling? These Homeschool days at Dollywood will save you some money on the theme park.
You’ll find a woodland-themed waterpark at Splash Country at Dollywood
Christmas at Dollywood is one of the most magical times of the year, with lights, crafters, and more!
Wildwood Grove at Dollywood is full of whimsy and rides.

Lodging in Pigeon Forge

The Inn on the River is a prime location on the river and is a great family-friendly place to stay.
If you are looking for an all-out resort, Margaritaville RV Resort and Lodge is the place!

Visit The Charming Mountain Town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg is one of the most popular travel destinations to take a vacation in Tennessee. With stunning mountain views and dozens of attractions that are unquestionably unique to the town, you could spend an entire weekend with a packed itinerary. There is an aquarium, mountain coasters, and even a sky-high bridge you have to see to believe!

Winter version of Galtlinburg, Pigeon Forge silo.

Our KA Ultimate Guide to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with reviews, lodging information, and places to eat.

Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

See ocean creatures and walk under sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Anakeesta is a sky-high destination that offers fantastic views, dining, and special attractions.
The Mirrormaze is a fun attraction for families to try and navigate the maze.
Get rocked while experiencing the 5D Theatre in downtown Gatlinburg!
Take the ski lift to the Skybridge, and you’re in for a real thrill as you walk the suspension bridge.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park is an American treasure, you have to visit it at least once.
Elkmont Ghost Town is a ghost town that your family can explore! How neat!

Places to Stay Near Gatlinburg, TN

Enjoy a family-friendly stay at the Greystone Lodge, which has an excellent location!
The Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort has an indoor waterpark that the kids can play in.
If you are looking for luxury camping, Camp LeConte is a great option in Gatlinburg!
Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort has covered wagons you can camp in!
This 17 Room Gaming Mansion is a wonderful place to stay for larger groups!

Spend the Weekend in Sevierville, Tennessee

Do not overlook Sevierville while planning your vacation to Tennessee! Situated right next door to Pigeon Forge in Sevierville, Tennessee. If you didn’t know, Sevierville is the birthplace of America’s greatest gift, Dolly Parton! There are also a lot of fun things to do, and one of the most epic hotels in the area (it has an indoor and outdoor waterpark!)

These 23+ Special Things to Do in Sevierville, Tennesse will make for a memorable vacation.

Sevierville TN

Activities and Things to Do in Sevierville, Tennessee

You have to make a pit stop at Buc-ee’s Sevierville, where you will find everything you need and more!
There are coasters, chair lifts, cowboy demonstrations, and more at Skyland Ranch.
Soaky Mountain Water Park is THE BEST waterpark, with some epic slides to try out.

Glamping tent at the Ridge Outdoor Resort

Lodging in Sevierville, Tennessee

The Ridge Outdoor Resort in Sevierville offers glamping, RV camping, and amenities.
Wilderness at the Smokies is wonderful for families, with multiple waterparks and cozy hotel rooms.

Explore the Outdoors in Chattanooga, Tennessee

In the Southeastern part of Tennessee near the Georgia line, you will find an amazing city that has perfectly balanced city life with the outdoors, Chattanooga, Tennessee! The downtown area is bustling with art, interesting things to do, and exceptional dining. Plus, there is an aquarium, a zoo, a famous train hotel, and Rock City is just down the road.

The Ultimate Guide to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Check out our KA Ulitmate Guide to Chattanooga, Tennessee for ideas on places to stay, things to do, and our honest reviews of popular attractions!

Meercats at Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee.

Meercats at the Tennessee Zoo

The view from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee.

Overlook at Lookout Mountain

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Chattanooga, TN

The iconic Rock City is just a few minutes drive from Downtown Chattanooga!
Big Soddy Creek Gulf Trail has a mesmerizing swimming hole that is crystal clear.
The Tennessee Aquarium has two buildings full of ocean creatures to visit.
You can feed giraffes and red pandas at the Chattanooga Zoo!

The Read House hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Where to Stay Near Chattanooga, Tennesse

The Read House Hotel is iconic and even has ghost stories to learn about.

More Tennessee Travel

Places to travel in the United States

Our Travel Page will give you tons of ideas for day trips, weekend getaways, or family vacations to destinations throughout the Southeast.

Erin Gorges
About the Author
Erin is a Greenville, South Carolina native who loves taking her two young daughters on adventures around the Upstate. Erin enjoys gardening, hiking, and dabbling in DIY projects. Her favorite things to do with her husband and kids include sensory activities, swimming, playing with their dogs, and exploring the local state and national parks.

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