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Old 06-18-2014, 10:45 AM   #11
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The Dixie Stampede Dinner Shows are very good and should be considered a 'must see'. You do have to make reservations.
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:05 PM   #12
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Dixie stampede and dollywood were high on our list. Probably will order tickets online before we go
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:14 PM   #13
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Dollywood, Knife Store. In Gatlinburg theres a nice Aquarium. Drive through Great Smoky Mtns Natl Park to Cherokee, North Carolina. Nice drive to Cades Cove with lots of wildlife viewing. Saw 5 bears last time therePlenty of touristy things like go carts, water parks, putt putt, Live shows, etc.
AND EAT AT THE APPLE BARN! Love the fritters and apple butter.

OK, it's official, my brain is now old.

I forgot all about SMNP. We saw at least that many bear, and more deer than we could count, including a momma with young twins. Lots of areas to pull over and let the kids play in the mountain streams. Take the time to stop at the various historical cabins.

We've been thru SMNP twice now (DH and I) and I'd go back tomorrow.

Both times we've driven through, we spotted folks just pulling over to take a nap in their cars; seats back, windows down. It's that peaceful and ahhh the fresh mountain air.
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:27 PM   #14
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Yours boys will love the roller coasters at Dollywood, well if they are into roller coasters anyway.
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:44 PM   #15
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Smokies were our go-to summer vacatioin when DS & DD were tweens-teens; went every year! SO much to see and do - yes it is touristy and not cheap
Dollywood is fun and the water park addition is a great way to cool off.

Please do NOT miss Cades Cove! Drag 'em outta bed before sunup and get there just as the sun rises and you will think you are in a nature park! If you can't blast 'em outta bed, go at dusk. Not nearly as good but you will still see lots of wildlife.

Tip for next time: stay in Townsend (hope that link works). This is the so-call "peaceful Side" of the Smokies Quality of RV camping here is much better IMO, but YMMV if you want nightly access to gatlinburg nightlife.

Other things you should really do with teens:
White water Rafting! Upper Section | Tennessee Whitewater Rafting Smoky Mountains | Big Creek Expeditions Well worth the drive!

Lounge on a tube and float down the river, get picked up and transported back, rinse, repeat all day long!! This is one of the reasons we like townsend - fun activity and probably the best value you will find on your vacation!
Welcome to River Rage Tubing Company - the Tubing Headquarters of the Smoky Mountains!

Have fun and post picts!!
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:50 PM   #16
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The "Wheels through Time" museum in Maggie Valley, I heard was very nice. Cades Cove is nice for animal sightings, but be prepared! The loop can take up to 4 hours to get around ... Been there Done that! Not fun on 90* day, and on a bike.
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:58 PM   #17
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The Tuckaleechee Caverns in Towsend are a great place to spend a hot or rainy day.

http://www.tuckaleecheecaverns.com/index.htm
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:00 PM   #18
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As mentioned, we stayed at Up A Creek RV park out off Walden Creek road. 5-7 minutes back to "the strip", but yet out far enough that you can view the stars at night.

This campground was by far one of the best ones that we have ever been to. I'm planning going back this fall.
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:07 PM   #19
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This campground was by far one of the best ones that we have ever been to. I'm planning going back this fall.
And if you want a nice quiet, private mountain drive, when you come out of the park take a left. That road will take you over the tip top of mountain ridges, and along the top of the ridges. I forgot which small town you come down in to.

But, we decided to go see "what's this way", eventually decided we were lost, but wasn't in a hurry to get anywhere so we just kept driving. Awesome scenery up there and only encountered one or two other vehicles. All paved roads too.
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Old 06-18-2014, 05:29 PM   #20
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I appreciate all the input so far. Keep it coming. We are SO looking forward to this trip and hopefully have planned enough for the big $$$$$ hit
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