Visit the Smoky Mountains

Discover the Magic of the Smokies

Nestled within the heart of Appalachia lies a land of misty mountains, age-old forests, and a rich tapestry of history and culture. The Great Smoky Mountains are not just a testament to nature’s grandeur, but they’re also a vibrant hub of adventure, culinary delights, and boundless beauty. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a curious foodie, a nature lover, or simply seeking a serene getaway, this mesmerizing realm welcomes all with open arms and promises memories that will last a lifetime. Dive into our guide and chart your perfect journey through this enchanting landscape.

Visiting the Smoky Mountains: Your Ultimate Guide

Things to do

Embrace the Adrenaline:

  • Ziplining: Float between forest canopies at Climb Works for a bird’s-eye view of the breathtaking Smoky Mountains.
  • White-water Rafting: Experience the thrills of the roaring Pigeon River. Suitable for beginners and experienced rafters alike.
  • Mountain Biking: Navigate through the natural trails of Cades Cove for an invigorating journey through the heart of the mountains.
  • Bungee Jumping: Take a leap of faith off the Gatlinburg Bridge and feel the rush!
  • Paragliding: Soar like an eagle over the sprawling landscapes of the Smoky Mountains and capture once-in-a-lifetime views.

Arts & Culture:

  • Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts: Delve into the world of Appalachian art and maybe even pick up a new skill or two!
  • Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community: Explore this 8-mile loop road with over 100 artists and craftsmen showcasing their talents. From handmade pottery to unique jewelry, it’s a cultural treasure trove.
  • Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center: Immerse yourself in the rich history and traditions of the Smoky Mountains’ indigenous communities and settlers.
  • The Village Shops: Step back in time in this quaint, European-style village with a collection of unique boutiques and galleries.
  • Mountain Mall: A multilevel, indoor mall in Gatlinburg, offering a diverse collection of local artisan crafts, homemade fudge, and regional books.

Social Scenes and Gatherings:

  • Gatlinburg SkyLift Park: Not only does it offer magnificent views, but it’s also a popular spot where locals and tourists come together. Enjoy the views from the SkyBridge or gather around firepits in the evening.
  • Anakeesta: An outdoor family experience with treetop skywalks, zip-lining, and a vibrant mountain village filled with shops, restaurants, and more. A great place to mingle and meet new people!
  • Ober Gatlinburg’s Seasons of Ober Festival: A seasonal event celebrating the spirit of the Smoky Mountains with music, food, and local crafts. Perfect for social butterflies looking to engage with the community.
  • Smoky Mountain Winery: Engage in wine tasting sessions, meet fellow wine enthusiasts, and even attend wine-making workshops.
  • Downtown Gatlinburg’s Parkway: The heartbeat of Gatlinburg! Filled with shops, eateries, and attractions. A stroll down the Parkway in the evening is filled with street performances, live music, and a chance to interact with both locals and fellow travelers.

Places to Eat

Savor the Local Flavors:

  • English Mountain Trout Farm & Grill: A must-visit for the freshest Smoky Mountain Trout.
  • Delauder’s BBQ: Dive into the world of Appalachian-style BBQ. Tender, juicy, and full of mountain flavors.
  • Love That Biscuit: A breakfast haven! Don’t miss their country ham and biscuits.
  • Log Cabin Pancake House: Pancakes stacked high and drizzled with the sweetest syrups and fresh fruits.
  • Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery: Tour, taste, and take home a bottle of the finest mountain moonshine.
  • The Wild Plum Tea Room: Nestled in the Arts & Crafts Community, it offers a diverse menu inspired by Austrian mountain tea rooms. Don’t miss their homemade soups and fresh-baked goods!
  • Three Jimmy’s: A local favorite for hearty comfort food. Their award-winning wings and artisan flatbread pizzas are a hit.
  • The Park Grill: Experience rustic mountain ambience while enjoying mouthwatering steaks and locally sourced dishes.
  • Greenbrier Restaurant: Set in a historic log cabin, it’s known for its Southern-inspired meals, from smoked ribs to catfish.
  • Smoky Mountain Brewery: Not just for its locally brewed beers, but also for its mountain-specialty dishes. Their trout and chips are a delightful twist on the classic.
  • Crockett’s 1875 Breakfast Camp: Provides the best breakfast in Gatlinburg, TN which brings all its faithful hikers back time and time again. Skillets, omelettes, griddle cakes, and more to fuel your day’s adventure!

What to See

Natural Beauty, Scenic Drives, & Natural Wonders:

  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: A mesmerizing drive showcasing cascading streams, historic buildings, and the lush forest.
  • Cades Cove: An open-air museum where you can spot deer, black bears, and wild turkeys in their natural habitat.
  • Laurel Falls Trail: A gentle walk leading to a beautiful waterfall, perfect for families and nature lovers.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway: Known as “America’s Favorite Drive”, this scenic route offers panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains, especially stunning during the fall foliage.
  • Foothills Parkway: Stretching across the park’s northern side, this drive promises breathtaking vistas, especially during the sunrise and sunset.
  • Newfound Gap Road: As you drive, watch the forests transition from deciduous trees to evergreen spruce-fir, and be greeted by sweeping mountain views.
  • Clingmans Dome: Witness the beauty of a Smoky Mountain sunset or indulge in some stargazing at this renowned vantage point.
  • Abrams Falls: A moderate hike leading to one of the most voluminous waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains.
  • Tuckaleechee Caverns: Explore underground marvels, ancient formations, and witness the grandeur of the Earth’s interiors.
  • Mingus Mill: A historic grist mill, it showcases the beauty of water flowing against the rustic setting of the structure.
  • Balsam Mountain: A lovely high-altitude drive that culminates in a breathtaking overlook, especially during the wildflower blooming season.
  • Grotto Falls: The only waterfall in the Smokies that one can walk behind, it’s a gentle trek and offers a unique experience.
  • Mount LeConte: The third highest peak in the park, it offers panoramic views and has diverse plant and animal life due to its range in altitude.

Family-Friendly Spots:

  • Ripley’s Aquarium: Dive into an underwater world without getting wet! From sharks to turtles, it’s an aquatic wonder for all ages.
  • Dollywood: One of the world’s best theme parks with thrilling rides, traditional crafts, and spectacular entertainment. It also hosts a water park section for those hot summer days.
  • WonderWorks: An amusement park for the mind, with over 100 hands-on exhibits for every age. From natural disasters and space exploration to an art gallery where artworks come to life, it’s a world of wonder.
  • Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster: A fun and exhilarating roller coaster ride, but with a twist – you control the speed! Safe for kids and thrilling enough for adults.
  • The Island in Pigeon Forge: A massive entertainment complex offering a Ferris wheel with stunning views, interactive fountains for kids to play in, and a host of games and attractions.
  • RainForest Adventures: A zoo featuring over 600 live animals, representing over 130 species, it’s a delightful experience for kids and offers a hands-on approach with many of the exhibits.
  • The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum: A quirky museum that’ll intrigue both young and old. With over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from around the world, it’s a unique and fun-filled stop.
  • Toy Box Mini Golf: An interactive mini-golf experience where giant toys come to life. It’s nostalgic for adults and exciting for the little ones.
  • Sugarlands Visitor Center: A great starting point for families. Apart from gathering information, kids can engage in interactive exhibits and even become Junior Rangers!