3 notable Indoor Water Parks in Tennessee

Tennessee Hotels with Indoor waterparks

When discussing all the things there are to do on vacation in Tennessee, it’s hard not to sound like a tourism commercial. You could spend a lot of time hopping around the state visiting famous music venues, historic Civil War sites, and pristine natural areas. Unfortunately, what you can’t do is stay at an indoor water park while visiting all those locations. There are three significant indoor water parks in Tennessee, and all of them are in the same part of the state.

Fortunately, it’s a really good part of the state. The Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area is located in the beautiful Smoky Mountains and is home to Dollywood Theme Park and many other tourist attractions. Whether you’re visiting during the colder months, or just want to make sure the weather doesn’t interfere with your fun, a visit to one (or more) of these indoor water parks is a solid addition to your itinerary.

Wild Bear Falls (Gatlinburg, TN)

This water park is connected to the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort. You can either get a package that includes access to the indoor water park or just purchase a day pass. Wild Bear Falls is large for an indoor water park, at more than 60,000 square feet. With all that space, it’s no surprise that it has all the usual trappings – lazy river, tube slides, and plenty of kiddie equipment. However, Wild Bear Falls also features a twist that you won’t find at many water parks in the country – a retractable roof. Usually, when a water park is labeled as indoor/outdoor, it means that it has separate sections. In this case, it’s a matter of flipping a switch.

Located in historic Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa provides guests with a comfortable place to sleep and swim when they’re not out enjoying the Smoky Mountains. The indoor water park, Wild Bear Falls, is 60,000 square feet and well-equipped to keep the whole family entertained for days, no matter what the weather is like outside. In short, this is more than just a place to lay your head, so plan on staying for a nice, long stretch.

The resort also features two heated outdoor swimming pools, so you also have the option to get some fresh air and bask in the sun.

Accommodations

The hotel has a variety of rooms available, from small studio rooms to two-bedroom villas that can accommodate a large family. And by family, we mean the whole family – the hotel allows pets under 60 pounds (for an additional fee). In addition to the indoor water park, the hotel includes a bar and grill, lounge, fitness center, playground, dog run, and a trolley service to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Slides and Rides

Wild Bear Falls ticks all the boxes on the indoor water park wish list. Here are some of the main features:

  • Lazy River
  • Body Slide
  • Tube Slide
  • Indoor/Outdoor Hot Tub
  • Toddler Area
  • Arcade

It may not have a retractable roof, but the Wild WaterDome does have one you can see right through. The glass roof lets the sunshine through, so you can get a tan even when it’s chilly outside. Under that transparent dome, there are also plenty of attractions, including tube and body slides, a surfing simulator, and the obligatory kiddie area. If that’s not enough for you, the massive resort it’s connected to – Wildnerness at the Smokies – also includes two outdoor water parks that are open during the warmer months of the year. Overall, this is a great option for large gatherings, such as family reunions, due to the number of things to do and the availability of large suites at the resort.

The Resort at Governor’s Crossing (Sevierville, TN)

OK, it’s not as large as the other two options. However, there are lots of circumstances where the Resort at Governor’s Crossing might be the perfect pick for you. It’s conveniently located in Sevierville and has many of the basic features you look for in an indoor water park – body slides, large hot tub, children’s area. There’s also an outdoor section with a lazy river and other attractions. It’s not an all-in-one resort like the other two options, but if you’re looking for a hotel that adds a little extra fun during your stay in the Smokies, this could be the most cost-effective choice.

If you’re visiting the Smoky Mountains, staying at the Resort at Governor’s Crossing will put you right in the middle of the action. It’s located in Sevierville, which is literally a few minutes’ drives from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and all of the area’s top attractions. This hotel also features a small indoor water park, so you’re guaranteed to have fun no matter what the weather is like outside.

Accommodations

This hotel has rooms for families of different sizes and budgets. The largest units can sleep 14 people, and many of the rooms include kitchens, washer/dryers, and other amenities. In other words, it’s perfect for families who want to settle in and enjoy a nice, long stay in the Smoky Mountains.

Slides and Rides

The Resort at Governor’s Crossing has both an indoor and outdoor water park. While neither one of them is expansive enough to be the main attraction of your vacation, they add plenty of extra fun after a day of sightseeing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The indoor water park includes the following:

  • 2 Body Slides
  • Large Hot Tub
  • Sauna
  • Activity Pool

Nearby Attractions

As mentioned, the hotel is situated in Sevierville, which is just a trolley ride away from of many of the area’s top countrified attractions. In addition to the national park, here are a few of the other places to visit:

  • Dollywood
  • Titanic Museum
  • Dixie Stampede
  • The National Elvis Museum
  • Car Shows and Other Events

That’s just a random sampling of what the area has to offer. There are too many things to list here, which is probably why the area draws millions of people every year.

Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa (Gatlinburg, TN)

This resort is in Gatlinburg, a historic little town with its own share of attractions. It’s also just a short drive or trolley ride from Pigeon Forge – so close that the fact that it’s a different town is essentially just a technicality to travelers. To keep its guests entertained at all times of the year, the resort has an indoor water park known as Wild Bear Falls (along with two heated outdoor pools). The indoor water park has all the must-have amusements – lazy river, slides, large hot tub, toddler area, etc.

Located in historic Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa provides guests with a comfortable place to sleep and swim when they’re not out enjoying the Smoky Mountains. The indoor water park, Wild Bear Falls, is 60,000 square feet and well-equipped to keep the whole family entertained for days, no matter what the weather is like outside. In short, this is more than just a place to lay your head, so plan on staying for a nice, long stretch.

The resort also features two heated outdoor swimming pools, so you also have the option to get some fresh air and bask in the sun.

Accommodations

The hotel has a variety of rooms available, from small studio rooms to two-bedroom villas that can accommodate a large family. And by family, we mean the whole family – the hotel allows pets under 60 pounds (for an additional fee). In addition to the indoor water park, the hotel includes a bar and grill, lounge, fitness center, playground, dog run, and a trolley service to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Slides and Rides

Wild Bear Falls ticks all the boxes on the indoor water park wish list. Here are some of the main features:

  • Lazy River
  • Body Slide
  • Tube Slide
  • Indoor/Outdoor Hot Tub
  • Toddler Area
  • Arcade

Nearby Attractions

The area is full of things to do year-round. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the main attraction, but all sorts of other entertainments have sprung up to serve tourists in this rustic vacation mecca. Whether you’re into nature, history, or thrill-seeking, you’ll find something to satisfy you in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or the surrounding area. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort
  • Hollywood Star Cars Museum (see the General Lee!)
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
  • Dollywood (Pigeon Forge)

Wildnerness at the Smokies (Pigeon Forge, TN)

The Wilderness at the Smokies resort is a destination unto itself. At features three water parks, including an indoor one called the Wild WaterDome. The roof at this state-of-the-art facility lets the sun’s rays shine through, so you can tan even in the cooler months of fall and winter. The Wild WaterDome also features all the amusements you would expect at a modern indoor water park – a lazy river, multiple slides, a surfing simulator, and a wave pool. If you want to stay somewhere where you can have loads of fun without ever leaving the premises, this is the place.

Located in the tiny resort town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark Resort and Family Adventure Center offer state-of-the-art water amusements in a rustic setting. As if staying just five miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park weren’t enough, the water park and nearby attractions provide plenty of entertainment to keep a vacationing family busy for a very, very long time. This is no stopover, folks. Book yourself for at least a few days, or else be prepared to drag your family (and yourself) away kicking and screaming when it’s time to go.

This resort not only includes an expansive indoor water park but two outdoor water parks as well. The Wild WaterDome is the indoor park, and as the name suggests, it features a dome that lets the sun in. So don’t forget to pack your sunscreen.

Accommodations

The resort features two hotels with a variety of amenities for different needs and budgets. The River Lodge is connected to the indoor water park and features spacious suites that can sleep up to 15 (!) people. The Stone Hill Lodge is closer to the outdoor water parks, but there’s a convenient shuttle to take you where you need to go. Wherever you stay, water park passes should be included in the price of your room.

Slides and Rides

The roof at the Wild WaterDome lets the sunshine down on offseason vacationers, meaning you can tan year-round. But if you’re not the type to lounge around in the sun, don’t worry – there’s plenty of action, too. The water park includes a long list of rides, including a group water slide featuring a zero-gravity drop. Here are some other amusements:

  • Tube Slides
  • Wave Pool
  • Massive Hot Tub
  • Surfing Simulator
  • Kids Area (Natch)

Nearby Attractions

Millions of tourists flock to the Pigeon Forge every year to enjoy the Smoky Mountains and the area’s many other attractions. Some places to visit while staying at the Wilderness at the Smokies resort include:

  • Dollywood Theme Park
  • Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Experience
  • Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame
  • Flyaway Indoor Skydiving
  • The Titanic Museum

Why Stay at a Hotel with an Indoor Water Park in Tennessee?

Obviously, a lot of people choose to stay at hotels with indoor water parks simply because they want to maximize their fun. It’s also a great way for parents to keep their kids entertained why they relax after a busy day of sightseeing. Finally, they offer a little insurance in case the weather doesn’t cooperate with your outdoor plans.

Indoor water parks are also ideal for visits during the cooler months of the year. Tennessee offers a great experience in all seasons, with many tourists choosing to visit in the fall (foliage) or winter (scenery/skiing). There are also lots of big seasonal events, such as the Christmas celebration at Dollywood. Staying at a hotel with water attractions is a good way to round out the trip.

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