We recently took a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee this year with a big group of friends. It was the first time my husband and I had ever taken a trip like this. We stayed in a cabin right by the mountains and got to experience so much of the life there in Tennessee. We rented it through Cabins For You and it was reasonably priced. They have several different cabin styles and locations to choose from throughout Tennessee.
Pictured Above: Our Cabin in Gatlinburg, TN
We went as a large group of 11, so a lot of our activities were divided. Sometimes with large groups, it can be difficult to keep organized to have time to actually get through all the plans in a smooth and peaceful way. Because of that, we decide to split ourselves off in groups so that we could do all the things we were looking forward to doing.
Pictured Above: The Ski Slope at Ober Gatlinburg
The first event of our vacation was taking a trip to Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area. They have several activities to choose from. Skiing and snowboarding are the most popular attractions there. Even when it doesn’t snow, they make fake snow for you to still enjoy the fun of Ober. During our trip, we just missed most of the snow and didn’t get to see a whole lot of it while we were there unless it was piled up on the ground by the sidewalks.
There was a real cool option to ride a lift to the top of a mountain to see the views of the mountains at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. It only cost $7.00. I was skeptical of riding it at first because I am terrified of heights and the lift looked so outdated to me. I was scared it wouldn’t hold us like they said it would. Regardless, I boarded with my husband anyways.
Pictured Above: The Lift We Took To The Top Of The Mountain at Ober Gatlinburg
I have to say, that might have been the best $7.00 I have ever spent. The view from the top was breathtaking. Coming from Florida, where the land is basically completely flat, this was a sight to behold. I couldn’t stop staring at it. My pictures did not do much justice to the views whatsoever. The blue color of the mountains and how they faded into lighter colors as they got further and further away was so beautiful. To be able to stand there and view just a small inkling of Gods great creation.
Pictured Above: The View From The Top Of The Lift At Ober Gatlinburg
When you get to the top, they have a photo area and a small concession shop for hot beverages. It gets so cold up there. And by cold, I mean frozen finger tips and frosty nose cold. After our trip to the top of the mountain, we decided to stop for some ice skating. I hadn’t ice skated in quite a few years so it was a bit of a challenge trying to relearn my ice balancing skills. I can safely say I made it out of there without falling on my butt!
Pictured Above: Our Group Ice Skating
After our time at Ober, we decided to grab some famous Tennessee BBQ. We stopped at a little joint by the side of the road called Hungry Bear BBQ. It was later in the evening so our group just so happened to be the only ones there. The service was fast and we all enjoyed ourselves very much! My husband and I ordered the brisket and pulled pork to share. They had a small selection of bbq sauce flavors to choose from placed on the tables and they even let us move their tables around to make one big table to fit our group.
Pictured Above: Hungry Bear BBQ and The Meal We Ordered
The next activity our group decided they wanted to go explore were some of the tourist spots in town. Downtown Gatlinburg has a large selection of shops and restaurants to choose from. They have everything ready in one large awesome spot for tourist to spend hours and hours of their day. For our group, it was so well worth it that we went back two days in a row to finish seeing all the sights we couldn’t get to. And even then, we weren’t able to completely see everything.
The biggest highlight of our vacation was their moonshine distilleries. Downtown Gatlinburg has several along the tourist strip. Each distillery offers $5 samples to try 12-15 samples of their delicious moonshine flavors. They put on a show and describe every flavor in detail for you. The plus side, you get a $5 off coupon to use in their store if you join one of their sample sessions. Big plus!
Pictured Above: The Three Moonshine Distilleries We Stopped At.
We circulated between three of the main distilleries there. Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, Sugarlands Distilling Co, and Doc Collier Moonshine. Each distillery different in their own unique way while still delivering high-quality flavors. You might even recognize some of them if you’ve ever watched the show, Moonshiners. If you’re ever in Gatlinburg, TN and want to try the moonshine crawl, I would definitely recommend this. They also had a few wineries to choose from.
Pictured Above: Mellow Mushroom Pizza Restaurant Sign
We stopped at a place called Mellow Mushroom for dinner one of those days. They serve a large variety of unique pizzas with different toppings. Our waitress was super helpful and the food was great. This was another first for me and my husband.
On this trip, we also stopped to do some of the interactive activities they had available. Most of the attractions were hosted by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. We visited the Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokies and saw so many unique sea creatures that you won’t generally find in an ordinary aquarium.
Pictured Above: Some Of The Exhibits From The Smokies Aquarium
They also had the coolest shark tank dome area where you feel as if you are underwater. Some of the sharks would lay directly on the glass. For us, it was a different experience that was so worth it.
Pictured Above: A Bottom View Of The Shark Dome Tank
My husband got to even pet jellyfish! Yes, I said pet. It was hilarious because this station is in the kiddie area and I couldn’t even go near them. It just gave me the willies thinking about having to put my hand in the same tank as jellyfish. It was most likely all mental, but I still couldn’t do it. My husband sure enjoyed himself, though!
