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2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

Prairieville, LA
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68 posts
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2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

The countdown has begun. Two weeks from today my family (me, hubby, 6yr old daughter and 11 yr old son) will be driving to Gatlinburg from Louisiana. We are super excited as it will be our first visit to the area!

This is what I have planned. Please help me out and make suggestions.

We are planning to leave around 5 a.m. on Saturday morning & stop near Chat for the night.(Should be arriving around 3 or 4 pm)

Sunday - Rock City/Lookout Mtn. Drive to our hotel (Resort at Governors Crossing). Which route should we take? Is there a nice scenic drive? Check in is 4 p.m. Will probably make a trip to Walmart to stock up for the week and will spend the evening by the pool or maybe do Cirque de Chine(I think its right next to the hotel?).

Monday - Pancake Pantry for breakfast, Sugarlands Visitor Center and exploring trails/waterfalls. Recommendations? Would like to do Cades Cove.

Tuesday - White Water Rafting, walk the Gatlinburg Strip (son wants to do MagiQuest), Ober Gatlinburg.

Wednesday - Dollywood and Dixie Stampede

Thursday - we check out of resort at 11a.m. Head back towards Chatt. Tour The Lost Sea and Mayfield Dairy. Stay the night in Chatt.

Friday - ??

Saturday - head home to Louisiana.

Other things we are intersted in doing.. but not sure where or if it can be fit into our trip. - Gem Mining, Tuckaleechee Caverns, Rainforest Adventures, Apple Barn, Maggie Valley, Titanic museum, English Mountain Trout Farm.

Also, restaurant suggestions??

Thank you!!

Monday

Nashville, TN
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1. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

Hi cap1275

I'll help you with the Sunday drive to Sevierville. I would drive I-75 to exit 81 (Hwy 321) and take a right. Stay on Hwy 321 all the way to Townsend. If you have time, be sure to visit the GSMNP Visitor Center there, as well as the other sites.

Instead of turning left to stay on Hwy 321, keep going straight into the Park. When you get to the Wye, right will take you to Cades Cove. Left will take you to Gatlinburg. There are some great places to stop and see along this way. If you want details, post back or go to the GSMNP website.

When you get to the Sugarlands Visitor Center, which I highly suggest to stop at, take a left. You can then choose to take the bypass or go through Gatlinburg. You should be going against traffic, so traffic should not be a problem either way you go. Then just keep going through Pigeon Forge to your hotel.

There is a Wal-Mart Supercenter a couple of blocks right before you get to your destination. I think it's on the left, but not sure.

Google Map: http://tinyurl.com/232bdy4

Bob

Haubstadt IN
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336 posts
115 reviews
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2. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

Oh, I'm so jealous!! We arrive 2 weeks after you & I'm already counting down the days (27 as of today!!). I have 16, 11, & 6 year old daughters & they love the park. We pack a picnic lunch & take a break during our days in the park at any of the numerous picnic areas. Our fave is Chimneys. The girls love to take their shoes off & stick their feet in the super cold water. Clingman's Dome is another favorite drive/hike area. The views from the lookout tower are amazing!! Cade's Cove is nice. Roaring Fork is a nice drive that usually isn't near as crowded as Cade's Cove. Laurel Falls is an easy hike (we pushed our youngest in a stroller on our 1st hike here, if that gives you an idea of the path conditions).

Mini golf is a must-do every trip as are the go-karts. If you look around at the signs, some go-kart places have buy one, get one free deals if you go before noon. We usually spend one day of each trip checking out the shops along the strip in Gatlinburg. My hubby can't take much more shopping than that! We also like the Tanger Outlet Mall in Sevierville. If you look on their website, you can see all the stores there & where they are located.

Tuckaleechee Caverns is on our to-do list for our July trip. We have visited Forbidden Caverns, which was really nice. We also plan to go to the Titanic museum this trip. I have read some good reviews on here for it. We haven't tried the gem mining in this area but have in other vacation spots & always thought it was a rip-off. (Just our opinion, of course!)

