Flowers are blooming, the buds on the trees are opening and spring in the Smokies provides the perfect view for families during Spring Break. There are so many amazing opportunities for families to experience the beauty of this picturesque area. From the back porch views at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa to the mountainside decks of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins, the Smoky Mountains are ripe with locations to enjoy the awe-inspiring sights. Here are a few of my favorites:
Spring into fun in the Smoky Mountains
Whether you love the rush of a waterfall or a mountain view, you can have it all in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This outdoor playground covers more than 500,000 acres in two states. Start your time there at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Grab a park map, walk through the exhibits, and if you have time take a stroll back in the woods to Cataract Falls, a small and refreshing reminder of the wonders of nature. From Sugarlands, hop into the car and drive up into the mountains. Along the winding road, soak in the view of fast moving mountain streams, gaze up to the towering trees lining the steep slopes, and stand in awe of the mountain terrain at the overlooks at Newfound Gap and Clingman’s Dome (the highest peak in TN).
An island getaway
Approaching the town of Pigeon Forge it’s hard not to notice the 200-foot tall Ferris wheel towering above the dozens of hotels, theaters, restaurants and go cart tracks all along the Great Smoky Mountains Parkway. Located on “The Island,” the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is the centerpiece of an entertainment complex complete with Vegas style fountains, dozens of shops, restaurants and one of those places reminding you it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
A trip on the Wheel may not give you the view you get at Clingman’s Dome, but it is one of the best views in the Smokies. The glass gondolas seat up to six people and are climate controlled. Even in blustery conditions, the cars stay relatively still as they make the climb to the top and down again. On the way up, you’ll catch a view of the rooftop pool at the Margaritaville Hotel, the high peaks of the Smokies and watch the Island fountain show from a unique perspective.
An eagle’s eye view
A spring break trip to the Smokies isn’t complete without a visit to Dollywood. This time of year, entertainers from all around the world come into view as the Festival of Nations takes center stage. Music, dance and plenty of food come together for an unforgettable blend of culture, entertainment and Smoky Mountain hospitality suitable for all ages.
In between shows be sure and take in the view from the Wild Eagle coaster. At the top you get one of the best views in the Smokies, but you’ll only see it for a few second before soaring down the tracks and through a dizzying series of loops and twists. For the younger tikes, the Amazing Flying Elephants and the Mountain Swinger provide their own unique views of the park. Later this year, Drop Line and Whistle Punk Chaser join the mix of award winning and crowd pleasing rides at the park.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Clayton Hensley. Clayton is a freelance writer. You can keep up with Clayton’s (@knoxdaytripper) travels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.