TN Family Vacation Itinerary

Traveling to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area for vacation??? I have spent quite a bit time researching, reaching out to others for fun things they saw/great places to eat and compiled a fun-filled itinerary that I’m sharing.  If you are headed there soon, feel free to enjoy. If you have already been and see something I have missed that is a must, comment below.


  • Drive to house — Sevierville TN 37876
    Sevierville to Pigeon Forge is 7 miles.
    Sevierville to Gatlinburg is 14 miles.
  • The Old Mill Restaurant164 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863




  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park – Gatlinburg is where entrance is (NC, TN)
    • Cade’s Cove (11 mile scenic loop) – find some short hikes as well
      Do Cade’s Cove in evening to see bears
    • Swim Hole – 2 options close to Cade’s Cove
      The Wye OR The Sinks
    • Abram Falls (part of Cade’s Cove Loop Rd)


  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park (NC, TN) – 107 Park Headquarters Rd, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN 37738-4102Walk the hike of Grotto Falls & Laurel Falls (look into rainbow falls)
    • Newfound Gap – NC/TN line
    • Clingmans Dome
    • Roaring Fork Motor Trail
    • Great Smoky Mountains Railroad scenic tour (NC side)
    • Picnic lunch at Chimneys Top Picnic and Chimney Tops Trail
  • Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen 131 The Island Dr #8101, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863



  • Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park 3757 Thomas Lane, Sevierville TN
    10% off coupon available on TripAdvisor
    (“lite zip line” tour, ATV tour, swinging bridge, whispering winds covered bridge to make a wish, waterfalls, family outdoor games, trails and river walk)
  • Tanger Outlets 1645 Parkway Ste 960, Sevierville, TN 37862
  • Mellow Mushroom  2485 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Take the trip.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received? ‘Take the trip.’ Since my daughter was 2 years old we started vacationing. Going on vacation was not something I experienced growing up. My first time flying was on my honeymoon and I remember telling my husband when we have kids I want to take them places. I want these firsts for my kids to be with us so when a co-worker said her best advice was to take the trip, it stuck with me.

If you ever question whether or not you should take the trip, just do it. Spend the money. Take the time. You only have a limited number of years together as a family before your kids get busy with their own lives and building those memories and experiences together is something you will never regret.

Here are the benefits I see from taking the trip…

  1. Traveling is all about family time. Even the closest families sometimes have a hard time spending quality time together. We are sometimes pulled in separate directions with the kids being in sports, etc. There are always things to do at home, too. (Laundry, cleaning, grass cutting) Getting away from those schedules and chores means you can truly focus on your family.
  2. Leaving home gets everyone out of their comfort zone. Traveling to new areas are great experiences for all. It’s good to see different cultures and different sceneries.
  3. Dealing with the unexpected builds character. Traveling will always present some surprises. Funny story last year when I took my family to Mexico. There was a sign that if you left your items unattended the staff would take them off the beach. We found an empty hut and a lady came back and only spoke French. We had no idea what she was saying but it was very clear with the tone she wasn’t happy with us. Luckily another lady knew French and English and helped us but a great experience for my kids. Not sure their eyes could get any bigger though.
  4. Seeing how others live keeps us grounded and humble. Our kids have seen how some live with a lot less. When they think they don’t have as much as some of their friends I like to remind them they could have a lot less. Leaving our communities helps us see the similarities and differences we all experience.
  5. Experiencing new things builds memories. Our world is full of beauty. I can take pictures and share all day but nothing beats seeing the mountains or ocean in person. Pictures just don’t do it justice. When we travel we see, hear, smell and taste new things. Our kids love talking about the trips they have been on. We have so many memories together. We have so many firsts together. Two years ago we took our kids zip lining. They were asking all kinds of questions and I told my kids this is my 1st time as well. We were all 4 experiencing it together.

We are thankful for each trip we have taken. We don’t go crazy on the costs for the trip. We have an awesome travel agent that watches for great deals. If you can cut in one area to be able to take the trip, try it. It will be worth it. With that said, travel doesn’t have to be a big vacation. Even a weekend camping or the lake is great quality time together away from the to-do lists at home.

I also enjoy our adult trips. These trips don’t have to be big either but I think it’s equally important to spend quality time with your spouse. After our kiddos are grown and move out, I still want my marriage going strong. But, if we do adult, I don’t cut the kids. We still do a family trip so we have that quality time with our kids, too.

The tans will fade but the memories will last forever.

Whatever trip you are looking at (adult or family), book it!