Today at STYLEanthropy, I’m sharing a travel guide for the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee! I realized after sharing with you our glamping home last summer, I wasn’t able to follow up with things to do or places to go. So below, I’ve rounded up some of them. There’s also a video guide/vlog of our trip. Also, please note that the photos and videos are a mix of SLR and iPhone shots, and some were taken from inside a moving SUV.
The Great Smoky Mountains Travel Guide
I’ve never heard about The Great Smoky Mountains until I was looking for glamping locations sponsored by The Glamping Hub. Also known as the Smokies, the Great Smoky Mountains are named for the smoke-like blue mist that always seems to hover around the peaks and valleys. Do you know that there are more than 7,000 cabins, chalets, condos, campgrounds, and bed & breakfasts in Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee? Me neither! When visiting the Smokies, you’ll find yourself in those three cities the most.
STAY: Cabins at Sevierville, TN
We ended up finding this beautiful treehouse in Sevierville, TN. It’s a spacious three-level log cabin and you can see more photos and read more about it here.
The cabins in Sevierville are known to be the most romantic spots in the city. This pond is down the road from our tree house.
SHOP: Tanger Outlets at Sevierville
We went to the Tanger Outlets in Sevierville to drop off the grandmas before we headed to the mountains. So if you’re not up for some hiking and would rather shop, the city has you covered!
VISIT: Dollywood Theme Park AND Water Park
Sevierville is where the music legend Dolly Parton was born. That’s why she has her own theme park, Dollywood, located minutes away, in Pigeon Forge. I wasn’t able to take a photo but snapped this somewhere else in the city. Mind you, her theme park and water park seems pretty big from the outside.
DO: Pigeon Forge Museums, Go Karts, Mini Golf, Arcades
Pigeon Forge is known to be the center of fun in the Great Smoky Mountains. The friendly people, down home hospitality, family values, and wholesome fun make Pigeon Forge the “All-American Get-Away“. There are so many amazing museums like the Elvis Museum, Titanic Museum, Smoky Mountain Car Museum, and the Wonderworks seen above. Aside from that, you’ll be amazed at the MANY, MANY and I mean MANY go-karts, mini-golf, arcades, laser tag and indoor skydiving that you’ll see in this city. Just drive along Parkway and you’ll see all sorts of attractions lined up in one street! Your kids will never get bored!
EAT: Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen
While in Pigeon Forge, don’t forget to visit one of the popular restaurants, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. They serve family-style spread of hearty Down Home dishes with Paula’s famous sides! We didn’t have time to visit this but I’ve read great reviews.
DINE & WATCH: Pigeon Forge Dinner Shows
Dine and watch a show at the same time? Dinner shows are pretty common in Pigeon Forge. So if you want to dine and enjoy some fun entertainment, try Hatfield & McCoy, Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery, Dixie Stampede, or Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure, to name a few. Click here to get discount on tickets.
Gatlinburg, TN is only two miles long by five miles wide, AND surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains on three sides. But don’t be fooled by the small community. It’s filled with restaurants, shops, lodging, and attractions – some of which I’m listing below.
VISIT: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Believe it or not, Ripley’s Believe It or Not has 8 attractions in Gatlinburg including one of the Top 5 Aquariums in the USA, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! <- Click to visit their site if you plan to go because they usually have discount for tickets when you buy online!
DINE: Bones BBQ Joint
I had fun with our Bones BBQ Joint dinner in Gatlinburg. Try the sampler if you want to try all the BBQ meats. But if you were to ask me which one I loved the most, it has to be the ribs. The pork and beef are also so good! They have a patio area if you want to dine al fresco. We had Louis with us and they were fine with him out there.
VISIT: Ober Gatlinburg + RIDE: Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway
So you ride this aerial tramway to get to the top where the Ober Gatlinburg resort is. Roundtrip is $13.
Don’t be scared, just enjoy the amazing views.
You’ll even see the bear from above… this is from their Smoky Mountain Wildlife Encounter attraction.
The tramway leads to the Tramway Mall with stores, souvenir shops, ice skating, and the ski mountain coaster. It’s the only ski resort in Gatlinburg. During the winter months, you can ski or snowboard down eight different trails.
There’s also an amusement park for the summer months.
There’s a restaurant and lounge where I had a delicious salad! Yum!
With this view…
RIDE: Gatlinburg Sky Lift
Instead of the aerial tramway, you take the lift (similar to the lifts at ski resorts) to enjoy the views of Gatlinburg. Price range is from $13 (children) to $20 (adult all-day ticket). NOTE, the sky lift was heavily damaged from the wildfires in 2016. It remains CLOSED at the time of publishing this article.
VISIT: Gatlinburg Space Needle
Get a 360-degree view of the Smokies and Gatlinburg from the Space Needle. Tickets from $5.95 to $10.95.
DO: Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster
Brave enough to ride the roller coaster in the mountains? Then you have to try the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster or any of the other mountain coaster attractions in the area. It’s a popular tourist attraction in Gatlinburg. They let you ride at night too. I have to admit, I’m scared to do that, but I wish I did!
DO: Hike, Bike, Motor Trails
Want to enjoy the great outdoors? Then head to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park with over 9 million visits each year. Do you know that it’s the most-visited national park in the United States? Yes, more than Yellowstone or Yosemite National Parks! You can hike, bike, horseback ride, camp, picnic, fish, zipline, whitewater raft, or just enjoy the view. There are so much outdoor activities to do, but we had so little time. If you love nature, allow a full day just for this!
On the other hand, if you don’t have the time, or if like us, you’re stopped by the weather, just take the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Drive the one-way winding road and take in all the beauty of Mother Nature.
Well, those are just some of the places we enjoyed and recommend to any first-timers at the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Below is the travel guide/vlog video I mentioned earlier. Enjoy watching!
I hope you find my Great Smoky Mountains Travel Guide inspiring or useful for your next trip. If you’ve been to the Smokies and you enjoyed something that I forgot to mention here, please do share! I’d love to include it here.
Until the next trip… keep traveling in style!