Nestled in the scenic shadows of the Smoky Mountains, Bent Creek Golf Course's 18-hole layout stretches across 6,182 yards of fairways that rise and fall among rolling foothills and pristine valleys. Golf legend and course designer Gary Player made deft use of a babbling mountain stream by running it through the course and seamlessly uniting two distinct nines: a front nine that sprawls across the valley floor and a back nine that roams the hilly mountainside like a forlorn sasquatch. The overall effect is a course that does justice to both the sheer scope of the rising peaks with bottom-up views and the panoramic splendor of Great Smoky Mountains National Park when seen from the cresting hilltops of the back-nine. The inventive layout is perhaps best characterized by the 11th hole, a 362-yard par 4 where a 90-degree dogleg-left plays into a green completely surrounded by the creek's rippling waters. A blend of bent and bermuda grasses grows resiliently for golfers striving to play all year-round, and fragrant wildflowers blossom at every tee to warm the hearts of world-weary nine-irons.
Bent Creek bolsters the pin-hunting prowess of its golfers with a staff of PGA-certified instructors that conducts lessons and presides over the domain of their full-service pro shop. A practice putting green helps players trim their score by reading dicey slopes, and the Creek Side Grill hosts postround revelry and community gatherings to decry the historical hardships of the mashie niblick.
As Steve Garrett hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2008, he felt called to leave the corporate life he led near Grand Rapids, Michigan, and move to the mountains with his family. His wife, Johnna, supported his dream—so they and their children moved to Tennessee to run Smoky Mountain Llama Treks.
Their fluffy, pettable llamas don't spit, kick, or run off—rather, the gentle pack animals carry loads for hikers on treks through fields and woods. Though the llamas can't be ridden, their ability to carry food and gear makes it easier for hikers to enjoy mountain views and cartwheel down the trails. In addition to leading groups on hikes, the staff can also coordinate adventures including zipline tours through the forest canopy, rafting, and helicopter tours.
Adventure Park at Five Oaks helps guests take in the natural splendor of the Smoky Mountains with leisurely horseback-riding trails and a towering network of adrenaline-inducing ziplines, which together span the park's 70-acre expanse. Staff members select from more than 50 horses residing at the park’s stable, allowing them to make careful matches with customers based on their comfort and experience levels. Guests seeking solace can weave through wooded trails while bonding with noble beasts, whereas thrill seekers reach up to 50 miles per hour on a network of ziplines. The canopy-scanning lines are also open during evening hours, providing guests with ample opportunity to view starlit mountaintops and roast hotdogs in their homemade lunar ovens.
At Zip Gatlinburg Tree Trek Adventures, riders as young as 5 can go flying through the treetops. During the 1.5-hour guided tour, guests glide down nine long ziplines. And if for some reason they miss the view of the National Park or the squirrels performing a flash mob down below, the GoPro camera attached to their helmets might catch it. Alternately, visitors can take on the ropes course, traversing bridges as high as the trees, scampering up ladders, and sailing across trapezes. For a slightly tamer attraction, climb onto the trapeze net, which hangs 30 feet off the ground.
Swing, batter batter, swing! Improve your swing and hit some balls into the outfield at Tennessee Smokies Baseball in Kodak.
Sure you could eat at home, but you'll want to take advantage of this club's restaurant for high-class food.
Youngsters are more than welcome to join mom and dad at this club.
Parking is plentiful, so patrons can feel free to bring their vehicles.
If you're seeking a good golf course for beginners to become acquainted with the game, Gatlinburg Golf Course in Pigeon Forge is a great choice.
Sit down for a savory meal at their in-house restaurant.
This course welcomes kids, too, so you can feel good about bringing the whole family.
Parking is plentiful, so visitors can feel free to bring their vehicles.