We are a family of 4. Mom, Dad, 13 year old boy, 11 year old girl. 4th trip to the area. I religiously read Trip Advisor before any trip. Because of that, I was able to plan an excellent trip to the Smokies.
Day 1 6/2: Drove 10 hours from our home in Central IL and arrived at our cabin "American Charm" in the Eagle Ridge resort area. Third time renting this cabin and it is perfect for us and in a great location. Unpacked our stuff and headed to Kroger for groceries. Went back to the cabin and fixed grilled chicken, corn on the cob and a Chipotle ranch salad kit. Tired and not wanting deal with traffic on a Saturday night we stayed in and went to bed early.
Day 2 6/3 - Up early to head to Clingmans Dome. We left the cabin by at 7:30. We stopped at the Newfound Gap Overlook. The fog was getting very dense. When we left the overlook, it was clearing some. We stopped at the Spruce Fir nature trail. I would have missed this had it not been for reading about it here on Trip Advisor. I got some gorgeous pictures of some mushroom growing out of moss. The trail smelled so good. We got to Clingman' s Dome just after 9. The parking lot had about 10 cars in it. It was foggy at the top, it cleared enough for a partial view. When we came back down the lot was completely full with people circling waiting for a spot to open. We headed back to town, and ate at Mellow Mushroom. I love the house special, hubby wanted something else, so they made us a half and half. Went back to the cabin for a rest. Then the 5:00 Comedy Barn show. It was good, clean comedy. Back to the cabin to grill out Tbones.
Day 3 6/4. Up early to go to Cades Cove via Wears Valley. We were upset they closedthe part of the loop with the visitor center and mill for tree trimming. They bypassed us to the side road were we did finally see a bear. After we went to horseback ride, but it was a two hour wait. We paid, then went to the campground store and then to the picnic area to eat. We enjoyed our horseback ride and saw on deer up close. We then headed to Gatlinburg and went to the aquarium. Just have to say I felt this place is getting expensive. Still neat to see all those sea creatures. We ate at No Way Jose then walked and shopped. We liked the Tea and Spice store for something unique.
Day 4 6/5. Up early again for Laurel Falls. We arrived a little later than we wanted and got there at 8:30. One lot was full, second lot had just a few cars. We saw a baby bear in a tree on the way up. The falls are beautiful, but the drop offs made this momma nervous. There was several people there when we were. We did get pictures with nobody else in the back ground. ;). Heading back down there was a steady stream of people going up. We saw a blind man with his family walking the trail. The trail may be paved, but it is sure uneven. We went back to Pigeon Forge and ate at Golden Corral (kids choice), then a rest at the cabin. Later we went to Goats on the Roof, stopped in at Crave mini golf and decided it just wasn't that great, then headed to the Island. There we did the 7D movie -I had a Groupon that I got an additional $10 off it, so we went for super cheap. It was a blast, but not worth full price. We shopped for a bit, watched the fountains, and went to the arcade. Not wanting a huge meal, we picked up Firehouse subs and the kids are leftovers at the cabin.
Day 5 6/5. Up early to got to Roaring fork and Grotto Falls. We stopped at the Ogle Cabin and noticed fire damage in the adjacent woods. We stopped at th rainbow falls trailhead for the bathroom. We were confused and started down the Trillium gap trail on the way to Grotto Falls. Had the trail to ourselves. Walked 1/4 mile and realized this couldn't be right. Of coarse no cell service so I couldn't check. Walked back to the parking lot and a park ranger told us were we needed to be. We lost about 40 minutes there. Moving along Roaring fork we saw 3 bears in the grass. Then on to the trail head. Lot was full and we were lucky to find a spot on the road close by. This trail has so many roots and rocks. Around the falls turning into climbing over rocks and not really a trail. There were a bunch of people up there. A man with an infant in A carrier, a lady with slipper shoes, and a lady with strap on sandals. Crazy! We then went to Crocket's Breakfast Camp. Yum! Best meal of the week. Hubby got the pork chops. They were amazing. We got two cinnamon rolls to go. After we headed to Rafting in the Smokies Family Float trip. It was a relaxing trip with a few rapids. Next time we would like to try White water rafting. We rushed back to the cabin and arrived at 6:12. All four of us managed to get showered and ready to leave by 6:45 for our 7:00 reservations for the Local Goat. Food was amazing! We went back to the cabin for a little rest and to rotate laundry. Then went down the hill to Professor Hacker's mini golf.
Day 6 6/7 Finally a day to sleep in! We had our Crocketts Cinnamon Rolls, eggs and the bacon I had cooked up at home and brought with us. We packed up and said goodbye to our cabin. We went back to Gatlinburg to buy a couple of things we had decided we wanted. Then to Cakes By Bakin Bishop for Cupcakes. We stop here every trip and wanted to bring a treat to my nieces and nephews. Then on to the Titanic Museum. This place was really neat. Because I am a teacher/librarian, I got in free. We ate at the Apple Cider Mill Grill. This place was ok. Just really heavy food. Should have had a salad. We then headed east to Johnson City to stay a couple of nights with my sister and her family.
In all we had a fabulous time. The weather was awesome. In the morning in the park it was almost cold at 60 degrees. My favorite place in the park was the Spruce Fit Nature Trail. We had it to ourselves. Favorite meal would be Crocketts. Favorite non park activity would be the Titanic Museum.