The temperatures are starting to rise almost everywhere in the US. Summer is around the corner, and although Gatlinburg’s hot season is mild by most southern standards, a chance to cool off in the water is often a welcome relief to locals and vacationers alike. Here are some of our favorite water activities and attractions:
1. Dollywood Splash Country. For a unique summer vacation destination that’s fun for the whole family, pack your bathing suit and take the plunge to Dollywood’s Splash Country. This water adventure theme park combines the beauty of the Smoky Mountains with the excitement of water park rides, slides and attractions guaranteed to cool you off on a hot summer day! Located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and adjacent to Dollywood theme park, Dollywood’s Splash Country offers summer vacation activities ranging from a relaxing tube float on the Lazy River to the thrilling Big Bear Plunge white water rafting ride. Remember, you don’t have to stand in long lines for tickets, contact us to purchase tickets you can print at home.
2. Water Water Rafting is a local favorite, and with the extra rainfall we’ve had in 2009, the water should be higher and faster than in was in 2008. Experience white water rafting in Tennessee and romp through class 3 to 4 rapids where you’ll be assured of an exciting adventure! Smoky Mountain Outdoors will provide all the equipment you need. They recommend that you wear tennis shoes (or sandals w/ a strap), shorts, and a t-shirt or bathing suits. NO FLIP-FLOPS! When you arrive, after signing a liability waiver, they will brief you on safety, then your white water rafting adventure will begin with their experienced guides down the Pigeon River! Enjoy a white water rafting video ! Call us 1-800-309-0277 for a coupon code that will give you $7 off.
3. Trout Fishing. We Gatlinburg folk take our trout fishing very seriously. The city of Gatlinburg even runs its own trout farm and stocks anywhere from 35,000 to 45,000 fish ranging from 8-14 inches long in Gatlinburg streams annually. You can fish a stream right in the middle of Downtown Gatlinburg only steps from shopping, dining and amusements. Or, you can rent a downtown water-side cabin that is within walking distance of a trolley stop–or even a cabin on the water a short drive from town.
4. Water Rides at Ober Gatlinburg. First there’s is Ober’s Lightnin’ Raft Ride. No swimwear necessary to enjoy Ober’s Lightnin’ Raft Ride and covered Shoot-the-Chute Water Rides. These “dry-ride” water rides with a 40 foot vertical drop offer fun and excitement for both families and thrill seekers. Next, try the Blue Cyclone Rapids. Get a good grip on the handles of your air-inflated bob sled as you plunge from over 60 ft. high into a dark hole pushing “white water” waves as you race down a fully-enclosed fiberglass chute. Riding high on the sidewalls, you’ll reach speeds in excess of 30 mph and pull 2.9 G’s as you twist & turn through over 600 ft. of water & exhilarating fun-filled excitement.
5. Tubing in the Smokies. Not interested in pulling 2.9 G’s? Maybe an inter tube ride down the Pigeon River is more your speed. Tubing in the Smokies is only minutes from Pigeon Forge in Townsend (TN). Tube the Little River on the colorful sturdy river tubes. They offer unlimited shuttle services to make your day on the Little River fun and relaxing. Tubing in the Smokies has never been so easy. Located just 15 miles from Pigeon Forge, 20 miles from Gatlinburg, and only 9 miles from Cades Cove Scenic Loop, you will be relaxing on the Little River, tubing in Townsend (TN) on the beautiful Little River while enjoying the peaceful Smoky Mountains.
6. ZORB™. The only ZORB™ location in the United States is located in the Smoky Mountain area. ZORB™ is the sport of rolling down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball and according to their website, “where New Zealand, once again leads the world in stupid things to do while you’re on a vacation.” See the video. The ZORB™ ride is just a totally bizarre and fun adventure experience where you’d be protected by a massive cushion of air whilst sphering down a hill. Throw in a bucket of water, hop inside the inflated ZORB™ ball, run, tumble, flip or slide inside it, doesn’t sound fun enough yet? Take up to 2 of your mates with you inside the ZORB™!
7. Lake Douglas. Although built for flood control and power generation, today Douglas Lake is a major recreation destination attracting two million visitors a year. Twelve public boat ramps provide lake access. Fishing, boating, water sports, swimming, and bird watching are popular lake activities. As water levels drop during the summer and fall, shore birds, wading birds, and other waterfowl flock to Douglas Lake to rest and feed along the shoreline’s shallow water. Birdwatchers enjoy the migration from late July to early October. Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Douglas Reservoir is close to Pigeon Forge & and Gatlinburg.
8. Cabins with Swimming Pools. I know that a few of you out there are thinking, “If you can fish for trout in it, I’m not swimming there.” I hear you. Before I moved to Gatlinburg, I much preferred the crystal clear water of a swimming pool myself. Swimming pools are accessible to all Gatlinburg Visitors at the Gatlinburg Community Center for a very small fee. But if you have more glamorous visions of resort-style poolside lounging, check out Hillbilly Hilton, Bear’s Eye View, or Bear Feet Adventure just to name a few. Need more suggestions? Contact Us.
9. Dollyood. Most of this theme park offers edge-of-you-seat rides that don’t involve water. But trust me–if you want to get wet at Dollywood, there are lots of ways. River Battle will leave you soaked head to toe and Smoky Mountain River Rampage can leave you soaked or let you by unscathed. For a full list of Dollywood water rides, click here. Remember, you don’t have to stand in long lines for tickets, contact us to purchase tickets you can print at home.
10. Lost Sea Caverns – Okay…it isn’t in the water, but on it you’ll be spending your day. Stroll through an 18th century village, explore huge fascinating caverns, then float across America’s largest underground lake! America’s largest underground lake, located in beautiful Sweetwater, Tennessee. The Caverns are open every day of the year for tours (except Christmas Day). Be sure to bring your camera and be prepared for an unforgettable experience! Approx. 75 mile drive from Gatlinburg, TN.
DISCLAIMER: Water, even in small amounts, is dangerous. Please take every precaution. Do not get in or near water alone. Do not leave children unsupervised in or near water. Wear a life vest. Be aware of how recent rainfall increases currents. If you can’t swim…don’t go into the water.
This blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.