Roamstead: Come On In, the Woods are Fine!

Photo courtesy of Roamstead.

We are not a family that vacations. My husband is an outdoorsman and will travel for fishing and hunting, but he would rather stay in the comfort of our home than venture out on the road. I came from a road-trip family and love nothing more than setting out to seek a little adventure.

We didn’t take a lot of traditional vacations growing up. It was mostly to visit family or to meet up with family members somewhere, but there is one trip that my sisters and I always talk about as a favorite. We stayed at an iconic spot in the Western North Carolina mountains, in a cabin playing board games, reading, exploring the woods, and our favorite — my mom built us little fairy houses in the woods and made up stories about them.

When I saw that my friend Natalie from Knoxville Moms visited a cute cabin in East Tennessee, I thought, This is the perfect place for us to go as a family. The Smokies were calling my name, and I wanted my kids and my husband to see a part of the country that’s so dear to me because of the time I spent there when I went to the University of Tennessee.

We escaped to the mountains after Christmas for New Year’s Eve in hopes of seeing snow. We didn’t get that, but we encountered the true winter weather that we Floridians are not used to, and we had the most magical time: Roamstead ended up being the absolute perfect destination for my family!

Nestled adjacent to the Smoky Mountains in Cosby, Tennessee, Roamstead is just a short drive from busy Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. It was created via a family RV trip across the country, whereby the founders decided to “reinvent roughing it in a way that could welcome all adventurers to experience the magic of the great outdoors.” And they have done just that.

READ: On the Road: Jax to the Smoky Mountains

Roamstead offers something for everyone — different-sized cabins, lodge rooms, yurts, tent sites, as well as RV sites, and there’s even an Airstream! We stayed in a Maple Cabin, which was perfect for our family. The modern design and open-concept living space was beautiful, its tall ceilings and huge windows really making it feel more spacious.


Located downstairs was a queen-size bed, some space, and a kitchenette that included an electric cooktop, a refrigerator, and various essentials. The upstairs loft had twin beds, so the kids had their own space. The full bathroom was stocked with plush towels and spa-like bathroom products. It was definitely not your typical campground situation, and we were beyond impressed!

We loved hanging out in the Main Lodge and getting to know the staff: specifically, our whole family fell in love with Cypress. She went out of her way to greet everyone by name and come up with fun activities. We also enjoyed meeting the other guests, both by engaging in some of the planned activities and relaxing near the lodge campfire. We met new friends from Pittsburgh and St. Louis, as well as Atlanta — and we even met some neighbors from St. Augustine!

The Lodge offers complimentary drip coffee and granola in the morning, but it also has espresso drinks and breakfast sandwiches available for purchase. It has a nice lounge, dining and workspace areas, and a camp store. They also offer other dining items later in the day — we became HUGE fans of their pizza — and you can grab a cocktail or a craft beer to enjoy by the fire. There are some cute nearby spots to eat in town, but we especially loved staying on-site, enjoying a fire outside the cabin where we could grill, or ordering food from the Lodge, particularly those delicious pizzas!

We took advantage of ready access to the Smokies’ Maddron Bald Trail right from the campground, but we could also take a drive to other nearby trails and activities. For example, we decided to go ziplining through the Smokies on New Year’s Day with CLIMB Works, which was just a quick five-minute drive up the road. I guess no one else was crazy enough to get up early on New Year’s Day, when it was 30 degrees outside, to zipline through the mountains, so we ended up having a private tour and we had the best time — even Mike, who’s afraid of heights, enjoyed it!


In a world where we’re all constantly going in one hundred different directions, this vacation was so much fun for all four of us. It was good to slow down and enjoy some old-school fun. We explored the outdoors together, played games, built a fire, and loved being together without the normal distractions. The founders have clearly created something magical in Roamstead, and our family can’t wait to get back to our own little fairy cabin in the Great Smoky Mountain woods.

Special Offer for Jacksonville Mom Readers

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Thank you to Roamstead for hosting us!

Megan Kilis
Born in Jacksonville and raised in New Orleans and Houston, Megan attended college in Knoxville, then worked in Nashville. From her nomadic lifestyle grew a love for the beach, as well as a fondness for Cajun food and jazz, Texas BBQ, Tennessee football, and everything Music City. She is a work-from-home mompreneur with a passion for business, fashion, fitness, community, and all things mom. Having fallen in love with her parents’ hot plumber Mike in 2007, she married him two years later in her parents’ backyard. After their spunky curly-haired charmer Kingsley was born in February 2010, Megan decided not to return to her job. While spending time as a stay-at-home mom, however, she realized that Jacksonville was lacking some important resources for moms–so in August 2012, she asked her friend Vicky to join her in starting Jacksonville Moms Blog, now Jacksonville Mom. Megan loves learning more about her city; connecting with other moms, as well as connecting moms with one another; and discovering new local businesses. As the blog has grown, so has her family: in May 2014, she and Mike welcomed a spirited baby boy named Britton. When she’s not working on Jacksonville Mom, you can find Megan sweating it out with other moms, shooting skeet with Mike, or running around on the beach with her energetic duo!



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