Travel expert and TV host Colleen Kelly (far right) with her sister Catie Keogh, her niece and her daughter in Sevierville, Tennessee.

I recently had the pleasure of spending a few days in scenic Sevierville, Tennessee. Because I had never been to this part of the country before, I didn’t know what to expect (sometimes these are my favorite kinds of adventures!). I was shooting an episode for Season Four of my show, “Family Travel with Colleen Kelly,” so I had the opportunity to experience some of the best activities and scenery that Sevierville has to offer.

I traveled to Sevierville with my daughter, sister and niece, and we had a wonderful time exploring the area together. We found Sevierville to be the perfect destination for families looking for outdoor adventure, as well as for those who want to immerse themselves in history or indulge in a multitude of dining options. I fell in love with the beautiful town of Sevierville and can see why locals are so proud of its reputation as a first-rate family getaway. Take a look at some of my favorite spots. I recommend making them part of your Sevierville itinerary:

For the adventurous family: Foxfire Mountain

3757 Thomas Lane

Sevierville, TN 37876


If your family is craving an adrenaline rush, Foxfire Mountain is calling your name! With multiple zip line courses and tours, tree-climbing activities and off-road adventures, this adventure park is suited for those who are looking to test their bravery. I had a blast cruising throughout the Smoky Mountains on an ATV ride and experiencing Tennessee nature first hand.

Photo courtesy of Foxfire Mountain

Foxfire Mountain is home to the tallest zip lines in the Smoky Mountains. Not only are you able to experience the beauty of the Smokies up close, but you get to soar through them in the best seat in the house. The zip line tours start at $89.95 for multiple zipline experiences. Call ahead to see if they are running any off-season specials.

The park’s Aerial Adventure Activities allow visitors to climb throughout obstacle courses in the treetops, experience controlled free falls and scale rocks on the Gorilla Climbing Wall. With the purchase of any zip line excursion, you can add the Aerial Adventure pass for just $10 more. If you have little ones with you, the Little Adventurer Obstacle Course allows children seven and under to experience the fun on a simpler level.

Photo courtesy of Foxfire Mountain

The Bear Crawler ATV Adventure was one of my favorite activities in the park. This rugged off-road ATV ride takes you throughout the Smokies, splashing through water and dodging trees. My favorite part of the ATV ride was learning from our tour guide about the wildlife, trees and plants within the Smoky Mountains. ATV rides are $69 per person and $49 for ages three to six.

For the thrill-seeking family: Dollywood

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd.

Pigeon Forge, TN 37863


Sevierville is the hometown of the one-and-only Dolly Parton! Whether you’re visiting for a week or just passing through, be sure to ask a local about the country star’s influence on this town. We were lucky enough to experience Dolly’s world at the famous Dollywood Theme Park. This is the perfect way to learn about the local history while also having a blast with your family.

A surprise visit from a very good and funny acapella group at Dollywood while filming our show!

Dollywood spans across 150 acres in the Smoky Mountains and offers its visitors more than 40 amusement park rides, numerous shows and southern dining options. One-day passes for the park range from $52 to $65, and three-day passes range from $82 to $99. If you’re planning on visiting the park on a hot summer day, you might want to consider Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park. With 35 acres of riveting and relaxing water attractions, this is a great way for your family to cool off in the Tennessee heat.

One of my favorite things about Dollywood was learning about the many ways that Dolly Parton has contributed to her hometown and country music. It was special to share this with my family and experience the park together. Be sure to check out Dollywood’s special offers for deals and discounts that the park is offering.

For the foodie family: Courthouse Donuts

160 Court Avenue

Sevierville, TN 37862


Courthouse Donuts is the perfect place to get creative with your food. Whether you need to grab a bite for breakfast or lunch or are in need of a sweet snack, this donut shop will provide a deliciously unique experience

One of my favorite things about this shop is that you can create your dream donut. Choose your icing, toppings and sauce to build a donut that your tastebuds will thank you for! If building your own donut isn’t your thing, they have crowd favorites listed on the menu that you can choose from instead.

For the “live like a local” family: Frank Allen’s Market & Grill

930 Parkway

Sevierville, TN 37862


If you’re looking for the best burger in town, look no further! Frank Allen’s Market & Grill is home to Sevierville’s tastiest burger, and one that even Dolly Parton can’t pass up whenever she is in town. Located inside of a gas station right off the highway (yes, a real gas station!), the restaurant is home to some of the friendliest staff who will make you and your family feel right at home.

Two of my favorite items at Frank Allen’s were the slaw dog (apparently, Dolly’s favorite) and a classic cheeseburger. I suggest ordering a variety of things so that you and your family can try all that this Sevierville classic has to offer.

For the….family: Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store

230 Apple Valley Road

Sevierville, TN 37862


The Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store is a great spot to watch some of the tastiest treats come to life. It’s an operating cider mill, so families can see how apples get pressed into cider in the fall. The Candy Factory features classic favorites that are made right in front of your eyes. My favorite part of our visit was taste testing these treats after watching how they are made.

This is also the perfect place to stock up on souvenirs for your loved ones. There is something for everyone at the gift shop, which features everything from sauces to mixes to home decor to candles. If you have time for lunch, I suggest indulging in a classic Southern meal at the original Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. And for the adults, there’s also a wonderful winery that specializes in sweet fruity wines.

My trip with my daughter, sister and niece to Sevierville was truly one of the highlights of the year for our family!  Sevierville was not only gorgeous and super family friendly, but it was an amazing family vacation that was would appeal to not only children of all ages and their parents, but for grandparents too. The locals welcomed us with open arms, we learned all about Dolly Parton and enjoyed her theme park, we drank apple cider and even stayed in a gorgeous cabin the the Tennessee mountains.

We are already planning our trip back to Sevierville next year, but this time we are grabbing our dads and grandparents to join us, as after hearing about all the fun we had, they can’t wait to experience it too!

Colleen Kelly is a travel expert and host/executive producer of PBS’ national television series, “Family Travel with Colleen Kelly,”  which airs in 94 percent of the United States and internationally, as well. The Sevierville, TN. episode of “Family Travel with Colleen Kelly” will air in 2017. Follow Colleen and the show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@FamilyTravelCK).

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