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Where to stay & What to do with Family

Kansas City...
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Where to stay & What to do with Family

We are trying to plan a trip to the Gatlinburg area for the last weekend of June into the Weekend of July 4th. It is the first time any of us have been there. It is with a family of 4 adults and 3 children (one 6, one 5, and another 6 month old baby soon to come!!) We do not expect to be able to take the baby everywhere. Grandma would be more than happy to stay back with him.

We want to be driving distance from a town (less than 45 min), and community pool. But we really want to be close to hiking, rivers, the national park, and outdoor activities. We thought about renting ATVs for a day or two if they do this? I also was going to ask if there is a river we can float that would be good with the 5 and 6 year old children? Or any place to swim in a river? Or good hiking trails? Just other fun things to do, places to eat, etc. for a family.

Any specific Cabins or areas of Gatlinburg we should look at?

Any info helps! Thanks.

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1. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

Glad to see a first-time visitor coming to the area. Now the bad news. You have picked the most crowded and, in my opinion, worst time of year to visit the area. Sevierville/PigeonForge/Gatlinburg will be packed with hot and frustrated tourists/motorists. Even the National Park will be filled with people. The Visitor Centers, Campgrounds, picnic areas and popular trails will be at capacity during most of the day. If it is hot, the Little River will be busy with tubers.

You can have a good time but it is more difficult when you aren't experienced with how to get around and whatnot. My advice would be to maybe steer clear of those 3 towns and maybe find a cabin/chalet in Townsend, Cosby, or the Cobbly Nob area. Townsend is just outside the National Park and it is very laid-back and quiet. It is also a tubing mecca. There are at least two water tubing businesses and at reasonable prices. There are not a lot of attractions in Townsend but it is a nice place with close access to Cades Cove and about 30 minutes from Pigeon Forge/40 minutes from Gatlinburg.

Cosby is about 30 minutes east of Gatlinburg and offers access to the National Park. There are many cabins but not much in the way of attractions or restaurants.

Cobbly Nob is halfway between Gatlinburg and Cosby. There are tons of chalets and a golf resort. It's only about 10 minutes to the grocery store and businesses on the east end of Gatlinburg and 15 from the center of town.

Carencro, Louisiana
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2. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

If you haven't found a cabin yet, check out brook trout chalet with Jackson mountain homes. It sits on a creek and is large enough for your group. We stayed across the stree from it last year and it is awesome!! It is just too big for our little family of three!!

Carencro, Louisiana
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3. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

Also if you stay in this area of this cabin (pitman center area), you can use pitman center road to navigate between Gatlinburg and pigeon forge instead of getting in all the traffic! We went in June last year and we used this road and it wasn't bad at all. We are going in July this year for our anniversary!!

Delaware
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for Rehoboth Beach
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4. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

Are you looking for a cabin or hotel?

IF you stay in downtown Gatlinburg you will be right next to the National Park with hiking and all. Plus you will have access to all the restaurants, shopping and activities in town. Check out the sugarlands visitor center just inside the national park. It has a nice FREE nature museum. There is a nice short kid friendly hike out back that leads to cataract falls. For a river where you can float and wade check out Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. River Rat in nearby Townsend has a nice float with a shuttle service to take you back and forth.

Townsend, Tennessee
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for Townsend, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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5. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

WP - check out bluff mountain adventures for ATVs. http://bluffmountainadventures.com/ The Little River in Townsend offers a couple of options for tubing. The River Rat is one of the largest and most experienced operators - located on the Little River at the 321 bridge. A popular local swimming hole is the 'Y' - located inside the park from the Townsend entrance at the intersection with the road that connects Cades Cove and Gatlinburg. Another nice location with a small stream for wading is the Cades Cove day use/picnic area. An early start on a weekday to wherever you are going will help with the crowds. Search TA for alternate routes around the area to avoid a lot of the congestion at that time of year.

Savannah, Georgia
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for Gatlinburg, Maggie Valley, Pigeon Forge
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6. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

Consider floating down the river. We like using Smoky Mountain River Rats in Townsend:

http://smokymtnriverrat.com/

Melbourne, Florida
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for Melbourne, Florida
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7. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

Altho traffic is heavy, its not that bad until the day of the 4th of July, then its bumper to bumper. Avoid the park, especially Cades Cove on that day. Check out which day the fireworks will be held as some do them on the 3rd and not the 4th. At least they did the year we went. Just plan to stay around the cabin on the couple of days. The rest should not be that bad. Go early to Cades Cove, pack a cooler too as the ride can be very long with only a parking area with restrooms and the campground that you will see at the end of the drive that also sells soft drinks and ice cream. We usually take drinks and something to make sandwiches when we do this drive. Just have a lot of patience. CC is worth the drive but when crowded can be very aggravating when people stop in the middle of the road instead of one of the pull off areas.

Make sure you go to the visitors center and get the brochures about the park so you will know what you are looking at when you drive thru. Laurel Falls is a nice waterfall to hike to and fairly easy. Get there early too as parking fills up quickly.

Kansas City...
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8. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

Thank you all for the great suggestions! I will definitely look into all the activities. We looked at a lot of cabins and towns and we actually picked Oak Haven Cabins in sevierville.

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9. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

Those cabins are a long way from Gatlinburg or the National Park, especially in holiday traffic.

10. Re: Where to stay & What to do with Family

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