John Muir once wrote, “In every walk with nature, once receives far more than he seeks.” In the Great Smoky Mountains, I’ve certainly found that to be true. I’m always learning and experiencing something new, whether I find myself on a trail, in a field of wildflowers, on a scenic drive, relaxing in a cabin, or exploring downtown. The more time I spend in the Smoky Mountains, the more I learn about life – especially when it comes to enjoying it.
- Stop and smell the wildflowers. With work, school, sports, hobbies, and so many things happening on a daily basis, it can be easy to get caught up in the everyday buzz of life. In the Smoky Mountains, stopping and smelling the roses takes on a very literal meaning. In spring and summer, wildflowers are in bloom, lining trails and adding pops of color all around. Put your phone away and take the opportunity to disconnect from technology for a while. Enjoy the amazing Smoky Mountain scenery all around, and even find a trail where you can see the incredible diversity of wildflowers and wildlife.
- The best things in life are free. There are dozens of fun attractions and shops in downtown Gatlinburg and in Pigeon Forge, but sometimes the most memorable parts of vacation are the little moments you share with family and friends. Days spent playing board games by the fire in the living room, movie nights in the cabin, mornings sipping coffee on the deck, evenings soaking in the hot tub, and afternoons hiking and exploring in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Laughter, stories, love…these are the things you’ll most treasure. Remember that vacation is about spending time with the ones you love, so enjoy your quality time together.
- Be still. Breathe the fresh air. Sometimes the best part of my day is when I just sit and do nothing. In the Smoky Mountains, that means getting a cup of coffee or a cold drink, sitting in a rocking chair on the deck, and breathing the fresh mountain air. When I slow down and enjoy some peace and quiet, I feel refreshed, relaxed, and ready for more adventures. It’s also a time I can sit and read or take in the gorgeous mountain views and take a break from screen time. It’s amazing what some fresh air can do for you!
- Laughter is the best medicine. When I need a boost, laughing with a friend, watching a funny video, or seeing a comedy can do the trick. With live shows, cabins with home theaters where you can watch your favorite comedies, space to kick back with friends and laugh, and comedy performances, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer plenty of comedic relief. You can watch the Amazing Animals show at The Comedy Barn, watch comedy go a little country at the Country Tonite Theatre, start your day with laughs at the Smith Morning Variety Show, or become part of the show at Sweet Fanny Adams.
- Music is good for the soul. Along with beautiful scenery, family-friendly attractions, and an impressive arts and crafts scene, the Great Smoky Mountains is known for its music. Dollywood has live shows all throughout the year, talented musicians fill the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler with toe-tapping sounds, and shows in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg boast dazzling costumes and lights, talented singers and dancers, performances that are sure to lift your spirits.
- Seize the moment. When you drive along the Parkway in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, you can’t help but see how alive the area is. The cities are always buzzing, and it always makes me want to dive right in. It’s the perfect place to seize the moment, popping into any attraction or shop that piques your interest. And because there is so much to do, you can fly by the seat of your pants on a last-minute trip. You might want to from zombies at Outbreak: Dread the Undead, play with penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, take an ATV tour through the woods, or try indoor skydiving! Whatever you do, just enjoy being away from home and in a new and exciting place.
- Family is #1. The older I get, the more I appreciate time with my family. The Great Smoky Mountains is the ideal place to spend quality time with family (and friends who feel like it). Get away to a cabin in the mountains, where you can have family game night, relax in the hot tub, unwind on the deck, have cookouts, swim together (in your private indoor pool), play games in your rec room, and even cook and sit down for meals together.