Friday, March 31, 2023

Highlights of Spring Break in the Smokies

We've had a Happy Spring Break!  We headed to the Smoky Mountains this year.  Kevin found us a condo in Sevierville, Tennessee with is very very close to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  I love visiting new cities and he loves a good deal so we were both happy with this plan.  The kids were excited to try some place new and just a little nervous about visiting a new city.  It was 5 1/2 hours from home so we loaded up and left right after school on Friday.

 As with any family travels, there were highs and lows.  The highs always outweigh the lows.  The memories are always worth the effort it takes to travel.  But I want you to know that there were lows - major interstate shut downs for over an hour that meant we didn't check into our condo until 1am, car sickness - TN is beautiful but those mountainy roads are hard on kid bellies, toddler tantrums and one of us might have forgotten to pack underwear.  Whoops!  We can laugh about all of those things now.

Short Recap: This was our first trip to the Smoky Mountains.  We LOVED it.  There was so much to do and see.  We barely scratched the surface of our to do lists and cannot wait to return.  We found ton to do with younger kids and there was so much more to look forward to doing with older kids.

Long Highlight Recap:

1 // Wilderness at the Smokies Resort

This was our first visit and our first day exploring the property.  We into their moose mascots.  Leo was terrified of them so we just snapped a picture with Olive and Fletch.

2 // Arcade Time

All of the kids love the arcade.  Leo is the cheapest arcade date because he's just happy hop around from machine to machine and pretend to play.  Zero dollars required.  Olive was in heaven with the Squishmallow claw machine and Fletcher wanted to try all the games.

3 // Indoor Swim Time

We were excited to check out the indoor water park.  We've been to the Wilderness Resort location in Wisconsin and love it so we were eager to see this one.  It's much smaller than the Wisconsin location - they only have one indoor water park and Wisconsin has 5.  We still had fun, but it was pretty crowded.  I think we'd like to go back in the Summer time when their outdoor water park is open, too.

4 // New Favorite

Fletcher tried and loved the Chick-Fil-A sandwich with pickles.  He says he's never going back to nuggets.  I'm just wondering how long before he starts asking for two sandwiches :)

5 // Cozy Condo

Our condo was comfortable and cozy.  Leo was thrilled to be across the road from this helicopter tour location.  The helicopters were busy all day which was perfect for him.  We really enjoyed being on the top floor and seeing the pretty views all around.  The resort has an adjoining golf course.  Kevin would definitely bring along his golf clubs next time.

6 // Camp Social Breakfast

We were excited to try their camp social buffet breakfast!  It was delicious.  Smaller than the Wisconsin version, but really tasty.  The kids loved looking out at the water park while we ate.

7 // Nap Time Adventures

Kevin took the big kids out and about to do fun things each day while Leo napped.  I was happy to snuggle him and they were happy to go on adventures.  They did the ropes course over the arcade (they said it was harder and scarier than the Wisconsin version!), they played at the arcade, did the rock climbing wall, painted pottery, went on the big water slides, tried surfing at the water park and play play played!  Fletcher said he made memories here that he'll remember FOREVER.  It's true - we all did!

 8 // Perfect Weather

The weather in Tennessee was sunny and in the 70s for our whole trip!  It was so nice.  We spent a lot of time out on the patio and playing outside.  We loved the view of the mountains and the water that was in front of our condo.

9 // Gem Mining in Pigeon Forge

I wanted to take the kids gem mining and Kevin found the perfect spot with really great reviews.  We opted for the big bucket so that all of the kids could share it.  They promise lots of gems and a big variety.  That was true!  All three kids really enjoyed it.  They sifted through the sand and loved finding everything from shark teeth to fools gold to a whole rainbow of rocks.  They each came home with a big bag of big rocks.  This was something all three kids loved and can't wait to do again.  They've got tons of dinosaurs and rock specialists that will help you identify your stones.  You can even have the smaller ones polished and made into jewelry.  You get a little sandy and a little wet, but it's not that big of a deal.

Fletcher asked if this place would be open forever because he'd really like to bring his kids here one day.  Sweet guy!

10 // More Swimming

We swam at least once a day and some days twice.  There were fun things for the older kids and Leo found things to do, too.  We noticed more lines and far fewer chairs so we often used our stroller for our landing pad.  Fletcher was so busy I could barely catch him for a photo :)

11 // Rainforest Adventures Zoo

We headed to this zoo with the hopes of seeing some really cute, unique creatures.  Olive loves Axolotls so she was thrilled to see a tank full of them.  Our zoo only has one black one so these pink creatures made her day.  All of the animals were out and about and pretty busy in their enclosures.  We had a lot of fun here.  It takes about an hour to go through and feed the animals.  I don't know that we'd go back now that we have seen everything, but it was fun to go once.

The petting zoo with goats and sheep was really fun.

12 // Graze Burgers

Kevin found a new restaurant for us to try and our food was delicious!  We arrived early and didn't have to wait for a table.  We enjoyed the brussles sprout appetizer, burger, chicken sandwich and chicken tenders.  It was a fun splurge meal to wrap up our trip.  Their menu isn't super clear on pricing for things like drinks and kids meals so be sure to ask for those details up front.  We were a little surprised when we got our bill.  Thankfully we had fun and our food was delicious.

13 // Stroll around downtown Sevierville

We enjoyed being back on eastern time and having more daylight.  We walked around the downtown area and admired the pretty planters.  We also got to see the Dolly bronze statue since this is her hometown.  It was really quiet and nice.  Only the restaurants seemed open.

We packed a lot of fun into our days in Tennessee.  Can you see why we're excited to go back??

 Linking up with Momfessionals


  1. I'm so glad you had a good time! I LOVE the Smokies, particularly Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. You all hit some good spots and I'm glad you were able to make some sweet memories! <3

  2. So much family fun ….do you have a link for your one shoulder swimsuits … looks adorable on you!

  3. I went on an amazingly fun trip with 6 girlfriends to the Smokies back when I was single. We LOVED it! So much that my husband and I decided to go there for our honeymoon! Now we want to take the kids someday, so I really enjoyed hearing about your trip there!


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