Multigenerational travel is a special way my family bonds while we share new destinations, unplanned adventures, and out-of-the-ordinary experiences. From planning ahead to choosing the perfect location, we followed tips that helped us get the most out of our multigenerational travel experience to the Smoky Mountains. Together we enjoyed scenic floats down the river, shopping, and dinner shows. Each new experience brought us closer together. Planning multigenerational travel is as easy as these six simple tips.

Planning multigenerational travel is as simple as these 6 easy tips - each of which helped us get the most out of our visit to the Smoky Mountains.

Enjoying a scenic float on the lower section of the Pigeon River Photo Credit: Big Creek Expeditions

Planning Multigenerational Travel: 6 Easy tips

Our multigenerational adventure together took place in the beautiful Tennessee Smoky Mountains. The cabin we chose was tucked away in a quiet area that overlooked the stunning vistas. Each morning, while enjoying a family breakfast, my children would snuggle in their grandparent’s lap, watching the cloudy mist rise above the trees. Multigenerational travel is full of moments such as these that fill our photo albums and our hearts.

We travel together to new places every year: my family of five, my dad, stepmom, stepsister, grandmother and step-great grandparents. I learned that when two or three generations share an adventure, it broadens everyone’s perspective and enjoyment. Six tips to remember for next time emerged from our week in the mountains.

Planning multigenerational travel is as simple as these 6 easy tips - each of which helped us get the most out of our visit to the Smoky Mountains.

The view from a trail in the Smoky Mountain National Park Photo Credit: Breeze Leonard

1. Plan Ahead

Plan, Plan, Plan. Location, Location, Location. Don’t forget those two words. Meet together ahead of time to discuss what sights and activities will be on your agenda. Take into consideration everyone’s age and abilities.

We started preparing for our trip well in advance. Over a four month period we involved the whole family in deciding upon a destination and various activities. We have a large crew to organize and many different age groups to take into consideration. I spent time researching and communicating with the family to ensure we met the wants and needs of everyone involved. From the youngest to the oldest, our family expressed that “this was one of our best vacations yet.”

Our multigenerational trip this year took place in the breathtakingly beautiful Smoky Mountains.  I’m even more thankful now that this was the location of our family vacation, because of the heartbreaking wildfires that devastated parts of the scenic areas in 2016. A good reminder that you should not delay in traveling to places you want to see, you never know when it might be too late.

2. Choose The Perfect Location

The magnificent Smoky Mountains in Tennessee left a lasting impression on us. Finding a location that can impress and accommodate each person in your group can be somewhat of a challenge. To our delight, this area of Tennessee offered something for everybody in our large multigenerational group, from the youngest to the oldest.

We jumped at the chance to enjoy family style whitewater rafting. The paved hiking trails in the the Smoky Mountains National Park were easy to access for the little ones and those sixty-five and older. Our lodging was located near Pigeon Forge, which is a family-friendly city. We could have spent every day of our trip there and still not experienced it all.

We spent time shopping at the outlet mall, riding go-karts at Nascar SpeedPark, and seeing a dinner show. On our next visit to Tennessee, I want to visit Dollywood and explore more of the historical museums. The whole city is designed with families in mind, making it the ideal multigenerational location!

Planning multigenerational travel is as simple as these 6 easy tips - each of which helped us get the most out of our visit to the Smoky Mountains.

The view from a trail in the Smoky Mountain National Park Photo Credit: Breeze Leonard

3. Split Up Sometimes

We took the entire family on a scenic float down the lower section of the Pigeon River. This was an incredible experience that suited every age group (minimum age is 3). Big Creek Expeditions is an experienced company to float with; they were very helpful when answering questions or concerns we had about this excursion. The scenic float is approximately 1.5 hours and we got to enjoy 5.5 miles of the river. We experienced Class I & II rapids, making it relaxing with just a touch of excitement for everyone to enjoy.

A couple days later, half of our group went back to experience whitewater rafting the upper section of the Pigeon River. This experience was not for the faint of heart and you must be over the age of 8. By the end of the six miles (1.5 hours) we were drenched from the rapids but we all had huge smiles on our faces from this exciting expedition!

Planning multigenerational travel is as simple as these 6 easy tips - each of which helped us get the most out of our visit to the Smoky Mountains.

Our three girls having their picture taken by our hired photographer.  Photo Credit: Don Fields Photography

4. Hire A Photographer

Our whole family enjoys taking advantage of our chosen travel destinations by scheduling our family photos during our trips, whether they be at the ocean, mountains, or another exotic place. This trip, we hired a photographer who met us at a beautiful area near the river. She captured our family moments with the most beautiful backdrop, Mother Nature.

Planning multigenerational travel is as simple as these 6 easy tips - each of which helped us get the most out of our visit to the Smoky Mountains.

Four generations: my grandmother, dad, my daughters, and me Photo Credit: Don Fields Photography

5. Slow Down

We’ve discovered that multigenerational travel requires a slower pace so we try to avoid scheduling every minute of our vacation. The children and older members of the family need downtime to recharge before the next adventure begins.

One simple choice that helps us do this is finding lodging near the attractions we want to see. Doing this allows everyone the freedom to go and explore or stay behind and recuperate.

Another way is to choose some activities that are non-strenuous and relaxing in themselves. One activity we chose was the dinner show at Dixie Stampede. This was a fun way for us all to relax and enjoy a more laid back outing. The show is very entertaining and the food was delicious. Our children ages 7, 4, and 3 said it was “amazing.” They were especially excited when I got pulled into the show and won a medal!

Planning multigenerational trips? Here are six easy tips to make it successful.

Our large group enjoying the Smoky Mountains together Photo Credit: Don Fields Photography/Breeze Leonard

6. Remember Quality Over Quantity

Tennessee had everything we wanted for our multigenerational trip. In addition to whitewater rafting, scenic floats, and site-seeing, we also enjoyed horseback riding, motor trails in the National Park, and relaxing at the cabin. Remember though, the success of multigenerational travel is quality over quantity, embrace the sights and your time together. The shared experiences brought us closer together because we enjoyed them as a family.

Do you have tips to share from your family’s multigenerational travel?