I don’t know about you, but this time of year when the cold winter air creeps in and freezes everything around me, including my own nose, I definitely find myself in need of an escape more than ever! Even though I’m generally a gal who prefers the warm weather, I also have a deep appreciation for the beauty of winter and all of the amazing activities it brings.
As American naturalist and nature essayist John Burroughs said, “He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.”
Perhaps Mr. Burroughs had Great Smoky Mountains National Park in mind when he said this, because they are gorgeous this time of year, with snow-capped peaks, icicles dangling from alpine-themed rooftops, and glistening waterfalls often frozen over when the temperatures drop low enough. I love visiting Pigeon Forge and the Smokies anytime of year, but winter is a special time to explore it as nature seems to lie dormant and still, but is actually in deep preparation for the glorious spring ahead!
Besides, I can still visit Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa! It’s open 365 days a year. They are always ready to welcome me as soon as I step through the doors into the cozy, warm lobby and take in the magnificent view of Mount LeConte in the distance.
My family is completely satisfied to simply go to enjoy the amenities that the resort offers when Dollywood’s parks aren’t open. In wintertime, we especially enjoy the indoor pool, fabulous dining, beautiful music by musicians on special evenings, and the scrumptious food.
In addition to those staples, the resort also offers fantastic opportunities for guests to add on an exciting excursion to your stay! Book now (before the end of February) for rates as low as $79 and you can add on to your hotel fun:
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has been voted USA Today’s Best U.S. Aquarium. My boys and I have enjoyed visiting this museum multiple times over the years. It’s a fabulous learning experience, and there is always something new and exciting to explore. Guests can book the Ripley’s Aquarium Package and receive a special $1 admission voucher (Limit one attraction ticket per room reservation) to any Gatlinburg-area Ripley’s attraction, including the Aquarium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, or any of the other Ripley’s attractions in the Gatlinburg area, such as the Moving Theater, Davy Crockett Mini-Golf, Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini-Golf, and the Marvelous Mirror Maze. My guys have tried almost all of these – a child’s dream of weird and wacky adventures! Book your room and Ripley’s package here.
Ober Gatlinburg is an alpine amusement park and ski area in the mountains overlooking Gatlinburg. This amusement park has a lot to offer in the winter and year-round, including an alpine slide, ski mountain coaster, aerial tramway, scenic chairlift, video arcade, black bear habitat (yes, that’s what I said!), indoor ice skating, miniature golf, water rides, an outdoor maze, a carousel, and an arcade-style shooting range.
When you stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, you have the opportunity to add-on one of the following amazing Ober Gatlinburg experiences during the booking process:
Ski Mountain Coaster – $15 (plus tax) per person
Add a ride on Ober Gatlinburg’s brand new thrilling mountain coaster where you’ll twist and turn down the mountain at speeds of up to 25 mph. My boys and husband LOVED this!
Aerial Tramway Tickets – $12 (plus tax) per person
For the best view of the magnificent Smoky Mountains, the Aerial Tramway is the best transportation to Ober Gatlinburg. Departing regularly from downtown Gatlinburg, this cable car will take you on a breathtaking 2.1 mile ride to Ober Gatlinburg.
*The Aerial Tram station is located at Parkway and LeConte Street in downtown Gatlinburg. (1001 Parkway)
Scenic Chairlift – $5 (plus tax) per person
The Scenic Chairlift offers one of the most awe-inspiring views of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Ice Skating – $8 (plus tax) per person
Skate year-round on Ober’s huge indoor ice rink. The 140’ x 75’ indoor ice rink is the centerpiece of Ober Gatlinburg’s enclosed mall.
If you’re craving a true Smoky Mountain version of an “Alpine Winter Experience,” then Ober Gatlinburg should be on your list! Book your room and Ober package here.
Rise. Dine. Shop!
Here’s a sure cure for any winter blues you might be having: DINING and SHOPPING! Who can resist?
Enjoy a delicious breakfast for two before heading to Tanger Mall for great shopping. Tanger Mall in Sevierville is THE destination in the Smokies for incredible outlet shopping: Coach, Under Armour, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Tommy Bahama, Alex and Ani, True Religion, Vera Bradley, Armani, The Disney Store, and many, many more! Whether you’re a fashionista or a bargain hunter you’ll find plenty to keep you busy and happy at this amazing shopping mecca!
If shopping’s your bag, book the resort’s Rise, Dine & Shop Package, which includes your room + TWO Adult Breakfasts at Song & Hearth + ONE Gift Bag + ONE $20 Gift Card. (Package based on double occupancy) Book your room and Rise, Dine & Shop package here.