The Smoky Mountains are regularly advertised as one of the great family vacation destinations in the country and it's not hard to see why - we have THE most visited National Park in all the United States, we have one of the biggest and most popular amusement parks on the continent that isn't affiliated with a movie media empire, and millions of groups come in and leave very satisfied that they visited the region no matter what the reason for their visit was.
Bear Camp Cabins is proud to call the Smokies home - not just for the immaculate beauty we’re blessed to receive on a daily basis, but because the areas surrounding the Smokies also receive a healthy change of pace as years go on. Lots of things are changing around us all the time and every season comes with new attractions and things to do while major, fundamental changes are slow and allow us ample time and opportunity to appreciate them. Such as that is, one of the big questions we get from visitors, even those who come here every few years, is “What do you recommend?” as far as the local attractions go.
In this article, we’ll share with you some of our current favorites that we like to recommend for those who haven’t been here in a while and want some ideas of where to take the family to that they might not have seen or may have forgotten about. Let’s take a look:
You’ve seen the Youtube videos and, don’t lie, you’ve been dying to go somewhere where gravity has less leverage over you and the vessel you occupy! The Smoky Mountains have recently acquired not one, but TWO indoor trampoline parks where kids and adults alike can be ninjas, saiyans, acrobats and aerodynamic daredevils for a little while! Includes awesome additions like rock climbing, ninja training course, arcades, candy store and more.
At the entrance to The Island in Pigeon Forge is a new museum where much of the history of criminals, gang members, famous and infamous prisoners are put on display for your edutainment. The Alcatraz East Crime Museum is shocking (in a family-friendly kinda way!) and includes lots of interactive exhibits, items that appear on tours such as the White Bronco that O.J. Simpson made his famous car chase with, special events and more.
It’s almost impossible to miss - you see that giant Mount Rushmore with… umm… Marilyn Monroe on it? Charlie Chapman? What about King Kong climbing to its apex? That funky, eye-catching attraction is the Hollywood Wax Museum and the preceding description only begins the fun the museum offers. There are innumerate, incredibly realistic wax figures of all your favorite celebrities, figures, movie characters and scenes on display that you can take your picture next to and you’ll only get to see them at Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all wanted to go on a high fantasy adventure where magic, wands, runes and more were all real and MagiQuest in Pigeon Forge offers visitors young and young-at-heart the opportunity to do just that. In addition, this attraction is near other such adventures like the Castle of Chaos 5D where you get to showcase your paranormal fighting skills and the above mentioned Hollywood Wax Museum. One location in the city can offer more adventures than you could dream of!
At the tail end of downtown Gatlinburg, right as it gets to Stoplight #10 and stops being downtown Gatlinburg, is one last attraction the entire family can find some thrills in called Nantahala Outdoor Center. NOC Gatlinburg is a hiking outfitter store, a whitewater rafting provider, indoor rock climbing facility, a children’s play area and more all in one.
One of the Smoky Mountains’ longest and finest establishments in entertainment, surprisingly, has almost nothing to do with Appalachia or the mountains at all! Sweet Fanny Adams in downtown Gatlinburg specializes in something different - vaudeville-style comedy and routines that bring a classy but accessible comedy to those who appreciate old-school laughs and theatre. Now in its 41st season, Sweet Fanny Adams has outlasted a long of things in this country and you should definitely see why that is on your next visit!
Another major and generations-old attraction in the Smokies that transcends the theme of the region is Christ in the Smokies on River Road in Gatlinburg. Formerly Christus Gardens, Christ in the Smokies is a joyous place that depicts the story of Jesus Christ with incredible dioramas and exhibits that are hard to forget once you see them. Also on display is the famous “Carrera Face” of Jesus and one heaven of a gift shop. Don’t celebrate Christmas in the Smokies without Christ in the Smokies!
510 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
We hope this list starts you off right on your itinerary for your upcoming Smoky Mountain getaway. Keep checking back with us in the future as we’ll showcase more attractions as the opportunities to do so present themselves!