Family vacations in the Smoky Mountains

Fishing In Gatlinburg and The Smokies

Some people may not be aware but, Gatlinburg, TN and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer miles of streams and rivers that are full of Native and and, in Gatlinburgs case, both native and stocked Rainbow Trout. For the experienced sportsman the national park has some of the best fly fishing in the area. There are guides available in the area or you can just get your permit and go for an adventure in the park alone or with a friend. The City of Gatlinburg stocks trout in about 5 miles of rivers and streams every Thursday in season. This gives even the least experienced fisherman a good chance at catching his or hers daily limit. There are even 2 specific areas that are stocked heavier than the rest and reserved for the young fishermen under 12. Gatlinburgs stocking season runs March to November. Daily or weekly permits can be purchased at the Gatlinburg City Hall on Hwy 321 across from the Food City grocery store. You can fish in Gatlinburgs stocked streams 6 days a week. Fishing in Gatlinburg on Thursday is prohibited. So bring your family, friends and, your fishing poles and be ready to enjoy some delicious fresh trout off of your grill, out of your frying pan, or out of the oven. And, as always sit back in your rocking chair on the deck of your Gatlinburg cabin and enjoy the view.

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10 Clever Quotes from the Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)

  1. “It is never the fall that kills, it’s the sudden stop at the end.” – Mountain Guide’s Handbook
  2. ” The Beauty of the Mountain is hidden for all those who try to discover it from the top, supposing that, one way or an other, one can reach this place directly. The Beauty of the Mountain reveals only to those who climbed it…” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  3. Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain-tops are within reach. – John Muir
  4. Fear… the right and necessary counterweights to that courage which urges men skyward, and protects them from self-destruction – Heinrich Harrer
  5. “The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel.” – President Theodore Roosevelt
  6. “There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm.” – President Theodore Roosevelt
  7. “The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.” – President T. Roosevelt
  8. I love nature, I love the landscape, because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests. It is cheerfully, musically earnest. I lie and relie on the earth. –Henry David Thoreau
  9. Stitched with silver-white
    The twilit mountain ridgeHolds the last spring light.
    –Kato Koko
  10. We should be clear about what happens when we destroy the living forms of this planet. The first consequence is that we destroy modes of divine presence. If we have a wonderful sense of the divine, it is because we live amid such awesome magnificence. –Thomas Berry
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Top 10 Reasons To Plan a Smoky Mountain Vacation over Orlando, Florida

1. 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!


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)

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!

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Greetings from the Smokies!  Most people enjoy coming to the Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg area for its beauty, family vacation memories, and activity.  Others tend to come around Thanksgiving or thereafter for the amazing shopping & deals available to locals & tourists alike.  With access to so many different brands, types of gifts, as well as arts and crafts…why would you go anywhere else for your Christmas shopping?  Also the 10 million plus Winterfest Lights throughout our area are just another reason to drop in, for a weekend or maybe more!  We’ll leave the light(s) on, so make plans to come see us this Season.

Shop ’till you drop in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville. For those who like outlet shopping and great deals you’ve come to the right place.
Pigeon Forge features numerous outlet shopping malls and centers, most within walking distance from the Holiday Terrace Inn! Belz Factory Outlet Mall, Walden’s Landing, and Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall offer unlimited shopping! From clothing to books, appliances to home decor, everything a shopper desires may be located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
In Sevierville, there’s  Governor’s Crossing shopping area and Belk department store (opened in 2004).
Gatlinburg has many unique novelty shops, candy stores, and the Smoky Mountain Mall which is filled with different stores.
Find a cabin or chalet stay for a week, so you can do all the outlet shopping you want.

Why Come to the Smoky Mountains?
Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Townsend, Cosby and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee are wonderful destinations for your next family vacation, reunion, wedding or honeymoon. Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Ripley’s Aquarium, Ober Gatlinburg, outlet shopping, theme parks, golf and exciting special events are just a few of the exciting things to do for entertainment while you are in the area.
Accommodation and lodging choices also abound with the wide selection of hotels, motels, log cabins and condo rentals and even campgrounds featured here. Don’t forget to check out our discount coupons to attractions, restaurants, music theaters and lodging Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, TN and be sure to register to win a FREE getaway to the Smokies!!

