ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Smokey Mountain Vacation Guide 2014

Updated on April 23, 2014

FREE Overlook at The Smokies

Free Overlook at the Smokies
Free Overlook at the Smokies | Source

Episode 1, Planning Buyers Club Style.

When preparing to vacation anywhere; The first consideration is generally your accommodations, i.e. your room. And that my friend, is the chief issue. It’s your train of thought. You are thinking about getting a room; not getting a vacation.

The following article is going to give you some travel considerations that will shed some light on saving money and vacationing; the truly smart way.

A room is something that you book, when you are traveling from A to point B and you can’t make the journey in one day. It is perfectly acceptable to go to a booking website that has a multitude of room rates and star comparisons. Your goal here is to stay inexpensive and not to take home bed bugs.

A vacation on the other hand is supposed to be an enjoyable stress relieving venture that is full of rest, relaxation, excitement and enjoyment all rolled into one. How then to achieve that on a budget, is the question.

I am about to propose a new concept in travel philosophy; it’s called shopping in bulk or Buyers Club Planning.

For example: What would you pay for a 4 star room that has its own water park inside? What if the water park is free of charge? Now couple that with shopping and a restaurant, an arcade, rock climbing, mini put-put golf and a huge kid’s play land. Now you don’t have a room, you have a vacation; and you haven’t even left the hotel; how cool is that!

That actually exists in The Smoky Mountains; it’s called Wilderness at The Smokies. It’s basically a resort. They say it’s the largest water park resort in the Smokies.

Now let’s talk about the cost for a minute. A room for 2 adults and 2 kids costs about $199.00 per night. Sounds pricey; but when you go there, you get that feeling like Dirty Dancing resort meets The Smokes in 2014; only with water slides instead of dancing, but hey, you get the idea.

Plus, if you break down the pricing, it’s not really that bad. You figure, that you are saving money on the gas that you would have spent to drive to a cabin out in the middle of nowhere, and you are gaining a Water Park that is free every night. The end result is you kind of break even, but with the added bonus of a luxury suite.

We used the water park to get the kids back to the hotel at a decent hour (around 6pm), and avoided traveling into parts unknown after dark. A safer friendlier vacation; except in that my 7 year old insisted that I ride all of the slides with him.


Indoor Water Park

Free Water Park for Kids
Free Water Park for Kids | Source

Buying in Bulk

Another way to save Buyer club style is on your T-Shirts. You can spend $18-$25 for a single T-shirt or you can also find 3 for $18 on the strip in Gatlinburg and save a bundle. OK, so the Iron-on may peel eventually on these; but hey, at the rate that your kids outgrow T-Shirts; you may as well save the money.

I recommend buying your t-shirts on the first day; the first thing. We can learn a lesson from Disney's here. Basically if you buy matching t-shirts in a bright color (orange, highlighter yellow); it will give you the added visual security to locate your children. It will also help your memory should you have to tell the police what they were wearing. And hey, you were going to buy a souvenir anyway.

Indoor Water Slide Fun

Family Water Slide
Family Water Slide | Source

Restaurant Savings

The restaurant at the hotel was also convenient; should you require it. I do recommend going to FlapJacks of Gatlinburg for breakfast. They have the best atmosphere; friendliest staff, and the food was good too. FlapJacks gets 2 thumbs up. The portions are large enough that teenagers can order off of the kid's menu; and should.

I have not visited any other location of FlapJacks except in Gatlinburg on the strip; as you come into town. That said; I liked it good enough to buy a mug and write their corporate office. I even told them that I'd be interested in buying a franchise someday. I guess, liked it there a lot.

We also had the opportunity to eat at Ober Gatlinburg for lunch. Ober Gatlinburg’s restaurant was Ober priced!; you see what I did there. The 4 of us cost 45.00 for the lunch menu. Thank God, I had saved my soft drink reward points; and had earned a $25.00 restaurant.com gift code.

Ober Gatlinburg does have some great views; however it costs $5 to park. Driving straight thru the Smokies to the overlooks are FREE. I did like the look and feel of the restaurant; however the best part was the front window. It only has about 5 tables that can be seated there; and you guessed it, they were all full.

They did have a stage and dance floor; that looked like it needed remodeled. Mr. Swayze could have shot a sequel there; if it were in 1965. I liked the attempted feel there; but it seemed to come up short. The whole family agreed and gave it 2 thumbs down.

When driving in the Smokies; there are 2 things to consider. 1. You need to have good brakes; including your parking break. 2. Gas is .50 cents per gallon cheaper in the Smokies. I paid $3.19 per gallon in Pigeon Forge TN vs $3.69 per Gallon in Madison Indiana.

You will also notice while driving that there are large cages next to the curb. Those are to protect the trash receptacles from the Smokey Mountain Park's 1500 native Black Bears. Many of which weigh over 600 lbs!

The concept of buying in bulk; can be applied to another important part of your vacation as well. I had earned enough soft drink points to not only get a $25 off card, but I also had earned an 8X8 Shutterfly photo-book. We did not have to spend anything on getting over-priced prints made. We carried a digital camera; we upload the prints to Facebook to share with family and friends; then we linked Facebook to Shutterfly and made our photo-book. It’s simple it’s easy and it was FREE.

Ripley's Aquarium

Shark Infested Waters
Shark Infested Waters | Source

Bulk Admission Tickets

Yet Another (Less Obvious) bulk buying tip for The Smokies is Ripley’s. We did the Ripley’s Aquarium plus 3. This is where you buy admission to the main event (The Aquarium) and get additional passes included in the purchase. The Aquarium itself is a several hour event. It was by far the best of the Ripley’s. By adding the additional optional venues; you actually save considerably and is quite strategic.

There will be a point when you are going from shop to shop. Stepping into one of the Ripley’s venues that is pre-paid for is a way to stop the spending; entertain your family, and you saved again because you bought in bulk! Say no to the $25 fudge; by saying yes to the Odditorium or the Guinness Records of Weird.

In summation, if you plan to spend a bit more money initially and intentionally, at the venues that reward you for it; the savings can really add up. It is very much like shopping at Sam’s club or Costco for the bulk deals.

You simply need to set your end goals as a chief priority. They are to enjoy a vacation; to save money; to stay safe; and above all to have fun!

Wild Vortex Ride

Wilderness at the Smokies Map

Ripley's Aquarium

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)