I recently lived out my “Troop Beverly Hills” fantasy at the base of the Smoky Mountains and had THE BEST time with Paul and the kids. Lat month, we planned a very last-minute family getaway to the Under Canvas “glamping” resort in East Tennessee. Y’all – Phyllis Nefler would thrive here. Under Canvas offers a glamping experience in safari-style tents in 10 National Parks around the country. This isn’t sponsored at all; I’m just thrilled to share my insights since everyone loves a travel guide, and I think this is a cool, unique way to experience some of the nation’s most beautiful areas. Read on for all of my trip notes!
Under Canvas: Great Smoky Mountain Location
- There’s no WiFi on the property which was heavenly. It was such a great way to truly unplug and focus on family time. Under Canvas provides USB battery packs to charge phones, etc. But the “campground” is basically a 5-min. drive to the main drag in Pigeon Forge, so you’re certainly not cut off from civilization.
- I recommend getting a tent with a private bathroom. The “tents” are all “safari-style” and have a real floor + beds – it’s glamping at its finest. And they offer a ton of options: different tent sizes, different amenities…there’s even a darling little kids’ tent that sleeps 2! Housekeeping is available upon request.
- The food was great at our camp, but I’ve heard this can vary a bit depending on location so be sure to read reviews first. The menu in the Smokies has something for everyone, and of course I also loved their bar/beverage service.
- The on-site programming is fantastic. Every afternoon they offered crafts for the kids, which I enjoyed as well! There are also fun activities at night, such as live music, bingo, and trivia.
- Under Canvas can also help you book activities and adventures in the area, everything from kayaking and guided hiking to fly fishing and more.
- Price/night varies by location. In the Smoky Mountain location, prices range from about $200-$430/night (depending on the time of year and style of tent). The staff and service were amazing.
- We booked this fairly last-minute, and obviously it’s hot in the summer. I recommend bringing a battery-powered fan for the daytime, but it was very pleasant in the morning and evening. We had no problem sleeping. Of course, the fall would be a gorgeous time to go! Be cognizant of the weather in each location, however; a friend recently did the Under Canvas in Yellowstone and was freezing the whole time. Pay close attention to the temp hi’s and low’s each day before you book!
- I noticed several moms there solo with their kids. If you’re traveling alone, I think this is a great way to give your kids a camping experience in a very safe environment.
- Keep in mind that each location is only open for certain months of the year (most go from April or Mary through the fall). This definitely isn’t a January activity!
Things to do in Pigeon Forge:
Again, Under Canvas’ Smoky Mountain location is about a 5-minute drive from the main drag in Pigeon Forge. We’ve been to this area a lot with the kids, and really just lean into the family-friendliness of it all. As you’ll find, trips here are about good old-fashioned fun. Here are some of our favorite attractions:
- Whitewater Rafting (they have options for all ages)
- Dollywood (duh!)
- Dollywood Water Park
- Indoor Trampoline Park
- Mountain Coaster