Autumn is the perfect time for a family vacay in the Great Smoky Mountains, taking in the amazing colors of the season. However, if you feel that "roughing" it with the kids is too much of a challenge, then go the luxurious route with a glamping (glamorous camping) excursion with Under Canvas. Nestled in the mountain forest between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Under Canvas is an easy three-and-a-half hour drive east of Nashville.
Comfort in Nature
Under Canvas has a variety of large, comfy tent options. The hardwood floors, couch, bathroom and other furniture definitely make camping luxurious on all counts. Under Canvas has gone to great lengths to make you feel like you’re at home away from home, and that makes camping with kids a lot easier.
Your safari-inspired canvas tent is nestled right up to the edge of the woods for a secluded feel. However, the spacious tents allow for more room that you can imagine. If you have a bigger family, opt for the suite (there are a variety of tent sizes available). It features a king-size bed, pull out couch, private bathroom and more. You can even request a cot with a super comfy, lined sleeping bag. There are linens for everyone, just like you’d find in a hotel. There's even a staff who cleans and tidies up like you're at a hotel.
With colder temperatures rolling in, you don’t need to worry about feeling the chill of the night. There’s a wood-burning stove inside each tent to keep the entire space warm and toasty. The private deck has seating allowing you to get fresh air when you need it. Want more? Simply open up the tent's zipper windows to let the breeze flow through. Be sure to lay the canvas top back over the bed to keep the dampness away, too.
While there is no electricity in the tents, there is a light that’s solar powered and lanterns that charge via USB cables connected to the charger under the bed. You can unplug them and charge your own devices, too. However, know that there is not good reception down in the valley where Under Canvas resides.
There are other tents around you, too, so you’re not alone. Your family can enjoy camaraderie with other families around the fire pit making s'mores and enjoying other campsite activities. All activities come to an end at 10 p.m., which is the site's mandatory quiet time. Get some shuteye, wake up spry and set out for another day's adventure the following morning.
Fun All Around
If you wake early, a brisk morning walk on the trail is a good way to start the day. End it back at the community tent for breakfast and a few board games with the family. This communal area has plenty of tables and chairs where you can dine as well as a lounge area where you can play the house board games. You can also check them out and take them back to your tent.
Outside, there’s a patio area with more seating as well as paved area where kids can find soccer balls and other outdoor games to play with like giant Jinga, corn hole and others. On most weekends, you can enjoy free outdoor live music from local artists. The kids will love to dance around the fire to the tunes while enjoying free s’mores!
Hungry for more? While there is a delicious menu prepared from an onsite chef, you may opt to grill out on your own. There are a few grills available on the property away from the tents to help keep wildlife away. By the way, food of all kinds is prohibited inside the tents. So, when your child is hungry for a snack, you'll either need to go to the communal tent or take it to your car.
Downtown Gatlinburg is just minutes away. The area boasts tons of family fun, too. Some newer things to explore are Anakeesta and the Gatlinburg Skylift Park.
Take a ski lift up to Anakeesta and prepare for an amazing time. Once at the top, you can purchase additional tickets to zip line, or you can shop or eat while enjoying the spectacular view. But, what the kids truly enjoy is North America’s longest treetop skywalk. It's an adventure in the trees as you go from one bridge to another — they are 40 – 60 feet above the forest floor — in a one-way circle around the park's canopy. It’s more than 800 feet of connected sky bridges.
Be sure to allow your kids’ imaginations run wild in the Treehouse Village Adventure. It’s comprised of three tree houses connected to each other by their own small bridges. It’s a great way to get kids used to the idea of walking on them before taking the Treetop Skywalk.
Speaking of skywalks, another great adventure for families not afraid of heights to explore is Gatlinburg Skylift Park. The main attraction is the Gatlinburg SkyBridge. It’s the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America at 800 feet in length. The breathtaking feature everyone is talking about is the glass floor panels in the middle section of the bridge. It makes you feel like you’re walking on air!
With the all-around fun on this memory-making vacation, you’re family is sure to feel more connected to nature and each other — something all of us can use!
Booking Under Canvas
Under Canvas is open this fall through Monday, Dec. 2. It's 2020 dates run April 2 – Nov. 30. There are several tent sizes available to suit all family sizes; some include private bathrooms/showers in the tents while others share a communal bathhouse. Prices start at $149 per night.
To learn more or to make a reservation, click HERE.