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A Sensational Senior Class Trip to the Smoky Mountains

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by Rhoda Venture
Education TripUncategorized

As the senior class advisor, you want the senior class trip to be an amazing memory for students. It should be an adventure that includes vibrant landscapes, exciting attractions, interesting culture, and tons of fun! A senior class trip to the Smoky Mountains checks all these boxes and so much more!

Let’s dig into what you can do with your seniors in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains region!

Senior class trip to the Smoky Mountains

Must-Dos for Your Senior Class Trip

As you plan your trip to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and the rest of the Smoky Mountain region, there are endless opportunities for students. In fact, there’s so much to do that you might not know where to start.

That’s where we come in… we’re giving you a pro peek at some of the must-dos for your senior class trip. These are some of the spots our student travelers have loved – so we know yours will too!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

No trip to the Smoky Mountains would be complete without exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With more than 800 miles of hiking trails, breathtaking waterfalls, and a wide variety of wildlife to explore, the park is the perfect place to practice eco-tourism.

senior class trip to the Smoky Mountains

Here you’ll find scenic hikes suitable for all fitness levels, including those with limited mobility. From the Tremont area to the popular Clingmans Dome trail, there are options for everyone to embrace the beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

Don’t forget to pack boxed lunches and picnic in Cades Cove, a pretty little picnic area tucked between Abrams Creek and Green Branch Creek.

Capture the Moment: Photography Workshops

Consider including a photography workshop as part of your itinerary. The Smoky Mountains offer a picturesque backdrop, and professional photographers share tips and techniques for capturing the best shots.

It’s a great way for students to document their senior class trip experience – and what teen doesn’t want a great photo op?!

senior class trip to the Smoky Mountains

Zipline, Raft, and Have a Blast!

For the thrill seekers in your group, check out the abundance of adventure activities like ziplining, whitewater rafting, and “zorbing.”

Whitewater Rafting with Smoky Mountain Outdoors

Smoky Mountain Outdoors is a great rafting option for groups. There are several classes of rapids led by a professional guide. There’s also a river float option for the less adventurous!

Rafting in the Smokies

Start the day Rafting in the Smokies with Class I-IV rapids or take to the treetops with a zip line course.  Hike, complete a ropes challenge course, or cross a 150 ft. suspension bridge to a 10-acre Adventure Island and playground.  This is student-friendly fun at its best!

zorbing in the smoky mountains

Outdoor Gravity Park

Roll down a 1000 ft. hill in a spaceship-like OGO (wet or dry- depending on the season).  Outdoor Gravity Park is the only place in America where you can experience three, unique zorb experiences.

Students will roll along zig-zagging tracks or speed down the hill in a ventilated and sometimes wet giant plastic ball.  This is an extreme adventure like no other!

Amazing Attractions to Explore

Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center

The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center offers a fascinating glimpse into the local history and heritage of the region.

Delve into the lives of early settlers and the unique traditions of Southern Appalachia, tour original 19th century buildings, and explore the impressive Cherokee Native American Collection.

Titanic Museum in the Smoky Mountains

Titanic Museum Attraction

Seniors will learn more about the ill-fated Titanic at the immense, ship-shaped attraction in Pigeon Forge.  Completely interactive and filled with artifacts, groups can investigate all the Titanic Museum has to offer.

NASCAR SpeedPark

Race over to NASCAR SpeedPark for 22 race themed go-kart tracks, rides and attractions. The twists and turns are thrilling, and the collection of NASCAR memorabilia is the biggest in the Smokies.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Voted America’s #1 aquarium by TripAdvisor, it is also a top destination for viewing penguins.  Yep- right in the heart of Tennessee!  Pet stingrays and horseshoe crabs, check out 12 ft. sharks and explore the aquarium in a series of clear underwater tunnels.


The beauty of Ripley’s Aquarium is that it’s super student-friendly and groups can take part in education programs, tours or even music programs.

The Track

Zip over the to The Track for a fast ride on a three-story go-kart track or a crazy free-fall into oversized safety cushions.  Bumper cars, bumper boats, mini-golf and bungee round out a full day of fun!

Goats on the Roof

Here’s an attraction that’s sure to get your attention!  The Goat Coaster at Goats on the Roof is an alpine coaster, topping speeds of 30 mph and careening down a mile-long track.

Follow your ride with homemade ice cream, gem mining and some quality time with the goats!

