After a long, cold winter, spring is the ideal time for a weekend break or short vacation. One favorite place of mine is a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains.
If you love hiking, spring in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the place to go. It opens in April and prides itself in having a variety of trails for every skill level, (even family-friendly ones,) offering wildflowers, mountain views and waterfalls.
Take part in a springtime fishing tournament or amble along the Rocky Top Wine Trail, which has five wineries and a distillery. Appoint a designated driver, grab a passport to get a stamp at every one of your wine tastings, and be prepared to stagger along the 12-mile trail.
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OTHER ACTIVITIES INCLUDE
- White water rafting. This is a MUST for the adventurous. Although no experience is necessary, do be prepared to get wet as you dip and roll over class III and class IV rapids. Later, enjoy a relaxing swim in the calm water while accompanied by certified and trained guides
- Ride the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster. One or two-man cars zoom you around twists and turns down the mountain at speeds of up to 30 mph. Suitable for singles, couples or families, the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster is like nothing you have ever experienced before.
“It’s an exciting and exhilarating experience,” said Lauren Wilkerson of Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster.
- Restaurants and Nightlife: No trip to this area is complete without visiting the city of Gatlinburg with its numerous restaurants and nightclubs. The two-story Blaine’s Grill has a restaurant on the first floor and on Fridays and Saturdays the second floor becomes Club 812 with a dance floor and a D.J. playing top hits.
- Gatlinburg Space Needle, a 407 feet high tower, has an outdoor observation level with a 360 degree panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains. Once you have climbed the tower, take a break at the base and enjoy the Impossibilities magic show theater or have fun in the video game arcade.
- Titanic Museum at Pigeon Forge will let the history lover take a trip back in time and it will leave you awestruck. This largest, permanent Titanic Museum, built in 2010 at a cost of 25 million dollars, is built half-scale to the original ship and holds over 400 relics recovered from the doomed ship.
- Dollywood is a 150-acre theme park in Pigeon Forge, created by country music legend Dolly Parton. With many exciting rides, an adjacent water park and a museum with her costumes and memorabilia, this is a fun day for all.
- Evening entertainment in Pigeon Forge is not complete without a visit to The Smokey Mountain Opry or Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, a dinner theater with stampeding buffalo, beautiful horses, comedy acts and great food.
Whether you are an outdoor person or not, there is nightlife and daily activities in this area for people of all ages. Your springtime adventure is waiting in the “Blue” Smoky Mountains that are so named for the bluish haze that encompass the towering peaks and the lush valleys.