After seeing the Wilderness at the Smokies advertised for a couple of years, my family finally had the opportunity to visit this popular destination. Located in Sevierville, Tenn., this property is a bit off the beaten track, meaning it’s not in the heart of the “tourist” scene. That actually is in its favor, because it allows families to escape the hustle and bustle of the more populated areas, yet still enjoy many activities.
The resort actually contains two outdoor water parks and an indoor water park as well as Adventure Forest, which houses a ropes course, arcade, laser tag, rock-climbing wall, mini golf, bowling and more. However, let’s start with the accommodations. The resort contains a wealth of guest rooms and suites in two lodges, ranging from a simple economy room to multi-room suites that sleep up to 15.
My family stayed in the River Lodge’s studio suite, which is essentially a typical hotel room with two queen beds, a twin sleeper sofa, a bathroom and a very small kitchenette that included a microwave, refrigerator and cook top. While it was not anything extraordinary, it was quite comfortable, especially at the end of a long day of fun-filled action.
And that brings me to the big draw at Wilderness at the Smokies: the on-site water parks. The 66,000-square-foot indoor water park facilities are open year-round, while the outside facilities are open on a seasonal schedule. The outdoor water parks feature waterslides, wave pool, a lazy river and swimming pools, while the indoor water park contains a wave pool, waterslides, a splash pad area, surf rider and indoor hot tub.
My family spent our time at the indoor water park, where my kids bounced between the wave pool and the multi-level play feature on the splash pad. For me, though, the highlights of the indoor water park are the waterslides. Standing several stories high, you do have to climb quite a few stairs to reach the launch point, but I thought it was totally worth it.
Easily my favorite ride of the entire water park, the Storm Chaser Thrill Ride is a family ride, with up to four people per raft. It is especially fun at night, when the slide’s funnel is lit up with multicolored lights. You start off on a traditional waterslide but quickly plummet 55 feet into the funnel, where you spin your way through the ride into the pool at the bottom.
There are two indoor tube slides that accommodate single and double riders, as well as another family waterslide, the Runaway Canyon. This waterslide whisks riders through 450 feet of water curtains, tunnels, twists and turns, and a final drop of nearly 60 feet just before the finish. I did tackle one of the indoor tube slides, but it was a bit tame after experiencing the Storm Chaser Thrill Ride.
Wilderness at the Smokies also includes plenty of on-site dining options, including a “kids eat free” option, but my family didn’t have a chance to try these out. Other amenities include onsite shopping, a “paint your own pottery” studio, fitness center, and nearby activities including golf (the resort also has villas near the courses), a jet boat adventure and whitewater rafting. Plus, if you purchase area attraction tickets at the resort, you can receive special offers like discounts and free tickets.
Sadly, our visit to Wilderness at the Smokies ended much too soon, long before we had time to experience everything this resort has to offer. Even so, we loved the property and made the most of our visit here. If you want more information on Wilderness at the Smokies or are ready to book your own trip, check out the website. Be sure to check out the current specials for extra savings.
After you visit Wilderness at the Smokies, we’d love to hear what you and your family think about it, so please come back and comment.
Disclosure: Karon and her family stayed at the Wilderness at the Smokies for two nights as guests of the resort. All opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author.