Dunlap, Tennessee – Enjoy a dude ranch stay at the Tennessee Guest Ranch

  The Tennessee Dude and Guest Ranch in Dunlap, Tenn., offers a quiet escape to a Tennessee ranch. If you're looking for a place for your family to get comfortable with horses and enjoy some family downtime and Christian reflection in the great outdoors, this is your spot. A long dirt road leads to the Tennessee Dude and Guest Ranch and transports visitors to farm life, offering expansive views of the Sequatchie Valley, a narrow valley near Chattanooga that is lined by Walden’s Ridge on one side and the Cumberland Plateau [...]

April 10th, 2017|Categories: Adventure, Family Camp, Tennessee, Unique Stays|Tags: , |

Rugby, Tennessee – A quaint mix of history and outdoor fun

Rugby is a unique destination for families looking for a quaint mix of history and outdoor fun. (Photo: Brian Stansberry)The historic village of Rugby in Northeast Tennessee was established in 1880 as a social experiment by British author and social reformer Thomas Hughes, who hoped to provide a better life in America for the younger sons of wealthy English families. Today, Rugby is a unique destination for families looking for a quaint mix of history and outdoor fun, providing easy access to the woods and waters of Big South Fork National [...]

February 22nd, 2016|Categories: Parks, Tennessee, Unique Stays|Tags: |

Tennessee – It’s a short hike to this rustic backcountry lodge

Photo: Charit Creek Lodge, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area Set deep within the woods of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area on the Tennessee-Kentucky border, Charit Creek Lodge is the perfect weekend getaway for families looking to rough it—with some amenities. Charit Creek is one of only a handful of backcountry lodges in the country that cannot be reached by car. To get there, guests park their car and hike, bike or ride horseback along either of two well-maintained trails (1.2 miles or 1.7 [...]

November 18th, 2015|Categories: Mountains, Tennessee, Trails, Unique Stays|Tags: , |

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee – Tag Monarch butterflies in Cades Cove

Tremont offers free monarch tagging programs each fall. (Photo: Tiffany Beachy, GSMIT) Fall color in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee is dazzling, with crisp hues of red, brown, yellow and orange painting the landscape. Each September and October, the park features another autumn spectacle—the migration of the monarch butterfly. Each fall, these bright orange and black butterflies dance through the Smokies as they begin their journey south to overwinter in Mexico. Ongoing research and tagging programs are helping scientists track monarchs, identify migration routes and understand the dynamics of the population. [...]

October 6th, 2015|Categories: Conservation Education, Mountains, Parks, Tennessee, Wildlife Wonder|Tags: |

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – History and small-town fun in the Smoky Mountains

The Island Show Fountain in Pigeon Forge offers entertaining water shows every 30 minutes. (Photo: Jenni Veal) Pigeon Forge, Tenn., has it all: dazzling shows, knockdown museums; outrageous rides; endless shopping; close proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park; and, of course, the legend of Dolly Parton and her dominion, Dollywood. However, if you peek within the nooks and crannies of Pigeon Forge, there’s even more to be found there—something heartfelt, like nostalgia. On a recent tween weekend getaway with my two daughters and my best friend’s daughter, we experienced [...]

September 1st, 2015|Categories: Mountains, Tennessee|Tags: , , |

Gray, Tennessee – Explore an active fossil site and museum

The Gray Fossil Site in Gray, Tenn., preserves plant and animal fossils that date back 7 to 4.5 million years. In May of 2000, Tennessee Department of Transportation highway crews working on a road-widening project in Northeast Tennessee noticed an unusually dark clay-rich deposit and an abundance of fossil bones in dirt that was being moved. State officials, geologists and paleontologists rushed in to investigate and the site was found to harbor a fantastic number of extinct and ancient animal remains. The Gray Fossil Site, as it became known, is [...]

August 24th, 2015|Categories: Conservation Education, Tennessee|Tags: , , |

Reliance, Tennessee – Family-friendly whitewater fun on the Hiwassee River

Southeast Tennessee is a land dominated by rivers, and the Hiwassee River is a family favorite when it comes to whitewater fun. Located within the Cherokee National Forest, the river’s Class II and III rapids offer adventures in rafting, funyaks, tubing and beginning whitewater instruction. Outfitters on the Hiwassee River operate on a regular schedule from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Webb Brothers Float Service and Hiwassee Outfitters, both located along the river in Reliance, Tenn., provide shuttle service upriver to an access point just below the Appalachia [...]

August 18th, 2015|Categories: Rivers, Tennessee|