Making Memories in Gatlinburg, TN

I received a discount on rental fee for this feature, however, all opinions are my own!


Growing up, my mother, Aunt, and cousins took spontaneous trips on occasion to various places.  Gatlinburg, TN was always one of our favorites.  We would arrive, try to find a cheap hotel, and see the sights.  My cousins and I would get to wander around the strip when we were a bit older.  We’d do all the crazy bungee rides, Old Time Photos, buy some fudge, and have a good time.  

Now that I am a mom of a soon to be Kindergartener, I want to make some of these wonderful memories for my son.  We do not have much close family, so unfortunately we don’t have any cousins to travel with.  However, for Mother’s Day, I decided to take my mother and my son on a much-needed short vacation to Gatlinburg.

Where We Stayed

Since I took my husband to Gatlinburg for the first time many years ago, we have always stayed in a cabin.  I feel like the cabin is part of the experience.  Most of them have hot tubs on the deck, game rooms, full kitchens, etc.  It really makes your stay a lot more comfortable, and you have a place you can cook a meal, rather than eating out every time.

We once stayed in a cabin from a different place that was so secluded and way up a mountain that I could not sleep at all the first night.  There were no other people around, and I was terrified that someone might try to “get us”, or a bear would show up on the porch.  Since then, we started staying in a cabin resort type setting.  Our favorite place to use is Gatlinburg Falls Resorts.   Their cabins are so beautiful and well maintained!  There are a few different resort locations, but we stayed in the Parkside Resort this past week.  It is the IDEAL location!  It is right off the road as you enter Gatlinburg.

Making Memories in Gatlinburg Falls Resort

Making Memories in Gatlinburg Falls Resort

Gatlinburg Falls Resort has 1-9 bedroom cabins and tons of amenities!  The resort we were at also had a pool and fitness center.  Having a wedding?  They have a free to use wedding and conference center!

The views at all of their resorts are amazing.  Even though you are in a resort with other cabins, the decks have plenty of privacy.


The rooms were very clean, and decorated very cute.  The previous stay in Gatlinburg Falls last November, our cabin was decorated for Christmas.  It was a beautiful surprise!

Making Memories in Gatlinburg Falls Resort Making Memories in Gatlinburg Falls ResortI can’t recommend Gatlinburg Falls Resorts enough for their cabins.  There are so many companies out there you can stay with, but we have stuck with them and continue to be pleased!

As of the date of this post, they are running a 50% off all cabins special!!

Here are some quick tips on where to eat and visit in Gatlinburg!

Breakfast/Lunch – Skip the pancake houses and try The Mountain Lodge! Great food, Amazing prices!  They are a friendly bunch here, and the kids can draw ON THE TABLES! (They use dry erase markers on shiny tablecloths)  They’re open for Breakfast and Lunch only.

Making Memories in Gatlinburg Falls Resort

Shopping – Gatlinburg has changed a lot since I was a kid.  There are now tons of shops where you can buy the same T-shirts, moccasins, and bear figurines.  Skip those, unless you really want a Smoky Mountains T-shirt, and check out the 8 mile long Arts and Crafts Community loop.  You can even take a Trolley through this area.  The Arts and Crafts Community is a huge stretch of beautiful back roads where you can find antiques, pottery, soaps, artwork, and even cuter little bear figurines. 

We stopped at Craft Tour Antiques (608 Glades Road), and met Victor and Marilyn Miller from the Flint Hill Country Duo.  They are the sweetest folks who play a mean piano and banjo!  They perform right on the porch and sell their CDs and instructional videos.  While we were taking a break and listening, they started showing everyone a few first step lessons on how to play the banjo.  My kiddo sat patiently, listening and absorbing it all.  He asked if he could try, and Marilyn gave him a quick lesson.  She is amazing!  

Making Memories in Gatlinburg Falls Resort

Free Fun – Sure, you can visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not, or the Dixie Stampede, or any of the hundreds of other attractions on the strip, but take a day to check out Cherokee, NC for some free fun at Oconaluftee Islands Park.  You’ll take a beautiful drive through the Smoky Mountains National Park, and when you emerge, you’ll end up in Cherokee, NC.  There is much to see and do in Cherokee, but we wanted to have some free fun!  We grabbed some lunch and ate it in the covered pavilion in the park.  Then took our shoes off to wade in the crystal clear creek!

Oconaluftee Islands Park Oconaluftee Islands Park


There is so much to do and see in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas.  Have you ever been?  What are your favorite places to see?  Your favorite shops?


What to Do, Where to Stay in Gatlinburg



About the author


Michelle is the mom of a very active 9 year old boy. She recently left the workforce to be a SAHM and is learning to cut back to make it work. In addition to this busy life, she loves to do computer geekery with websites, graphics, and video games, as well as reading and cooking!
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