Looking for a quick getaway? We asked our Fishers Ambassadors Kelly Yale, Megan Gamble, and Amanda Merriweather for their favorite Spring Break road trip destinations. 

Spring Break Road Trip Destination: Gatlinburg, TN – Megan Gamble

Drive Time From Fishers: 6 hours and 30 minutes

Must-See & Do Activities: 

  • Great Smoky Mountains National ParkWith over 800 miles of trails, waterfalls, an abundance of wildlife, and wildflowers, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park begins where Gatlinburg’s main street ends. We love the Junior Ranger program opportunities, as well as the variety of classes available. My favorite part of this park is the multitude of trails for all skill levels, which allows my family with young kids to easily hike.
  • Hike To Loral Falls: Named a top kid hike, this 2 ½ round trip hike is perfect for little feet, as it’s an easy trail with an impressive waterfall at the end. I highly recommend going early to beat the crowds and watch your littlest of hikers as there are a few steep drop-offs.  
  • Anakeesta: Settled high above Gatlinburg in the Anakeesta Mountain on 70 acres in the heart of Gatlinburg is this “magical mountaintop park” accessed only by chondola. While taking in breathtaking views, you can shop, play, take the tree canopy walk, ride the mountain coaster and zip line, and walk the peaceful garden.
  • Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokey’s: This is our absolute favorite attraction in Gatlinburg because it has many types of sea life that aren’t displayed at other aquariums. Our favorite part of the aquarium is the moving tunnel. Feeling like you’re swimming amongst the sharks and stingray makes this area of the aquarium a don’t miss! If allowed, we’d definitely do that part over and over all day.
  • The Island in Pigeon Forge: Though not technically in Gatlinburg, The Island is a quick 15-minute drive from the city center. One thing we love about The Island is it’s the best of all worlds with shopping, dining, and a theme park all in one place! Make sure to pull up a chair and watch the music-synced water show.  
  • Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook: While exploring the Great Smoky Mountains, take a drive through the mountains and pull over at the Gatlinburg Scenic Overview. The breathtaking vistas are Instagram-worthy! It’s a fun way to get a unique perspective on Gatlinburg.
  • The Wonder Lab: A science-based discovery center is fully interactive and perfect for all ages. Giant bubbles, earthquake simulator, virtual reality, and bed of nails were a few of our favorite exhibits.  I love that this is a cross between a science museum and an entertainment center that will keep the family busy for hours.

Know Before You Go:

  • Visit attractions earlier in the day to beat the crowds.
  • Be prepared to walk! Gatlinburg is just a little over 2 miles with most of the main attractions located close together, so you don’t spend your vacation fighting the traffic, just park and walk.
  • Take the trolley! If walking is not the best option for your family, Gatlinburg’s trolley is a great alternative to getting around the city as it runs in a very timely manner. 
  • Get a different perspective of Gatlinburg by taking a drive up the mountain or get an aerial view by taking a chair lift ride.
  • Shop ’til you drop! The main street in Gatlinburg is lined with an eclectic variety of shops from treats and locally-made wares, to typical souvenir shops and Moonshine distilleries. 

Why We Love It:

Our family absolutely loves Gatlinburg because of its closeness to Indiana, as well as the diversity of its activities! This is the perfect destination, whether you’re visiting with your family or as a romantic getaway.

family under waterfall
boy playing with science display
boy at aquarium

Spring Break Destination: Nashville, TN – Amanda Merriweather

Drive Time From Fishers: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Must-See & Do Activities: 

