Endless Summer ~ Smokey Mountains TN ~ Jacksonville FL Photographer

With the abundance of “back to school” reminders can mean only one thing… Summer is “officially” over! Boo.

While we know that Summer isn’t technically over here in the south until when we start seeing pumpkin patches poppin’ up, we are reminded that when the back to school days approach, the Summer fun has officially ended. This Summer my family and I went on a very awesome vacation. One that I wanted my kids to not only remember but to actually learn from. We gave our boys (11 & 16) two vacation destination options. The first was the obvious, a long weekend of a new attraction in Orlando where we would stay lounging at the resort a couple days and do a day of theme park… Or options two, an adventure through the Smokey Mountains! To my surprise the boys chose the mountain adventure.

We gave them a map and each kid got to pick one location on our route. The first day we would make the 6 hour drive to Atlanta, GA and re visit one of our favorite aquariums (this was the 11 yr olds pick)

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After spending a night in Atlanta we woke up the next day and drove through north east Georgia and found a really cool spot along the way…

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We continued our very long scenic drive through the Carolinas, making our way finally to Pigeon Forge, TN. We had such a beautiful ride up but it was pretty dark by the time we reached our resort. We stayed at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and it was just as awesome as the views on the way up… Here are a few photos of the resort I snapped with my cell phone when we go there.

 

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The next day we woke up and continued our adventure through the Great Smokey Mountains. Our 16 year old wanted to go to the very top of two states

and so we did just that…

 

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We actually went all the way up to Clingmans Dome but unfortunately it was pouring rain and we were unable to even get out of the car. And let me just tell you how scary it is to drive down a mountain in the rain when you are on the top of a very high mountain.. Like over 6,000 feet elevation. After we made it down safely about a thousand feet we decided to really get our explore on and learn about this beautiful place. I took lots of pictures of course. Most with my GoPro and some with my cell phone. Let’s face it, I was on vacation and I played tourist. I did bring my big camera but I actually never got it out. But I did get some pretty amazing captures and even better memories.

Not only did we have the BEST Summer vacation ever but we actually had our very first learning vacation that the boys really enjoyed way more than standing in long lines at an amusement park (totally not knocking amusement parks though). I was pretty surprised at first by their choice but I was so proud of them for seeking adventure. We do not know where the next learning vacation will take us but I know we can not wait until the next one.

Enjoy a few more pictures from our trip!

 

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Tallulah Gorge State Park

 

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Highlands, NC

 

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On top of the world in The Great Smokey Mountains

 

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driving back down we stopped at many streams and water falls…

 

It was a long 9 hour ride home but we didn’t forget to stop and get some fire works in the Carolinas before we went home :)

I truly believe in gifting experience over things and if you ever have the opportunity to travel through the Great Smokey Mountains I promise you not will be disappointed. Now I am not sure of the winter months and this is why we went in the spring/summer season since we do not do cold to well lol

These pictures do not do it justice. I was literally just in awe of the beauty. I guess if I had to sum it up in one word… Majestic!