Growing up in East Tennessee, summer has always been synonymous with long days by the pool, lake or local swimming hole: find your nearest body of water and park yourself for a refreshing day of aquatic fun. This summer, I’m even more determined to have a game plan for staying cool. Why? By the time we hit the end of the season, I’ll be nine months pregnant. But, great news! There are plenty of options for splashing around town—because I’m not one to hide inside, missing out on fun.
We’ll start with my obvious first choice because Dollywood is my family’s favorite weekend escape. When we hit Dollywood’s Splash Country, the smartest thing for my family to do is rent a Retreat (I’ll be able to pull the shades, sit under a ceiling fan and the food is delivered to us!) for the time I need to sit and take it easy. Otherwise, I foresee a lot of time in The Cascades, Little Creek Falls, Bear Mountain Fire Tower, Downbound Float Trip and Mountain Waves. My two-year-old loves this water park and I’m not going to let pregnancy hold me back!
There’s actually a lot of options when we go to Dollywood, too. My personal favorite ride has long been Mountain Slidewinder. This toboggan-style slide gets you just wet enough as you twist and zoom down the mountain to entice you to go again on those warm days. Another couple of guest favorites not to be missed include Smoky Mountain River Rampage and Daredevil Falls. I’ll have to sit these out this summer as I wait on our next bundle of joy, but as a mom, I now appreciate River Battle and the splash pad options in Owens Farm and Firehouse Fun Yard. There’s enough to keep you cool all day long! (And, for those who don’t enjoy wet socks, check out the Family Dryers near the water attractions.)
I’d be remiss not to mention the gorgeous pools at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. There’s an indoor option and a zero-entry pool outside with an interactive splash pad. Plus, it’s staffed with award-winning lifeguards from Dollywood’s Splash Country. If you want to treat your family to a place that has it all—definitely book a room here!
Outside Dollywood, one of my favorite summer memories is tubing down the Wye in Townsend. This is a great activity for people of most fitness levels. Splash, play and enjoy as you float down the Little River. There are lots of companies that offer tubing services, so do your research. Here’s a company I’ve used in the past. They offer tubing (mild), and whitewater rafting (wild) further up the road.
How could I talk about enjoying a dip in a mountain stream and not tell you about the many options in Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Again, I encourage you to do your research and know where it’s safe to swim. There are many pull-offs as you drive through the national park, but if you’re wanting to skip rocks, fish and dip your toes in, I think Greenbriar is a perfect option. It’s close to Gatlinburg and usually less crowded. Read more about options off the beaten path here.
This summer is going to be fantastic—no matter how high the mercury climbs. Take a week, or a weekend, to get away and make cool mountain memories with your loved ones!