It’s tough to find a vacation spot that has someone for everyone in the family. For years my entire extended family would pack up and spend two weekends a year-once in the summer and once at Christmas-at Pigeon Forge. My in-laws would spend weeks trying to find a hotel with an indoor pool so the kids could swim, one with enough room for everyone and one that was close to activities for adults and kids. Too bad Wilderness in the Smokies wasn’t available then. This place has everything a family could need onsite. There’s two outdoor water parks available for the summer months and an indoor water park that’s open year round with a wave pool, water slides, a pool and a bar area for the adults to relax while the kids play. My kids were disappointed the outdoor park wasn’t open, but couldn’t wait to get into the indoor area. To be honest, I wanted to splash in the wave pool myself. Did I mention they have an indoor arcade, ropes course, mini golf and laser tag area too? My kids spent all their free time in one of these places.
I’ve traveled extensively with my kids over the years and this was one of the most kid friendly resorts I’ve visited. The rooms were spacious, able to sleep six comfortably, and contained amenities I expect when staying with children. The in room fridge and microwave meant I could store snacks and drinks and the extra television kept them entertained while we watched something besides children’s programming. The children’s bedroom area came complete with a double bed and attached bunk; while the “adult” section contained a work area (with free wi-fi!), a queen bed and a pull out . (One note: the resort was packed. I’m not sure if there were any available rooms. Even with over 30 wi-fi connections available it was difficult to receive service in the late evenings when everyone had returned to their rooms.)
The staff was friendly and attentive, calling all guests the morning after their arrival to check in and offering a coupon book for the restaurants and attractions located in the hotel. Because Pigeon Forge was so crowded- I forgot that I was going during one of the peak tourist seasons- I was glad to see the option of being able to take the free trolley to area attractions, saving us money on gas and allowing us to enjoy the scenery rather than face the frustration of driving in bumper to bumper traffic.
The hotel was decorated with rustic touches to create a true wilderness feel–small, fake stuffed bears, rustic wooden furniture– while allowing us to not feel as if we were “roughing it.” Another plus was the enforcement of “family friendly rules,” including quiet hours between the hours of 11 PM and 7 AM, ensuring that kids could receive a good night’s sleep and be ready to go the next day. For anyone who is a fitness buff, the fitness room is available for workouts.
The only problem we had during our stay was being located in the room next to the fitness center. Several workout enthusiasts ignored the hours posted on the door and worked out between 12 and 5 AM. I would have had no problem with this, except they turned the television up so loudly our walls shook. I didn’t call the front desk, which was my fault, but I would request a different room next time I visited. Wilderness in the Smokies is located in Sevierville, a short drive from most attractions and secluded enough to avoid major traffic. They have regular special deals to make this an affordable weekend getaway or vacation.