The funny thing about going on vacation is how often you find yourself needing a vacation from all the fun you’re having. If you’re staying in or around Gatlinburg, you will no doubt experience the excitement to be found downtown. Shopping, The Gatlinburg Space Needle, moonshine tasting, museums, theaters, mini-golf, the aquarium….the list goes on. And truly, there’s something for everyone. All that fun can be exhausting though.
Consider Mills Park, located just outside the main strip, your vacation from vacationing. If you plan ahead, you can reserve a covered pavilion for a family picnic, with sinks and grills, picnic tables, and restrooms available.
Other features of Mills Park include:
- 400-meter track
- Basketball court
- Horseshoe pits
- Jogging Trail
- Football field
- Softball field
- 9 hole disc golf course
Perhaps the most appreciated feature for those traveling with children is the new playground at Mills Park. The kids, who have undoubtedly been on their best behavior, have the opportunity to run, laugh and scream to their heart’s content as they swing, climb and crawl their way through the equipment.
If you play disc golf (or Frisbee golf as some call it), be sure to bring your discs along with you. There are none available for rent at the park, but there is a pretty amazing 9 hole course available that’s considered moderately challenging.
The course features three wooded holes, six strategically placed trees, and a shallow water hole. The challenge primarily involves elevation, with players needing to be able to adapt their throws to find holes on both sides of the running track, around trees, and near steep drop-offs. It’s not the most difficult disc golf course you’ll ever play, but it is one of the most interesting.
A couple of things to keep in mind as you play: the walk between the 2nd and 3rd hole is long, so don’t be surprised when you can’t find the next hole right away, and the drop-off near the 9th hole is quite steep. Watch your step and keep your eye on the kids so nobody ends up experiencing a nasty fall.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Mills Park is intangible.The surrounding forest and mist rising off the early morning ground makes you feel as though you’re in the middle of a primeval wilderness, far away from the stresses of real life. No matter where you go in the park, you can feel tension melting away.
Bring your bug spray along because gnats can be thick around the park. If you plan on playing disc golf, download the course map before you go so you can easily find all the holes. Finally, remember to reserve one of the pavilions if you are planning a group get-together.