Visiting the national park and enjoying its amazing trails, wildlife, and panoramas is one of the top things to do with kids in the Smokies, but may not immediately appeal to all children. That’s why the National Park System offers a Junior Ranger program that encourages kids to get out and enjoy our country’s most beautiful and diverse places. If getting out into nature is on your list of family activities in the Smokies, plan a few days in the park and make your base camp in one of our luxurious yet affordable cabins in Gatlinburg.
It’s Easy to Sign up Junior Rangers
Signing up for the Junior Ranger program is easy and can even be done prior to your visit. Simply stop by the Sugarlands Visitor Center, Elmont Campground, or Cades Cove Visitor Center and ask for the Junior Ranger booklet. The pamphlet is full of activities and information and costs only $2.50.
Or, plan ahead and visit the Great Smoky Mountains Association website, where the Junior Ranger booklet can be purchased in four different age categories from five to 12. They also have a variety of other supplies for budding park rangers, from hats and vests to games and books. The many activities inside the books should get your littles ones excited for their visit.
Things to Do with Kids in the Smokies Teach Them About Nature
Even if your children have already read their booklets, you will want to make a stop at one of the park’s visitor centers. You can find out about family activities in the Smokies planned during your visit. Plus, they can speak with a ranger, who are great with kids and can answer questions about the park and its plants and animals. For children who are shy, rangers seem to always know just what to say to offer a little confidence boost.
There are plenty of rewards for completing the Junior Ranger booklet beyond the enjoyment of learning more about the U.S.’ most beautiful regions. Completing several activities in each booklet, which are different for every park, will earn your child a badge from that national park. After three different parks, your little one can earn his or her very own patch!
Relax in a Cozy Cabin
Just because your vacation is oriented around things to do with kids in the Smokies doesn’t mean you can’t relax and forget the hustle and bustle of daily life. Our cabins in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are surprisingly affordable for a family budget, while offering a lot more space and privacy than a hotel room.
All of our cabins in the Smokies come with a full kitchen, which makes preparing for a day in the national park much easier and more affordable. Make a nutritious breakfast for the family and then pack healthy snacks and a picnic lunch. After you return, have dinner as a family, saving you money from going to a restaurant. Plus, once your meal is finished, the kids can work on Junior Ranger activities while the two of you sneak off to the hot tub or curl up in front of the fireplace.
Browse our selection of cabins today and plan a trip for your Junior Rangers!