  • Centennial Park & The Parthenon: Pack a lunch and have a picnic in front of the Parthenon. Afterwards, walk the beautiful grounds of Centennial Park. TIP: Don’t forget a loaf of bread to feed all the ducks!
  • Fannie Mae Dees Park: Climb a mosaic dragon and enjoy the play equipment, green space, and climbing structures. This park was fun for all four of our kids ages 2 to 13.
  • Gaylord Opryland Resort GardensThis resort is free to walk through and features nine acres of lavish indoor gardens, small shops, and restaurants throughout. They also have paid boat tours and an indoor water park if you’re looking to spend the day taking in all that the Opryland Hotel has to offer.
  • Cumberland Park & the Pedestrian Bridge: Cumberland Park is an innovative play space for families and sits between The Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge and the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge. The pedestrian bridge was one of our favorites and I highly recommend going in the evening just as the sun is setting to soak in the Nashville skyline at night!
  • Fort Negley Park: This fortification was built by Union troops during the American Civil War and is free to visit. Explore the interactive visitors center, tour the historical grounds, and dig up fossils on your way out that you can take home as souvenirs.
  • Go on a Mural Scavenger Hunt: Nashville is FULL of amazing artists expressing their creativity on the sides of businesses and buildings nearly everywhere you look. Make it a fun game of “I-Spy”, shouting out each time a mural is spotted!
  • The Legendairy Milkshake BarThis is a MUST when visiting Nashville! These shareable milkshakes will go above and beyond your sweet tooth’s highest expectations and are available in a variety of unique combinations and flavors.

Know Before You Go

  • Snacks! A road trip isn’t complete without stocking up on snacks before hitting the road.
  • Before visiting any of the above mentioned places, be sure to stay up to date on all reopening guidelines and COVID safety procedures.
  • If you happen to have any dinosaur lovers in the car, it might be worth taking a pit stop at Dinosaur World in Kentucky, which is right on the route both to and from Nashville.

Why We Love It:

We really love how Nashville instantly gives off that cozy family feel. There are so many unique things to do and places to discover that will have you wanting to go back before you’ve even left!

The Parthenon
Pedestrian Bridge Skyline
Dolly Parton Mural

Spring Break Destination: Louisville, KY – Kelly Yale

Drive Time From Fishers: 2 hours

Must-See & Do Activities: 

  • Kentucky Science Center: This is such a cool children’s museum geared toward science and learning, and ranks up there as one of the top three children’s museums we’ve been to. Our favorite part was the giant bubble machine, and don’t forget to take a selfie in the huge mosaic mirror out front!
  • Louisville Mega Cavern: If you have any adventure or adrenaline junkies in your family, you’ve got to check out this underground high ropes challenge course and zip lines. There’s nothing like being 13 feet in the air, but actually 100 feet underground- it’s truly a unique experience.
  • Fourth Street Live: If you want a one stop shop for all things dining, shopping, and music, Fourth Street Live is your place. Meander around and pop in and out of a multitude of bars and restaurants, while enjoying everything from live music to sports events in the main plaza. Last time we were there we caught a pole vaulting competition!
  • Waterfront Park: If the weather is nice, you’ve got to plan to spend an afternoon here. Pack a picnic, watch the boats on the river, check out the public art around the park, and play at the playgrounds. This is one of the easiest and most budget friendly ways to enjoy the city.
  • Louisville Slugger Museum and Walk of Fame: Even if you don’t have a huge baseball fan in the family, this is a fun behind-the-scenes experience. Take a tour for a hands-on look at how the iconic bats are made. Everyone will leave feeling special with their own personalized Louisville Slugger bat. For a little extra entertainment as you leave the museum, find all the bronze bats leading you down one mile of historic Main Street.
  • Churchill Downs: Take a tour of the beautiful grounds, learn some history about the Kentucky Derby, and get the insider’s scoop of how celebrities enjoy the Derby. Bring your binoculars for legendary views of the track. And your visit wouldn’t be complete without checking out all the fabulous derby hats in the gift shop!

Know Before You Go

  • While planning your visit, I suggest calling each place you intend to go to make yourself aware of any COVID precautions, as well as updated hours and procedures so you aren’t surprised when you arrive.
  • Select a place to stay in the center of town and close to the river, or centrally located between your desired destinations. If you want a place with lots within walking distance, you can’t go wrong right downtown. Alternatively, you can stay in one of the more up and coming neighborhoods, such as Butchertown, and still be pretty close to all the action.
  • I always like to get a list of the best restaurants in the area, so when we get hungry, we can just find the one from the list that we are closest to. That saves time when everyone is getting cranky and needs to eat.

 Why We Love It:

I’ve visited Louisville for a girls’ trip, my husband and I have been for a weekend getaway, and we’ve been with the kids. Everytime we find new favorite things to do and places to eat. You are sure to make great memories, no matter who you go with or what you’re into!

*All photos were taken pre-COVID.

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