Alcatraz East Crime Museum

Teens are fascinated by the macabre, so they’ll love the Alcatraz East Crime Museum! They’ll explore America’s ‘seedier’ side through interactive exhibits that dig deep into criminal profiles, victim’s stories, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement and more.

They can even check out the notorious White Ford Bronco that carried O.J. Simpson on his slow speed chase down the 405!

Island Adventures

When you’re in the middle of a mountain destination, you’re probably not thinking about an island. Unless it’s The Island in Pigeon Forge!

senior class trip to the Smoky Mountains The Island

The Island IS a destination, with eating, shopping, play and stay options in one exciting entertainment complex.

Ride the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel or get lost in the Mirror Maze. Use your wits in the Escape Game, jump into the Thunderdome, or take a ride that requires all senses at the 7D Dark Ride Adventure.

It’s a great spot for seniors to hang out and have some fun!


No visit to the Smoky Mountains is complete without a trip to Dollywood, the award-winning theme park owned by country music legend Dolly Parton. Dollywood offers a wide range of attractions, from thrilling rides to world-class shows.

Smoky Mountains Dollywood

Immerse yourself in the magic of the park as you enjoy live entertainment, explore the artisan shops, and experience the thrilling roller coasters.

Be sure to catch the spectacular shows that showcase the region’s rich musical heritage and Dolly Parton’s celebrated talent. With its student-friendly atmosphere and wide range of activities, Dollywood is a must for senior class trips.

Dinner and a Show

When you’ve exhausted the activities and are ready for an evening of fun, there are lots of options for dinner and a show.  Here are two student favorites…

The Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show 

Groups of 50 or more can enjoy a side-splitting private performance at The Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show. It’s murder, mayhem, and a mouthwatering meal – perfect for seniors!

Country Tonite

Country hits combine with comedy classics in this high-energy, fast-paced show. Join the fun and sing along at Country Tonite!

The Hidden Gems

Every destination has a few secrets – and the Smoky Mountains are no exception. Take a little detour from the itinerary and check out these hidden gems.

Elkmont Ghost Town

Everyone loves a good ghost town and Elkmont in Sevier County delivers.  Settled as “Little River” in the 1840s, Elkmont became a logging camp at the turn of the century and then an exclusive vacation community known as the Appalachian Club.

Smoky Mountains Elkmont Ghost town

But in 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established, and the residents of Elkmont became displaced or took lifetime leases on their properties.  By 1992, most leases had expired, leaving roughly 70 abandoned buildings.  Many of these have been razed or restored – and wandering through them is really cool (and a little bit eerie!)

Walker Sisters Place

Tucked into the pristine wilderness of the national park is the homestead of the Walker Sisters.  It’s a snapshot of rural 19th and 20th century mountain life and one family’s unique story.

smoky mountains walker sisters

In 1946, the Walker Sisters and their rustic lifestyle were featured in the Saturday Evening Post, prompting years of visitors to the homestead.  The Walker Sisters legacy lives on at this charming but now vacant hidden gem in the woods.

America’s Longest Swinging Bridge at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park

Imagine meandering across more than 70 feet of swinging bridge high above the Little Pigeon River… that’s more than a football field! You’ll find this hidden gem and a multitude of other log, covered and cable bridges at beautiful Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park.

Discovering the Smokies on Your Senior Class Trip

The Smoky Mountains really do check all the boxes for your senior class trip. It’s home to one of the country’s most visited national parks, a world-class theme park, an eclectic mix of museums and attractions, thrilling live shows, and a host of outdoor adventures.

It’s the perfect place for soon-to-be grads to celebrate a sensational senior year!

senior class trip to the smoky mountains gatlinburg

Plan with a Partner

Make it super easy and plan your senior class trip to the Smoky Mountains with Kaleidoscope Adventures!

Kaleidoscope Adventures has been planning outstanding student travel for more than 30 years. Online registration and payments, convenient crowdfunding options, and an expert team make your planning simple and efficient.

They’ll work with you to plan an exceptional travel experience for your seniors from start to finish.


senior class trip


Why Kaleidoscope Adventures?

As a leader in the student travel industry for 30+ years, Kaleidoscope Adventures exceeds expectations for student and performance group travel.

We’ll work with you to plan an exceptional travel experience and provide impeccable customer service from start to finish

Learn More

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