Ripley's Davy Crockett Mini Golf in Gatlinburg
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Ways to Entertain Kids in a Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge Cabin

Overview of downtown GatlinburgKeeping kids busy on vacation can be difficult, but not when you vacation to the Smoky Mountains! After a day in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, we understand that you want to sit back and relax for a few hours. Kids are anxious and want to play, even after a long day of exploring the area! That’s why we decided on some fun things to do to entertain kids, so you can relax in your Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge cabin!

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ole smoky moonshine front
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Ole Smoky Moonshine: The First Legal Moonshine Distillery in East Tennessee

Three clear moonshine jarsOne of the neatest attractions in Gatlinburg, TN, is the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery. This is a wonderful spot to visit for anyone who is a fan of moonshine, tasty liquor or history. The distillery is run by families that have been crafting the finest moonshine in this area of Tennessee for more than 200 years. Over the centuries, they have perfected their craft, and now they are sharing their amazing products with the rest of the world.

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three bears general store
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Unique Shops in Pigeon Forge

The Old MilThree Bears General Store

Serving visitors to the Smokies for nearly 35 years, Three Bears General Store shop in Pigeon Forge has a gift idea for everyone in your family. Starting with their Make-UR-Bear Factory equipped with clothes and accessories, down to homemade fudge and an Ol’ Tyme Photo studio, no member of your family will leave empty handed.

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View of Mount LeContet in the Smoky Mountains
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Mount Leconte (Smoky Mountain Peak Viewed from Gatlinburg, Tennessee)

GatlinburgMounte Leconte is one of the most picturesque mountain tops in the United States.  It is definitely one of the landmark viewpoints in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  The two-day hike to the top of the third-highest peak in the Smokies is really four walks in one.  On the 1st day you walk 7.7 miles to the summit of LeConte, traveling first on the Smokies crest, then on the Boulevard, a nearly level, mile high ridge with all-but-continuous views on both sides.  After visiting LeConte Lodge, which can only be visited by foot and has a long-term wait for overnight reservations, you can walk to Cliff Top and view the sunset behind Sugarland Mountain.  You can then walk almost a mile in the morning to Myrtle Point, where you can see the sunrise over the Smokies crest.  Then, you can walk down the 5.5 miles long Alum Cave Trail which has monsterous mountain & grand river views.
Also, please note, you have a choice of five different trails that go to the top of LeConte.  Three of them–the Bullhead, Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap–are long, hard climbs with only occasional views.  Alum Cave, which is steep in some places, is a very scenic 4th option.  The fifth trail includes the Appalachian & Boulevard trails and offers a longer, but less steep option to Alum Cave.  Both sets have unbelievable mountain views.  They say the Boulevard Trail offers the best chance of viewing wildlife.  We recommend you park at the Newfound Gap before your hike for best access to the trail(s) to LeConte.  Good luck on your hike! Stay at a vacation cabin rental in Gatlinburg, then go hike during the day for adventure and outdoor fitness.  Bring your camera to take scenic photos of your adventurous hike up to LeConte!  You’re sure to enjoy them in the future and they will provide daily inspiration.
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All You Need to Know About the Smoky Mountain Casino near Gatlinburg TN

The Smoky Mountains have so much to offer in beautiful cabin rentals, breathtaking scenery, fun-filled activities for the entire family, and historical landmarks from Tennessee to North Carolina.  If you get a chance while staying in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge and are feeling lucky, take a drive over to Cherokee for a day or night to visit their Harrah’s Cherokee Casino! To help you learn more about this Smoky Mountain casino near Gatlinburg TN, we’ve gathered all the important information you need to know!

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the donut friar the village shops in gatlinburg
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Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a photogenic village that serves as Gateway to the Smoky Mountain National Park.  You will love how quaint and charming it is for a family getaway.  I recommend many of the restaurants, ice cream, and fudge shops along the Parkway.  The Little Pigeon River flows just beside the Parkway, all the way into the National Park.  Although you may be staying in a log cabin rental with its own kitchen or outdoor grill, its nice to enjoy a few meals out with the family with your here in the Smokies.  By the way, Acorn Cabin Rentals and Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals have mountain cabin rentals in Gatlinburg, within walking distance of Downtown Gatlinburg. 

