Back to School: Last Summer Getaway with the Big Kids


Disclosure: Dollywood provided my family with two tickets to Dollywood and Splash Country. All opinions and text are my own.

family at Dollywood and splash country

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Fun Trip to Dollywood

We have a huge gap in our kids’ ages, with our oldest two being 14 and 12 while our little ones are 3 and 20 months old. Typically, we vacation as a family, but my in-laws just moved to town, so we thought we would plan a fun getaway with the big kids while they kept the little girls for us. Although our little girls would enjoy the trip too, we wanted to be able to invest special time with our big kids since they are growing so quickly before school starts back.

Pigeon Forge has been one of our absolute favorite quick vacation destinations for as long as I can remember. My family used to travel there when I was a little girl. Since we only live about an hour and forty-five minutes away, we take quick getaways to Pigeon Forge as often as possible. Our family especially loves Dollywood and Splash Country. Since our big kids’ youth group was planning a trip to Splash Country and my husband and I are youth workers, we decided to plan our getaway to meet our youth group at Splash Country after going to Dollywood. 

family at Dollywood

Family Fun & Amusement Park Rides

We started our day early and headed to Dollywood so we could enjoy our day and go out to eat at our favorite restaurant later that night. It wasn’t very crowded, and we could walk onto most rides. One of my favorite things about Dollywood is how clean the entire park is. No matter how busy, the bathrooms are always clean and well-stocked.

Having had two babies in the past four years, I’ve been pregnant or caring for a baby on all of our trips to Dollywood the past couple of years, so I was incredibly excited to ride all the rides with my hubby and big kids. Here we are after riding the Drop Line, a 230-foot tall free-fall experience. It’s cool because you get a gorgeous view of the park and the surrounding mountains. We also got a sneak peek of the brand new Wildwood Grove, under construction and opening in 2o19.

wildwood grove sign showing coming soon

Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove, a 37 million dollar expansion, is coming in 2019. It’s the most significant expansion in Dollywood’s history. Besides new eateries, Wildwood Grove will feature 11 new attractions, including 6 rides. Continuing with their commitment to being family-friendly, Dollywood’s goal is to bring the family together in a magical setting. I am most excited about a 4,000-square-foot indoor play place, while my kids will love the new splash area and the rides.

siblings at Dollywood behind the eagles

We take pictures of our kids every trip to Dollywood with the Eagles, so we can look back and see how much they have grown. Dollywood is somewhere our entire family loves to visit, and this trip with our big kids before school starts back was such a treat. We had such a great day.

kids in front of splash country sign

Splash Country – Fun for All

Then, we met our youth group at Splash Country. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve been able to ride water slides. I know I haven’t in the past four or five years, so that I might have been more excited than all of our students. I don’t have a lot of pictures from our trip that day because, besides a brief break due to rain, this momma had a blast riding water slides. cabana at splash country

One thing I wanted to show you is this cabana. Instead of all the students in our youth group renting individual lockers, we rented a cabana, which was fabulous. Not only did we have somewhere comfortable to sit when the rain came, but there was enough room to store all of our belongings, and we had a great place to meet back at various times of the day.

pool chairs outside cabana

Right outside of our cabana, we had a sizeable fantastic sun deck. I had seen the cabanas during our last trip but had no idea how convenient it would be for us. I see us renting one again.

Because we don’t buy our kids a lot of stuff during the year, we save up for quick getaways like this trip for our big kids before school starts. As a family, we are passionate about traditions and making memories together. I know we will always treasure this trip and the purposeful time we spent together making memories.

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