Known as the South’s wedding destination capital, the Smoky Mountains awards newlyweds with countless lifetime memories and unforgettable experiences! When couples choose this area to host their ceremonies, they do so for the abundance of local family activities that everyone can enjoy. Adults and children of every age can find something remarkable while visiting the Smokies.
From thrill seekers to outdoorsmen, families flock to the area to have a good time! Experience not only the beauty of this unique landscape, but also the incredibly fun activities.
Stunning Mountain Views
If you call yourself an adventurer, consider checking out Anakeesta! This Smoky Mountain theme park is packed with exciting family activities! From dueling zip lines to a relaxing memorial forest walk, there’s always something new to explore at Anakeesta.
Located in the center of Gatlinburg, this mountain top park offers visitors relaxation and scenic views from every direction. Couples and guests can gather together for all-day park access! Take advantage of the unlimited Chondola or Ridge Rambler rides!
Additionally, be sure to check out their numerous Treetop Skywalks — view the mountains from over 50 feet in the air! With over 800 feet of connected bridges, the opportunities for sightseeing are limitless.
Anakeesta also boasts the highest outlook point in Gatlinburg! Visit AnaVista Tower for a 360⁰ view of the Smokies, where you can see as far out as Kentucky!
After stopping by the AnaVista, be sure to rest for a minute within the Vista Gardens. This sensory garden is home to thousands of plants, unique sculptures, and colorful flowers. Enjoy the chirping of birds while taking in the soothing mountain air. With iconic waterfalls and floral covered tunnels, VistaGardens offers a gorgeous oasis, perfect for those seeking to experience new family activities.
Ziplining Family Activities
Also nestled nearby, you’ll find one of the most popular kids attractions in East Tennessee: Tree Venture! This challenging interactive course allows children to climb and explore to their heart’s content!
Known as one of their most thrilling obstacles, their famous Dueling Zipline Adventure course gives guests the chance to race each other side-by-side. Whip through the forest and fly through the courses for an amazing ride you won’t soon forget. Still looking for more? While cruising through the courses, put the Rail Runner on your must-try list! Experience the only single-rail coaster located in the US!
“Anakeesta” is a Cherokee term referring to “high ground”. Similarly, when translated literally into English, it can also mean “the place of the balsams”. The name was chosen to honor the heritage and history of the region!
This pristine 70-acre land offers a rich and fantastic story! Over a century ago, women of the Pi Beta Phi fraternity traveled to the area to help transform a remote mountain village. By doing so, they provided aid to those in desperate need of healthcare and education within the local community. In fact, because of their efforts, a school and healthcare facility were established. They also helped foster new opportunities for villagers to sell textiles across the United States. In 2014, Pi Beta Phi Fraternity sold more than 55 acres to Bob and Karen Bentz. The Bentz shared Pi Beta Phi’s vision of creating an incredible mountain top experience, perfect for endless family activities and adventures. Great care was given to maintain the area’s authenticity, while honoring the Smoky Mountains’ rich roots.
Family Activities for Years to Come
Anakeesta opened its doors in 2017! Since its start, the site has won numerous awards including Best of the Mountains and Attraction of the Year in 2018. The theme park continues to grow and provide some of the best experiences in The Smokies. Live music, special events, outdoor movies, and plenty of dining options truly make this an adventure for all. But, watch out for Anakeesta’s plans for the future! A new smokehouse restaurant, firepit installations, and a family water play area are coming soon!
Discover the magic in the mountains with family and friends!
For more Smoky Mountain attractions, visit us at the SMWA!