Most Popular Family Vacation Activities 2011 (Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, TN)

People only have the luxury of taking a family vacation once or twice a year, if at all, because of their busy work schedules, kids’ school, and other at-home activities.  So when they do get to visit a travel destination, it is important to outline some fun activities for the entire family to participate in and experience.  There are some dynamic new places in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg that are sure to entertain kids and adults, alike.  Let’s take a look at some of the more popular activities to engage in during a Smoky Mountain Vacation.

Ziplines are popular in Europe, South America, Hawaii, and several exotic locations.  Now ziplines have become the new “in” thing to do in the Smoky Mountains.  After you’ve tried it once, you’ll see why.  Ziplines are great for family reunions, romantic dates, and teenage groups.  Looking for a bigger thrill? Super ziplines – 800-feet long and 100-feet high – are ready to rock your world.  Ride one of these and you can truly say you’ve conquered the fiercest ziplines in Tennessee.  From newlyweds to retired couples and friends to families, we get them all.  If you’re in or around Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, book your zipline canopy tour today. You’ll be talking about this unique, breathtaking adventure for years to come! Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville now have the top ziplines on the entire East Coast, so be sure to experience this exhilirating natural ride when visiting the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee.
Titanic Pigeon Forge:  Each and every day, Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tn. provides a gateway to 1912, where First Class Maids and a variety of Officers and crew members bring the stories of the fabled ship and its fascinating passengers to life by retelling their stories in vivid, dramatic detail.  The priceless artifacts throughout the museum shed additional light on the lives of those passengers and crew members when guests see the actual belongings of those on board and artifacts that sailed on Titanic’s maiden voyage.  Titanic has taken Pigeon Forge by storm as the #1 Museum in the Smoky Mountains.  It’s towering “Titanic Ship” facade is sure to get your attention as you drive up towards the Mountains Southbound on the Parkway.  You will be gravitated towards the family fun that awaits you at Titanic!

Dollywood/Splash Country:  Dollywood has long been Tennessee’s #1 attraction.  However, what people don’t realize is that Dollywood has one of the top waterparks in the South in Splash Country.  Also, there are new amazing rides to enjoy at Dollywood including Adventure Mountain, Barnstormer, Skyzip, and Dollywood’s Adventure Theater.  Splash Country also offers many water rides in Pigeon Forge including Wild River Falls, The Butterfly, and Big Bear Plunge.

Gatlinburg Log Cabin Rentals & Pigeon Forge Log Cabin Rentals:  The Smoky Mountains have the most diverse inventory of log cabin vacation rentals in the United States.  Honeymooners, families, and large groups can take advantage of the beautiful mountains by reserving a mountain cabin rental in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. Gatlinburg cabin rentals feature views of the mountains, rivers, and downtown Gatlinburg.  Pigeon Forge cabin rentals offer luxury amenities and lodging near Dollywood, outlet shopping, and the Pigeon River.  Your family will have a tremendous vacation in the Smokies where you can enjoy all the comforts of home, while taking in the beauty of this remarkable gateway to the #1 visited National Park in the Country (Great Smoky Mountains National Park).

Gatlinburg Municipal Parks for Families

Herbert Holt Park is a creekside park and the first one you come into as you enter Gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge. There is a large pavilion, playground equipment, a handicap accessible fishing pier and a trout facility for the kids’ entertainment. Herbert Holt is a great place for a picnic too with its own grills, sinks and horseshoe pits for the grandfathers who join you one Sunday afternoon.  Acorn cabin rentals has three cabins on the Little Pigeon River that are antique riverside cabins near this Park.  These cabins include River Dream, Granny’s Cabin, and Bear Cabin.  You’ll love the beauty of the rushing waters at this location! This Park is walking distance to town.Mills Park is further up from Gatlinburg on Highway 321, right next to the high school and the Gatlinburg Community Center. Mills Park is a good place for kids to play sports in with a basketball court, baseball field, football and soccer fields, running track, skate park and horseshoe pits. Down the road a bit is another park with a playground and pavilion. There are also grills and sinks to cook out with.  The community center also offers bowling, racquetball, fitness center, ping pong, and so much more.  They also have indoor swimming pool.  Great for all ages to enjoy their exercise and sports.

Mynatt Park is downtown Gatlinburg’s Municipal Park. It’s located at the top of Airport Road with a creek running alongside it. Mynatt is the place to go to let the kids run around and wear out before bedtime. There is a LOT of open space, a basketball court, a playground just up the street, and a creek running along the picnic grounds. This Park is up Historic Indian Trail Airport Road at Light #8 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The History of Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Great Smoky Mountains)

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Nestled in the valley of the Little Pigeon River’s West Fork and surrounded on three sides by the majestic National Park, Gatlinburg has evolved from a rural hamlet to a thriving gateway community.
Settled in the early 1800s, it was first named White Oak Flats for the abundant native white oak trees covering the landscape. It is believed a middle-aged widow, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, was the first official settler here. She came with her family to start a new life in what her late-husband described as a “Land of Paradise” in East Tennessee.

In 1854, Radford C. Gatlin arrived in White Oak Flats and opened the village’s second general store. Controversy soon surrounded him and was eventually banished from the community. However, the city still bears his name.

As a self-sustaining community, Gatlinburg changed little in the first one hundred years. When the Civil War erupted, some locals joined the Union, others the Confederacy. But, in general, the mountain people tried to remain neutral. Although only one Civil War skirmish was fought in Gatlinburg, countless raids were made by both sides to gather vital resources needed to sustain the war effort. As with much of the South, deprivation and hardship persisted long after the war.

Great Smoky Mountains History

With the formation of the Smoky Mountain national park, tourism boosted the area’s economy. Many of the displaced mountain families moved into town, either developing new enterprises or taking jobs in new hotels, restaurants and service facilities to meet the needs of the burgeoning tourist industry. Progress slowed considerably during World War II. But, by war’s end, tourists returned with a vengeance and the sleepy little village of Gatlinburg expanded to meet the demands. Incorporated in 1945, it has since developed into a four-season resort and convention Mecca.

The Radford Gatlin Story

Originally called White Oak Flats, there are many stories as to how Gatlinburg got its name, all involving a controversial figure who settled here in 1854. Radford C. Gatlin opened the town’s second general store and when the post office was established in his store, in 1856, the town name changed to Gatlinburg. He was flamboyant and, as a preacher, established his own “Gatlinite” Baptist Church. He was a democrat in a republican community, and was eventually banished from the area.