Gatlinburg, TN Family Trip – Christmas 2021a
What a time we had in Gatlinburg, TN!!! This was our first time visiting there and will definitely be going back. We were there between Christmas and New Years and stayed in a cabin in the Smokey Mountains. Our view was amazing, and we booked it through VRBO.com. We did see a black bear as we were driving on our way back to our cabin one day… and it was broad daylight! My and my son were stoked to see it but my wife and the girls no so much LOL 😊
There are so many things to do in Gatlinburg that I can’t list them all. There were some days we had planned out and other days we just drove to downtown Gatlingburg and walked around and shopped and ate. One day we traveled to Pigeon Forge and spent the day there. Pigeon Forge was a nice area and is very touristy like Gatlinburg but has a different vibe. Definitely worth a day trip to do some site seeing and shopping. We also did a tour of the Smokey Mountains which was a good time.
A few places I recommend you must do in Gatlinburg is the Ole Smokey Moonshine shop. They have a huge variety of moonshine to purchase along with taste testing events running every ½ hr. Stay away from the pure moonshine… unless you like cough medicine! Outside of Ole Smokey’s is a great pavilion area where they have country bands playing and big rocking chairs for you to sit in and relax while you take in the great music. We sat and listened to the band they had playing for at least an hour. It was a great relaxing time as we had been on our feet all day. Also be sure to take the tour to learn of the history of moonshine and how it is made.
Another place we loved and highly recommend is Anakeesta. This is a “must see” moutaintop theme park that is filled with great attractions, specialy shops and great restuarants. The fun part is getting to Anakeesta! You are no able to drive your vehicle there since it is on the top of a mountain you have a three exciting ways to get there. One way is by a Chondola, which is the world’s only fixed grip cable ride. You can choose an open-air 4-person chair or an enclosed gondola cabin that seats up to 6 people. The ride is a great way to see the surrounding area as it slowly lifts you 600 feet to the top of the mountain! Now if you don’t like heights you can ride on one of their Ridge Rambler vehicles! These are cool passenger trucks that take you on a scenic tour through the forest up to the mountain top. Either of these transportation options will take you 600 feet above downtown Gatlinburg to the summit of the mountain. Also keep in mind your admission to Anakeesta includes unlimited rides up and down from the summit. So you can take your first trip in the morning during daylight hours to see the enjoy the scenery of the Smoky Mountains, then head back down to do some shopping or go back to your hotel or cabin to rest. Then come go back up in the evening to enjoy the sights with the lights they have strung up all over Anakeesta. The day we went it was so windy that we didn’t stay to catch the sights in the night time.
Once you get to the top the entire family can enjoy and experience all the adventures awaiting you at the top of the mountain. They have so many things you can do like a single rail mountain coaster, a treetop skywalk and dueling ziplines! You will also want to explore the whimsical Firefly Village and then eat at the Smokehouse, Clifftop Restaurant, and/or the Kephart Cafe! There is also a pavilion area where you can sit down with your food and enjoy various bands playing music.
Another place we actually loved was the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Aquarium. Our daughter Josie wanted to go there so bad! There were so many cool exhibits to enjoy you can spend at least half of a day there. It was one of the better aquariums we have been at in our travels. I will say they didn’t really have good choices inside to eat so you may want to plan accordingly.
Now the really important stuff… places to eat! The places we absolutely loved are Crocketts Breakfast Camp. This was highly recommended to us by my brother. It is probably one of the best breakfast places we have eaten at… they had to role me out of there! Another great place was Ole Red which is Blake Shelton’s restaurant. We had dinner there our last night and enjoyed the live band they had playing that night. Finally we at Dicks Last Resort which if you haven’t been to one is a place where they are rude to you on purpose and they put hats on you will funny sayings that everyone can see. Our 19 year old son Drew wanted to go there really bad. We were nervous about taking out daughters there but they were kid appropriate. There are truly too many places to eat to list here but I recommend you call and put a reservation in or stop into the restaurant and get on their wait list.
Happy Travels and DREAM BIG!!!