Things to Do For Kids in Great Smoky Mountains National Park North Carolina

  • By: Olivia
  • Date: October 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

If you’re planning a trip to North Carolina with children, there are many things you can do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many of the hikes and programs are designed for children. You can also visit nearby Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. These cities are close to the park and offer many activities for children.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smoky Mountains, a great place for parents with children, is Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smoky Mountains. The aquarium is home to a variety of colorful fish from all over the world, including regal tang, foxface bunnyfish, and sohltang. You can also take behind-the scenes tours of the aquarium to learn about the animals and their care.

The aquarium’s Ocean Realm exhibit lets kids see deep-sea animals up close. These creatures use camouflage and burrowing to defend themselves against larger predators. You can also watch sharks and sea turtles swim right over you, as well as eels and other creatures. Participation in interactive exhibits and live shows is open to all visitors.

Sugarlands

There are many things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park North Carolina if you’re traveling with children. The Sugarlands Visitor Center offers nature and animal exhibits, as well as a bookstore and movie about the park. There are also easy hikes for kids. The National Parks website has lots of information about trails and parks across the country.

For hiking enthusiasts, Arch Rock is a popular trail located 8.7 miles south of Sugarlands Visitor Center. The trailhead is located on the east side of Newfound Gap Road, which is also a parking lot. The hike is approximately 4.4 miles roundtrip. It includes many interesting sights. During peak season, the trail can get crowded, so be sure to arrive early.

Clingman’s Dome

Clingman’s Dome is renowned for its spectacular views. This popular attraction is open all year, except December 1 through March 31. The road will be closed during these months due to the maintenance costs.

Clingman’s Dome, the highest point on the Appalachian Trail and in the Smokies, is also the highest. It is also the third-highest point in Eastern North America. The name Clingman’s Dome comes from a Civil War general and UNC professor. Another mountain near the park called Mount Mitchell is even higher and stands at 6,684 feet. During the summer, you can drive up Clingman’s Dome to get an incredible view of the surrounding mountains.

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is a great hiking destination for families in North Carolina. The trails in this national park are easy enough to follow for children, and the blazes (painted tree) will help you find your way. The blazes are white-painted and measure approximately two inches in width and six inches in height. The blazes mark the trail’s route and indicate where to turn. You can also find blue blazes, which mark side trails and pathways to shelters. The trail also has white blazes, which indicate side trails, directions changes, and obscure turns.

The Laurel Falls Trail is the most popular trail in the park, and is an easy hike. This trail offers expansive views of the surrounding hills. This trail is also great for picnicking, and is a popular spot for wildflower viewing in the spring. Another popular trail in the park is the Charles Bunion Trail, which is found on the Appalachian Trail. It’s an 8-mile roundtrip hike that offers incredible views of the Smokies.

Waterrock Knob

Waterrock Knob’s summit is a great place to see the sun rise or set. A trail leads to the summit, which is ideal for families. It can get cold at night due to its elevation. You might consider bringing your headlamp.

The Waterrock Knob trail begins as a paved ramp, then gradually turns to dirt. The first mile is flat and easy, but the trail soon narrows. There are several rest areas at strategic points along the trail. The top is just over a mile away, and the views are spectacular.

green leafed tree

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