Unlikely Martha

Gatlinburg, TN | our spring break vacation

Every year without fail, I’m all like, ” Kids, we’re going to Gatlinburg for Fall break.”  Well for the past two Fall breaks we made it to the mountains, just not Gatlinburg.

Glad to say I made good on my promise this Spring break, and as a family we made our inaugural trek to Gatlinburg. We went with our family to include my Mother in Law along with my Brother and Sister in law and their families. We went to celebrate my MIL’s upcoming retirement, I must say it was pretty awesome having everyone together for a fun little getaway.

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Traveling in such a large group made it hard to do some of the smaller attractions my kids wanted to do but we will be going back in the Summer or the Fall. I’m serious…this time.

There was so much to do and see that I think if you are close enough you could easily go multiple times and not have the same experience twice. If distance is an issue I would venture to say you would need at least a week to do and see everything Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville has to offer.

I’m notorious for researching places before I visit in an attempt to get the most out of my travels. From my viewpoint here are a few suggestions on things to expect, look out for, see and do if you are planning to visit the area.

Be Prepared to Drive on Mountains

I’m not only stating this from a vehicle maintenance perspective but if you are afraid of heights, have car anxiety or any of that, the ride is steep and curvy. We came from Atlanta, through Cherokee, NC which took us through the Smokey Mountains and while very beautiful, my nerves. I wasn’t ready.

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

We were so high up there was snow on the ground. Not sure if it is like that coming from other areas, however I suggest before you start traveling check your route to ensure your car and anxiety are equipped.

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Tri City Attractions

I knew Pigeon Forge and Sevierville were close but I didn’t know they were THAT close to one another. After 20 minutes of winding roads and such we were in Pigeon Forge, which has attractions all of its own, like a shopping outlet, race tracks, putt putt golf and other fun family friendly attractions. Kind of reminded me of a beach strip.

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg travel guide

We went to  Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner theater attraction in Pigeon Forge. Dixie Stampede is a live show with animals that  outlined the story of the North and South during the civil war. While I felt some important parts of history were left out, overall the food and the show was good.  It ran extremely efficient and I was thoroughly impressed at the level of service we were given. The attraction is not cheap but you do get a five course meal, that you must eat with your hands I’ll add. The attraction sells out quickly so make sure to get your tickets early if you plan to attend.


Dollywood and Wilderness at the Smokies along with a few other amusement attractions are in the area. Be sure to check them all out when planning your travel.

Downtown Gatlinburg

Downtown Gatlinburg is full of fun shops, and eateries. The aquarium and a few museums are also housed on the strip as well as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Five Guys and a few other well know chains! We had a great time going in and out of shops. There were even places to sip wine and fresh brewed beer. Truly a little something for the entire family to enjoy.

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide

Gatlinburg, TN travel guide


We stayed in a cabin and that seemed to be the norm in the area although I did see a few hotels. The city of Gatlinburg sits at the base of the mountains so it is likely anywhere you stay will require traveling up a large hill or mountain. Again, be prepared.


Gatlinburg did not disappoint. Not sure if I went there with any expectations other than we would be in the mountains and I was impressed enough to want to return and do more attractions. I am fully intrigued to see just how beautiful the area must be during the fall.

Next spot on my we’re going every year but never make it list….Asheville!

Maybe we’ll hit both this year?

Have you ever been to Gatlinburg? Did you enjoy it? What attractions should we visit when we go back?

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  • Reply
    May 3, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Loved it when we went there. It was one of the best trips that we went on last year. There was so much to do that we just could not do it all. We have to go back but I am not driving through those mountains no mo.
    kita recently posted..Liar Liar Pants on Fire

  • Reply
    May 3, 2016 at 8:45 am

    I want to GOOOO!! I’m going to think about going in the fall. Cause…I can’t do snow on the ground. Driving in those mountains though….I don’t know about that…

  • Reply
    May 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

    These pics are beautiful. Asheville is beautiful in the Fall if you decide to go. See – the mountain driving… This is why I’m nervous about driving when we move. All the mountains. My anxiety would not be ready. It looks like your family had a great time. I’m here for the “free sips” of wine!
    Tia recently posted..May 1-9 Family Meal Plan & Grocery Haul VIDEO

  • Reply
    May 4, 2016 at 9:40 am

    You captured some great moments! Little Mama was getting it! 🙂 It’s always nice to get together with family and travel, we need to do that more often.
    Aracely recently posted..What To Wear to a Music Festival

  • Reply
    May 4, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Great post – I shared with my parents and siblings as we’re all meeting up there for Memorial Day weekend. My brother’s lived in TN for 5 years now and this will be my first visit! Thanks for all the tips =)
    Quiana recently posted..Airplane Mode

  • Reply
    May 7, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I have always wanted to go there. Looks like so much fun!
    Law_Fal recently posted..May.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2016 at 10:54 am

    I would love to go there but driving in the mountains scares me. We drove through the mountains in Tennessee once on our way from Arkansas to Georgia and we never took that route again. It was scary…lol
    Sonya recently posted..Easy DIY Smock Dress: Beginner Sewing Project

  • Reply
    May 12, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I’ve been trying to plan a trip up there for my children for quite some time now. I really wanted to take them there during winter but realized I didn’t have the wheels to do that. And at the time, I wasn’t trying to rent a car. I’ve driven through the Rockies and it is quite the drive, especially in the snow. Didn’t make me nauseous or anything.. I think I was probably too intrigued to feel anything else but awe. IDK, usually, I get motion sickness if I’m not driving.

    I’m still trying to figure out what we’re going to do for a quick Spring trip. My intention is to do one every season. And yea I know I’m running out of time.. LOL!
    Rae recently posted..Visiting Waco + Traveling Thoughts.

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    Say Yes to Summer: 5 Ways to Spend More Time with Friends - Unlikely MarthaUnlikely Martha
    May 30, 2017 at 8:07 am

    […] keeping in mind it is not necessary to do everything together. We did this last year with our family trip to Gatlinburg and it was […]

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