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Old 02-24-2011, 08:47 AM   #21
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Wow! Thanks for all the information!
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:04 AM   #22
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Having been in PF and Gatlinburg so many times over my lifetime, my only advice is.... HAVE LOTS OF $$$ to blow! Things to do for the kids all over the place.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:48 PM   #23
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do you have a link to the SmokeyBear campgound.

I found it. It is a Good Sam Park
Here ya go: http://smokybearcampground.com/index.shtml
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:38 PM   #24
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I live here...well on the NC side of the park. I own a recognized chocolate store and several nice vacation rentals. So while I make a living from travel and tourism, anyone can spend a $$$$$ here or they can spend $. You can do the Smokies cheap with kids, my parents did it with 6 of us (lol).

I second day trips to the park. The picnic grounds at Chimney Tops is awesome and it is FREE! The creek has huge boulders and my kids LOVE going there for the day. Cades Cove...free, auto touring in the park, sans gas, is free. Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway...Free....

As much as I want to say come and spend because it helps the local economy, I also want to say in these challanging economic times there are a ton of free things to do here. There are things to do like hiking, white water rafting and horseback riding which makes trips here unique. If you have never been here, a day on the strip is worthwhile, but days spent in the park are priceless.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:07 PM   #25
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I really don't know much about the area. I don't even know why's it's a tourist trap. On a map it's centerally located for camping. We want to take the kids to Rock City in Chattanooga, but it's too far of a drive with the camper for us for only 4 days. I want the kids learn about the Applachian Trail and go on hikes. And most of all...be lazy the woods on a mountain.
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Old 02-24-2011, 09:09 PM   #26
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Went last year and stayed at Smokey Bear Campground. It is about 10 or 12 miles out of Gatlinburg in the country not in the ever touristy Pigeon Forge. We will go back there it was very well cared for and we had a pop-up at the time so we used the bathrooms and showers that were also very clean and air conditioned.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:30 AM   #27
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For anyone planning to travel pulling or driving a camper, stay clear of down town Gatlinburg. I came in that way, and the road to Pigeon Forge was not camper friendly. I had my left wheels in the center line, and the crown of the road put my awning just several inches from the telephone pools near the curb. That was confirmed by my DD and SIL following behind me. Looking back, I should have slowed traffic up in the left lane.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:54 AM   #28
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For anyone planning to travel pulling or driving a camper, stay clear of down town Gatlinburg. I came in that way, and the road to Pigeon Forge was not camper friendly. I had my left wheels in the center line, and the crown of the road put my awning just several inches from the telephone pools near the curb. That was confirmed by my DD and SIL following behind me. Looking back, I should have slowed traffic up in the left lane.
Thank you.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:11 AM   #29
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Hocky,
Ever been to Myrtle Beach, SC, International Drive in Orlando, Panama City Beach, Fl? This is Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge in a nutshell. Gatlinburg is a this sort of cool mountain town with its strip of tee shirt shops, fudge places, gift shops and so forth. I am likely going to meet some friends there tomorrow for dinner. It is very touristy with the Rippley's Believe it or not Museum and so forth.

Pigeon Forge is waaay touristy and while you see the mountains, you are not really in the mountains there at all. It is US 441 8 lanes wide lined with outlet malls, hotels, go kart tracks and miles of traffic. I am not a big fan of the place. Some folks like all that...as Jimmy Buffet sings some swim in the ocean and some paddle in a lake....to each his own.

To me the irony of it all is many folks who visit Pigeon Forge rarely go into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is the USA's most visited national park.

So are you coming to the mountains to see nature, creeks, elk, dear and maybe a bear or two, do some hiking, sight seeing, maybe take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or are you coming here because you enjoy outlet malls, go kart tracks, tee shirt shops and to experience the 3 basic food groups of Gatlinburg...funnel cake, karmel corn (or subsitute fudge) and these great soft pretzels from the Smoky Mountain Brewry with their beer cheese dip? When I go to Gatlinburg, it is for the 3 basic food groups , not the fudge, because I make it.

Now dont get me wrong, I think spending a day doing the strip with the kids is great. I think riding a gokart is great, and the Aquarium in Gatlinburg is nice, especially when you consider Ripley's built it . I encourage you do not short change the national park because no matter how great all the touristy stuff is, it just does not compare to the majesty of the Smokies themselves...

While my kids enjoy that stuff, they much rather be in the creeks or on a trail somewhere. My son and I can spend hours searching a creek for salamanders and crayfish and what ever else. Best time of my life for sure.

You owe it to yourself to check out the national park's website and do some trip planning there.

I can give you some NC websites to search as well

www.greatsmokies.com - Bryson City area
www.mountainlovers.com - Dillsboro/jackson County
www.visitthesmokies.org, our regional travel and tourism website for Smoky Mountain Hosts

iF you want full hook ups, try the KOA in Cherokee or Camping in the Smokies with Yogi (yogi bear in Cherokee too)
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:44 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Smokyroo View Post

Pigeon Forge is waaay touristy and while you see the mountains, you are not really in the mountains there at all. It is US 441 8 lanes wide lined with outlet malls, hotels, go kart tracks and miles of traffic. I am not a big fan of the place. Some folks like all that...as Jimmy Buffet sings some swim in the ocean and some paddle in a lake....to each his own.

To me the irony of it all is many folks who visit Pigeon Forge rarely go into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is the USA's most visited national park.

So are you coming to the mountains to see nature, creeks, elk, dear and maybe a bear or two, do some hiking, sight seeing, maybe take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or are you coming here because you enjoy outlet malls, go kart tracks, tee shirt shops and to experience the 3 basic food groups of Gatlinburg...funnel cake, karmel corn (or subsitute fudge) and these great soft pretzels from the Smoky Mountain Brewry with their beer cheese dip? ountain Hosts
The Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are has it all. The missus and I spent most of our time in the park. We saw 2 bears, a bunch of wild turkeys, huge blooming rhododendrons, and much, much more. The Cades Cove Loop is neat. We did some hiking and thoroughly enjoyed the park. We do the tourist thing 1 day with our DD and SIL, and did a helicopter ride over the area, and we also visited the Ripley's Aquarium.

My DD and SIL were totally opposite. They spent their time doing the tourist traps, except for 1 day they rode with us through the park.
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