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Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

Hattiesburg, MS
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Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

We are going to be taking our first family trip to Gatlinburg June 21-27! We are so excited about our trip, but are having a bit of a hard time figuring out what to do while we are there. We would like to do more outdoorsy type things, and less "touristy" things. We can do amusement parks and goofy golf lots of places, but we rarely have the opportunity to hike and really enjoy nature! The 4 year old will limit what we can do somewhat, but he is full of energy and up for most anything! I've been doing as much research as I can, but there is so much information out there that it gets a bit overwhelming.

Can anyone suggest some activities that we can enjoy as a family (that our 4 year old will be allowed to do!) We are up for hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, boating, just about anything!

Oh, and we are open to any "touristy" must do's too! Although, I think we have pretty much decided to skip Dollywood. Nothing against it, but we go to Disney several times a year so we don't really want anything like that on this vacation.

Thanks so much-Dana

Portsmouth, Ohio
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1. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

If you do not care to drive awhile to Bryson North Carolina you could ride on the Smoky Mountain Railroad here is there web site www.gsmr.com

Boston...
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2. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

Welcome to Trip Advisor and the forums! There have been literal zillions of posts about this in the past, many of them in the context of young kids. Try are forums search or just start looking through the posts. You'll find many helpful posts on the Great Smoky Mountains forums.

What you've basically asked for is any and all outdoor activities that could work with an energetic four year old. That would make for a really long list; this is the largest national park east of the Mississippi and the surrounding areas offer even more to do. Orientate yourself with the area and come back if you have some slightly more specific questions I can actually help with. Get a good trail map, a good guide book (Lonely Planet is one of my personal favs), and sift through all there is to see and do.

You may want to consider staying in Townsend, Wear Valley, or Cosby. That way you won't be constantly stuck in what has been called a "cheesy Las Vegas" if the atmosphere turns out to be not quite your thing. These three areas are quieter, have less traffic, and are more orientated to the park instead of manufactured stuff.

Kristian

florida
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3. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

Take a picnic lunch to Greenbrier. Let the kids splash in the creek. Bring a fishing pole. Hike Porters Creek trail.

Tennessee
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4. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

Welcome to TA! I see you are new and we will be glad to help. You can do a search but if you put in young child or toddler, you will come up with tons of unrelated things. If you do choose to do a search, be aware that you can sort the results by date so you can look at the most current info.

For horseback riding, I found this thread:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60842-i150-k17918…

It gives reviews and phone numbers.

Here is a link to a thread that gives lots of new and unusual things to do:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60842-i150-k17607…

The camel rides sounds pretty cool. I have heard the AAA baseball is fun and really cheap.

There is also a new ride called zorb. One of our experts recently did it and posted the videos of both her and her husband. It looks really fun but is kind of expensive.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60842-i150-k16445…

If you have questions about any specific things, just ask. There are no stupid questions. We hope that you enjoy your first vacation in the Smokies and grow to love it as much as all of us.

Asheboro, N.C.
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5. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

Here are just a few of the things we did with our children at that age. It is really hard for some that do not have children to know wht to tell you. At the age of 4 and 9 my children were also full of energy. They loved being able to go to Cades Cove and see the animals in their natural setting, playing in the mountain streams along Roaring Fork Motor trail, Having a picnic at metcalf bottoms again there they could play in the stream. They really liked going to Nascar Speedpark and The Track. At Cades Cove you could also have a picnic and during the day they have park rangers on hand doing hands on exhabits with little creatures from the strams and teaching the childrean about the animals of the area. The Sugarlands Center is a wonderful place to go and see and recieve so much info on the area for free. They even show a movie on the area for free. This is a must see atrraction. Great info for free. Now back in town they loved the Comedy barn and the Smith Family show in the evenings. I know you stated that you are skipping Dollywood but the kids would love that too. It is so much fun. If you go one day at 3 pm you can go the next day for free. They also have a lot of crafts of the area being made there on site. The rides for their ages are so much fun too. If it is a hot day they will love the water tree area. I hope you enjoy your trip to the Smokies.

North Carolina
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6. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

It does get overwhelming which is why this is the perfect place for your questions! Welcome to Tripadvisor and to the Smoky Mountains!

I did not click on the other links that some have posted but here are some recent posts that might help you. Sorry if they are duplicates! Some of the links were too long so I shortened them for you but they are all tripadvisor posts.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60842-i150-k19881…

tripadvisor.com/…12088863

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60842-i150-k19654…

http://tinyurl.com/4xtt4m

Looks like the Alpine Slide in Ober was suggested on some posts, too.

Now for the Pigeon Forge forum:

http://tinyurl.com/3pgmpt

Check out the second reply on this one:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g55270-i188-k14666…

tripadvisor.com/…7523209

That should get you started. Hope it helps and please come back and ask anything and everything!

Hattiesburg...
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7. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

Wel hello fellow Hattiesburg friend!!!! welcome to TA!!! First off...where are you staying? hotel or cabin? I ask because we prefer cabins.

Second...we are a Disney family too...and let me tell you that Dollwood is NOTHING like Disney World.Its so laid back..slow paced...country feelin...a tiny lil place compared to DW.My kids and I.LOVED Dollywood.We stayed wet all day running from one wet ride to another....had a blast.

also ,as far as nature stuff...The National park is heaven...Go to the Sugarlands visitor center..do the cataract falls walk nearby.cades Cove is a nice ride.Have a picnic along a stream..take it all in.Do the Roaring Fork motor trail up light 8 in Gatlinburg....lots of wildlife too see there...and do the Grotto Falls waterfall hike there.It took us about 3-4 hours total,at a kids pace.The falls are amazing.You can walk behind them..very cool.

For touristy stuff we like to wander the strip in Gatlinburg and go from there.Lots to see and do...great lil town...loads of fun!!! Please feel free to ask away!! I have been there four times since last June..guess I like the place!!

Tennessee
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8. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

Miss Crispy reminded me that they have a Jr. Ranger program in the park. I think both of your kids would really enjoy that.

Here is info about that:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60842-i150-k19653…

Boston...
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5,524 posts
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9. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

I agree; there are no stupid questions, just ones that are very difficult to answer. When you're just beginning to research it really does make more sense to read a guidebook and study maps to orientate yourself to an area rather than depending on a bunch of random suggestions, though the suggestions may be good ones.

Here are some links:

http://tinyurl.com/42c4sm

http://tinyurl.com/4ywelg

http://tinyurl.com/3tf2lz

http://tinyurl.com/3o5xcc

http://tinyurl.com/4lllnu

http://tinyurl.com/5zk292

http://tinyurl.com/65nsqx

Those are just a few.

Hattiesburg, MS
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5 posts
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10. Re: Outdoorsy type things to do with a 4 year old and 9 year old

Thanks so much for the useful information. I think you guys have given me plenty of ideas to keep us busy while we are there.

I did try several searches before I posted, but like previous posters said, it returned tons of stuff, and much of it wasn't relative to what I was looking for.

I've vacationed in Gatlinburg before, but it was many years ago and I'm sure lots has changed!

We are actually staying at Gatlinburg Falls resort. I've heard/read good and bad things about it, but I think we will basically be happy there.

I'm off to follow the links posted--I may be back later with more questions!Thanks again-Dana