Things to do in the Smoky Mountains extend beyond East Tennessee and the national park. While the Great Smoky Mountains only truly refer to the protected region along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, the vast silvery haze of the mountain range can be seen and enjoyed for miles in every direction. For that reason we've put together a list of the top 100 things to do in the Smoky Mountains area from east Tennessee, middle North Carolina, and even southern Virginia.
Go Tubing In Townsend
205 Wears Valley Rd. Townsend, TN 37882
Anyone can enjoy the relaxation of floating down a river, and there's nowhere better to go tubing in Townsend than at Smoky Mountain River Rat. Since 1995 this family owned whitewater rafting and tubing business has been the top rated outpost in the Smokies.River Rat
The Knoxville Sunsphere
810 W Clinch Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902
This famous 75 foot golden glass sphere is impossible to miss in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Since the 1982 World's Fair the structure has stood tall as a symbol for the city; you've likely seen it on postcards, advertisements, and even in a couple famous TV shows. Take the elevator to the observation deck up top for an incredible view of the city and surrounding mountains.
Drive The Foothills Parkway
Since 1944 the incredible Foothills Parkway has been under construction to connect the western US Highway 129 to the eastern Interstate 40 in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As recently as 2018, The Missing Link of the parkway was finally completed. The drive is considered one of the most beautiful in the country.Foothills Parkway
Rowdy Bear Mountain Glider
386 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN 37738
The one of a kind mountain glider at Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a single railed in-air coaster that feels like a mix of free falling and hang gliding. There's truly nothing else quite like it, and anyone brave enough and at least 80 pounds can take on the exciting challenge.Rowdy Bear
The Biltmore Estate
One Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803
The historic Biltomore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is the largest privately owned house in the United States. Built for George Washington Vanderbilt II some time between 1889 and 1895, the 178,926 square foot home has four acres of total floor space with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, 3 kitchens, and 65 fireplaces. There are several ways to tour the immense property and see for yourself.
Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
The beautiful mountain town of Gatlinburg, TN offers countless things to do in Smoky Mountains on the parkway. Perhaps some of the most notable are the Ripley's attractions. From the aquarium to Believe It Or Not to the mirror maze and Haunted Adventure, all ages will have a blast. Buy a combo pass for entry to all of them.Ripley's
The Devil's Bathtub
Devils Fork Loop Trail, Duffield, VA 24244
In the Washington Jefferson National Forest in southwest Virginia is this incredible and unique natural water formation. The Devil's Bathtub is a 10 foot deep hole carved into rock and filled with crystal blue water. To get there you must hike the 7.3 mile roundtrip Devil’s Fork Loop Trail. Due to its popularity in recent years, it's best to head out as early as possible. And remember: leave no trace!
The Apple Barn
230 Apple Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN 37862
The Apple Barn Village is located just off the Pigeon Forge parkway and offers a variety of dining, shopping and tasting options. The original barn opened its doors in 1981 and has been family owned and operated ever since; their apple orchard now has over 4,000 trees. Stop by the winery, cidery, and Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant.Apple Barn
Flyaway Indoor Skydiving
3106 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Ever dreamed of flying? Nearby on the Pigeon Forge parkway, you'll find America’s first vertical wind tunnel. Flyaway Indoor Skydiving has been around since 1983 and is fun for ages 5 to 90 years old. Test your skills with a single flight session or participate in their personalized coaching program.Flyaway
Sweetwater Valley Farm
17988 W. Lee Highway, Philadelphia, TN, 37846
The Harrison family has owned Sweetwater Valley Farm since 1992 and start producing cheese in 1998. The land is now home to more than 1,500 dairy cows. The owners say, "Our goal is to provide our customers with an extraordinary cheese experience," which is what you'll have upon visiting the farm. Stop by their café or tour the facilities. In the meantime, check out their online shop and recipe collection on their website.
Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud
2530 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud Show & Adventure Park is one of the most unique attractions in the Pigeon Forge area. Sit back and watch timber sports performed by real lumberjacks, and then try one of the challenges for yourself. From the high woodsman challenge to loggersports and the new "Flying Ox" zipline coaster, there's an activity for everyone.Lumberjack Feud
Old State Hwy 73 Scenic, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
The Sinks are a picturesque spot in the Smoky Mountains where the river turns and creates natural, crystal clear pools with a waterfall near by. Many visitors stop by The Sinks in the summer months to cool off and enjoy a day of swimming in the scenic Smokies. Even if you don't want to get in the water, we recommend driving by and stopping in the parking area for a great view of the waterfalls and flowing river.
Kyker Farms Corn Maze
938 Alder Branch Rd, Sevierville, TN 37876
Up for some fall family fun? Kyker Farms offers all kinds of fun activities for the autumn season. Visit in the month of October and you'll find corn mazes (they have 5 to choose from), hay rides, pumpkin patches, and fun fall activities for younger kids. If you're looking for something a little spookier, try the nighttime haunted maze or the zombie paintball adventure!
2518 Jacob Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996
The University of Tennessee Gardens are the official botanical gardens of the state of Tennessee. The closest location to the Smoky Mountains is at UT Knoxville, with additional locations in Jackson and Crossville Tennessee. Each garden is open in all seasons and are completely free to explore. The UT Gardens are great to visit for a walk, picnic or even one of the educational events that they host throughout the year.
Fontana Lake & Dam
Bryson City, North Carolina
Fontana Lake is located in Western North Carolina and is the highest dam east of the Rocky Mountains. The Dam was built during World War II to be an electric power source for the war. Today, the Dam visitor center is open during the summer and fall and the dam itself is accessible to visitors year round. Walk or drive acrosss the dam and you'll catch incredible panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the lake.
226 Everett Street, Bryson City, NC 28713
Take a scenic ride through the forests of North Carolina on board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The train departs from Bryson City, NC and winds through the small towns, rushing rivers and serene Smoky Mountains. It's a unique way to experience the region and take in it's beauty.GSM Railroad
Roan Mountain State Park
527 TN-143, Roan Mountain, TN 37687
Roan Mountain State Park is approximately 2,000 acres of forest, rivers and wildlife. Popular activities at this state park include hiking along the ridges and creeks, mountain biking, fishing, camping and more. The park is equipped with rental cabins, RV and tent camping spots for visitors to take advantage of if they want to be fully immersed in nature on their trip.
2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
The Titanic Museum Attraction is a grand sight on the Pigeon Forge parkway. Step on board the ship and you'll be greeted by costumed cast, receive a boarding pass be able to explore over 22,000 square feet of Titanic history. Visitors can touch an iceberg and 28-degree water, sit in a life boat and see artifacts from the real Titanic that you can't find anywhere else.Titanic
Tail Of The Dragon
Deals Gap, North Carolina
Warning: the Tail Of The Dragon is not for the faint of heart or inexperienced rider. Those of you that know what you're doing and have the proper equipment and sport bike for the ride, however - this is a must-do. Every single curve is different. This is not a road to travel for sight seeing; it's a road to ride.Tail Of The Dragon
The Escape Game
131 Island Drive, Suite 9139, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
The Escape Game Pigeon Forge, located at The Island, has 5 different exciting adventures that you absolutely must try. If you've never played an escape room before we recommend the fan favorite Gold Rush, a treasure hunt themed room. Of course if you're well seasoned in these sort of attractions, go straight for Prison Break.The Escape Game
Dark Island Swinging Bridge
7802 W Old Hwy 73, Townsend, TN 37882
The Dark Island Swinging Bridge is tucked behind the Litle River Railroad and Lumber Museum in Townsend, TN. It is one of the last swinging bridges in the area that visitors can try out. It's a great spot to capture photos of the scenery or even of your group! The bridge is well-maintained and can hold 4 adults at a time.
Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
The Island, Pigeon Forge
The Island is home to tons of fun food and entertainment for families. This 200 foot observation wheel is not only an iconic sight, but also one of the coolest ways to catch beautiful views of the Smokies. Grab a ticket, board a gondola and take a ride to see mountain views during the day and the cities twinkling lights at night.The Island
Pink Jeep Tours
3152 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Pink Jeep Tours lets you ride through the Smoky Mountains in style while an expert guide shows you the best sights in the area. On each tour, you'll ride in an open-air Pink Jeep Wrangler. Possible tours include Newfound Gap, Foothills Parkway, Roaring Fork and more.Pink Jeep Tours
Bush's Visitor Center
3152 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Bush's Visitor Center is where the legacy of the Bush's brand began. The visitor center is located in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee and now functions as a general store and museum. The museum educates visitors on the methods of processing and canning beans, lets you walk through a giant replica can of beans and even taste some delicious dishes in the cafe.Bush's Beans
Tennessee North Carolina border
Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, North Carolina, and the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. You can reach the 54 foot observasion tower via a paved half mile trail to the top. Afterward you can even head south down Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald.Clingmans Dome
Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The annual Great Smoky Mountain Wildflower Pilgrimage is about more than just flowers. Some of the popular events include guided hikes, an edible mushroom walk, photography and gardening workshops, and even a nighttime bat walk and owl prowl. This is an event for any nature lover.Wildflower Pilgrimage
Scenic Highway, Chattanooga, TN
Beneath Lookout Mountain near the Tennessee Georgia border is the country's tallest and deepest underground waterfall that you can see with your own eyes. Ruby Falls is 145 feet tall and truly a sight to be seen. You can tour the interior of this portion of Lookout Mountain; we recommend trying out the lantern tour and experience what it was like when Leo Lambert discovered the falls back in 1928.
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
The one and only Dollywood theme park in Sevierville is the biggest ticketed tourist attraction in the state of Tennessee. Previously called Silver Dollar City, the park was renamed when Dolly Parton bought an interest in it because she "wanted to come back to [her] part of the country and do something great." Dollywood now hosts 3 million guests annually.Dollywood
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Once a year in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a strange and beautiful phenomenon occurs: more than 19 species of fireflies synchronize their flickering lights together after dark. This is not something that happens all over the world. You can witness this rarity for yourself in the summer by winning the lottery to reach the viewing area.Synchronous Fireflies
Explore Deep Creek
Bryson City, North Carolina 28713
Just north of Bryson City, North Carolina and in the southern part of the national park is the beautiful Deep Creek area, featuring numerous waterfalls (Juney Whank, Tom Branch, and Indian Creek), hiking and biking trails, tubing, fishing, a campground and more.Deep Creek
Pigeon Forge Dinner Shows
If you've never been to a dinner show before, Pigeon Forge is the place to try it out. We've got horses, pirates, family feuds, murder mysteries, and more to choose from. Be sure to check out Dolly Parton's Stampede, a multi-year winner of our Best Of Pigeon Forge contest.Dinner Shows
Brushy Mountain Prison
9182 Hwy 116, Petros, TN 37845
Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was a maximum security prison from 1896 to 2009 that held some notable convicts, such as Martin Luther King Jr's assassin, James Earl Ray. Because of its remote location, escape attempts were infrequent. Ray and six other inmates once climbed a fence to escape, but he was captured 58 hours later. The historic facility has since been converted into a crime museum offering self-guided tours that you will certainly never forget.
Elkmont Ghost Town
Elkmont, TN 37738
In the early 1900s the tourism community of Elkmont, TN took residence in what is now the national park. More than 70 vacation cottages were built in the area. After the park was established and the cottage owners' leases expired, the NPS decided to let nature reclaim these buildings.Elkmont Ghost Town
Asheville's 40+ Breweries
Asheville, North Carolina
There's a reason NPR has called Asheville, North Carolina the Napa Valley of beer. With one of the highest rates of craft beer consumption in the southeastern US, Asheville is home to breweries like Sierra Nevada, Wicked Weed, Highland Brewing Company, New Belgium, Hi-Wire, and so many more. It's a great weekend destination for beer lovers and only about an hour and a half drive from Knoxville, Tennessee.
