Get to Know Gatlinburg’s Neighbors on Your Next Smoky Mountain Vacation

By Wendi Tunny © 2011, All Rights Reserved

It’s easy to understand why Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN are such popular vacation destinations. There’s plenty to see and do for the whole family, the scenery is spectacular, and everyone is friendly and welcoming. But if you think the fun stops at the city limits, then you’re missing out on some memorable attractions in nearby Kodak and Sevierville.

Find Everything You Want and Need in Kodak’s Famous Flea Market

The tiny town of Kodak hides a big secret: the 200,000 square-foot Great Smokies Flea Market. Open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., this bargain hunter’s dream features more than 1,000 vendors selling everything you might hope to find, from hand-made candles and quilts to computer parts. And don’t worry, after a long day browsing, you’ll find plenty of food vendors to satisfy your family’s hunger.

If a history lesson is more to your liking, head east on Kodak Road to the Ramsey House Plantation. Located just 15 minutes from Kodak, this 1797 plantation home is now a museum displaying period furnishings, toys, and clothing. You’ll love the many gorgeous architectural details and fine craftsmanship that is seldom seen today. In addition, a guided tour provides a look at life in the early 19th century, from the dolls Elizabeth Ramsey played with to the kitchen table where the family slaves took their meals. The grounds cover more than 100 acres and feature picnic areas and heirloom gardens as well as beautiful rental spaces perfect for destination weddings or other family events.

See the Great Smoky Mountains from a Different Perspective in Sevierville

Just outside Sevierville, you’ll enjoy a look at the countryside from a new point of view: the seat of an all terrain vehicle. Bluff Mountain Adventures offers guided tours through more than 6,000 acres of Tennessee wilderness. Grownups and kids as young as twelve will love the excitement of riding along these challenging mountain trails while taking in the stunning scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Some of the most amazing views in Tennessee can’t be seen from above ground, though. Make plans to visit the Forbidden Caverns for a look at what lies beneath these soaring peaks. Over millions of years, the slow erosion of limestone formed hundreds of miles of caves and left behind amazing rock formations you won’t find anywhere above ground. Towering stalagmites, crystalline cave “draperies” and subterranean grottos make this a true otherworldly experience for visitors of every age. Your entire family will get a unique taste of ancient history when you spend the afternoon underground.  

Next time your vacation plans take you to the Great Smoky Mountains, look past the usual attractions to the lesser-known cities of Kodak and Sevierville.  Whether you spend the day shopping, touring an underground fantasy world, or challenging yourself to a ride along a mountain ridge, one thing is certain: you’ll find plenty to do here. Best of all, you’ll enjoy some activities you might otherwise have missed.

Need a place to stay during your getaway? Wendi Tunny of Bear Run Falls offers affordable luxury cabins in Pigeon Forge, TN within walking distance to Dollywood.