GatlinburgThe Pancake Pantry is famous for its breakfast with lines out the door.  The owner has been so successful, he has opened several others including Nashville.  Nashville’s Pancake Pantry was voted the best place to sight a country singer or famous movie actor. Perhaps, the Regulars, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, had something to do with this report.  When you come try the crepes or pancakes here at the original Pancake Pantry, you’ll see why people love it.  I always like to frequent the Cherokee Grill for their incredible steaks, salads, and macaroni & cheese!  So come visit, walk around, enjoy the mountain backdrop, and we promise that you won’t leave hungry!

    1. Pancake Pantry 628 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    2. Cherokee Grill 1002 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    3. Kilwin’s Ice Cream 645 E Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    4. Peddler on the River  820 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    5. Dick’s Last Resort 903 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    6. Bubba Gump 900 Parkway Traffic Light #8, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    7. Donut Friar 634 Parkway # 15, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    8. Wild Plum Inn 555 Buckhorn Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    9. Park Grill Restaurant 1110 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    10. Smoky Mountain Brewery & Pizza 1004 Parkway,Gatlinburg, Tn


hidden romance
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Investment Properties in the Smokies (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)


Buying a cabin in Pigeon Forge or buying a cabin in Gatlinburg is a dynamic investment for any real estate investor.  Still, you should have a professional real estate consultant or Realtor help you find the real estate property that is right for you & your financial goals.  Some investors are looking short-term (6-24 months), while others plan on using their rental home in the Smokies and may look at it as a long-term investment.  With low mortgage rates & motivated Sellers, this Buyer’s market is a terrific time for any family looking to buy their dream vacation home in the Smoky Mountains.

PropertiesThere are small “honeymooner” or one bedroom cabins for sale or large eight bedrooms for group stays available on the real estate market currently in Smoky Mountain, Tennessee.  There are no shortage of options, but the investor should pin-point what property is right for them.  They will want to evaluate the age, location, community, views, privacy, structural integrity, built-in rental demand, and potential return on investment before putting in an offer to purchase a mountain cabin rental here in the Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg area.

The small bedroom cabin rentals seem to do the most volume, while the large cabins do the most gross rental income.  This rental market is continuously changing, but tourists demand for amenity packages, mountain views, accessibility to the Parkway, and curb appeal is a consistent requirement.  Your Realtor can help you find the right cabin rental to purchase, negotiate a preferable price, and help you with the closing process.  It is also important to help you find a rental cabin company in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge that can help you maximize your rental income, find quality housekeeping & maintenance, provide you with proper monthly documentation, and make recommendations that may improve your rentability of your property.  Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals has been a leader in cabin rental management & rental performance for cabin owners throughout the Smokies for nearly ten years now.  Let Mighty Peaks Realty & Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals help you with any questions you may have about real estate in Gatlinburg, real estate in Pigeon Forge, and real estate in the Smoky Mountains.  You can reach them at the office seven days a week at 866-286-8284 toll free.

hiking trail running in front of laurel falls
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When visiting the Smoky Mountains, I always make it a top priority to hike the beautiful trails of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Some of the trails are more scenic and challenging than others, but it seems it always make it worthwhile to visit the Gatlinburg area after my successful hike.  Here’s three trails that I would strongly recommend your family or friends try when visiting Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge on your next family vacation.  Of course, you could always try river rafting, zip lines, or horseback riding, but the Smokies were made famous by the love of hiking the National Park.  Bring plenty of water, a snack, and first aid kit when possible.  Try to hike with a friend and don’t confront animals you see on the way.  It’s their home and we want to respect their habitat.  Have fun hiking up the mountains of the Southern Appalachian Trail!  We’ll see you in the Smokies…

Laurel Falls Trail – Described as moderate in difficulty, this 4-mile roundtrip hike rewards the hiker with a visit to one of the favorite waterfalls in the Park. This trailhead is very busy during the summer and weekends year-round. Access to the trailhead is via the Little River Road halfway between the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Elkmont Campground. The hiker can travel an additional .75 mile beyond the falls to see an old-growth forest.

Alum Cave Bluff Trail (photo right)- From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, drive 8.6 miles east on Newfound Gap Road. There you will find two parking areas, where a gravel path leads to The Grassy Patch and the beginning of a 2.3 mile hike to Alum Cave Bluff. This moderately difficult hike is 4.6 miles round-trip or 5.1 miles on to LeConte Lodge. The round-trip to the cave bluff takes about 2 and 1/2 hours, but allow about 3 and 1/2 hours to LeConte Lodge. The Alum Cave Trail is the most popular and well-known route to Mount Le Conte. Features include Arch Rock, 1993 summer storm damage, Inspiration Point, Alum Cave Bluff.

