We were all dreaming of a white Christmas, but the 25th has come and gone, and for many of us here in the Southeast, no snowflakes were in the forecast. Luckily, East Tennessee can fulfill your warmer winter wonderland wanderlust, no skiing or sledding required. Consider it the best of both worlds: the joys of the holiday season without cold weather cramping your style.
If you like camping…
East Tennessee is home to so much wildlife and camping spots, it can be overwhelming trying to choose just one place to go! We like our neighbors at Fox Fire Riverside Campground (Hartford, TN), but be sure to research to make sure your chosen campground has all the amenities you want. Once you do decide on a camping spot, it doesn’t take much more planning or great to make your cold weather trips as comfortable as your warmer weather ones.
- Get a good fire going. Follow the rules and regulations of your campground, but a good bonfire is easy to turn into a great night. Besides keeping you warm and your friends or family entertained, it’s a great spot for cooking up some delicious food, roasting marshmallows, or drinking hot chocolate.
- Get great food. Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to stick to hot dogs and granola bars. These tips from Bon Appetit will make you the chef you’ve always dreamed of, without having to step into a kitchen.
- Get great drinks. Finally, what’s a camping trip without campfire stories? You’re guaranteed better stories when fueled by these great drinks. All of these are delicious, better than your standard canned beer, and don’t require you bring the entire bar. Win-win-win.
If you like day hiking…
While the more adventurous enjoy hiking and camping together, if you have smaller children, are a novice outdoorsman or woman, or the weather is a little threatening, a day hike will put you in touch with nature without the commitment of an entire weekend.
94 miles of the Appalachian Trail run through Tennessee, and you can hop on and off at any point. At varying difficulties, you can choose how strenuous your hike is. If you don’t want to hop on the AT, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has great day trips, and the view in the winter is unforgettable.
Tennessee is also home to many waterfalls, which are beautiful when they’re flowing or frozen. Most of them are accessible via a short hike, so it’s a great way to add a destination point and photo op to any trip. Here are a few to get you started.
When hiking in the winter, it is important to know the trail quality and have appropriate gear when you go. If it’s been raining, avoid very strenuous or slippery rocky trails. Be sure to bring your hiking shoes or boots, and always bring a raincoat!
If you want to try something different…
Camping and hiking are great, but if you’re feeling a little adventurous, or if your resolution was to try something new, consider caving. Home to more than 8,600 caves, they are one of Tennessee’s best kept secrets. Take a guided tour through Appalachian Caverns, or spend an afternoon at the largest underground lake in the U.S. This is also a great choice if the weather outside is more in-climate.
Determined not to let a little cold weather scare you off? Try a winter rafting trip! We take trips down the Pigeon River year round, and have everything you need to survive the chillier temperatures.
Ready to make 2016 your most adventurous year yet? Give us a call; we’ll see you around the Outpost!