Family Reunion Fun in the Smokies
By Bennie McCann © 2010, All Rights Reserved

You’ve had picnics in the park, bonfires at Uncle Harry’s place, and even spent one memorable weekend camped out in the rain. But after a dozen or more family gatherings, it’s time to get creative with a destination reunion – just the thing to bring everyone close again.

Something for Everyone in the Great Smoky Mountains

Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is a family vacation spot perfect for your next reunion. Hiking in the wild country for dad, quaint shops and cafes for Mom, and wild amusement park adventures for the kids will mean everyone in the family gets the vacation they want. Best of all, the central location makes it a convenient meeting place for far-flung family members.

Since its dedication, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been a favorite destination for nature lovers. The park’s 800 miles of hiking trails offer plenty of opportunity to breathe the cool mountain air and marvel at the variety of wildlife native to the area. Sparkling streams full of leaping trout cascade down green hills, and out-of-the-way meadows provide a place for peaceful reflection. If you’re very quiet – and lucky – you might catch a glimpse of an elk, or even a black bear.

For those who prefer cute sandals and sunbonnets to hiking boots and baseball caps, downtown Gatlinburg’s boutique shops filled with local arts and crafts are sure to satisfy. The Appalachian people are known for their artistic talents, and you’ll find everything from colorful quilts to hand-carved cutlery to delicate pottery bowls. Every piece represents the culture and history of the area, told through the hands of a true artist.

Adventurous spirits of all ages will find plenty to keep them occupied at Dollywood, the area’s premier theme park. Rides and shows designed to entertain the entire family make Dollywood a favorite place to bring the kids. You’ll find thrilling roller coasters, non-stop wonder at Professor Seymour Tricks Magic Show, and musical acts to suit nearly every taste. When the sun climbs high, Splash Mountain offers a cool respite from the heat, so be sure to bring your suit.

Where to Stay While Visiting

Enjoy a true Smoky Mountain vacation by choosing a private cabin or chalet perched on a quiet hillside. Gentle mountain breezes will lull you to sleep, and you’ll wake to cheerful birdsong and dappled sunlight streaming through the open windows. After a long day spent shopping and sightseeing, you’ll appreciate the opportunity for some quiet time playing games or toasting marshmallows over the fire. Cabins have up to 10 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 20 people comfortably, so you can have as many – or as few – relatives around as you like.

Just because you’re family doesn’t mean you all share the same tastes. That’s what makes a destination reunion such a fantastic choice. By choosing a location that offers a variety of entertainment options, you’ll have a better turnout, and you’ll create memories of a wonderful vacation with friends and loved ones that will outshine even the happiest weekend spent in a soggy tent.

Bennie McCann is Reservations Manager of Volunteer Cabin Rentals specializing in Pigeon Forge cabins. Visit the main website to book a cabin for your next family reunion.