I just wanted to take time and share how we planned our low-budget trip to Gatlinburg Tennessee We took the trip over the Easter weekend for a family of five while sticking to our budget of less than 500.00. We first decided when we wanted to go, and where we would stay in the Gatlinburg area for little or no cost out-of-pocket, I will explain this tip later.
**These are affiliate links which will earn me a small commission if you purchase with this link. I thank you for your support. Read my disclosure, you can check it out here.
My husband did not want to put the extra miles on our vehicles so we used AAA discount and military discounts to get a rental car through Avis rental. The total for the car was $99.00 plus tax which included four days and unlimited mileage. The kids enjoyed the fresh car smell and keep hinting at the fact we should get a new vehicle…got to love the kids desires to spend whats not theirs.
I mentioned earlier how we managed to stay for free 4 days and 3 nights in the pigeon forge area right outside Gatlinburg. My husband aka Mr tight, called a time share through Wyndham Resorts in the area and told them we were interested in a property. Well, this resulted in the time share property giving a four-day and 3-night complimentary stay on the grounds for which my husband and I agreed to sit through a 90 minutes presentation for buying a timeshare. Now once the 90 minutes was over Mr. tight politely told the sales representative no not at this time. And we were offered an extra 4 night 3 day stay at one of their other resorts of our choosing as long as we use it within one year. Ching Ching ching another Win Win!!!
Entertainment on a Low Budget
I did some research online for activities that were family friendly before arrival in the Gatlinburg and surrounding areas. This allowed us to manage the cost of activities and entertainment before arrival in the areas. I also developed a floating itinerary starting each day at 8 am for breakfast until 10 pm to make sure we managed our time wisely to absorb as much of the area as possible.
Our first activity was horse back riding along the Great Smoky Mountains. The scenery was breath-taking and for $90 for the five of us including a petting zoo. I must say worth every penny. After horse back riding we took the journey (10 mins) to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Again another breath-taking moment. Everything was green and full of new Spring blooms. As we made our way along the Little River Road to Cades Cove we stopped to snap photos of water falls and wild life. That evening we made our way back from Cades Cove and to greet us was a young black bear on the side of the road. We literally held up traffic to get out and see. This might not have been the most advisable thing to do and it was a little dangerous.
The second day we had our presentation for the Wyndham Resorts. They feed us free breakfast and had entertainment for our children. We left with another chance to visit for free and tickets to Hatfield and McCoy Show that evening for $25. Once we left the presentation we took a drive to Gatlinburg. We ended up at Ober Gatlinburg were we rode the tram to the top. There we rode a mountain rollercoaster that you controlled the speed. Ober Gatinburg has many activities for families no matter the time of year you go. That evening we ended up at the Hatfields and McCoy Show. Who doesn’t like dinner and a show. This was all you can eat fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, corn, and bread. With your choice of dessert.
The third day we spent again in Gatlinburg shopping and walking around the main drag. Here there are restaurants, gift shops, arcades, and museums. The walking didn’t end there as we ended up at The Island in Pigeon Forge. This is where my kids conquered their fear of heights and zip lines and bungee jumping off a 30 foot ramp.
Easter Sunday was our last day in Tennessee and it was so painful to leave such a beautiful place. As we packed our belongings and said farewell to the mountains we finished with a nice Sunday breakfast at FlapJacks. This place is famous for that’s right!!! Flapjacks. They were amazing. The service was excellent and the flapjacks bigger then the plate itself.
We finally returned home back to New Orleans, LA and dropped off the rental vehicle. After the kids showered and fell asleep me and the husband reviewed our activities and photos from the trip and calculated the overall cost for the 4 day trip. We stayed in Gatlinburg free, got a discount on a show and dinner one night, and got military discounts on all events in the Gatlinburg area. We had an awesome Easter weekend for only 350.00 out of a $500 budget, which included rental car, meals, souvenirs, lodging and memories.
Need help organizing next trip? Check out How to Get Organized.