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With so many exciting activities in the Smoky Mountains, it can be hard to squeeze it all into one vacation. From attractions, to shops, to restaurants, there are so many things you have to try while you’re here! To help make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun, we’ve come up with a list of the top 8 things to do in the Smoky Mountains before your vacation ends:
1. Play a Round (or More) of Mini Golf
Mini golf is a staple activity for every vacation, but especially in the Smoky Mountains! The Smokies doesn’t just have your average mini-golf courses. You can enjoy everything from indoor blacklight courses to rooftop outdoor courses! Mini golf is fun for the whole family, so you should definitely give it a try while you’re in town. Some of our favorite places to play are Crave Golf Club in Pigeon Forge and Hillbilly Golf in Gatlinburg!
2. Watch The Island Show Fountain
Your Smoky Mountain vacation isn’t complete without a visit to The Island in Pigeon Forge! You can have hours of fun at this entertainment complex, but one thing you have to do is watch The Island Show Fountain. These fountains put on a dazzling performance of water dance and light, perfectly choreographed to 14 pieces of music. Watch as the water lights up and swirls to some of your favorite songs! The best part is that it’s completely free to enjoy.
3. Ride The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
While you’re at The Island, you have to ride The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel! This observation wheel offers stunning views of Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains from as high as 200 feet in the air. You get to ride in an air-conditioned glass gondola that seats 8, so everyone in the family can enjoy the experience together!
4. Try the Cinnamon Bread at Dollywood
Of course you should go to Dollywood to try all of the thrilling rides and exciting family fun, but you should definitely try their world-famous cinnamon bread while you’re there! The Grist Mill is home to the delicious bread, as well as a variety of other treats. You can even watch as bread and cookies are made right before your eyes!
5. Hike to the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower
If you love the outdoors, you don’t want to miss the chance to hike to the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower. It’s a steep, half-mile hike from the parking area, but the view at the top is well worth every step. Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the observation tower offers stunning 360-degree views of the mountains and beyond. Keep in mind that the tower is open all year long, but the road leading to it is closed from the beginning of December through the end of March.
6. See a Waterfall
There is never a bad season to see a waterfall in the Smoky Mountains! Whether you see the rushing water in the summer or it frozen during the winter, it will provide a picture-perfect view. If you’re up for an adventure, hike to Ramsey Cascades, the tallest waterfall in the park! The roundtrip distance to the 100-foot waterfall is 8 miles and worth every step. Other popular waterfalls in the park are Laurel Falls, Rainbow Falls and Abrams Falls. Each offers its own spectacular scenery.
7. Try Homemade Fudge in Gatlinburg
If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to try some homemade fudge in Gatlinburg! No vacation is complete without sampling this signature treat. Luckily, the Gatlinburg Parkway is lined with candy stores that are perfect for satisfying your craving for fudge. One of the best places to go for fudge is Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen. Though this shop is well-known for its old-fashioned taffy machines, it offers a variety of mouth-watering fudge flavors. You can also go to Aunt Mahalia’s Candies, Gatlinburg’s oldest fudge shop, or The Fudgery, which makes fudge the old-fashioned way using a copper kettle and letting it cool on a marble slab.
8. Spend Time in a Smoky Mountain Cabin
While vacations are often full of fun, make sure you set aside some time to relax too. There’s no better place to do it than in a Smoky Mountain cabin! Not only are cabins the best place to stay for your vacation, but they are the best place to enjoy some peace and quiet while surrounded by the beauty of the mountains. You can soak in a bubbling hot tub while admiring the view, curl up in front of the fireplace and read a book, or watch your favorite movie on TV! Some even come with extra entertainment like game rooms and theater rooms so you can have fun in the privacy of your own cabin!
You don’t want to miss the chance to try all of these activities during your vacation! Find out more things to do in the Smoky Mountains and start planning your trip.