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“Great Family Vacation--Tips to Make it Even Better”

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Yogi in the Smokies
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 25, 2011

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina is a wonderful place for a family vacation. The "resort" is not luxurious by any stretch, but it blends nature and family fun in a beautiful setting. On the banks of the Ravenfork River, families can choose from 3 levels of "roughing it.". There are tents for those with a true camping spirit; RV sites for those requiring more creature comforts; and for the luxury traveler, small cabins which have kitchenettes, air conditioning and heat, and TV and cable. For the campers, the site has 2 bath houses and bathroom facilities. There is also a 24-hour laundry room for all guests. No matter how primitive you want to get, wi-fi is available throughout the resort. Prices range from about $30/night for a tent site to $140/night in peak season for a cabin.

We had traveled to the Smoky Mountains in the past and rented vacation cabins from private owners. What makes this type of accommodation different, is the community spirit that forms among the vacationing families and the on-site activities which guarantee that everyone has something to do. Jellystone provides plenty of activities such as arts and crafts, an arcade with over a dozen games, a playground, a large swimming pool, a basketball court, and family movies shown in their pavilion each evening. Twice a day, Yogi Bear takes the kids out on a hay ride. There are many children of all ages, so all of my kids were able to make friends.

In addition to staff-organized activities, the setting provides plenty of opportunities to commune with nature. Guests can go fishing and tubing on the river. From the property, you can take a 2.5 mile hike to Mingo Falls which are the tallest falls on the Appalachian Trail. It is an easy hike most of the way. Although there was some whining, even my 4 year old completed it. Each site comes with a fire ring for cooking and making the all-important s'mores every evening.

The staff at Jellystone is very friendly and it is clear that this is a well-run establishment. Reservations can be made easily online or on the phone. My family, consisting of my husband and myself and 3 kids, ages 4, 11 and 16, chose a cabin for our 5-day stay. If I had to name a down side to the resort it would be that even though we rented a cabin, we still had to bring our own linens and supplies. The cabin came with 2 rolls of toilet paper and a bottle of dishwashing soap. The cabin was clean and the staff was quite responsive in fixing a wobbly ceiling fan, but some linens, a bath mat and a couple of pot holders, would have been nice.

Below are some tips for making the most out of your stay at Jellystone:

The resort is located about 10 minutes from the center of Cherokee so you should plan on cooking most meals on-site. There are very few (about 3) restaurants in town that are not chains or fast-food.
If you are driving to the resort and have extra room in your car, you should pack a box or two of basic supplies: laundry soap, condiments, spices, sugar, coffee, maple syrup, mac n cheese, pancake mix, tin foil, cleaning wipes, shampoo, soap, etc. If you have additional room, consider bringing a cooler of cold cuts and frozen meat. There is one main grocery store in Cherokee, Food Lion. It seems to be the only one around for miles and it is probably the most expensive grocery store I have ever known. If you don't bring some of your own supplies, prepare to spend $200 plus to buy a few days' worth of basics for your stay.
The resort is located in a "dry county," i.e. you have to drive 25 miles or more to the next county for some booze. However, alcohol is permitted on the premises, so next to your box of supplies, throw in a couple of bottles of Chardonnay.
If you still have room, you may want to hitch some bicycles to your vehicle. The resort has bike rentals, but they are $10/hour. This was the only thing I thought was rather pricey.


We had a great stay at Jellystone, not because it was luxurious or had vast cultural offerings. The beauty of a place such as this one lies in its simplicity. It's about kids making instant friends and going off to play in a safe environment. It's about watching my 3 city kids get excited about fireflies. It's about sitting around campfires, breathing the mountain air, eating every meal as a family and seeing my children bond because they have to sleep in one room.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
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11  Thank Duke89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 6, 2011

We just returned from Jellystone and had a GREAT time! The campground was clean, the staff was so friendly and the cabin we stayed in was perfect! We can't wait to go back next year! They have lots of activities for kids (our son is 10 years old and had a blast). We went tubing down the river, which was a lot of fun, swam in the pool and just relaxed!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank alliekat1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2011

