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“Are we there yet?” Unfortunately, this is a phrase that most parents have heard at least once in the car on their way to the Smoky Mountains. Whether you have thought it yourself or you heard it from one of your kids in the backseat, it is hard to shake the feeling of being bored in a car once it settles in. The trick, however, is to eliminate the possibility of boredom before it even happens.
How do you avoid having to deal with bored kids in the car on the way to the Smoky Mountains? Keep reading, we have the answer with the kid-friendly Smoky Mountains travel tips listed below.
Why Does This Matter?
As we all know, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is considered to be the most popular national park in the United States. Families and guests travel from all across the country to spend a couple of relaxing days here, mainly by car.
That’s right. The majority of visitors, who come to the Smokies, do so by car. This is because of the fact that the mountains are perfectly located within a day’s drive of nearly two-thirds of the country’s population. However, this also means that parents must find a way to entertain their kids for up to 8 to 10 hours at a time in the car.
Do you have your own kid-friendly Smoky Mountains travel tips? Let us know on the Visit My Smokies Facebook page. You can also find even more tricks on preparing for your Smoky Mountain vacation easier by scrolling through all of our Smoky Mountains travel information by scrolling through the blog section of our website.
Our Favorite Kid-Friendly Smoky Mountains Travel Tips
There is a ton of games that you can play in the car that don’t require a Gameboy or cell phone. Do you remember the game “I Spy”? There is also license plate bingo. You can even engage with your kids by coming up with your own game to play while on the interstate. Either way, it is something to do to keep everyone in the car entertained during the long car ride.
- Pack Books
Although it’s easy to pop in a movie and get lost in the video games on long car rides, try encouraging your kids to use this time to finish a book they have been working on or start a new one.
Bonus Smoky Mountains travel tip: If you want to tie in reading to your family’s vacation, try giving them a book about the Smoky Mountains to read while you are in the car. There are a ton of kid-friendly trivia and history books that make learning about the Smokies fun and educational. This will really pay off when you see the excitement in their eyes when you take them to some of the places they read about in the car, like Cades Cove.
A great place, to pick up kid-friendly books about the Great Smoky Mountains, is at one of the many visitor centers found in the area. Be sure to visit the National Park Service’s website to find the location and hours for your favorite travel center: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm.
Family vacations to the Smoky Mountains are all about making memories that will last for years to come, so why not get a head start by encouraging your kids to documents your journey from your house to the Smokies? This can include snapping pictures of the scenic countryside along the highway, keeping a list of all the different state licence plates they see, or jotting down any funny story or joke that you all share in the car.
What we love most about this kid-friendly Smoky Mountains travel tips is that it helps families get a jump-start on collecting memories and photographs that can be used later to create a festive vacation keepsake, like a scrapbook or photo album. This way you and your family will always have something to remember you latest trip to the Smoky Mountains.
- Start the vacation early
There is no rule that says that your Smoky Mountain vacation has to begin when you finally get to the mountains. In fact, we think it is a really good idea for families to get into the vacation mindset as soon as they get into the car. How do you do to this? The answer is easy.
Along the interstate, you will see several rest areas. Not only are these a good spot to rest if you need to run to the restroom or grab a snack, but they are also good to get out and stretch your legs. Even more so, you and your family can break up the long car ride by packing a frisbee or a ball to toss around and have a little fun before getting back into the car.
Do you have your own favorite car game to play when you are on your way to the Smoky Mountains or your own travel hack? Let us know in the comments below!