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“Scenic, wooded campground with lots of stuff for kids to do”

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Yogi in the Smokies
Certificate of Excellence
Iowa
Level 6 Contributor
455 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 518 helpful votes
“Scenic, wooded campground with lots of stuff for kids to do”
Reviewed 4 June 2012

We stayed at the Jellystone park in Cherokee for four nights recently. I had booked on the internet a sleeper cabin. Now, I swear when I booked I reserved a cabin that sleeps seven, which is a DELUXE sleeper cabin. However, I apparently goofed up and booked a regular sleeper cabin (I checked the confirmation email when I got home, and it was indeed a regular one I booked). At check in, we were assigned sleeper cabin #141. Check in went smooth and we were led to the cabin. My heart sank when I saw it. Very tiny, plain, in the middle of the campground right by the main road. Another sleeper cabin right next to it, and a campsite directly on the other side. No privacy whatsoever. We unlocked the door, and I was disappointed to see it just had one double bed and one set of bunk beds, all crammed in one tiny room. Technically, the sleeper cabin only sleeps four, so I'm surprised their on-line system even let me book it since we are a family of five. I went back up to the office, and asked if they had any deluxe sleeper cabins available instead. Fortunately, they did. I paid the extra $100 total it cost to upgrade, and they gave us cabin #93.

Cabin #93 was much, much, much better than the first cabin. We loved it. It's located back in the woods behind the playground area. You take a dead-end gravel road to get to it, so there is no through traffic. Only four cabins total are on the road, and none of the other ones were occupied when we there. It was great! It's very wooded back there too, so even if the cabins are full I think you would still feel like you had privacy. It was just a short walk (literally a few yards) to the bathhouse down the hill. The playground, basketball court, and activity center was just yards away also. I let my kids (ages 9,9,8) run down to the playground, activity center, and bathhouse by themselves since we were so close.

The bathouse was always spotlessly clean. A huge bonus, the bathrooms are all private! There were four in our bathhouse, each had a toilet, mirror, sink, and garbage in it. I saw two other bathhouses in the campground, plus there were bathrooms near the pool area. The showers were nice too; private with a small changing area. We had four showers in our bathhouse. We never had to wait for a shower or bathroom, but the campgroud was 3/4 empty (weeknights, end of May) when we were there. I'm not sure what it would be like when the campground is full.

The cabin had a picnic table and fire pit and water spigot outside. A screened porch with four chairs and small table. Inside, it had two rooms. The front room had a queen sized bed, night stands, lamp, and cable TV (kids were thrilled with the TV). Back room has two sets of bunk beds, one with a double bed on the bottom. Heating and air conditioning. Very clean. You can also get a linen package for an additional fee, but we just brought our sleeping bags from home.

We found the campground staff to be very friendly and helpful, in particular the ones who worked in the activity center.

Tons of things for kids to do here, especially the 10 and under crowd. Nice playground with separate toddler play area. Big, clean pool. River to wade in; although if the campground is full you may have a hard time getting to the river: there is no "public" river access for campers, and you probably don't want to be cutting across other people's sites. Best bet is to get a river site/cabin if you want river access. Basketball court and tetherball. Yogi and/or friends comes out at least once a day, more on the weekends. Hey, hey wagon ride with Yogi (you can meet him afterwards for photos). Activity center open every day, even "off season" like when we were there. Kids can buy pottery to paint, and all sorts of crafty things. For free they had coloring pages and a pine cone bird feeder for them to make. Also Yogi cartoons play all day in the center. Games such as bean bag toss too. Every night (again, even off season) they play on family-friendly movie in the center. Weekends bring things such as scavenger hunts, water wars, candy bar bingo. Arcade with quite a few games. Hike to Mingo falls. Bike rentals. Volleyball net. You could never leave the campground all week and the kids would still find plenty to do.

If you do venture out from the campground (and we did every day, to see the National park and other sights), it's a good fifteen minute drive along a somewhat curvy road into Cherokee. The road runs alongside the river, so it is a pretty drive. There is a gas station along the road a few miles away. Also the parking lot for Mingo Falls is along this road. Don't be alarmed like I first was when you're driving into the campground and see the entance. The neighbors live right at the entrance, and they have several ramshackle homes and a trailer, literally with garbage and clothing strewn all over the lawn. It really did give me pause when we pulled it, and dh made the comment, "We aren't letting the kids go anywhere by themselves here!". However, the campground itself is very nice and safe.

Room Tip: Cabins 90-93 are tucked in the woods behind the playground and more private. If you want river acces...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank kren250
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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110 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Lexington, Kentucky
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2012

We visited in April and it rained the whole time...and there are NO REFUNDS for bad weather, but our 8 person cabin rental (for 4) was very nice and clean. We stayed in cabin 47 designated for pets and it was very nice. We DID have a problem with ants in the loft and my teens didn't like that one bit, but guess things like that happen with nature. They lent us a can of ant spray to use. The worst thing is there is NO CELLPHONE SERVICE there! There IS internet service, but they didn't give us or even offer us, a passcode so we could use it. When I went to the office it was closed! (it closes at 6pm) How was someone supposed to get a hold of us in case of an emergency, if the office is closed? The following day, I was holding my 4 pound puppy when I went started to walk into the office to get a passcode and the lady literally screamed at me that I wasn't allowed to bring my dog into the store! (it wasn't like I could've 'called' them for the passcode) Geeze, the pup was probably cleaner than her! (and I was paying extra for the pup to be there) They need access to the office 24/7 in a place like that. If they are going to charge hotel rates, they should act like one. May return when it's warmer, very picturesque.

