It’s only June, but the thermometer is over 90 degrees, and we are just starting the season. I’m going to gloss over some of the more obvious cooling methods like wetting down in a swimming pool or water park, theme park water rides, boating on Douglas Lake (with lots of locals), or hanging out in the air-conditioned comfort of your Pigeon Forge rental cabin. If your Chilly Pad towel or cooling scarf is letting you down, consider these ideas to beat the heat while playing in the Smokies’ humid summertime.
1. Get into the river. Mountain springs make our river water icy cold and refreshing year round. Go tubing (that’s floating via inner tube for the uninitiated) on the Little River in Townsend. Try Smoky Mountain River Rat in Wears Valley to get you floating downstream in style. For a little more adventure, try whitewater rafting. Smoky Mountain Outdoors is one company that can provide this service, on both the upper and lower Little Pigeon River. Plan this as a daytrip, since the outpost is about 30 miles out of Gatlinburg near Hartford, TN, for the closest whitewater trips in our area.
2&3. Find a cool and shady forest spot. The easiest place with lots of options for not much effort is definitely Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. I have written in detail about this gem location in the past (check out July 18, 2013). Drive a winding 6-mile loop past rushing streams of water, and historic buildings to explore. Also along this drive are the trailheads for both Rainbow and Grotto Falls. Which leads me to number 3. Hike to a waterfall, and get in. Grotto Falls is particularly nice for this, as you can step behind the falls and also get into the eddy pool at the bottom (both with caution, I might add).
4. Hide in a local theater. There are plenty of choices, from the Forge Cinema for current movies, to a variety of music theaters with various styles of tunes. Also try vaudeville, murder mystery and magic. You can also choose a dinner theater, and eat a meal in comfort while being entertained. Try Lumberjack Feud, Dixie Stampede, or Hatfield & McCoy.
5. Put yourself on ice. Go ice skating at Ober Gatlinburg’s Olympic size ice rink at the summit of Ski Mountain. Guaranteed that it won’t be as crowded as midwinter, and skating in shorts is perfectly cool.
6. Go down under. Many people overlook the unique experience of the Forbidden Caverns tour, which can give you a completely different perspective on the Smokies. It’s 58 degrees there all year long, so take a jacket.
7. Take your cool within. Frozen treats are never too difficult to find in our area. There are multiple chain locations for ice cream like Baskin-Robbins, Marble Slab, and Ben & Jerry’s. Other good locations are Mayfield Dairy Bar, Russell Stover, and local spots like Kilwin’s, Apple Valley Creamery, and Island Yogurt, and the newly opened Tara Jean’s Ice Cream and Bakery. Our family favorite is Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt in Pigeon Forge: interesting flavors that rotate by season and lots of everything to add on top, along with really tasty sugar-free options.
Whatever the weather outside, we will always do our best here at Volunteer Cabin Rentals to greet you with a warm smile, and assist as much as we can in making your vacation stay with us all you want it to be. Please call us and make your reservation today!