A weekend escape to Cherokee KOA

by Kim on June 8, 2015 · 12 comments

When Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains asked if Brian and I would like to come and stay for the weekend I said yes, of course, because I miss the mountains.

We’ve camped in almost every state in the United States but had somehow never stayed at a KOA before, though they’re ubiquitous in the U.S.A. So we packed our bags and climbed into the car headed for North Carolina, unsure of what to expect but excited to get there.


On our way to Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA.

Somewhere in Tennessee, hours into our drive, Brian asked, “did you bring a headlamp?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “No.”

“What about trekking poles?”

“Uh, nope.”

“Do you think we need to bring towels or sheets on our babymoon?”

Brian kept insisting on calling this little weekend getaway our babymoon. It’s a word that, for reasons I cannot completely explain, makes me what to punch holes in the wall. I turned to Brian and tried to maintain my composure. “Stop calling it that.”

“Well, does the babymo…”


Brian glanced at me behind the steering wheel, a little smirk of pleasure on his lips. “Oh, I’m sorry” he said with an annoying amount of glee “You don’t like that word? What I meant to say was, are sheets and towels provided with the cabin?”

I shot him a look. “I don’t know. I hope so.”

We’d booked a deluxe cabin because baby bellies and camping do not mix particularly well. Upon arrival we learned that the cabins do, in fact, come with towels and linens and (major bonus) private bathrooms too.

Cherokee Great Smokies KOA

Cherokee KOA headquarters.

Cherokee Great Smokies KOA cabin

Our perfect little cabin on the river.

Cherokee Great Smokies KOA cabin

The inside of our cabin and a sneak peek of the bed (sheets and pillows included!)

Cherokee Great Smokies KOA

The view of the Raven Fork River from the porch of our cabin.

reading at Cherokee Great Smokies KOA

My perfect weekend.

breakfast at Cherokee Great Smokies KOA

Cabin breakfast.

The only problem with a cabin in the mountains is that I don’t ever want to leave a cabin in the mountains. So while the KOA offered everything from bike rentals to river tubing to s’mores cookouts, I just wanted to sit on our porch and read.

Luckily, we’d made plans to meet our Asheville friends Jessy and Michele for a hike in Sylvan, NC, about a 35-minute drive from our cabin, and so after a lazy Saturday morning I reluctantly set down my book and dragged my pregnant butt up a mountain. It was fabulous.

Black Rock Sylvan NC

Heading for the Pinnacle view via the West Fork trail.
Black Rock Sylvan NC

Friends Jessy and Michele from the top of Pinnacle.

Black Rock Sylvan NC

A beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Black Rock Sylvan NC

Me (25-weeks pregnant) and Brian at the top of the mountain.

The next morning we didn’t want to leave but coaxed ourselves into the car with promises of a greasy spoon breakfast in a genuine southern diner. As weekends tend to go, it was over too soon. But those 48-hours in the cabin helped to recharge my city-stranded soul.

Southern breakfast

Brian and his southern breakfast of biscuits and gravy, hash browns and fruit for good measure.

Go There

Cherokee/ Great Smokies KOA

92 KOA Campground Rd in Cherokee, NC


Tent, RV and cabin spaces available.

Cherokee KOA is a great place for kids. Pets are allowed but must be on a leash.

Make sure to check out the nearby town of Cherokee, NC as well. It features a plethora of Native American craft shops, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Oconaluftee Indian Village. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is only 20 miles away and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a popular tourist destination, is only 33 miles away.

We were guests at Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA but all view expressed here are my own.



{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rhonda June 8, 2015 at 7:55 am

Love the deluxe cabin! We have stayed at several KOA’s around the country, but only in the standard cabins, lol, no sheets provided :)What a nice treat to get to the mountains for the weekend… had to laugh at your disdain for the phrase babymoon though!
Rhonda recently posted..A Look Back ~ and Forward


Jennifer Hofmann June 8, 2015 at 9:18 am

This might have tipped the scales for me. I’ve always avoided KOA because of all the people. I love to camp (in our huge “Taj Ma-tent”) where there is little to no humanity, but that cabin looks might cozy! Thanks for sharing!


Krystin C. June 8, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Your pregnant butt looks great! 🙂 Love that the Helvetia shirt Brian has on has made it through so many adventures! Take care!


Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) June 8, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Love the idea of a babymoon, but hate the name, so I’m glad you put a stop to THAT. 😉

Looks like you guys had a lovely weekend away. My memories of KOA as a kid are far less posh!
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Unexpectedly Awesome Page, Arizona or: How I Learned to Stop Planning So Much & Love Motel 6


Gilda Baxter June 9, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Hi Kim, I think weekend escapes are a great way to recharge your batteries and change routine. We have been having quite few of these recently and I am loving it. Your cabin on the river looked idyllic and sounds like you had a good mix of relaxation and adventure.
Gilda Baxter recently posted..An Anglo-Brazilian Wedding (Take 2) in Canela, Brazil


Martha June 9, 2015 at 7:13 pm

Since when do KOA’s look like that!! Well – in 1980 (yup) they were $5.00 a night for a campsite. My college room mate and I stayed at them all across the country. If I can get a cabin like that – I need to just take off for a weekend myself!


Decoración June 10, 2015 at 1:34 am

Lovely pics


Ashlie June 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Laughing out loud at babymoon 🙂 Glad you broke out of the city for a minute!
Ashlie recently posted..When It Hits Close To Home


Renee June 10, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Glad you and Brian were able to get away and enjoy a quick weekend in the mountains. Just what you needed, for sure. You look radiant, by the way. 🙂


Katie June 10, 2015 at 6:56 pm

I stayed at a lot of KOAs along the West Coast and in Arizona and found them to be like the Hostelling International but for camping. You know can expect a certain standard of quality but each camping ground is still unique. I would love to live in a cabin like that in the woods, well maybe if it was a tiny bit bigger 🙂
Katie recently posted..How I lead an enriching life when I’m not travelling


J Rains August 23, 2015 at 10:33 pm
Bridget August 27, 2015 at 12:41 pm

I have never stayed at a KOA campground either. I didn’t know they had cabins! Awesome to hear you enjoyed it. I guess I should check them out the next time we go on a road trip as we have always just passed them up.
Bridget recently posted..Petrified Forest National Park


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