10 Ways to Celebrate Grandparents’ Day in the Smokies

Each year, we celebrate the people who mean so much to us. They are the people who shaped our own parents’ lives and spoiled us growing up! September 11, 2022 is Grandparents’ Day – a time to show our grandparents how much we love them. And what better way to celebrate their love and legacy than by taking them on a trip to the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains? With a blend of gorgeous mountain scenery, nice restaurants, and fun attractions, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are ideal cities for enjoying time with your grandparents! 

You can pamper them, let them feel like kids again, and give them some time to unwind in the peaceful Smokies. As you plan your Grandparents’ Day getaway to the Smokies, here are 10 fun ways to celebrate the holiday – from restaurants and attractions to days around the cabin.

Cades Cove - views

  1. Take a drive around Cades Cove. Filled with historic buildings, stirring wildlife, peaceful streams, and fields of wildflowers, Cades Cove is just the place to spend a relaxing afternoon with your grandparents. Hop in the car and enjoy a drive around the 11-mile loop road, stopping for families of bears or to check out historic churches along the way.
  2. Have a picnic in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are many great picnic spots in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, whether you want to be by the water, enjoy mountain views, or be surrounded by wildflowers. Choose our Smoky Mountain Picnic basket to make it even easier!Grandparents at a picnic
  3. Treat them to an in-cabin meal – while they sit back and relax. Maybe you’re a great chef or maybe your grandparents have a special meal or recipe they love. Hit up the local farmers market or grocery store and prepare a delicious meal – by candlelight if you’re setting up a romantic scene for them. Or you can get some fresh flowers and set the table for a memorable family meal, all made with love by YOU. 
  4. Explore the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. This is the largest community of independent artisans in the United States, featuring dozens of unique shops offering one-of-a-kind handmade goods and gifts. Your grandparents will love browsing the charming shops for jams and jellies, pottery, quilts, birdhouses, hand-poured candles, and more.
  5. Soak in a hot tub under the stars. Most of our cabins come equipped with an outdoor hot tub, allowing you to soothe tired muscles as you soak under the Smoky Mountain sky. After a long day, let your grandparents relax and unwind before heading to bed.
  6. Check out the underwater creatures at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Home to an impressive collection of fish and amazing underwater creatures, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in the middle of it all in downtown Gatlinburg is great for an afternoon in town. Spend the day watching dive shows, seeing sharks in the underwater tunnel, and watching penguins play. It’s an incredibly fun but relaxing place to spend the day! Aquarium - Ripley's
  7. Browse The Village Shops in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. Offering everything from clothing, jewelry, and customized kids’ toys to home décor, pottery, and Christian books and music, the shops at The Village have something for everyone. For a special treat, take your grandparents to The Village Café & Creamery. It’s an old-fashioned soda shop offering hand-dipped ice cream and gourmet coffee! It will take them back to the “good ole days.”Shopping with her parents
  8. Enjoy the views from the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. At the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle, you’ll find 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains and the lights of downtown Gatlinburg. The Space Needle also houses an arcade, pizza bakery, laser tag, and shows at the Iris Theater.
  9. Have a hearty Southern meal at The Island in Pigeon Forge. The Island in Pigeon Forge – one of the newest attractions in the area – is home to games, shops, and great restaurants. Take your grandparents out for a big breakfast or a hearty lunch or dinner at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Served family style, the meals include all your favorite comfort foods and are sure to please your grandparents!
  10. Let them release their inner kid at Fannie Farkle’s. You’ll find all their favorite classic arcade games, plus the newest ones, at this downtown arcade. You could spend hours playing here before choosing some silly prizes to play with at the cabin!

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