Traveling with A Tween: The Great Smoky Mountains

Its time for another trip for us! This week Charlie and I are staying around our area but checking out some things he’s never seen before. But a few weeks ago we got to visit the Great Smoky Mountains.

great smoky mountainsFirst of all I highly suggest looking into The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. They have several different rides available including right now they have one that has the Wizard of Oz. Yep a 2 hour train ride and during the ride they do a retelling of the famous story! We went on the Polar Express ride back in December and the kids loved it. But this time we ventured on the Nanthala Gorge Excursion. This is a long train ride through the country and mountains. You can get tickets in all price ranges and some that include lunch. We chose the coach tickets which were perfect for us. You travel halfway along the line and then stop for a 1 hour layover.

While on the train you will have all sorts of entertainment. There was a strolling minstrel that not only played his guitar and sang but he took requests. But I think our favorite was Tim the storyteller. He was down right hilarious to listen to. He actually had a great breadth of knowledge about the area and the railroad but he also had fun while educating the riders.

During the layover you can explore the Nanthala Outdoor Center. The NOC includes a couple of restaurants. We were encouraged to call ahead to order food in order to make it easier to eat. We called first thing in the morning, placed our order and it was ready when we arrived. We quickly grabbed a picnic table and were able to eat. Around the NOC are several activities including ziplining and kayaking/tubing. They were still building the rope course when we visited but I believe it is up and running at this point. The layover isn’t quite long enough to do it all but visiting the NOC while on the excursion gave us enough knowledge to know we would want to visit again and explore more activities. We did have enough time though to take our shoes off and wade in the water a little!

great smoky mountains

great smoky mountains

great smoky mountains

great smoky mountains

There really are more things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains than one might think. Charlie and I had such an amazing trip and we can’t wait to see more of the area surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains. There’s even a Cherokee Indian Reservation right there to visit as well!

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