Traveling with kids can be great, but it can also be tricky to find things to do that work for the whole family, especially if you’ve got kids under the age of 5. If you’re traveling to the Smoky Mountains with young kids we’ve got you covered.
Walks and Exploration: Noah “Bud” Ogle, Cades Cove & Mingus Mill
There are a ton of areas in the Smokies with shorter, well-graded trails that are perfect for the younger kids. Additionally, many of the parks have historic structures that are fun to wander around and explore. To start with, try the Noah “Bud” Ogle nature trail that takes you to a historic cabin, or check out Cades Cove.
Cades Cove is great because it’s all flat and you can start with a car tour on the 11-mile loop as you and your family look out the window at the wildlife and natural beauty. Once out of the car you can explore old houses, a mill, and churches.
At the Oconaluftee park, you can visit the Mingus Mill that is still operational in the summer. Little kids will love watching the process of corn being ground into cornmeal.
Go Chasing Waterfalls: Cataract, Juney Whank, Tom Branch & Meigs Falls
Who doesn’t love a waterfall? The great thing about the waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains is that many of them are accessible with only a short hike. Some of the better ones to check out are Cataract Falls in the Sugarlands area, Juney Whank Falls and Tom Branch Falls both in the southern part of the park, and Meigs Falls that you can drive right up to.
Don’t Skip your trip to Dollywood!
Dollywood has gone out of its way to make the park accessible (and fun!) for visitors of all ages. They know families are often traveling with very young kids and want to make sure they’re taken care of. There are numerous areas that are tot-approved like the Rockin’ Roadway, the County Fair, or the Little Engine Playhouse. When your little ones are starting to tire out, take them on the Dollywood Express for a relaxing and calming train ride around the park. If you’ve got babies, the park offers a Baby Care Center as well as family restrooms.