Have an awesome vacation!!

Knoxville, Tennessee
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78 posts
11 reviews
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3. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

Rainforest Adventure is good. If anyone in your family likes reptiles, they will love the place. It's not huge or anything, but they have a lot of unique animals.

Apple Barn is a pretty quick stop unless you plan on eating - we were there yesterday. They have some restaurants, Christmas shop, a candy store and a winery (free tastings - very delicious and a shop inside)

Surprised Ripley's Aquarium isn't on your list! Had a blast there!

Mayfield Dairy Tour is not exciting at all, in my opinion. I lived in Athens last year and checked the place out. They don't actually show you how the ice cream is made - in the tour they just show you the factory part of boxes going down a conveyor belt. No free samples or anything.

When I lived in that area, I loved heading about 30 miles East to Cherokee National Forest, stopping by Bald River Falls and driving along the Cherohala Skyway and doing some hiking to waterfalls (probably not suitable for children).

Have you been to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga? Supposed to be one of the best in the country. Also Ruby Falls in Chattanooga is pretty nice, too.

Mississippi
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4. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

You might not want to go to Dollywood and Dixie Stampede in the same day. That's a lot in one day and you'll probably want to stay at Dollywood until closing. If you go one day after 3:00 you can go back the next day free.

midwest
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5. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

I agree on going to Dollywood and Dixie Stampede on two separate days. We went to Dollywood last week, and we were there until closing, which was 7 pm. You will be eating all the yummy food at D.W. anyway, such as chicken on flatbread with peppers, cheese, etc ..or sausage with peppers and onions. And then there is the Homemade Ice Cream! So you might be too full to eat at the Stampede that evening. :) By the way, get to D.W. early before it opens, so you don't have to wait in a long line for tickets. Or even buy the day before if possible.

Keep in mind the Dixie Stampede allows you to go early, for a pre-show, I believe. We did not go after all, but I researched, because it was in our plans to go. We were in the Smokies for 7 nights, and didn't get to do everything we wanted to do. I guess we will just have to go back!

Cades Cove is beautiful. Plan for a full day there. You will take lots of pictures.

You may find you want to stay another night in Gatlinburg area!

Prairieville, LA
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68 posts
26 reviews
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6. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

Thanks for the suggestions! Planning this trip is a bit overwhelming as it is our first visit to the area and there is just so much we would like to see and do. (We usually spend our vacation relaxing on the beach .. no planning needed for that, lol)

You guys are right. Dollywood and Dixie Stampede in the same day is a lot. And, I totally forgot about the after 3 get in the next day for free deal at DW. I'm going to do some rearranging to our schedule and will post for your comments. Are there any other changes you would suggest? I see tht Ruby Falls and the aquarium have been suggested. ..will look into those. Also, is there a lot to do/see in Maggie Valley? Thanks! :)

Haubstadt IN
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336 posts
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7. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

We stayed in the Maggie Valley area about 10 years ago. At that time, there wasn't alot of tourist-y stuff to do. We spend most of our time in the park so we were fine with it. Chimney Rock Park is beautiful & we always spend a day at teh Biltmore Estate (even when we stay in G-burg/P-Forge area). 5 summers ago we stayed in Chimney Rock. During that trip we also went to Blowing Rock Park, Linville Caverns & Tweetsie Railroad. A week was WAAAY more time than we needed to see everything in that area.

Orlando, Fl
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8. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

I highly recommend Cirque de Chine. We saw it two years ago and thought it was well worth the price. Have you heard about Parrot Mountain? We plan to visit there in Oct. Whatever you decide, I hope you have a safe trip and make a lot of wonderful memories.

Prairieville, LA
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68 posts
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9. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

Only 2 more sleeps before we are on our way!!!

Thank you all for your suggestions. I'm sure we will have an awesome time! I will post a trip report when we return.

Breaux Bridge...
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10. Re: 2 weeks from today we will be in the mountains!

looks like you did your research,just remember....enjoy every minute of it,and have fun be safe!