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Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

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Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

Our family, with kids aged 7 and 9 yrs will be flying in to Knoxville in July, on our way to Jellico, TN. We have 3 days before we need to be in Jellico and would like to look around the area. Where would you recommend that we stay? Should we make Knoxville our base? Or should we drive straight from the airport to Gatlinburg or Smokey Mountain? We know almost nothing of the area! We'd like to book our hotels soon, so we welcome recommendations! Thanks!

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Knoxville
Knoxville
Tennessee
Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Mason, Ohio
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1. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

You and the kids would love gatlinburg and the smokey mountains. There is tons to do.

Huntsville, Alabama
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2. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

Since you're flying into Knoxville and, you've never been to the area I'd recommend heading directly to the Great Smoky Mountains/Gatinburg area. There isn't a lot of age appropriate stuff for the kids in Knoxville, for three days.

From McGee Tyson Airport, I'd avoid Knoxville altogether (traffic and construction closure/detour on I-40 beginning in May) and head right out of the airport and go "the back way" through Maryville/Alcoa, Walland, Wear Valley using US-321. Scenic drive.

There will be lots to do in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge area for the kids (aquarium, shopping, go carts, mini golf, Dollywood etc.) but don't forget to spend some time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park--most visited park in the National Park Service. Tons of info in the Trip Advisor forums on this area.

Now, in July, it's gonna be crowded and hot but still should be a good time. Have fun.

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Knoxville
Knoxville
Tennessee
Maryville
Maryville
Tennessee
Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge
Sevier County, TN
Dollywood
Dollywood
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Pigeon Forge, TN
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3. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

Thanks for your responses!

gsp lab, thanks for suggesting the scenic route. How do we get to US-321? Do we take US-441 from the airport, and in which direction do we go? By "the back way," do you mean to go east, then south, then west?

How long a drive is it from Knoxville to Gatlinburg using the scenic route?

Should we stay right in Gatlinburg, or would it be cheaper outside of the city?

Also, how long a drive is it from Gatlinburg to Chattanooga? Do you recommend that we make a stop there and spend a night, then drive north to Jellico from there?

Anybody knows how long a drive it would be from Chattanooga to Jellico?

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Knoxville
Knoxville
Tennessee
Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Chattanooga
Chattanooga
Tennessee
Huntsville, Alabama
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4. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

Much of your planning should be based on what time and day your flight arrives. If you want to visit Chattanooga (which is a very nice town by the way) you probably want to do this on the front end of your trip and then go to Gatlinburg. Logistically, it makes more sense to drive to Jellico from theGatlinburg area than from Chattanooga. But, it would be better to visit Gatlinburg mid-week as opposed to a weekend if you could.

The drive time from the Knoxville airport to Chattanooga (via I-140 and I-75) is going to be a little less than two hours. Traffic should not be bad. There are some fun things to do in the Chattnooga area and, quite frankly, more to see than Knoxville in my opinion. (they have a really nice downtown area with a great aquarium, too)

By "the back way" I mean to avoid going into Knoxville using the main highways (US-129 and I-40) mainly because they are going to close I-40 through downtown Knoxville starting May 1 for a major construction project and this is probably going to cause a traffic nightmare. If you go to randmcnally.com and get driving directions from TYS (the airport) to Gatlinburg, it will give you the directions I'm referring to. I'd plan on about 1.5 hours to do this drive with traffic (again depending on time and day). I haven't done it in several years so maybe someone else can give an update about travel time and road conditions using this route. Basically, you'll head South out of the airport to Maryville and Aloca and then travel East towards the National Park area.

BTW--the Bel Air Grill used to be on the Alcoa Highway (US-129) very close to the airport. I assume it still is and used to love to eat there when I lived in Knoxville. Great burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches and a neat atmosphere.

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Chattanooga
Tennessee
Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
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Knoxville
Knoxville
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Maryville
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Tennessee
Huntsville, Alabama
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5. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

Forgot to address your question about where to stay. Personally, I'd stay in Gatlinburg as it is more interesting than the Pigeon Forge area. When I went to Banff six years ago, it reminded me of Gatlinburg, though both have probably grown in recent times. Gatlinburg is not a city, more like a village nestled in the mountains. It's very touristy but quaint. There will be a variety of lodging options there in all sorts of price ranges. I should qualify that the Canadian Rockies are so very different from the Great Smoky mountains and I almost hesitate to try to compare Banff to Gatlinburg. But I want to give you a reference point. Both are different but beautiful.

Pigeon Forge has grown up along a strip of highway, so it's not very quaint, in my opinion. Lots of go cart tracks, theaters, shopping and hotels. Dollywood (amusement park) would be great fun for the kids and you could spend a whole day there. Stay in Gatlinburg and drive into Pigeon Forge as needed. Staying in Gatlinburg also provides better access to the National Park and will allow you to go over to North Carolina to visit the Cherokee nationa if needed. Heck, you could even consider a rafting trip on the Nantahala River (in North Carolina) if you want.

Finally, I'll go out on a limb and say that I might recommend spending all your time in this area (there is just so much to do and your time seems limited) and not go to Chattanooga on this trip. Chattanooga offers a lot but it may water you down too much to do everything on this trip.

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Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge
Sevier County, TN
Banff
Banff
Banff National Park, Canada
Dollywood
Dollywood
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Pigeon Forge, TN
North Carolina
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Cherokee
Cherokee
North Carolina Mountains, NC
Chattanooga
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Mason, Ohio
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6. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

If you need recommendations on places to stay let me know when you are coming and your budget. I would be happy to help.

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7. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

We'll be there in July, arriving late on a Wednesday afternoon, and leaving for Jellico either late Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. How long of a drive is it from Gatlinburg to Jellico?

I've made a reservation at Greystone Lodge at the Aquarium, and I'm looking at the Old English Tudor Inn. Any comments on either one?

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Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Vancouver
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8. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

I forgot to mention that our budget for accomodation is around $100, and we enjoy full breakfasts with eggs/sausage, etc... :) I welcome recommendations! Be nice if there's a pool for the kids to play in.

Mason, Ohio
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9. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

Old English Tudor Inn looks like the rooms do not have any with 2 beds and no pool.

There are plenty of great pancake and sausage type places to eat. So I wouldn't pick a hotel with that included.

The greystone is ok with fair reviews. i have never stayed there but, it is budget friendly for July.

Jellico is about a 2 hour drive from Gatlinburg. It could be a little long with traffic.

Let me check something out for you.

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Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
10. Re: Where to stay & activities for family on way to Jellico

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