GatlinburgRainbow Falls TrailThe Rainbow Falls Trail is fairly challenging if completed all the way to Mt LeConte. Allow an hour and a half to Rainbow Falls and four hours to Mt LeConte. Hikers will gain nearly 4,000 feet in elevation by the time they get to Mt. LeConte. The Point of departure is at Cherokee Orchard Road – Turn at light #8 in Gatlinburg and follow the Airport Road 1 mile out of Gatlinburg into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The name will change from Airport Road to Cherokee Orchard Road. About 2.5 miles after entering the Park, Cherokee Orchard Road approaches the Rainbow Falls parking area. You will find the trail head at one edge of the parking area. Features of interest include the 2.8 mile point when you arrive at Rainbow Falls. At the 6.6 mile point you will come upon an Alum Cave Trail junction which leads left 0.1 mile to the LeConte Lodge.

in front of lawn at Biltmore Estate
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Biltmore Estate is a Destination Attraction

While booking a luxury cabin rental in the Smoky Mountains, I do recommend visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.  You can be there in a little over an hour.  The Biltmore estate was built by the Vanderbilts in the 19th Century.  It is truly a remarkable home with incredible gardens, wonderful dining, & intriguing American history.  Feel free to plan your lodging in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, while spending one day in Asheville at Biltmore.  You’ll want to stay in the Smoky Mountains because most of your other itinerary will be completed in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.  Your family will want to travel to the Smoky Mountain National Park, Aquarium of the Smokies, Ober Gatlinburg, Dollywood, et cetera.

Discover the Wonders
of Biltmore

Plan your getaway to George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre estate. Mr. Vanderbilt created Biltmore as an escape from everyday life. Now, his descendants invite you to enjoy his legacy of hospitality. Your admission includes self-guided tours of the breathtaking Biltmore House & Gardens and the new Antler Hill Village—featuring the Winery, The Biltmore Legacy, Village Green, and Farm.
Play in our 8,000-acre backyard with an array of outdoor activities, indulge in one-of-a-kind shopping, and savor our restaurants’ exceptional fare. Visit Biltmore in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC and let our gracious hospitality inspire you.

Biltmore House & Gardens

Completed in 1895, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room French château is a real life wonder. Enjoy a self-guided visit of Biltmore House that unveils a fresh look at how people lived and worked in America’s largest home. Also, explore the acres of beautiful gardens and grounds, designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, during your visit.
A self-guided visit of Biltmore House & Gardens is included in estate admission.
In-depth audio tour and guided specialty tours are available for an additional cost

tranquility den
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Top 10 Reasons To Plan a Smoky Mountain Vacation over Orlando, Florida

Smoky Mountain1. The BEAUTY:  The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, just South of Gatlinburg, is the most scenic & most visited National Park in the United States.  Gatlinburg, the gateway to the Smoky Mountains, has a unique footprint & lots to offer!

2. AFFORDABILITY:  The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is free.  Most parking is free.  Accommodations have competitive rates.  It’s normally more affordable than Orlando or the beach spots.  Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg offer outlet shopping & affordable dining, too.

3.  DIVERSITY OF ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES:  Lots of fun for the entire family including the Dollywood Amusement Park, Titanic Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, & Ober Ski Resort


4.  NATURE IS EVERYWHERE:  Your family can have group experiences with outdoor zip-lining, hiking, river rafting, and horse-back riding.  Walk along the Little Pigeon River in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.

5.  VACATION CABIN RENTALSLuxury cabin rentals in the area are unique, compared to other tourist spots.  They offer tremendous value for travellers looking for their own personal resort in a vacation rental.  Gatlinburg cabin rentals and Pigeon Forge cabin rentals offer different amenity packages.  You can elect to get a resort location, secluded surroundings, or mountain views each time you visit!


chief big log
6.  SHORT DRIVE AWAY:  Did you know Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg are only half a day’s drive or less from over 1/3 of the United States population.  We have 12-15 million visitors per year!

7.  AUTO & MOTORCYCLE ENTHUSIASTS WELCOME:  Not only are there several car shows throughout the year, but people can tour the National Park via automobile or motorcycle.  The mountain views are jaw-dropping!

8.  HISTORY:  See Cades Cove, which preserved the homestead of East Tennessee settlers from the nineteenth century.  You can see how people lived over 150 years ago.  You can also visit the Cherokee Reservation on the Southeast side of the Park.

