Smoky Mountains

If you’re thinking about heading on a weekend getaway with your friends or family, then consider planning a trip to the Great Smokies. Nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of Tennessee and North Carolina, these majestic mountains can provide you with an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With more than 14 million visitors a year, the Smoky Mountains remain a popular weekend retreat option for a lot of people who come to explore its neighboring cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

What makes the Smokies an ideal vacation spot?

Even though the resort town of Gatlinburg has a small population of 3,700+ (more if you count the black-bear population), it serves as one of the nation’s favorite fun and relaxing getaways for adults and families traveling with kids. This blog sheds light on a few reasons why you should embark on a journey into the Smokies through Gatlinburg and spend a weekend sightseeing its breathtaking natural landscape and engaging in its exciting activities.

1. Cost-effective family vacation

Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains can be a family-friendly, cost-effective activity if you plan it right. A weekend-long trip to the Smokies can cost you as little as a thousand dollars, and most attractions don’t cost a lot. That means you can save up enough to afford a cheap trip to one of America’s favorite vacation destinations without breaking the bank. Moreover, visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park won’t cost you a dime because there’s no entrance fee there.

2. Many exciting outdoor activities

Many exciting activities and outdoor adventures await you in the Great Smokies. This landmark keeps people entertained no matter their age. Whether you’re in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, these towns will keep you fully engaged. So, let’s talk about some things to do in Gatlinburg TN for adults who wish to be entertained:

  • Explore the Arts and Crafts Community, an 8-mile loop featuring over 100 shops, studios, and galleries
  • You can eat out and enjoy a live theater performance or a music show
  • Go for wine tasting and sipping some moonshine, Gatlinburg’s famous delicacy

3. Comfortable, affordable cabins

You can commence your journey by renting a comfy, luxury cabin close to the national park. The cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are home to many such affordable cabins or hotels where you’ll find a bunch of different amenities, including hot tubs, home theaters, and swimming pools. After exploring the depths of the national park, you can relax in a cozy little cabin.

And if you’re visiting the Smokies with a large group, then you may get a group/family discount.

4. Stunning views of the mountains

The misty peaks, lush forests, and diverse wildlife of the Smokies invite tourists to bathe in the majesty of this location while marveling at this splendid spectacle of nature’s grandeur. Here’s how you can try to properly enjoy the unparalleled beauty of this Appalachian landscape:

  • Enjoy the weather: Though summers in the region can be hot and humid, visiting the Smokies in spring or fall will help you properly appreciate the beauty of the mountain range.
  • Traverse the hiking trails: Experience the inner beauty of the Smokies by walking, driving, or cycling along different trails.
  • Look at different wonders: Feast your eyes on the awe-inspiring scenes of sunrise and sunset in this heavenly valley.
  • Try camping: Spend your time at different campgrounds, go on picnics, and stargaze at night.
  • Take selfies: Take as many selfies as you can and capture your adventure on camera.

5. Observe wildlife in the Smokies

The Smokies are home to dozens of different fish, bird, and mammal species. It’s your chance to marvel at these animals living in perfect harmony with nature, the most notable creatures being black bears. Other animals include:

  • Red fox
  • River otter
  • Bald eagle
  • Gray squirrel
  • Eastern box turtle
  • Eastern chipmunk
  • White-tailored deer

6. Filled with history and legends

A trip to the Smokies doesn’t always have to be recreational. You can spend some time exploring the remnants of Native American civilizations and early European colonizers in the Smokies. Step back in time by visiting archaic grist mills, historic homesteads, and well-preserved cabins that offer a glimpse into the lives of this region’s long-forgotten inhabitants. You can visit:

  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: This ancient pathway is riddled with dilapidated mills, barns, and homes showcasing the lifestyle of early Appalachian settlers.
  • Elkmont Historic District: The ruins of this logging community are still standing in the form of run-down vacation homes.
  • Mountain Farm Museum: Visit a museum featuring historic log buildings and farm equipment.

7. Different attractions to look at

If you’re willing to enrich yourself culturally, then plenty of such opportunities exist in the Smokies. The national park is home to museums, craft shops, and historic sites, letting tourists explore this region’s rich cultural heritage. Besides its tranquil waterfalls and mountain vistas, the following attractions also exist within the Great Smoky Mountains:

  • Catalooche Valley: An ideal location to observe the majestic elk population
  • Laurel Falls Trail: Many tourists traverse this trail to reach the breathtaking waterfall
  • Mingus Mill: This historic site will showcase the region’s traditional milling techniques
  • Cades Cove: A beautiful valley with historic buildings and wildlife viewing opportunities
  • Clingmans Dome: The highest peak in the Smokies with an observation tower at the summit

8. Paradise for all you food lovers

After indulging in shopping sprees at different boutiques and outlets, you may want to consume the tastiest delicacies offered in the region, ranging from Southern meals to gourmet cuisine. Pancakes in Gatlinburg are considered some of the best in the country by selling pizza-sized versions of this breakfast meal.

Some other delicious meals and mouthwatering delicacies available in this region include:

  • Smoked ham
  • Taffy and fudge
  • Homemade maple syrup
  • Cornbread and soup beans
  • Apple butter and dumplings


Weekend exploring

This blog has hopefully helped you to spend a great, exciting weekend exploring this mesmerizing mountain range and its neighboring towns. You can engage in different outdoor activities at the Smokies, take a bunch of adventuresome selfies, and experience different Southern culinary delights on this trip.

It’ll be a getaway worth remembering!