Adventure Ideas for a Weekend in the Smoky Mountains

Adventure ideas for a weekend in the Smoky Mountains

Our family loves any excuse to visit the Smoky Mountain region. There is always a great mix of nature and adventure there.

So what were our highlights?

There were sooooo many!

Our first stop was at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park. You can read a full review of our experience here.

Amazing Adventures at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park

Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park Waterfall

*Tip- Allow several hours for your visit and make sure that you try to see everything on property.

Foxfire Mountain Adventure Highlights:

  • Hiking to a Waterfall
  • Ziplining over a waterfall
  • Challenging each other on the low obstacle course
  • Views from the bridge

Our next stop was to check out our cabin rental from Maples Ridge Vacation Rentals.

Maples Ridge Cabins Bears Den

Bears Den

Front porch at Bears Den

Maples Ridge Vacation Rentals

Hot tub at Bears Den

Game Room Bears Den

Bears Den Cabin Highlights:

  • Open floor plan
  • Close location to the strip on Pigeon Forge with a quiet property location
  • Heated fan in the lower bathroom with a large shower
  • Hot Tub on the deck
  • WIFI included
  • Porch Swing
  • Game Room for kids to enjoy

Our dinner that evening was at Mama’s Farmhouse in Pigeon Forge.

Mama's Farmhouse

Broccoli Casserole Mama's Farmhouse

fried chicken Mama's Farmhouse

fried okra Mama's Farmhouse

Homemade Buttermilk biscuits Mama's Farmhouse

peach cobbler Mama's Farmhouse

strawberry jam Mama's Farmhouse

*Tip- COME HUNGRY! You will hurt sooo good after a visit! My husband said that the foods in our family style dinner made him miss his “mamaw.” Our dinner was like going to grandma’s house without having to help with the dishes afterwards.

Mama’s Farmhouse Dinner Highlights: Just about everything!!!

  • Broccoli Casserole
  • Fried Chicken
  • Fried Okra
  • Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits with strawberry jam
  • Peach Cobbler

That evening we visited The Island in Pigeon Forge.

The Island Show Fountain

Ferris wheel at night

ferris wheel view The Island in Pigeon Forge

The Island Ropes Course

view of ferris wheel The Island in Pigeon Forge

*Tip- The best value is the Unlimited Rides Pass if you want to try more than one attraction.

The Island in Pigeon Forge Highlights: This entertainment complex offers something for the whole family. 

  • The Island Ropes Course (30 different elements and two ziplines) Fun and challenging for adults and kids!
  • Taking a simulated freefall on the Quick Jump (You just need 3 seconds of bravery)
  • The views from the Great Smoky Ferris Wheel
  • Gorgeous views of The Island Show Fountain at night

The following day we visited Ober Gatlinburg.

Aerial tramway Ober Gatlinburg

Mt. Harrison

Ober Gatlinburg Alpine slide

Ski Mountain Coaster

*Tip- Wristbands are the best value for multiple activities and do not include the Ski Mountain coaster or the Aerial Tramway. I suggest bringing a backpack with snacks and drinks. You can also make concession purchases at Ober Gatlinburg.

Ober Gatlinburg Highlights: I love that Ober Gatlinburg offers a lot to do and it’s location feels less congested from the crowds. You can also experience fun there year round. 

  • Ski Mountain Coaster
  • Alpine Slide
  • View on top of Mt. Harrison
  • Chairlift and Aerial Tramway Ride

That afternoon we toured Sugarlands Distillery.

Sugarlands Distillery Highlights: Learning more about whiskey that is produced and jarred in Gatlinburg that is currently in 23 states in it’s first 2 years of operation. 

Sugarlands Distillery Behind the Scenes tour

Behind the Scenes Tour Sugarlands Distillery

Music at Sugarlands Distillery

  • Learning more about the moonshine process on the Behind the scenes tour
  • Learning that their moonshine is distilled 6 times (you can taste the difference)
  • Participating in a Tasting (21+ and up only of course)
  • Enjoying live music from the rocking chairs on the back patio

Next we walked around downtown Gatlinburg and visited Circus Golf in the blacklight, A-MAZE-ING Mirror Maze,and Shoot ’em Up Cinema 7D.


