Planning A Retreat or Reunion in the Smoky Mountains

Be it a fun-filled family reunion, a life-changing church retreat, or a strategic team-building getaway, large group trips in the Smoky Mountains can be difficult to put together. Small or large, group trips are meant to be filled with good times: to bring people closer together, to get away from the everyday rush, and to get a fresh perspective on life, among other things. While all these benefits are greatly desired, planning a large group trip or retreat on your own is not as easy as one would hope — but it could be.

Think about the main things you need to consider, get those out of the way, and just let the little stuff fall in line. Finding a place big enough for your entire group (at a reasonable price), scouting out the best restaurants in town, and booking all the local attractions in time can seem daunting, but fret not, for we have plenty of ideas for your large group retreat to the Smoky Mountains! From large group lodges to fun for groups, we have it all for reunions and retreats in the Smoky Mountains!

 

Lodging

A comfortable, spacious, functional place to stay is, without a doubt, the most important piece of the group trip puzzle. Plenty of room so no one feels cramped, enough beds so everyone is cozy, and special amenities to keep everyone entertained are essential for retreats and reunions. Unlike hotels, which can seem impersonal and isolated, large group lodges help bring people together by providing a home with more than enough space for everyone to feel not only comfortable but also content.

A Spacious Living Room

Having a living area to accommodate your entire group presents a great opportunity to spend some leisurely time with each other, which is surely a goal. Imagine everyone chilling on the couches, chitchatting about the latest news, telling corny jokes to provoke chuckles, or watching the most anticipated sports game of the year on the big screen.

A Large-Capacity Kitchen

As is usual with any trip, food is a must, and with multiple refrigerators and tons of cupboard and counter space in the kitchen, you can easily stock up on cool beverages, late-night snacks, and groceries for in-cabin meals. After all, it’s always cheaper to dine at home, and when you’re on a vacation, this can be even more beneficial. With seating for everyone in the dining area (in several large cabins), eating together won’t be a problem. In fact, it will be a pleasure!

Multiple Decks

What’s a cabin in the mountains without a nice view and a place to truly appreciate it? Take your morning coffee out on one of the peaceful decks and soak in a bit of nature before you start your day. Better yet, bring your daily devotional with you and share it with one of your tripmates as the sun rises.

Beds for All

While sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor is an option for some, this simply won’t do for your group. Every individual deserves a comfortable place to sleep, and at a large cabin, everyone will have a bed to rest their head. As a helpful tip, assign beds to everyone beforehand so there won’t be any confusion upon arrival. Options range from cabin to cabin, with everything from king-size beds and queen bunks to twin bunks and pull-out sofas.

Cabin Bonuses

The best part about renting a cabin might just be all the amazing extra amenities that come with it, saving you money on transportation and entertainment for your guests.

  • Get everyone talking, laughing, and rooting in a friendly game tournament in the rec room. From cheering for the underdog in the air hockey match and beating the high score on the pinball machine to monitoring the children as they battle on the foosball field and taking the break shot in a rambunctious round of pool, everyone will surely enjoy their time together here.
  • While some gear up for a friendly competition, others can casually lounge by the private pool or spend time relaxing in the outdoor hot tub.
  • After playing games and going for a swim, everyone can gather in the theater room for a movie night in. If your preference is horror, be sure to steer clear of Cabin in the Woods — just this once.

 

Meals

While having a big kitchen is handy for large group retreats, it is also expected to go out for some grub. Truthfully, it can be difficult to go to a good restaurant on a whim with a large group, so why not make dining more entertaining with a dinner show? Reserve ahead of time for the best seats!

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede

Eat a hearty Southern meal “stampede style” (with no silverware) while watching a friendly North versus South competition with trick riders, exciting music, dazzling dancing, and more!

Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Theater

Get ready to put your Sherlock skills to the test and solve the latest murder mystery with loads of laughs and lots of good food!

  • Moonshine Murders
  • Frankly Scarlet, You’re Dead
  • The Killbillies
  • Scarlet Reloaded

 

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud

It’s time to root for your favorite family — the Hatfields or the McCoys — and eat ‘til you’re stuffed as you watch a riveting show filled with fun-lovin’ feudin’!

 

Attractions

Encourage your group to let loose by visiting interesting local attractions. With so many fun things to do in the Smokies, it may be difficult to select where to go and what to see on your retreat or reunion. To make things easier, present a few options to your group before the trip and take a vote on everyone’s favorites so the pressure of choosing doesn’t rest on your shoulders alone.

Dollywood & Dollywood’s Splash Country

Continue your Dolly Parton theme by heading over to Dollywood, a Smoky Mountain theme park complete with daring rollercoasters, sweet treats, live music, Southern food, and whole lot of fun! In warmer months, Dollywood's Splash Country — a grand water park, as the name suggests — is a great place to cool down and liven up with fantastic water slides, a huge wave pool, a lazy river, yummy smoothies, and scrumptious ice cream!

TopJump

Release your inner kid — and your real kids! — to jump, climb, eat, and game at this indoor trampoline park. Plus, you can reserve the upper level for your entire group so everyone can eat pizza (made in house) together.

Some Activities:

  • Join a dodgeball game on the trampolines.
  • Subdue your sweet tooth at the Sugar Rush Candy Store.
  • Conquer your fears and venture to the top of Stairway to Heaven in the climbing area.
  • Win all the prizes in the arcade!
  • Test your ninja skills at TopNinja.
  • Flip into a sea of foam.
  • Knock out the competition in the gladiator pit.

 

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Voted Best U.S. Aquarium by reader’s choice in USA Today (2017), Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a great place to unwind and enjoy the sights of the sea. Gently touch a peaceful ray, seek out the stealthiest shark, or watch a penguin happily paint — yes, paint! Your group certainly won’t lack for unique experiences here.

 

Other Group Activities:

The Escape Game Nothing says team-building like scheming, stealing, strategizing, and breaking out of prison together.

Pigeon River whitewater rafting – Prove your teamwork skills by placing your lives in nature’s hands and defeating the rapids.

Nature hike – Really get to know one another on a hike through a forest, to a waterfall, or up a mountain.

Gatlinburg Ziplines & Ropes Course AdventuresCheer on your coworkers as they come zipping through the trees!

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community – Don’t forget to grab a few local souvenirs to remind you of all the good times together in the Smokies.