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 sooo many!

Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park swinging bridge

Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park

You can read a full review of our experience here.

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

Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park Waterfall

Foxfire Mountain Adventure Highlights:

  • Hiking to a Waterfall
  • Ziplining over a waterfall
  • Challenging each other on the low obstacle course
  • Views from the bridge
Maples Ridge Cabins Bears Den

 Maples Ridge Vacation Rentals

Maples Ridge Cabin

Bears Den Cabin Highlights:

  • Open floor plan
  • Close location to the strip on Pigeon Forge with a quiet property location
  • A 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
Mamas Farmhouse e1519996058507

Mama’s Farmhouse in Pigeon Forge

*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 afterward.

Mama's Farmhouse Dinner

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

  • Broccoli Casserole
  • Fried Chicken
  • Fried Okra
  • Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits with strawberry jam
  • Peach Cobbler
Ferris wheel at night

 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

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

  • The Island Ropes Course (30 different elements and two zip lines) 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
Aerial tramway Ober Gatlinburg

Things to Do at Ober Gatlinburg

*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.

things to do at Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg Highlights:

I love that Ober Gatlinburg offers a lot to do and its 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
Sugarlands Distillery Tour

Tour Sugarlands Distillery

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

  • Learning more about the moonshining 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
Amusement places in Downtown Gatlinburg

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

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.
 Sugarlands Visitor Center

A visit to Sugarlands Visitor Center

We wanted to make the most of our time by balancing nature and adventure.

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
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

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.
  • Penguin tunnel that allows you to get a unique perspective and photo opp with the penguins.
  • Watching a diver interact with the string rays.
  • Affordable parking- The parking garage for the aquarium is known 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
Flapjack's pancake cabin

Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

No visit to the Smoky Mountains is complete without breakfast at a pancake restaurant.

breakfast at 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
MagiQuest in Pigeon Forge TN

 MagiQuest in Pigeon Forge

MagiQuest 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 in Pigeon Forge TN

Tips-MagiQuest- The Ultimate Combo Adventure Package offers the best value and lets 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
The Escape Game Pigeon Forge TN

The Escape Game Pigeon Forge

131 The Island Dr Suite 9139, Pigeon Forge, TN

This adventure is an Escape room challenge that you can try with your kids.

The escape room options have varying difficulty levels. During the game my best advice is to ask for clues if you get stuck and everyone is getting really frustrated.

I’ve tried several of the Escape Game rooms in Cincinnati and I’m so impressed with their creativity and detail in each themed room.

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

Mission Mars at The Escape Game Pigeon Forge TN

The Escape Game Highlights:

  • Working together as a team to solve the challenges.
  • We escaped!
Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We attempted to make it to Clingman’s Dome but ended up 7 miles away at Newfound Gap.


  • Gorgeous Views and drive to and from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • We saw a bear in the woods on our way out of the Smoky Mountains.

We had a wonderful visit to Gatlinburg 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.

5 thoughts on “Adventure Ideas for a Weekend in the Smoky Mountains”

  1. 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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