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Gatlinburg Photos – Nature Video Clips – Pictures of Nature Scenes

Gatlinburg Photos – Nature Video Clips – Pictures of Nature Scenes

I recommend readers review these wonderful Gatlinburg videos that spotlight the beauty and amazement of the Smoky Mountain town! You will learn more about the things to do in Gatlinburg, as well as what’s offered each season here in the Smokies. Winterfest is a great time to come to Gatlinburg. There’s a Chili Cook-off with the best local restaurants participating. The Mayor turns on a light switch which initiates the festival of lights. You will be amazed by the assortment of Christmas lights throughout Gatlinburg.

Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff
Date(s): November 10
Season: Fall, Winter
Category: Entertainment, Fundraiser, Food
Are you thinking chili?

Offering mouth-watering recipes of home-style chili ranging from mild and delightful to wild and adventurous, the City of Gatlinburg hosts its 21st annual Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff on Wednesday, Nov. 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. on the popular Downtown Parkway.

Highlighted by the seasonal debut of the spectacular all-LED Gatlinburg Winter Magic lights program and live entertainment, more than 20 organizations will serve up kettles of chili ready for you to sample as the event fills the Parkway between traffic light #6 and the Riverside Motor Lodge.

Entertainment for the event will be The Grassabillies, Steve Brown and Hurricane Ridge, The Holloway Sisters, and Boogertown Gap. Music will be performed in various spots throughout the venue in addition to on the main stage. Street Magic and Belly Dancers will round out the entertainment lineup.

With the purchase of a ticket, receive a spoon and a voting ballot, then starting at 5 p.m. be pleasantly tempted and tested before casting your vote for the People’s Choice Award. Also, judges will select winners in categories including Best Taste, Booth Presentation, Apron Design and Most Unique Chili Name.

All Sauced Up is sponsoring several hot chili eating contests during the event. See if you can stand the heat! Sponsors for Gatlinburg Winter Magic Kickoff Chili Cookoff are City of Gatlinburg, Ripley’s Entertainment, and Hard Rock Café Gatlinburg


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Halloween in Gatlinburg, Tennessee 2010

Share the Autumn Celebration of Halloween this October with friends & family in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!  You’ll enjoy the options of a Halloween bash at Gatlinburg’s Aquarium, a hayride through downtown Gatlinburg, a beautiful drive through the National Park, or maybe a walk along the Little Pigeon River.  Many people come to Gatlinburg to stay in a log cabin rental so they can enjoy a romantic getaway with fireplace and hot tub.  Your kids will have memories of a lifetime as they spend the Fall holiday here in the Smokies with their family.  So come visit & enjoy the beauty of Autumn in the Smokies!

This Halloween will prove to be frightfully exciting when visiting Gatlinburg with a variety of activities that are sure to be spine-chilling! Area ghosts and ghouls come out to play at the Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg where visitors can explore the most haunted building in the area as the occupants scare and delight you. From cobweb-covered dungeons to squeaky staircases and hallways, you can tip-toe your way through the horrors of the Mysterious Mansion! If haunted houses aren’t your cup of tea, there are a variety of activities that local shops and venues featuring Halloween fun to reward your little ghost or goblin with some candy! Whether you want a family friendly holiday or a frightful encounter, there are plenty of Halloween activities for your party! Don’t forget about area hotels that are sure to make your stay comfortable and convenient.
 Before the nightly activities, explore more activity options in Gatlinburg like Dollywood The 125-acre theme park provides roller coasters for thrill seekers, shows, dining and more that will fit anyone traveling in your family. With the beautiful terrain serving as inspiration, this exquisite park catches the spirit of the entertainment legend, Dolly Parton, and East Tennessee. This park is open Halloween day, so enjoy over 30 rides and attractions before dressing up to take to the streets of Gatlinburg!
Catch the magic of the Halloween season at the Magic Beyond Belief show where you watch impossible feats and illusions with the Merlin award-winning magician, Terry Evanswood. Acting as his co-star, Terry invites his 400-pound white tiger onto the stage to participate! The theater itself is equipped with two massive video screens and state-of-the-art lighting and sound to provide a magical experience you won’t soon forget. With shows on Halloween night and surrounding evenings, you can find the time to fit in one of these amazing programs!

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10 Can’t Miss Activities to Schedule on your Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge Vacation:

1.)  Hike the Smokies–there are many incredible mountain trails including Clingman’s Dome, the Chimney’s, Mt. Leconte, Abrams Falls Trail, and Laurel Falls

2.)  Family or Friends’ photographs along the Little Pigeon River–you can float on an intertube, just put your feet in, fish it (you’ll need a fishing license), or use it as an amazing backdrop to your travel group

3.)  Shopping at outlet malls in (Sevierville, TN)–Calvin Klein, Coach, Fossil, Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Disney, Old Navy, & American Eagle

4.)  Wonderful Dining–Visit the Old Mill, Cherokee Grill, BullFish, Peddler’s Steakhouse, & Pancake Pantry

5.)  Zipline–Visit Wahoo Ziplines in Sevierville, TN.  The guides are European and are very instructional (safety first).  It’s exhiliarating & exciting! Perfect for a romantic date or a group event for teenagers and younger adults.

