After saying good-bye to Auntie Flo and Jonesborough, we headed to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Gina and I visited there before the boys were born, and we loved it. Of course, we visited during the off-season and had no idea what we were in for. After spending a few days there during the apex of tourist season, I think I will call it Gat Vegas from now on. All of the businesses and attractions stay open until midnight, and there are hoards of people walking around all night.

Despite the crowds, we had a really good time. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of my favorite places, and we were eager to show it to the boys. While we were there, we went horseback riding, got to see Cades Cove, hike to Laurel Falls, and we even got to hunt for salamanders in the Chimneys Picnic Area. My favorite part was climbing on the rocks in the river.

In addition to our outdoor fun, we got to take in some of the local attractions. We saw the Guinness World Record Museum, rode to the top of the Space Needle (twice!), and we spent a day at The Track in Pigeon Forge riding go-karts, playing putt-putt golf, and squirting water at each other in the bumper boats. Even with the large crowds and hot temps, we had a lot of fun and made the most of our time in the Smokies.

You can see all of our photos in our online photo album.