Room Tip: check the website for a site map
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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5 Thank Halobabe99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Greensboro, North Carolina
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2012

Yogis is ok as long as you dont have a problem. The staff is rude and uncaring. They really do not like children and should not be in a business that deals with children. The area is nice but the KOA campsite right next door has more to offer and charges less. The office left early forcing us to drive 20 miles to get supplies. They promised WI-Fi and there was not any available. They had contruction going on and cut down trees at 8 am so much for a peaceful vacation.

Room Tip: Only camp here if you have a small tent as the sites are too small to have a fire and a 6-8 person t...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
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5 Thank maryam9037
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TN
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2011

This was our first camping trip to Yogi and we enjoyed it. We arrived on Saturday and stayed til Monday. There weren't too many people there so we virtually had the whole place to ourselves. Our site was right along the river. Very peaceful. Did some trout fishing which is great in the area. The bathrooms are fairly new where we stayed and really clean. They are completely enclosed and are only for one person at a time so there is plenty of privacy.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SAHTN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orlando, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 September 2011

Stayed here during our summer vacation trip, 5 states, in 5 weeks. Love the campground, the workcampers that helped the kids in the crafts pavillion were fantastic! The full time workers in the office were cold, rude, and terrible inefficient. Other than that we had a great time, the tubing down the river was fun. Cherokee is about 7 miles down a narrow road, so don't expect it to be next door.

Room Tip: the cabins looked ok but I think they were pretty pricey.
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank RickO1955
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 28 July 2011

We enjoy staying at Yogi's in the Smokies every year! Beth and the staff are always great and friendly! Our kids are older but we all enjoy the campground! Peaceful, quiet, relaxing. Ranger riverside cabins 102 and 103 are where we stay and love the decks overhanging the river! Always look forward to vacation every year at Yogi's!!!

  • Stayed June 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank dodgegirl868
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami Beach, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2011

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina is a wonderful place for a family vacation. The "resort" is not luxurious by any stretch, but it blends nature and family fun in a beautiful setting. On the banks of the Ravenfork River, families can choose from 3 levels of "roughing it.". There are tents for those with a true camping spirit; RV sites for those requiring more creature comforts; and for the luxury traveler, small cabins which have kitchenettes, air conditioning and heat, and TV and cable. For the campers, the site has 2 bath houses and bathroom facilities. There is also a 24-hour laundry room for all guests. No matter how primitive you want to get, wi-fi is available throughout the resort. Prices range from about $30/night for a tent site to $140/night in peak season for a cabin.

We had traveled to the Smoky Mountains in the past and rented vacation cabins from private owners. What makes this type of accommodation different, is the community spirit that forms among the vacationing families and the on-site activities which guarantee that everyone has something to do. Jellystone provides plenty of activities such as arts and crafts, an arcade with over a dozen games, a playground, a large swimming pool, a basketball court, and family movies shown in their pavilion each evening. Twice a day, Yogi Bear takes the kids out on a hay ride. There are many children of all ages, so all of my kids were able to make friends.

In addition to staff-organized activities, the setting provides plenty of opportunities to commune with nature. Guests can go fishing and tubing on the river. From the property, you can take a 2.5 mile hike to Mingo Falls which are the tallest falls on the Appalachian Trail. It is an easy hike most of the way. Although there was some whining, even my 4 year old completed it. Each site comes with a fire ring for cooking and making the all-important s'mores every evening.

The staff at Jellystone is very friendly and it is clear that this is a well-run establishment. Reservations can be made easily online or on the phone. My family, consisting of my husband and myself and 3 kids, ages 4, 11 and 16, chose a cabin for our 5-day stay. If I had to name a down side to the resort it would be that even though we rented a cabin, we still had to bring our own linens and supplies. The cabin came with 2 rolls of toilet paper and a bottle of dishwashing soap. The cabin was clean and the staff was quite responsive in fixing a wobbly ceiling fan, but some linens, a bath mat and a couple of pot holders, would have been nice.

Below are some tips for making the most out of your stay at Jellystone:

The resort is located about 10 minutes from the center of Cherokee so you should plan on cooking most meals on-site. There are very few (about 3) restaurants in town that are not chains or fast-food.
If you are driving to the resort and have extra room in your car, you should pack a box or two of basic supplies: laundry soap, condiments, spices, sugar, coffee, maple syrup, mac n cheese, pancake mix, tin foil, cleaning wipes, shampoo, soap, etc. If you have additional room, consider bringing a cooler of cold cuts and frozen meat. There is one main grocery store in Cherokee, Food Lion. It seems to be the only one around for miles and it is probably the most expensive grocery store I have ever known. If you don't bring some of your own supplies, prepare to spend $200 plus to buy a few days' worth of basics for your stay.
The resort is located in a "dry county," i.e. you have to drive 25 miles or more to the next county for some booze. However, alcohol is permitted on the premises, so next to your box of supplies, throw in a couple of bottles of Chardonnay.
If you still have room, you may want to hitch some bicycles to your vehicle. The resort has bike rentals, but they are $10/hour. This was the only thing I thought was rather pricey.


We had a great stay at Jellystone, not because it was luxurious or had vast cultural offerings. The beauty of a place such as this one lies in its simplicity. It's about kids making instant friends and going off to play in a safe environment. It's about watching my 3 city kids get excited about fireflies. It's about sitting around campfires, breathing the mountain air, eating every meal as a family and seeing my children bond because they have to sleep in one room.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Duke89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Yogi in the Smokies

Property: Yogi in the Smokies
Address: 317 Galamore Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719-5515 (Formerly Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Cherokee)
Region: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Mountains > Cherokee
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 13 Speciality Lodging in Cherokee
Number of rooms: 183
Also Known As:
Yogi Bear`s Jellystone Park Cherokee Hotel Cherokee

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