There's plenty to do within the 11 mile Cades Cove loop area. Biking and hiking around the loop itself is a popular activity, and the area is home to many other trailheads leading to places like Abrams Falls, Russell Field, and Gregory Bald. There is also a campground and horseback riding stables.Cades Cove
With six different trails leading to LeConte Lodge, choosing the right hike depends on two factors: your skill level and the scenery you desire. Along your chosen route you might see waterfalls, massive caves, incredible views, mountain streams, and even some llamas.Mt LeConte
See Rock City
1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750
If you've driven around in the Smokies, odds are you've seen some See Rock City painted rooftops. Rock City is an incredible rock garden located just 6 miles from downtown Chatanooga, TN. It's made up of massive ancient formations and more than 400 native plant species, plus nearby caverns and walking paths. "Each season there's a new reason to visit!"
Stay In A Mountain Cabin
When you're ready for a getaway, choose from one of hundreds of our Smoky Mountain cabins. You'll find solitude and relaxation right around the corner from all the action-packed fun you could desire. Choose from cabins with hot tubs, pool tables, indoor pools, and so many other amenities.Cabin Rentals
100 Music Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
If you've ever been on the Pigeon Forge parkway, there's no doubt you've spotted the upside down mansion. This unique attraction has all kinds of wonders inside: a ropes course, laser tag, and all sorts of brain stimulating activities great for younger children especially. Your imaginations will run wild at WonderWorks.WonderWorks
Go Zip Lining
Zip lining in the Smoky Mountains is a thrilling experience. Fly through the treetops and experience the adrenaline rush of a lifetime. Take in the forest and mountain views along the way as you explore the outdoors in a new way. Zip lines are safe, fun and great for visitors looking for a new experience.Zip Lines
Moonshine tastings are a fun adult adventure in the Smoky Mountains. The history of moonshine in the Smoky Mountain area dates all the way back to the American Revolution. Today there are plenty of distilleries scattered around our mountain towns. Stop by one (or a few!) and enjoy some 'shine.Moonshine
777 Casino Dr, Cherokee, NC 28719
Did you know you can experience the thrill of a casino without having to fly to Vegas? Right here in our backyard is Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort with 150,000 feet of classic gambling games like slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, and more. Your stay can be as luxurious as you want it to be, or you can make a day trip out of it.
Brevard, North Carolina
Ever seen a natural water slide? This unique waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest is a popular mountain attraction on hot summer days. The 11,000 gallons of flowing water is a refresshing 50-60 degrees and leads down into a cool eight foot deep pool. It can get crowded, but there are plenty of places to relax on the rocks and watch people slide down one by one. The area in general is really a great place to visit with lots of outdoor activities including hiking trails and swimming holes.
Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
765 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Since 1954 the iconic Gatlinburg SkyLift Park has offered some of the best views in the Smoky Mountains, and now they have even more to offer. The newest addition to the park is the glass-floored SkyBridge, now the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.SkyLift Park
Anakeesta is a unique mountaintop theme park with a focus on "immersing guests of all ages in the beauty and adventure of the great outdoors." Explore the treetop skywalk made of 16 rope bridges hanging nearly 60 feet in the air. Check out the 360⁰ view from the one of a kind observation tower, and shop and dine in Firefly Village.Anakeesta
Hillbilly Golf, voted best mini golf in the area more than once, is the world's most unusual golf course. You'll find challenging mountaineer hazards on both of the 18 hole mini golf courses. To reach the courses you must ride the tram 300 feet up to the top of the mountain. This is a great and popular activity for all ages.
