Nine fun activities to try if you’re visiting the Great Smokys

If you're planning an exciting and one-of-a-kind vacation, make sure you're headed toward the Great Smokys! Whether you're a solo traveler or a big family, there are many indoor and outdoor activities for everyone.

Marlene Joseph

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To save time, we've highlighted some exclusive activities that await in the Smokys. You have lots to do and experience, so let's get started. 

Outdoor Activities: 

1. Amusement/Theme Parks

The Island is one of the most visited attractions on Parkway drive and offers varied entertainment for the whole family. You can start with thrilling bumper cars or play laser tag. Then head to the challenging three stories Skytrail rope courses with two zip lines for an adrenaline-filled experience. 

After ziplining, you and the kids can check out the 200-foot-high Ferris wheel that offers breathtaking mountainous views in glass gondolas. For a more action-packed experience, there's a rollercoaster and carousel too. 

Another excellent spot you shouldn't miss is Anakeesta and the mountain rail coaster that runs downhill at 25mph. Even small kids can join the ride with an adult. The uphill ride is also a scenic adventure on its own. 

2. Smoky Mountain Tubing

Snow and summer tubing is yet another cool activity the Smokys offer. It is a wholesome family activity that can be enjoyed all year round. From kids to grandparents, everyone can enjoy sliding down in the snow amidst the mountainous vistas. 

You can take a solo tube or combine them to accommodate more people. To make the most of Smoky Mountain tubing, go on an uphill conveyer during the summertime, soaking in the incredible views for the thrill of a lifetime. 

It would be best to book an appointment beforehand since the sessions tend to fill quickly! 

3. Camping/Hiking

The Great Smoky Mountain National park is a spectacular natural feast with forests, streams, and the Appalachian mountain chain. With more than 9,000 species of plants, animals, and fungi, hiking and tracking in the park is an unparalleled feast. 

You can choose from short and long trails depending on difficulty level. You can also buy mileage booklets from one of the many shops in the park to make hiking more exciting and challenging. At the end of your hike, you can claim your mileage pins from the visitors' center.

You can also combine your hiking with the horse riding sessions offered at the park or cycle on the trails. However, check the travel advisory for the trails since it changes due to weather conditions.

The Smoky Mountain National park also has multiple sites for camping. So bring marshmallows and relish the time you spend with family and friends in the great wilderness. 

4. Water Rafting and Canoeing

The entire Smokys area is replete with waterfalls, rivers, and streams offering fantastic mountain range views. You can select different water activities based on your skill level or the kind of thrill you want. You can go for adventurous rafting in the Pigeon River's whitewater rapids or a family float trip for a relaxing experience. 

5. Ghost and Haunt Tours

If you are looking for a spooky experience, then the Great Smokys is the place for you. There are a variety of tours in Gatlinburg that take you into the gory past of the legends, haunted areas, and the unusual historical facts of the 'real places' in Gatlinburg, which is just a few miles away from the Smoky Mountains Park. 

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In-Door Activities:

The Great Smokys offers a variety of indoor thrills all year long. We have selected the most entertaining activities for you.

1. Arcades/Indoor Games

Parkway drive in Pigeon Forge offers a variety of places where you can play the latest indoor games, like the Big Top Arcade or the Wilderness of the Smokys, which boasts more than 100 games for children and adults. 

2. Museums/Aquariums

You can also spend quality time at the area's history or entertainment museums, like the Titanic Museum or Hollywood Wax Museum. 

The Titanic Museum is a history buff's ultimate dream as it provides a close-to-reality experience of the historical accident and showcases the original artifacts from the ship. On the other hand, the Hollywood Wax Museum is a great way to introduce kids to various generations of celebrities together in one place and is also an ideal place for family pictures!  

Another wholesome family activity is a visit to the aquariums. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokys has more than 9,000 species of marine life on display, including penguins and sharks. It also offers live penguin shows and opportunities for visitors to feed the animals.  

3. Escape Rooms

If you love to solve challenging puzzles, find hidden clues, and escape before the time runs out, then you're in for a treat! The Great Smokys offers a variety of escape rooms with varying levels of difficulty and exciting scenarios. You can choose from Trapped, Breakout Gatlinburg, and many more. 

4. Shopping

You can also go for retail therapy at The Island or along the Pigeon Forge Parkway. You can buy souvenirs for the family at home and purchase memorabilia for your living room. 

Final Thoughts 

No matter what kind of activities you yearn for, time spent at The Great Smokys guarantees an experience you'll never forget. The area has every imaginable activity to plan a perfect holiday, so pack your bags and start planning. 

If you think we missed out on anything, let us know in the comments box below. 

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