Circus Golf
AMAZING mirrors
Shoot 'em Up Cinema
Game Highlights:
  • Fun circus theme in the blacklight minus scary elements ( I don’t like scary)
  • Challenging each other in the mirror maze ( you can purchase a combo ticket for mini golf and the maze)
  • Beating my family on one of the rounds in the Shoot ’em Up Cinema game – The game was a lot more fun than I anticipated. Each person has their own gun and seat that moves to ride on.
A visit to Sugarlands Visitor Center– We wanted to make the most of our time by balancing nature and adventure.
 5 Reasons you need to stop at Sugarlands Visitor Center
skipping stones
  • Hike to a waterfall on an easy trail a short distance from the visitors center
  • Skipping Stones
  • Great advice from the Park Rangers along with a map
  • Balancing on a giant log across the creek

Our last stop that day was Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies 4

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies jellyfish

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies 2

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies 7

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies Pearl Harbor

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies stingray

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

*Tip- Visit in the late evening to avoid the crowds.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Highlights: Over 10,000 sea creatures!

  • Light crowds during our late evening visit.
  • Shark tunnels with moving sidewalks that make it easy for everyone to see what’s going on in the tunnel.
  • Pearl Harbor exhibit – Learn more about Pearl Harbor with interactive exhibits.
  • Penguin tunnel that allows you to get a unique perspective and photo opp with the penquins.
  • Watching a diver interact with the string rays.
  • Affordable parking- The parking garage for the aquarium is know by locals as one of the best places in town to park price wise.
  • Opportunities to touch a stingray and jellyfish
  • Interactive play areas for kids

Our final day we went to Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin for breakfast.

Flapjack's pancake cabin

Flapjack's pancake cabin biscuits and gravy

Flapjack's pancake cabin french toast

Flapjack's pancake cabin Spanish skillet

giant pancake at Flapjack's pancake house

inside Flapjack's pancake cabin

Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin Highlights:

  • Great location- There are 6 Flapjack’s Pancake Cabins located in East Tennessee. We ate at the Pigeon Forge location that was right on the strip and very easy to find.
  • Large portions
  • Spanish Skillet (Two eggs, chorizo, tomatoes, green peppers, onions and cheese served over skillet potatoes with sides of salsa and sour cream.)
  • Rocky Top Skillet (Two sausage biscuits and two eggs served over skillet potatoes with a side of country gravy)
  • French Toast Breakfast (Served with two eggs and bacon)
  • Pancakes- obviously those were very good with a name that has pancake in the title!
  • Country Cabin atmosphere with a gift shop
  • Quick seating – we were seated immediately
  • Reasonable prices
Our next stop was MagiQuest which is an interactive live-action, role playing game where players embark on quests and adventures in an enchanted fantasy world using real magic wands to solve the mysteries of the game.
Magiquest wand
Pirate Golf in Blacklight
Odyssey Mirror Maze Adventure
The Vault Laser Challenge MagiQuest
* Tips-MagiQuest- The Ultimate Combo Adventure Package offers the best value and let’s you try all three adventures onsite.
*Make sure that you find all of the items in your mission before moving on to another challenge during the MagiQuest game or you won’t get credit for that mission. ( I found out the hard way)
MagiQuest Highlights:
  • A quest to conquer and interactive challenge
  • Pirate Golf in Blacklight
  • Odyssey Mirror Maze Adventure 5,000 sq. ft of

The Tomb Eqyptian Adventure– This adventure is an Escape room challenge that you can try with your kids. 

The Tomb

The Tomb

*You will get more out of this adventure if you participate and play along with the storyline.

The Tomb Eqyptian Adventure Highlights:

  • Working together as a team to solve the challenges.
  • We escaped!

Our last stop was a gorgeous view in the mountains in Great Smoky Mountains National Park . We attempted to make it to Clingman’s Dome but ended up 7 miles away at Newfound Gap.

Great Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Border of Tennessee and North Carolina

Newfound Gap

Bear in Smoky Mountains


  • Gorgeous Views and drive to and from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • We met a good Samaritan who helped get our van started when we discovered that we had a bad starter at the rest stop at Newfound Gap.
  • We saw a bear in the woods on our way out of the Smoky Mountains.

We had a wonderful visit and made lots of memories that my family will cherish for years to come!

Thanks to Mobile Brochure for hosting our visiting and showing us so many great places to visit! You can find out more great ideas for things to do, shopping, outdoors, guides, restaurants, guides, and accommodations from their website for your next vacation.


  1. says

    There is so much to do there! We just got back from a trip as well and only touched upon things! The only thing our trip had in common with yours was the Aquarium! Next time I really want to hike in the mountains more, but my health wasn’t good enough for it this time around.


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