6.)  Stay at a log cabin rentalAunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals offer fantastic log homes with indoor swimming pools, outdoor hot tubs, pool tables, saunas, creekside or mountain views, and wood/gas fireplaces.  You’ll love their luxury rentals at a discount price.

7.) Go to the Arts & Crafts Community just East of Gatlinburg on Glades Road.  You’ll find some of the best artisans of the Appalachian including fantastic pottery, painters, wood whittlers, & candle-making.  This place is terrific for a fabulous souvenir, home decor, and birthday/wedding presents.  I’ve gotten several wedding gifts from this community because their work is so unique and remarkable!

8.)  Visit Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN).  Dollywood offers something for every age group & has a variety of attractions! This includes great entertainment shows, rollercoasters, carnival games, Southern food, water-rides, kiddie rides, museums, & animal exhibits!  It’s the #1 attraction in Tennessee for a reason!

9.)  Check out the New Titanic Museum.  The largest of its kind in the World.  This new World Class museum in the Great Smoky Mountains provides a highly interactive, hands-on experience for the entire family!

10.)  Theater Shows with some of the best singers, dancers, & performers in the World!  Country Tonite, Dixie Stampede, & The Miracle Theater are just a few of the area’s most popular Shows!





I hope you can utilitize this list to schedule some exciting activities for your group or family this Season!  We can’t wait to see you in the Smokies!  Make reservations ahead or drop by when you get here!

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Gatlinburg’s Aquarium of the Smokies (By Ripley’s)

Gatlinburg, TN–Ripley’s® Aquarium of the Smokies is literally teaming with life – our 10,000 exotic sea creatures comprise more than 350 individual species. There are more fish in this aquarium than there are people living in the entire town of Gatlinburg. Although Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is hundreds of miles from the ocean, the scenic beauty and the abundance of water all around make the town of Gatlinburg a “natural” location for a world-class aquarium, America’s most fun aquarium.

Their Shark Lagoon is one of the most impressive Aquarium experiences I’ve had because the tunnel is see-thru clear glass that enables you to see every part of the species, while you travel through by glidepath.  Filled with thousands of fish of every shape and size, this is our largest and most popular exhibit.
Leisurely travel on a moving 340-foot long glidepath, as you wind your way through the acrylic tunnel and come face to face with snappers, tarpons, grunts, squirrelfish, a green sea turtle, giant stingrays, sawfish and…very large SHARKSYou and your family will marvel at the clarity of the water and the totally immersive environment. You will feel as if you were exploring the deep oceans and could almost touch the amazing sea life!

In this shallow lagoon patrons can reach out and touch rays as they glide by. Their skin is smooth and touching them will not hurt you or the rays.  Rays do, however, have strong teeth in their mouths so touching them should be limited to their dark top-sides.  Aquarists are on hand to assure the safety of both our guests and rays and to answer any questions regarding these unusual creatures.

The Tropical Rainforest display recreates the primeval, lush world of the Rainforest where more than 2,000 species of fish thrive. Discover freshwater stingrays, cardinal tetras, four-eyed fish, poison dart frogs, zebra cichlids, armored catfish, piranhas, mudskippers and more.  The Amazon River, which moves over 4 million cubic feet of water per second, is filled with Piranhas, stingrays, armored catfish and lots of other exotic freshwater species. See them here for yourself!

Their Pengun exhibit is also very intriguing & I think the kids love it! Enjoy this playful colony of African Blackfooted Penguins in their new state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor habitat.  View penguins from above and below the water in this unique and interactive exhibit. Experience penguins swimming as you crawl through clear underwater tunnels. Pop up on the penguins’ private beach and get nose-to-beak.

If you would like to visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, simply stop by the Aquarium in Gatlinburg at Stop Light #6 between 9am-9pm.  I would give at least two hours to take the tour.  I highly recommend your visit, but remember there are plenty of attractions to enjoy in the area so take a group vote before you plunge in.  If you have other questions about local attractions or businesses, I will be happy to help answer them at

We’ll see you soon!