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Traveling with young children, inexpensively
They first assigned us to a room that had not been cleaned. They re-assigned us to another room in a short while, and our stay there was really wonderful. There was a balcony view, and our 2 BR unit had most everything we needed. We made a quick trip to the close by WalMart for groceries. We cooked breakfast every day before we set out. We took sandwich and snack materials & drinks in a cooler each day, usually for lunch. At night we picked a restaurant for a hot meal. The room had washer/dryer, iron/ironing board, hairdryer, all the kitchen cookware/dishes, even coffee filters and complimentary coffee pack, garbage bags, dishwashing detergent, etc. There was plenty of extra storage in the living area for clothing, etc., if the sofa needed to be converted into a bed. You could call for the shuttle to transport you to the pool/hot tub area, as it is down the mountain.
Great for the kids; adults do not have to pay if they drive for the child passenger. Children can ride all day for $ 10, but they have to stand in line. For another $10 they can ride a number of other additional rides as much as they want during the day. It is very hot asphalt paving, and it would be advisable to take water. They sell it there for $2/bottle. There are a few umbrellas to provide shade, but more would be nice. You can leave and return anytime during the day/night until they close. Great for the kids, but parents will probably get bored, hot and thirsty. Food is available in their concession area, but a bit pricey.
Great paved hike with fantastic reward at the end. The falls is beautiful, and you can take off your shoes and walk around in the water on the rocks. Handicap accessible by wheelchair. We had two children, 4 & 5 yr olds, that hiked the whole thing, with the rest of us. A hike that is rated easy, and a must do if you have never been there. Of course, there is no cost for any attraction inside the Great Smokey Mountain Park. We took our time, and lingered at the falls area to enjoy the view, and to rest and relax. Down hill was an easy trip.
This falls is an easy hike, paved partially, and only takes a short time. This is the highest falls (120 ft.) in the Great Smoky Mountains Park, and a must see. It is quite a drive to get there from Gatlinburg, down Newfound Gap Road, but it is a beautiful drive, wlth stops all along the way. So many beautiful views and photo opps. Also nearby are Indian River Falls, and Juney Whank Falls. Juney Whank was also nice, an easy hike, and around a 90 ft drop. It rained on us just before one of the hikes, so we just took a short nap in the truck until it passed. It was a nice day's drive and so worthwhile.
Be sure to stop in to Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Mall , as they have some real bargains for brand name items. Also great selection of hiking gear, clothing, shoes, etc. They have Old Navy, Timberland, Kirkland's, Striderite, Children's Place, and more than we could go to in the time we had. Got many good bargains. Be sure to stop in Beehive Outlet if you come from I-40; they have deals on jewelry, purses, shoes, home decor. Got several souvenir gifts. All the outlet malls are worth checking out if you have the time. Smokey Mountain Knife Works, Bass Pro Shop, and several Tool outlets. Don't overlook the gift shops in the Smokey Mountain Park Visitor Center; they have some inexpensive things, like patches with the name of the trail you hiked, books, tshirts, etc. Neat stuff. And you can become a "Friend of the Smokeys" for $25, and help contribute to the care of the park, all of which is free. You can also donate in the donation boxes located throughout the park.
The drive from Sevierville was a difficult one, very mountainous and a lot of commerical trucks on a winding mountainous road (I-40), but really enjoyed the tour of the estate. Be prepared for a lot of walking and a lack of air conditioning. It will take a full day to visit all.
We did some searching to find a company that would accept 3 year olds. It is really just a float, 1 hour or so, but we knew the grandchildren would really enjoy it since they love the outdoors. Rafting in the smokies is at exit 447 off I-40, along with several other companies, but they do not all handle young children. Reservations will be required, about two weeks in advance is good. We all had a great time.