Sometimes, we take vacations that are not in our travel trailer—this year, instead of taking our annual beach trip to Gulf State Park, we opted to take a trip to the Smoky Mountains and stay at the Wilderness at the Smokies Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Wilderness at the Smokies is a large, sprawling hotel and water park resort that has both indoor & outdoor waterparks, a large arcade and family entertainment area, restaurants, café, and comfortable rooms. It is located about 30 minutes off Interstate 40, in Sevierville, TN, right outside the tourist center of the Smoky Mountains: Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. It was about a 20 minute drive to everything.
The resort had an indoor water park that featured a surfing simulator, wave pool, 4 water slides, a regular pool and a spray park area. Our son, who is 5, was able to ride almost all slides and had a blast on them. He especially was a fan of the surfing simulator! The pools were all clean and well maintained and there were adequate lifeguard staff on standby for any emergencies.
There was also two outdoor water parks. The main water park was located at the larger resort of Wilderness at the Smokies and it featured a second spray park area that had features for younger kids, 6 waterslides, a lazy river, and wave pool. Our 5 year old son was tall enough to ride the racing slides and also play in the lazy river, wave pool, and other areas. I had a spectacularly relaxing time getting stuck in a raft in the lazy river. There were also plenty of lifeguards on hand to ensure safety, and many were very friendly and amenable if you had questions or concerns. The second water park was at the Stone Hill Lodge across the street and featured a pool, bucket spray feature area and several more waterslides. Personally, I preferred this pool area because it was smaller and easier to keep an eye on my son while I sunbathed. This pool area is more suited to younger kids.
If you are tired of being in the water parks, there is also a large arcade area that features miniature golf, bowling, a ropes course, arcade games, laser tag, and a rock climbing wall. Gaming cards can be purchased in the Adventure Forest arcade and it covers all of the arcade area attractions. There is also “happy hour” in the mornings where these games are half off!
There are also restaurants at Wilderness at the Smokies—we only tried the breakfast buffet. The breakfast buffet at the Thirsty Miner restaurant features Kids Eat Free (8 and under) but we feel like there was not a lot of value with regards to what was offered for breakfast for the cost incurred ( around $15 per adult). The breakfast was okay, but it was typical breakfast fare with nothing exceptional or innovative. We also did eat pizza at the café in the arcade and in the pool area, once again, it was adequate, but nothing to write home about. We never did get ice cream or anything else at the resort, but we were pleased with the proximity of the hotel to several supermarkets, pharmacies, and restaurants to cover any other incidental needs.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Wilderness at the Smokies and would likely consider coming back! We enjoyed all of the fun activities for the kids, the central location to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area and the value for our stay. We have already recommended it to other friends and family! Although, next time we head to the Great Smoky Mountains, we think we may do it in our RV!