We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Winter Vacation with a 3 year old

Which Gatlinburg hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Tampa Bay
12 posts
Save Topic
Winter Vacation with a 3 year old

My husband and I are planning a 7 day trip during the end of January/early February with our daughter who will then be 3 1/2. We are from FL so this will be the 1st mountain vacation for her and of course we are hoping for some snow. We picked out a cabin and are looking forward to relaxing there most of the time, but what else should we plan? I am a nature lover and would really like to do some hiking, but what can we expect for the weather and abilities of a 3 year old? Any advice at all on our trip would be appreciated. Thanks!

Canada, Kentucky
Level Contributor
778 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Winter Vacation with a 3 year old

Hello and welcome! I've never been at that time of year but KY and TN weather are similar. Here in KY it seems our coldest and harshest weather is usually in Jan and Feb but is always questionable! That's just KY weather for ya! I would expect similar conditions in TN and of course worse in higher elevations. I do know that it is not uncommon for roads to close going up the mountain due to conditions. Your little girl would enjoy the Aquarium in Gatlinburg for sure. Sugarlands Visitor Center would be nice for her too. They have a wonderful stuffed animal exhibit there and also tons of other info for the area. There is an easy hike behind Sugarlands to a waterfall which would be easy for her. Also, Laurel Falls is not a hard hike. It is on Little River Road just past Sugarlands Visitor Center. Hope that helps!

Athens, Georgia
Level Contributor
2,756 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Winter Vacation with a 3 year old

Those are all great ideas, i might add a drive trip to cades cove, you can stay in the car where it's warm (assuming the roads are open).

You could ride the tram up to Ober and watch them ski, not much for her to do but there is an ice skating area and they have skiing and snow tubing none of this i guess you see in Fl.

There are lots of shows all kid friendly but I recommend the Dixie Stampede and the comedy barn.

If it's not to cold there are alot of putt-putt courses and a little kiddie amusement park in Pigeon Forge (this is the hilight of my kids trip)

As far as weather expect it to be cold and probably snow in the higher elevations. The Christmas lights will still be on in Jan. and in Feb. they convert some of the stuff to Valentine's decorations.

Paris, Tn
Destination Expert
for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
Level Contributor
2,728 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Winter Vacation with a 3 year old

As far as the weather at that time of year, you should be prepared for cold, windy conditions at the higher elevations of the park. But also you can experience everything from cold, wet and windy weather, to weather that is quite pleasent to warm temperatures. There is quite a weather change from the valleys of Cades Cove to higher up Newfound Gap. Was that any help? (P S you very well may see some snow)

Tennessee
Level Contributor
884 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Winter Vacation with a 3 year old

Even if the weather is nice in Gatlinburg you can sometimes find snow at Newfound Gap and plenty of people up there playing in it! You should know too that the weather can change very quickly in the higher elevations and they do sometimes close park roads due to the weather. I have been there in January when daytime temps were around 50 and there was snow at Newfound Gap. We watched many cars and trucks slip and slide trying to get up the last hill to Newfound Gap and then within an hour the road was closed. I believe the trail to Laural Falls is paved and would be doable with a stroller, probably a baby jogger would be best due to the tires. The roads in and around Gatlinburg are usually kept pretty clear. We stayed way up Wiley Oakley one year and got sleet and snow and we were impressed with how well they cleared the roads. Make sure you visit the Lollipop Guild on the parkway, it is a wonderful childrens store with lots of personalized gifts, music, and dvd's! There is also a new children's show in Pigeon Forge next to the Smoky Mtn. Brewery that looks fun, you all might enjoy the Comedy Barn and the Aquarium.

Tampa Bay
12 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Winter Vacation with a 3 year old

Thank you all for the suggestions! I am keeping a list of the activities and it is just getting me more excited about the trip. I was starting to feel like maybe we didn't pick the right time to go or we are staying a bit too long, but I am feeling a little more confident in our decision now. We wanted to go when the weather is cold the fact that the Christmas lights are still up and and the lower prices in January made it more appealing than December. Thanks again and I'll keep watching if anyone has anything else to add :)

Paris, Tn
Destination Expert
for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
Level Contributor
2,728 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Winter Vacation with a 3 year old

To be perfectly honest with you, there IS NO bad time of year to visit the smokies. It all depends on what you're going there for. If you come to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge in February to go to Dollywood....that IS a bad time to go. Dollywood's closed then. But if you're interested in enjoying your cabin during a potential heavy snowfall, or enjoying some of the popular sights the park has to offer....then you've come at just the right time of year. The truth is, every season has something exciting to offer. Also, if I'm not wrong Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge will still be all lit up for Winterfest

7. Re: Winter Vacation with a 3 year old

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:17 am, March 15, 2010