Pictured Above: My Husband Petting Jelly Fish
The next attraction we took advantage of was the Ripleys Haunted Adventure. I know, you’re probably asking, “Who goes into a haunted house during the month of February?”. We do. Well, I do. It took so much convincing to get our group on board with this because I’m the only one who enjoys all things scary. Needless to say, my friends entertained me and join me for the adventure. I think this was one of the more funny moments on our trip.
Pictured Above: Ripley’s Haunted Adventure Sign
It started off with a wandering haunted house character walking on the sidewalk in front of the attraction. I didn’t even notice him until he walked up behind me and made a hissing noise. I jumped out of my skin. From that moment, I knew it was going to be awesome. We went through the house and at the end, there is a part where you walk into a room and it opens into a big hallway leading to an elevator. None of us expected that someone was going to jump out and start chasing us with a chainsaw (fake of course), so this caused everyone to run full speed towards the elevator. My husband and I were in the back of the line with our group. He was at the very end, I was directly in front of him. I guess the momentum of everyone running for their “lives” got the better of me because I immediately tripped and fell! I couldn’t stop laughing. Poor guy working there was standing behind me with the chainsaw while my husband was trying to help me up. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get up from the ground, which made me laugh that much more. It was a blast!
Pictured Above: Zaxby’s, El Loco Burro, The Donut Friar
We went to a few other places to eat while we were there. Zaxby’s, which was a first for me because we don’t have them in Florida. A little shop called The Donut Friar, which was sweetly nestled in between several other shops. They are very tiny but their donuts were amazing. And a Mexican restaurant called El Loco Burro. We ate, and we ate well!
Pictured Above: Me Standing On A Pile Of Snow
While on this trip, a big topic of discussion for what the group was wanting to experience in Tennessee was hiking. Dreaded hiking. Now, before you scoff at my pain-staking annoyance at hiking, you must understand that I am first and foremost a city girl. I don’t hike, I don’t do nature, I hate bugs and I stay far away from anything that may include snakes, bears, spiders, or alligators. I like being very comfortable so hiking is completely way out of my comfort zone. On our final day, the group decided to go hiking in the Great Smokey Mountains. There were some really cool parts to this outing. A lot of the views there were so beautiful; we got to see a lot more snow and even took part in my very first snowball fight.
Pictured Above: Our Views At The Great Smokey Mountains National Park
Then we got to the not so fun part. The actual hiking. Now, remember, when we visited Tennessee we had just missed the snow. So a lot of the snow had already melted by the time we got there. I wish we would have known this when we decided to take the Appalachian Hiking Trail. It’s one of the several hiking trails they have available to visitors at the Great Smokey Mountains. It was so muddy. The higher we got, the more mud there was. Our feet were sinking into the ground. Not to mention, this trail was a narrow walkway with a steep cliff drop right along the edge. Let’s just say this city girl was not having it. I made it about a quarter mile in and decided enough was enough. So my husband and I turned back around. The amount of mud caked onto my shoes was atrocious. For a city girl hiking for the very first time in the mountains, it wasn’t necessarily the experience everyone made it out to be.
Pictured Above: The Appalachian Hiking Trail Sign
The last and final attraction we decided to try on our trip was in Pigeon Forge, TN. We drove into town to see what other sites we could see and stumbled upon the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. It was a neat experience. It’s a large museum that basically has every criminal in history, their stories, police crime-solving sections, weapons, and belongings owned by known criminals and so much more. There is a lot of reading that goes into each exhibit so it takes more than an hour to go through it all. There was so much to see. They even have a few interactive exhibits.
Pictured Above: Alcatraz East Crime Museum
I think, generally speaking, this trip was a great success. I loved the city of Gatlinburg, TN and would visit there again. I highly recommend that anyone wanting to stay in Tennessee and sleep in a cabin like setting, check out Cabins For You. They are trustworthy and their properties are to die for. We had a straight on view of the mountains and it was a perfect sight to wake up to in the morning. It was a serene experience.
Some of the locations listed above:
- Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area – 1001 Parkway Suite 2, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)436-3138
- Mellow Mushroom – 903 Parkway Ste 103 in Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865)277-0600
- Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine – 903 Parkway Ole Smoky Holler, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)436-6995
- Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery – 519 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)325-1468
- Sugarlands Distilling Company – 805 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)325-1355
- Zaxby’s – 611 Parkway, The Mountain Mall, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)412-0800
- Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokies – 88 River Road, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (888)240-1358
- Hungry Bear BBQ – 2263 E Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (865)325-8048
- Donut Friar – 634 Parkway Suite 15, The Village, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)436-7306
- Loco Burro – 735 Parkway Suite 1, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738 (865)430-5626