The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the most visited attractions in the United States. More than
10 million people visit each year, drawn to the diverse landscape and various outdoor activities.
There’s something for everyone in these mountains, whether looking for a peaceful retreat into
nature or an adrenaline-pumping adventure.
But first-time visitors may be a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size and variety of things to do in the
area. Here are our top tips for making the most of your trip to America’s favorite mountain range.
Don’t Try to See Everything:
The Smoky Mountains are massive, and it’s impossible to see everything in one trip. Pick a few key
areas to focus on, and don’t try to do too much. You’ll enjoy your trip more if you relax and take it
Some areas that tourists have their hearts set on seeing, such as Clingmans Dome and Newfound
Gap, can be crowded in peak season. Get there early or consider visiting outside of peak times to
You must also try and squeeze in some time to explore the surrounding towns. The small mountain
towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are bustling with activities.
Choose Your Accommodation Carefully:
Accommodation options in the area range from camping and cabins to resorts and hotels. Make sure
you research before booking, as some areas can be remote and hard to access.
For those enthralled with getting off the beaten path, RV camping is a great way to experience the
Smoky Mountains. There are plenty of RV parks and campgrounds in the area that offers amazing
views and access to outdoor activities. For the best RV camping Smoky Mountains experience, look
no further than Greenbrier Campgrounds, which offer full hookup sites, a pool, and plenty of hiking
Visit During Events and Celebrations:
The Smoky Mountains area is known for its festivals and events celebrating its rich cultural heritage.
Depending on when you plan your tour, you might be able to catch one of the celebrations and
For example, in Gatlinburg, there’s a 4th of July parade, the famous Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, and
the Smoky Mountain Trout Festival.
Similarly, Pigeon Forge events like Astra Lumina at Anakeesta, Titanic LEGO Display, and Pigeon
Forge Winterfest are all popular draws.
However, you’ll want to book your accommodation in advance for these events, as the best spots
can fill up quickly.
Don’t Miss the Dinner Shows:
The Smoky Mountains area is home to some of the best dinner shows in the country. If you’re
seeking a fun night out with your family or friends, be sure not to miss out on these. The Hatfield &
McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge is a crowd favorite. It features incredible country music and
For a more thrill-filled evening, check out the Desperado at Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Pigeon Forge.
This show offers a unique combination of singing, dancing, and thrilling stunts.
If you want to laugh it up, Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge is the place to be. This family-friendly show
features a variety of comedians and magicians performing hilarious comedy routines.
Explore the Beauty of Waterfalls:
Icy cold water cascading down rocky slopes is one of the most beautiful sights in nature. It’s a
refreshing break from the heat of a long summer day.
The Smoky Mountains are home to some stunning waterfalls and hidden gems you won’t miss.
There are over 100 waterfalls in the area. Some of the most popular ones are Ramsey Cascades,
Laurel Falls, and Grotto Falls.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a guided tour to the highest waterfall in the Smoky
Mountains – Clingmans Dome Falls. The views from this spot are simply stunning.
Go on a Moonshine Tour:
The Smoky Mountains have a long history of moonshine production, and you can take an
educational tour to learn more about it. Moonshine tours usually include tasting sessions, so be
prepared to sample local brews.
You can also tour one of the many authentic stills in the area and learn about making legal
One of the can’t-miss spots in the Smoky Mountains is Ole Smoky Moonshine, which offers a variety
of moonshine flavors. Their best seller is their classic Ole Smoky White Lightnin’, so be sure to try it!
You can also take a few bottles home as souvenirs.
Go for a Hike:
What’s a mountain vacation without a good hike? And, especially in the Smokys, you can fully
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts over 800 miles of trails that range from strolls to
If you’re looking for a moderate hike, try the Rainbow Falls Trail. This trail takes you through lush
forests and offers stunning views of Rainbow Falls. Another great trail is the Gatlinburg Trail, which
takes you along a picturesque creek.
For a more strenuous hike, try the Mount Le Conte Trail. This trail takes you through dense forests
and offers spectacular views of the Smokys from its highest peak.
Make the most of your next Smoky Mountain trip by choosing the right season, planning, and
exploring the area’s many attractions. Don’t forget to check out the festivals and dinner shows, as
well as some of the hidden gems, like waterfalls and moonshine tours.
You’ll also come across some excellent shopping and dining experiences, so be sure to take some
time out to explore those too.
Most importantly, don’t forget to get out and hike in the Smokys. With its wide range of trails, you’re
sure to find one perfect for you.