Forks and Friendly Feuds in Sevierville


Family Fun Night: Dinner & Competition

By Jan Schroder

The highlight of every Sawyer family vacation is a wildly competitive game of mini golf. The winning team proudly takes possession of the plastic G.O.A.T. trophy that Mom found years ago while thrifting, along with bragging rights until the next matchup. Among the many laughter-filled retellings of various games, one story stands out: While folks gathered around the scorecard, the youngest son, then age three, picked up all the golf balls and dropped them inside everyone’s drinks to see if they’d float.

It's easy to build some friendly competition into your family getaway to Sevierville, Tennessee. Your children won’t know it, but while bonding and building memories as a family they’ll also be learning about teamwork, healthy competition, and being a good sport—all while taking focus away from their screens!

Sevierville offers a wide range of attractions that pair genuine fun with tasty dining options to appeal to fun-seekers of every age.

The Pines Downtown
Housed in a former theater built in 1944—and where Dolly Parton played her first paid gig in 1956— The Pines is the place to go duckpin bowling and play Jenga, pool, foosball, board games, bocce ball, and other games with a relaxed vibe. Take advantage of Happy Hour, every day until 7 p.m., to enjoy half-off bowling, $5 well drinks and draft beer, and half-off bottled wine. Play on the same team or split up to compete on Thursday Trivia nights. The dinner menu features burgers, wings, and pizza, as well as the crowd-pleasing Tater Tots loaded with cheese, bacon, chives and hot sauce.

Country Roads Axe House
A Zombie Challenge or Axe-Tac-Toe? Yes, please! Those are a few of the challenges at this axe-throwing venue with digital axe targets that automatically keep score. Yes, even the little ones can participate; youngsters can throw a ninja star instead of an axe. Quench your thirst at the 24 self-serve taps on the craft beer wall and engage in more teamwork to choose a coal-fired pizza from the large selection that includes the Pistachio Pesto, the Boggy Bomb and Pop’s BBQ Chicken. Snacks include pork rings, nachos, and fried pickle chips.

East Tennessee Billiards
Rack ‘em up at one of the six 7-foot diamond pro-am pool tables for $10 per hour at this family-friendly pool hall and eatery. In addition, you can enjoy live local and regional entertainment on select dates, challenge each other to a sing-off at Karaoke Night on Thursdays, or compete at Trivia Night on Sundays. Dig into nachos, hard-rolled meatballs, hoagies, flatbreads, wraps, quesadillas, salads and 15 different styles of burgers and chicken sandwiches.

SkyLand Ranch
Ride up to SkyLand Ranch on the Horizon Skyride and enjoy the scenery. Jump on the covered wagon for the Safari Hayride Adventure on the 100-acre farm where you can feed and pet animals (before the animals take a rest in the late afternoon). When you’re ready for an adrenaline rush and friendly competition head over to the Wild Stallion, the longest mountain roller coaster in the Southeast. Set the stopwatch on your phone and see who gets down the fastest. The younger set can zoom down the 1.25-mile ride with a grown-up. Huddle up over pizza and snacks at the Backyard at Skyland Ranch, barbecue at Buck'n BBQ, and/or sweet treats at Skyland Café & Bakery. In warmer months, you can also enjoy fare from the Chuckwagon and Tipsy Cowboy food trucks.

NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains
Options for family challenges abound at NASCAR SpeedPark. The biggest thrill may be the eight Go-Kart tracks. The over-16 crowd can zoom around the Smoky Mountain Speedway, a 3/8-scale version of a real NASCAR Cup Series track. For younger ones, there’s the Family 500 with single and double-seater karts. There’s even a Baby Bristol track for little first-time racers. You might also see who makes the most holes-in-one at mini golf, racks up the most points at the arcade games, and/or gets the most strikes with mini bowling. One ticket gives you unlimited rides to 22 attractions that include Bumper Boats, Speedway Coaster, Balloon Gondola Ride, Tilt-a-Wheel, and Stock Caro’sel where you ride on a motorcycle or race car. When you’re ready to refuel, head to the Pit Stop Grill for kid-friendly fare like cheeseburgers, pizzas, and chicken tenders.

Sevierville Golf Club
Golfers young and old can tee off at either of the two 18-hole championship courses or opt to play just 9 holes. There’s also a driving range where you can pick out a target and compete to see who can get their ball closest. Play in the late afternoon then head to an early dinner at Mulligan’s Restaurant for salads, hot wings, burgers, and sandwiches.

This mountaintop adventure park in nearby Gatlinburg is packed with to-dos. Ride the scenic Chondola or Ridge Rambler adventure vehicle to the summit. Climb the tower for 360-degree views from downtown Gatlinburg’s highest point. Race side-by-side on the Dueling Zipline Adventure. Ride two heart-pounding roller coasters. Meander through a multi-sensory garden. Navigate the Treetop Skywalk. Sit-down restaurants boast gorgeous mountain views: Cliff Top serves modern American cuisine and Smokehouse offers smoked meats and more mouthwatering dishes.

Sevierville is home to many additional options for friendly family competition that boast plenty of eateries nearby if not right on-site, including Ripley’s Old Macdonald’s Farm Mini Golf at Tanger Outlets ; the heart-pumping Sevier Air Trampoline & Ninja Warrior Park offers an array of gravity-defying challenges plus a laser tag arena; and the thrilling Wilderness at the Smokies , is home to both the Wild Water Dome, Tennessee’s largest indoor waterpark, and Adventure Forest, an indoor family entertainment center.

Travel Tip: Since attraction schedules often vary by day and season, please check hours of operation and other details before you go.

Jan Schroder is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and editor-in-chief of The Travel 100 . Follow her on Instagram @JanSchroder .

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