After traveling on the highways and byways through the Deep South on our epic 3,500-mile family summer road trip, I'm finally in my natural element in the beautiful mountain splendor of Tennessee.
I’ve always been a nature lover and, although I thoroughly enjoyed visiting all of the Southern cities that we’ve traveled to so far, my absolute favorite thing is being with my family enjoying the Great Outdoors.
After leaving Stone Mountain, Ga., we headed up through Chattanooga and along Highway 284 North to a wonderful state park nestled in the Cumberland Plateau called Fall Creek Falls (10821 Park Rd., Pikeville, TN 37367).
I actually found this park through Groupon, which gave me a deep discount and then added on another 20 percent off with an online promotion that I discovered. So, we were able to stay at the inn on the property with a lakeside view for a whopping $53 total. What a deal!
It’s a remote area that is surrounded with palatial trees and pure and total serenity. After checking in, we enjoyed a full buffet in the lodge and then took a stroll around the property which included cabins, a pool, playgrounds and a shuffleboard area among many other family-fun amenities.
Fall Creek Falls State Park also offers a variety of daytime activities including guided nature walks, outdoor education activities, crafts, fishing and pontoon boat rides, as well as a nice sized conference center.
Hubby and I enjoyed watching the sunset from our balcony while the girls laughed and played games in the room. No one even thought about turning on the TV. It was quite simply – perfection.
The next day after a hearty breakfast, we took a long hike through the woods and spotted wild turkey and deer as we winded around the lake and through the woods. Good thing we brought along a day pack with water and snacks, which really came in handy during breaks.
We finally ascended to the overlook to behold the majestic waterfalls and watched swimmers splashing in the natural pool below in the fog of the dewy mist. We then returned to our remote hike through the woods and across suspension bridges before getting to the Nature Center.
Once there, we found out that our two-mile hike was more like a five to seven-mile hike, which explained why we were so worn out and dehydrated. Luckily, we found a park ranger that gave us a ride back to the inn so we wouldn’t have to hoof it back another three hours to civilization.
For me, the strenuous hike was another great outdoor adventure – but for my family, not so much. That’s OK, I still love them just the same even though they may suffer from a mild case of “nature deficit disorder.”
In any case, you'll discover there are plenty of reasons for you and your family to also fall in love with Fall Creek Falls that are sure to keep you coming back for years to come.
Carla Meadows is a Oklahoma City native, wife and mother of two tweens and a loveable Golden Retriever who blogs about building intentional family moments through the wonders of travel at home and across the U.S. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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