Welcome to TheOhioOutdoors
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Login or sign up today!
Login / Join

Smoky Mt. Vacation advice

cotty16

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
#1
For the last three summers my family, along with a couple other families, have gone to the beach. We are looking for something a little different and I've always wanted to do mountain lake getaway. I've been looking at a place called Douglas Lake in the Smokies. It's very close to Dollyworld and someother attractions.
I'm just wondering if any of you guys have done a vacation similar or have been to the area and can offer up some advice. Perhaps another lake? A nearby town? Anything that I can use as a lead would be a great help!
 

"J"

Bass fishing aficionado....
Supporting Member
40,730
13,468
205
Davie County, NC
#4
Fontanna Lake is within an hour or so of Pidgeon Forge Gatlinburg area... Pidgeon Forge had a Apple resturant with a winery at it also... Best corn chowder in the area lol.... Of and Cherokee also has a Casino in it lol... Fun for kids of all ages.... Just sayin....
 

Beentown

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
15,751
377
131
Sunbury, OH
#8
Pops Catfish and Seafood House has been awesome the 3x we have been in Pidgeon Forge.

We take the canoe and spend most of our time in the mountains.

Beware that all of Pidgeon Forge and Gatlinburg are tourist traps of the 5th degree. I go to enjoy the streams and scenery. I stay outta town unless we go out for dinner. It will be a while before I go back just because I wanna go new places. We always went there for short (4-5 day) vacations.

Beentown
 

hickslawns

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
34,404
7,405
191
NW Ohio
#11
Do the kids activities have to be at a lake?

Reason I say this is because we have had a lot of fun playing in the streams in the mountains in the park. If you go, you can spend a day at Cades Cove which is a driving tour with a ton of animals. I am thinking it is between 10-15 miles. It is a driving tour, but most of the time you will be at an idle just checking out the scenery. You could see an unbelievable amount of deer there and many times people see bears.

Other places to look up would include Sliding Rock. That will keep them entertained for awhile. Tubing is common in Cherokee and many places. We did the tubing in Cherokee last time there. We have also tubed at a place just outside of Cherokee but I don't remember the name.

Another kid activity is Ober Gatlinburg. It was okay, but a bit of a tourist trap. Not terrible compared to some of the stuff, but there was a lot for the kids to do there.

We have been there many times as you might have noticed. Probably one of our favorite vacation destinations.
 

Jackalope

Dignitary Member
Staff member
32,182
11,106
201
#12
I see your talking about a bunch of outdoor activities around water.. One thing your going to need to do no matter where you go down there is be VERY cautious of snakes. This isn't something you Ohio guys are used to doing, but everywhere you go be very watchful especially around water. Don't walk into high grass around water or any thick area where you can't see a minimum of 4 feet around your feet.. Don't think taking a stick and parting the weeds or noise will run them off.. Cottonmouth moccasins 99% of the time will hold their ground and not slink off like water snakes here do...

When you walk up to a body of water look for snakes along the shore. The opposite shore, overhanging branches, and downed trees hanging in the water. When tubing stay away from the banks. Ride the middle of the creek.. If it gets shallow like less than a foot look even in the middle for snakes laying in the water if it's really hot. If the girls need to stop and go to the bathroom DO NOT let them go up in the bushes. Just everyone turn their backs.

When hiking on trails, stay on the trail unless you are on point keeping watch and it's clean woods. DO NOT climb on rocky outcrops or boulder stacks...

Just be alert and always keep an eye out.. Don't let your guard down and don't go in areas that look snakey.
 

hickslawns

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
34,404
7,405
191
NW Ohio
#14
Don't worry about it Cotty. At the altitude in the mountain streams it doesn't seem to be as much of a problem as it is in the swamps. However, they are there. No different than they are in southern Ohio. Just use your head and you will be fine. I would say if you use common sense you will stand a better chance of seeing a bear than a snake. One exception to this is the Cades Cove buildings. For some reason, it seems there is a cabin there which always has park rangers pushing people away from it. The majority of the tour is a driving tour, but if you go up to one of the structures, just keep in mind they could be structures the snakes would get away from the heat in. Nice dark, cool place to avoid the heat of the summer.
 

hickslawns

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
34,404
7,405
191
NW Ohio
#19
Phil, where do you guys stay? Cabin? Hotel?
We have three couples and 6 kids going. We are looking for a cabin with a pool. Ive been having a helluva time finding anything online.

Also, how is the tubing? My 9 year old niece is afraid of her own shadow.
Tubing is not bad. Last summer we took our kids with us down the river for their first trip. They were 5 and 8 at the time. It is fun, but not hardcore white water rafting. Generally, we camp. However, we have stayed in cabins before as well. One year we went with 2or my wife's brothers and their families. We stayed around Gatlinburg. Can't remember the name of the place. This was about 4 years ago. We didn't have a pool at the cabin, but there was a hot tub and access to a community pool for all the cabins by their office down the road. When we camped last year the KOA was probably the worst "cabin" we have ever stayed in. We knew it was a glorified tool shed, but they didn't tell us it was ten yards away from a 5 lane road. The word cabin is a broad word. The one we stayed at 4 years ago with the brother in laws was top notch and around $1000 for the week split up three ways. Beautiful place with hardwood floors, and top of the line everything.
 

Schu72

Well-Known Member
3,707
687
97
Streetsboro
#20
Only thing remotely similar was a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Absolutely beautiful country. The Teton mountains are very scenic. We did some rafting on the snake river, did a chuckwagon ride/show/dinner thing. One of the bars there had saddles for bar stools we have some pictures somewhere, maybe I'll dig around. It was only a short trip, wish we could have stayed longer and fished or maybe hit Yellowstone.