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Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

Austin, TX
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Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

I have been looking and looking at cabins and things to do. So many options and, yet, nothing is grabbing me. I need advice on a weeklong trip in the Smoky Mountains area. I was planning on renting a cabin in the Townsend area for 3 nights and, then, I can't figure out what else to do. We are an outdoors family - love hiking in National Parks, fishing, etc. We have been to the parks in the west, but this would be our first trip to the area, so we have no clue! What else can we do for the remainder of the week? I've thought of Shenandoah (too far?), the beach, Asheville (what do you do there?). Arghhh!!! Help!

Tennessee
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1. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

Asheville NC is home to the largest home in America, Biltmore House, www.biltmore.com The Blue Ridge Parkway, scenic drive, runs from Cherokee NC up into Virginia. Grandfather Mountain is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, www.grandfather.com

In the Smoky Mountains National Park, its free so enjoy it! Several hikes throughout the area. Some of the popular ones: Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls, Chimmney Tops, www.smokymountains.org/ www.hikinginthesmokys.com These 2 sites should give you more indepth info. also try www.nps.gov/ Also there is the famous Cades Cove driving tour, 11 mile one-way loop road located in the GSMNP but just outside of Townsend, Clingmans Dome -the highest peak in TN., parking lot fills up quick-go early, but is a nice paved up hill walk to the tower. Just outside of Gatlinburg TN. is the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, driving trail, similar to Cades Cove but not as congested and not as long. (Great views of Gatlinburg!) Fishing in the park is free (I think) and a great fishing spot is just outside of Townsend where the road "T"'s Going to the right goes to Cades Cove, the other direction will eventually take you to just outside of Gatlinburg. This fishing area is in the GSMNP. Another great spot is in the area called Greenbrier, which is another portion of the national park but its located off of hwy. 321 between Gatlinburg & Cosby. Cherokee North Carolina has the casinos, its located just on the other side of the park. Hwy. 441 goes through Gatlinburg into the park, over the mtns. into Cherokee NC.

In pigeon Forge TN., which is not far from Townsend 15-20 miles, you have alot of "touristy stuff" Mini-Golf places, Go-Cart Tracks, Dollywood, Zorb, Zip-Lines, shopping outlets/malls, etc., etc. along with the dinner & shows and other restaurants. Gatlinburg is about the same but I don't think as many. They have Ober Gatlinburg ski resort, www.obergatlinburg.com among other things. Pigeon Forge is a "Spread-out" type of town and Gatlinburg is more of a walk around type of town (most is close together)

There is white water rafting near by too. But the white water rafting we did years ago was located closer to Chattanooga, about a 1 hour drive from Townsend but I would recommend it to everyone, www.ocoeeriverwhitewaterrafting.com Which is the place where the 1996 Summer Olympics whitewater events were held.

There is a cave located in Townsend, www.tuckaleecheecaverns.com

One near Sevierville TN., www.forbiddencavern.com Close to this cave is a Trout Fishing Pond and Bush's Baked Beans plant that is open to tours.

Another great cave is near Sweetwater TN., within an hour drive from Townsend. Its called Lost Sea. www.thelostsea.com

As for cabin rentals, we have never stayed in a cabin in/near Townsend. We have stayed in some thats close to Wears Valley Community (located between Pigeon Forge & Townsend, hwy. 321) We rented them through Fireside Chalets, www.firesidechalets.com Before you reserve a cabin just make sure you ask "How close is the cabin to Townsend"

Try www.vrbo.com too. These are private cabin rentals and usually cheaper than through a rental company.

To me (and several others) theres no park like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!! I have been to Yellowstone, Tetons and to the Grand Canyon but to me, they don't compare to the GSMNP!!

Bass Pro Shops is located at exit 407.

Tennessee
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2. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

Also forgot to mention, go to; www.tn.gov and request for free visitor/travel info.

Grove City, Ohio
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3. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

There is way more to do in the area than you can do in three days. Since you are staying in Townsend, Cades Cove is only seven miles away. Its a mountain valley that has amazing views and a chance to see plenty of animals. Being so close, it would be no problem to go as early as possible and then around dusk. These are the best times to see wildlife. Cades Cove has several trails for hiking. Check www.nps.gov/grsm for info about the Smokies. Depending on when you go, there are several river tubing options in Townsend. There are also several place to ride horses in Townsend as well as a stable in Cades Cove. If you head west on TN 321 you can take Foothills Parkway across the southwest side of the Park. There are some great views along the way and it is rarely crowded.

Austin, TX
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4. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

Wow! Thank you all for the great information! I have some homework to do!

Cinn, OH
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5. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

Like the other posters said, alot to do in the area, let the kids loose in Gatlinburg to shop or visit the Acquarium, Pigeon Forge has Dollywood, many different dinner theaters, putt putt, shopping outlets. Even though Townsend is not all that far from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, you might consider the 3 days in Townsend and then moving to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg for several days. The road between the 2 towns is very curvy and you will probably want to try some of the restaurants at some point in other towns.

Austin, TX
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6. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

We are now thinking that we will spend 3 nights in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg and then 4 nights in a rental in Maggie Valley. Going from crazy and touristy to peaceful. Will we miss anything with this plan?

moss point
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7. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

i am going to the smokies May 17. have rented a cabin in wears valley. This will be my 5 or 6th trip and yes there is plenty to keep you busy. The river float trips are fun for kids and adults alike. Dixie stampede can be pricy but worth it and is a show/ entertainment as well as a good meal. I go everytime I have visited and never been disappointed. there is a water park at dollywood. BUT the best adventure is the smokies themselves. Beautiful views, trails, old homesteads etc. I have never been to Fontana lake and dam, so we may go there. also want to see if I can spot an elk at Catalooche. Roaring fork is a must see. Good luck, and have fun. Pack a picnic for the days in the park. I would stay closer in- as driving in the moutains takes longer than on the interstate and maybe take a trip out to townsend.

8. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

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Tennessee
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9. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

Your original post mentioned the "beach" The Outer Banks of North Carolina are nice but its along drive from the GSMNP. Myrtle Beach would be about 7-8 hrs. away.

If you are searching for a cabin closer to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg check this one out on www.vrbo.com Search #321552 Very unique cabin built over a waterfall and is located between the 2 towns.

Fireside has a 3 bedroom/3 bath rental around the Wears Valley Community called Hackers Hideaway. This community is located between Pigeon Forge & Townsend. www.firesidechalets.com

10. Re: Trip suggestions - traveling with 3 older teens

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