Campground was quiet since many of the activities do not start until after Memorial Day. We did tour the entire campground though. The bigger cabins are toward the back of the campground. The campsites right on the river are the best. The cabins are directly behind them. The staff however in the front office need some customer service skills. Because the weather was rainy and cold during the night (we were in a tent), my little one (3yr) got sick. We explained and said we were going home. She advised that because we signed for 2 nights were going to be charged. (since they could have rented the site to someone else). It was only after they realized that we had only signed for 1 day not 2 and my husband noting that the campground was virtually vacant...so how were stopping anyone from staying did they agree not to charge for the 2nd night. These folks are TIGHT about refunds and not charging. BEWARE. but the campground is great for summer for little ones (mine 5yr & 3yr). Clean.

Room Tip: Book early
  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank brants421
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2010

We stayed at the Yogi Campground labor day weekend and had a great experience. The staff were very friendly, the bathhouses were clean and nice and warm in the early hours of the morning, nice clean pool area. We didn't use the laundry room or game room, but heard they were nice as well. The kids activities were great and the staff helping was super nice.
The tent sites were somewhat small I thought, but according to other folks around us they were average. This was my first time camping in a tent in many, many years. Overall, we had no complaints. It was a great campground and will visit again.
For families with small kids this is a great place to go.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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Thank lakehartwellgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2010

We love staying at Yogi's but we will not e staying at this one again. Our tent site flooded and became a large muddy pond. We asked if we could change to a cabin because it was near impossible to stay where we were and the rain had caused our tent to get very wet.
The owner yelled at me for not registering in the morning. We had paid ahead and there wasn't anything asking us to register in the envelope posted to the board. She was very rude and said that she'd give us a cabin but she would not put the money we had already paid for the tent site toward it. We decided to go elsewhere. I wish I hadn't paid in advance because this place is awful.
It's sad. We loved Yogi in CO last year and had hoped for the same great service here...
oh and the other side of our site was a chain-link fence to someone's backyard.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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7  Thank nessieberry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2010

Get a campsite on the river, bring along inner tubes and let the fun begin. Nice facilities--check out the campsites beforehand if you can, some are rather small. Our huge tent would have difficulty on some of the smaller sites. Close to town. We saw chipmunks, a river otter, and wild turkeys in the area. The cabins seemed nice, but didn't get inside to see one for myself.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank cogman62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2010

we were told that every campsite available was no more than 50 feet from the water. when we arrived we were given a campsite covered with gravel and barely larger than our tent. the water was no where near the site. there was no possibility of building a camp fire due to the close proximity of the tent to the pit. we had a small yorkie terrier with us who was excited and did bark a few times, but quickly settled down after a short time. before i even had the tent set up, a man showed up on a golf cart and instructed us to either keep our dog quiet or they would call the police to evict us. i was surprised at his harshness and reminded him that it said in the contract that dogs were allowed. he said that people came there to get away from dogs, and we had better keep ours quiet or they would call the police. i said that that was ridiculous and that i would just get my money refunded, and we would leave. he said that i could go to the office, but they would not refund any of our money. this was very true. i went to the office, the woman was very hateful, looked at me with a scowl and said that there was no way she would refund me one penny. she said that if we did not keep our dog completely quiet, she would call the police and have us arrested or convicted. i said that this was a crazy policy,and that decent person would treat a customer like this. we did nothing wrong and were treated like criminals. i took down my tent and packed the car.upon exiting, my wife went into the office. the woman said that i had called her names and was rude. my wife said that i would not have done that,being a christian and it wasn't like me to do such a thing. my wife then asked the woman what i had called her.she was unable to reply. my wife said that this whole thing was just crazy. the woman then said "there! you see! crazy!". my wife teared up became very upset and told her that we only came for the benefit of our nine year old who was traumatized by the whole ordeal. i have never been treated like this and will not recommend and tell everyone i know about this place and the horrible experience they provided for us.

Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
15  Thank skidd_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Yogi in the Smokies

Address: 317 Galamore Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719-5515 (Formerly Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Cherokee)
Location: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Mountains > Cherokee
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Cherokee
Number of rooms: 183
Also Known As:
Yogi Bear`s Jellystone Park Cherokee Hotel Cherokee

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