It’s no secret, my family and I travel a lot. We have several time shares in several locations and one point system where we can exchange the points for wherever and we try to travel at least once every six months. One of our weeks is the end of July- first week of August, in Gatlinburg TN, right in the heart of the Smoky Mountains.
Our trips are usually a week long, some times more depending on how long the drive is or where we pass along the way. Gatlinburg is about an 8-hour drive so not too bad, definitely not the worst drive we’ve done in a day. Anyways! This timeshare is in the mountains, through RCI Club Chalet. We are only a few miles, which in reality can be anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on traffic, from downtown or Pigeon Forge.
Normally when we go places like this, we spend a ton of time outdoors hiking and checking out the local waterfalls. This year, the entire week we were down there, it rained. And if you’ve never been hiking before, big rocks and steep ledges get very slippery when wet, it doesn’t make for a very safe hiking experience for the kids. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to hike much this trip but got to see some amazing roadside waterfalls and well as the clouds that couldn’t make it out of the valley. Honestly, it was amazing seeing and driving through the clouds; not fog, clouds.
Other than driving around a lot to enjoy the nature, we drove into Cherokee NC where my mother-in-law and grandma sat with the kids while my husband and I went to my first Casino. The casino, Harrah’s, was very nice and very big. They had a bowling ally where the kids played; we happen to go on a Wednesday when bowling was only $1.50 per person, score! My husband and I walked in with about $35 and left with $125, that’s how I paid for my tattoo, but more about that later. The only thing I didn’t like about the casino was that it was a bunch of walking, especially for my grandma who has a bad leg. We ended up walking halfway through the building, then they sent us outside to walk to rest of the way because they had part of the floor closed. It was a bit ridiculous in my opinion, but other than that Harrah’s was beautiful.
While in Cherokee NC, we ate lunch at Wise Guys Grill. My grandma ordered a grilled chicken sandwich but the chicken was too tough for her to eat. I ordered the chicken Alfredo and was disappointed, there was no flavor to the sauce, it honestly tasted like they just dumped heavy cream on the noodles. That being said, my kids loved the pizza and my husband enjoyed his Philly cheese steak. If you stop buy, just get the pizza.
We hit up Wonder Works again this year, or as my four-year-old calls it “The Upside Down House.” This isn’t something special that you can only find in Pigeon Forge, they are found in a variety of other places, but they are great. Its fun, educational, and gets kids moving. There’s a rope adventure course, rides, and just a bunch of cool science things. It’s a bit pricey but its an all day admission, worth it if you can spend all day there and will utilize everything.
We played TONS of mini golf this trip. For whatever reason, its my boys’ favorite thing to do. We did a few different ones this time and out of all of them that we did (at least 2 courses a day) the one where you get the best bang for your buck is Crave Gold Club in Pigeon Forge. Honestly, it had bowling lanes, two putt putt courses, and was a huge candy store! The courses were candy themed and it was adorable, plus it smelled fantastic! It was 16.99 (or 11.99 for kids) for both courses and you had seven days to play them both, so if you had other plans, you could leave and come back in a few days, this price also included a bottle of Dasani water. The course was also handicap accessible. Definitely add this to your itinerary!
On our last day there, I decided to get a tattoo, mainly because of the shops name; Mad Tatter Studios in Gatlinburg. I sort of knew what I wanted walking in but the staff was really helpful. The two people I met while I was there were really nice and they gave off this very family feel, like they were just co-workers but also a family. Tyler is the one who did my tattoo, and even though it wasn’t my first it was my first done in an actual shop. He was very professional and talked me through what he was going to do and talked to me while working a bit. He had a nice light touch and I recommend him whether this is your first tattoo or just a random one you decided to get on a whim.
Other place we went that I recommend are:
- MagiQuest; live action role playing, mirror maze, mini golf, laser challenge
- Flapjacks Pancake Cabin; three locations to choose from
- Cherokee Grill and Steakhouse
- Texas Roadhouse; Pigeon Forge Location
- Mellow Mushroom Pizza; both locations are fantastic
- Moon Pie General Store and Book Warehouse
- Clingmans Dome
- Ripley’s Aquarium
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
- Guinness World Records Adventure
- Hollywood Stars Cars Museum
- Ober Gatlinburg
- World of Illusions
- Every Water Fall
Its amazing how much changes within the year of traveling. There is always something new being built or added. Its one of the most beautiful places to visit. Add it to your Bucket List today and maybe we will see you there next summer!