What's the best way to cool down on a hot summer day? Play in the water, of course. Fortunately the Great Smoky Mountains offer plenty of opportunities for wet, watery fun – from tubing, rafting, and kayaking to splashing in a picturesque swimming hole.
Drift Down a Scenic River
If you've never tried tubing, you're in for a treat. This family-friendly adventure requires no previous training or complicated equipment. Simply rent a tube from a reputable outfitter... and start floating downstream amid breathtaking mountain scenery. It's the perfect way to relax, unwind, and let your everyday cares drift away.
In Townsend, about 30 minutes from Gatlinburg, Smoky Mountain River Rat Outpost can get your entire family set up to tube the Little River. The river's upper section features some Class II rapids, so it's more suitable for older kids and grownups. The lower section is much more placid, so tots as young as two can safely tube there as long as they're accompanied by adults.
In Sevierville, a few minutes from Pigeon Forge, River Romp offers tubes and paddles for a two-hour (2.5-mile) trip down the Little Pigeon River. Minor rapids furnish some bouncy fun, but most of the trip is peaceful and serene.
Prefer to float by boat? No problem. Most tubing outposts also rent out kayaks and canoes.
Raft the Roaring Rapids
Seeking more extreme thrills? Try whitewater rafting on the Upper Pigeon River, where you'll navigate through twelve Class III and three Class IV rapids – with heart-pounding waves and splashes all along the way. No experience is necessary, but rafters must be at least 8 years old and/or weigh at least 70 pounds. Several local rafting outposts can equip you with a sturdy raft, life jackets, and safety helmets. An experienced guide will accompany you, too, so you'll be in good hands for the whole thrilling trip.
Get in the Swim
Feeling hot and sweaty on the hiking trail? Cool off in one of the region's many swimming holes – such as Green Brier, near Gatlinburg, off the Little Pigeon River. While it's easily accessible from Route 321, Green Brier is relatively quiet and secluded, so it's a perfect spot for a private family picnic. You'll love sunbathing on the large, smooth rocks and swimming in the crystal-clear water.
Nearby Abrams Falls offers another sparkling swimming hole – and it's 100 feet wide all around, so you'll have room for perfecting your backstroke. To get to the falls (and the swimming hole), you'll hike a moderate 2.5-mile trail, but, when you reach the end, you'll find it's more than worth it. The scenery is simply stunning... and the water feels wonderfully refreshing on a steamy afternoon.
Visit a Spectacular Waterfall
The Smokies are famous for their beautiful waterfalls... and several of the best and biggest are right near Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg. Hike a moderate-level paved trail (2.6 miles roundtrip) to view 80-foot Laurel Falls. Or, if you're up for more strenuous exercise, hike through gorgeous old-growth forest to 100-foot Ramsey Cascades, the tallest falls in the National Park.
Book Your Wet & Wild Getaway Now
Ready to make a splash in the Smokies? Contact Volunteer Cabin Rentals today to reserve your comfortable cabin. Then go ahead... dive right in!