Guidebook on National Park Focuses on Family Adventures

Feb 12, 2013

Families are the focus of the newest guidebook to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Family Fun in the Smokies. Written by Knoxville author Katy Koontz and published by the nonprofit Great Smoky Mountains Association, the book was recently named a finalist in the 2013 Association of Partners for Public Lands Media competition. Family Fun covers absolutely everything a family would ever need to know about America’s most visited national park, for both pre-trip planning as well as for reference during a visit to the park itself. The book starts off with a comprehensive chapter on vital planning information, including phone numbers and websites, seasonal highlights, advice on how to beat the crowds, weather, park rules and safety tips, what to bring with you, the park’s handicapped facilities, driving distances within the park, and where to find everything from bathrooms to gift shops to vending machines.

You'll also find a chapter giving a variety of suggested itineraries designed according to length of stay and preferred activities; a chapter on the park’s animals with advice on wildlife watching; and another chapter on the trees, plants, and wildflowers in the Smokies. The meat of the book describes all the park’s family-fun activities, including scenic drives, numerous day hikes and self-guiding nature trails, picnic spots, campgrounds, bike trails, horseback riding, visitor centers, and even fishing. The park's educational opportunities, including its popular junior ranger program, are detailed as well, while the final chapter deals with a few notable educational opportunities just outside the park. At the back of the book is a useful family-fun geographic index.

Family Fun in the Smokies is also filled to the brim with colorful maps, photos, games, fun facts, and kids’ activities. Although its focus is families, it's also an extremely useful general reference for any visitor to the national park. Because the book is published by the nonprofit Great Smoky Mountain Association, every purchase benefits the national park. It's the perfect companion for Heartland Cabin Rentals guests who want to explore all the national park has to offer. 

The book costs $11.95 and is available in all park bookstores as well as on the Great Smoky Mountains Association’s online shop; it is not available on Amazon.

Category: Things to do

Doug Shanks


By Doug Shanks a Smoky Mountain blogger and writes about things to do in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley, and Sevierville, Tennessee. Area interests include hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting, shopping, and family fun.

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