9.  AVOID AIRPORTS:  Each year, due to the necessary security precautions, flying gets to be more & more cumbersome and expensive for families to travel.  Save hundreds of dollars and anguish by “driving” to our vacation destination.  (FYI:  We do have McGhee-Tyson Airport in Knoxville if you would like to fly into our area)
dogwood wagon

10:  SEASONAL CHANGES:  Each season in the Smokies has a “personality” and look all its own!  You will love the beauty of the Park during the Spring bloom.  Photographers come from all over the World to take pictures of the autumn leaf changes during the Fall.  During the Summer, families can take a break from their careers and school year to visit Dollywood (Tennessee’s #1 attraction).  During the Winter, Gatlinburg tourists & Pigeon Forge travellers come to celebrate the holidays and see the snow-capped mountains of the Smoky Mountains.   Ober ski resort also has tubing, skiing, ice-skating, & snowboarding for winter sports & recreation!

Laurel Falls in the Smoky Mountains
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Smoky Mountain Recommendations courtesy of Janelle

Weekly Recommendations by Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rental Staff– Janelle

Favorite Restaurant:
My favorite place for lunch is The Old Mill Pottery House Café. It is in a neat little village, and I really like all the shops there. There is an ice cream shop, a pottery shop and an old fashioned toy store. The food at the Pottery House Café is really good, and you can sit outside by a waterfall and eat your lunch.

Favorite Attraction for Kids:
Ripley’s Aquarium is a lot of fun if you have kids. The kids love the cross-walk where you can see the sharks and fish pass by. There is also a little cafeteria there, and you can walk along the river on River Road when you are finished at the Aquarium. The aquarium is well-suited for children of all ages.

Great Shopping Deals-The Burkes outlet in the Belz Outlet Mall is a good place to find great deals on clothes and home décor. The Carter’s children’s store in the red roof outlets is also a great place to get children’s clothes, because the whole upstairs is 50-70% off. You can’t get those discounts at the other children’s stores. I also like the Arts & Crafts community in Gatlinburg. It is a neat drive, and there are a lot of shops to see.

Favorite Trail in the National Park:
I like the Laurel Falls trail, because it is a nice hike and would be good for almost anybody. Plus, it is right there by the Welcome Center, which makes it easy access.

– Janelle

Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park and parking at the trailhead is limited. The area is especially busy on weekends year-round and on weekdays during summer. Laurel Branch and the 80-foot high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May.

The trail is 2.6 miles roundtrip and considered moderate in difficulty. The trail is paved and is suitable for strollers.   Access trail: Laurel Falls Trail

Trailhead: From Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn toward Cades Cove on Little River Road and drive 3.5 miles to the trailhead where there are parking areas on both sides of the road.

man holding a trout
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Great Fishing Hole and Park for Families and Kids

Herbert Holt Park, located on the right, as you are coming into Gatlinburg, is a subtle quiet park hidden away from the bustling city. It features a pavilion, play area, walking trail, and free fishing for kids under 12 in the river! The pavilion can be reserved, please call the Gatlinburg Community Center for reservations.  The city of Gatlinburg is the only city in Tennessee which stocks the rivers weekly with Rainbow Trout to provide the experience of trout fishing for visitors and locals alike. There are very few cities in the nation that spend resources to stock animals for the enjoyment of the population, and Gatlinburg is one of them. Gatlinburg also provides many children’s fishing areas to allow children to participate in one of the great outdoor traditions of the Smokies. The trout-stocking project began in 1980 and continues strong today. In 2005, Gatlinburg ordered a large upgrade of their trout farm, ensuring a steady supply of trout for city waters.  Anywhere from 35,000 to 45,000 fish ranging from 8-14 inches long are placed in Gatlinburg streams annually. The trout hatchery is located at Herbert Holt Park, just past the Gatlinburg entrance from Pigeon Forge.

Sunrise over the Great Smoky Mountains with a layer of mist
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Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge Last minute Specials for July 4th week

Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge
Great Last minute specials on all cabins for this weekend and through the July the 4th week. Rates Reduced to encourage last minute bookings on few remaining cabins with some as low as $100/night. Getaway through 6/30/09 to enjoy cabin rentals near Pigeon Forge & Dollywood. Take a hike in the Smoky Mountain National Park to get reacquainted with Mother Nature. Enjoy great Gatlinburg cabins with Aunt Bugs Cabin Rentals at