604 S Gay St, Knoxville, TN 37902
This historic movie palace was built in 1928 in the building considered Knoxville's first skyscraper. Today it is a landmark on the main street of the downtown area. The venue hosts all sorts of great shows including live music, stand up comedy, broadway hits, opera, and even classic movies during the summer. Visit the landmark on Gay Street as you explore all this historic area has to offer.
Hike To Charlies Bunion
The 8 mile roundtrip hike to Charlies Bunion via the Appalachian Trail is certainly not the easiest hike in the national park, but the destination is worth it. Along the wooded hiking trail you'll come across sweeping mountain views in surprising places, peaking through the trees. But there is no view like the one from the rocky knob at the end.Charlies Bunion
Ride A Mountain Coaster
Mountain coasters, sometimes called alpine coasters, are a new kind of roller coaster experience where the rider has total control of the speed of their cart. There are a variety of different themes: some light up at night, some have spooky seasonal rides, and some even have goats. Regardless of the ride you choose, you'll have a blast on a mountain coaster.Mountain Coasters
Smoky Mountain Llama Treks
640 Padgett Mill Rd, Cosby, TN 37722
Take a hike with a twist and explore the mountains with Smoky Mountain Llama Treks. Each hiker gets their own pack llama to walk beside and guide on the trail. The llamas are friendly and will carry any gear you bring along. There are three tours offered: Padgett Mill Trail, Foxfire Mountain Trail and even an overnight trek.Llama Treks
Whitewater rafting in the Smoky Mountains runs from March through September annually. There are 6 levels of rapids in the area with something for beginners and experienced rafters. Choose a rafting outfitter and take a guided rafting trip to work on your teamwork, cooperating and coordination while having a blast in the water.Rafting
Alcatraz East Crime Museum
2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
History buffs and crime junkies will love the five unique galleries at Alcatraz East Crime Museum on the Pigeon Forge parkway. You'll find exhibits that delve into the profiles of our country's most notorious criminals, the mysteries surrounding them, and more than 100 interactive activities.Alcatraz East
Gatlinburg Space Needle
115 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
The Gatlinburg Space Needle is an iconic sight in downtown Gatlinburg. It towers above all of your favorite attractions, shops and restaurants. A trip to the top offers rewarding views of the mountains and downtown area. The Space Needle also offers an arcade and pizza shop inside.Space Needle
Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse
2785 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Pancake houses are an extremely popular dining option in the Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg area.Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Cafe on the Pigeon Forge parkway is a unique and truly family friendly option, with an atmosphere that includes singing robotic chickens. The all day menu is to die for, and the kids will have a blast.Frizzle Chicken
Knoxville Farmers' Market
Market Square in Downtown Knoxville, TN
Every Saturday morning in downtown Knoxville's Market Square during the spring and summer months, you can peruse and purchase fresh produce, honey, herbs, pasture raised meat, and handmade goods and artisan crafts from local vendors. The area is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and food trucks for you to enjoy as well. Market Square is a fun place to visit at any time of the year.
Glamping At The Ridge
1250 Middle Creek Rd, Sevierville, TN 37876
The Ridge Outdoor Resort offers luxury camping and glamping experiences in the Smoky Mountains. Located in Sevierville, guests can choose to stay in RVs, cabins or even luxury camping tents. Guests enjoy amenities like a huge outdoor pool, hot tub, a modern bath house, playground, fitness room and WiFi in the lounge. The Ridge is adding more amenities in 2020.The Ridge
7D Dark Ride Adventure
903 Parkway Suite #105 Gatlinburg, TN 37738
7D Dark Ride Adventure is a one of a kind interactive gaming experience that you can try at two different locations in the Smokies. You'll join a room of fellow adventurers wearing special seven dimensional glasses in a battle against a zombie takeover.7D Dark Ride
There are a handful of places in the country to learn about the history of the area via a spooky ghost tour, but two of the best spots to do it are Gatlinburg, TN and Asheville, NC. At the Ghost Walk of Gatlinburg you'll explore the shadowy streets and hear stories of haunted hotels, real murders, and nearly ancient cemetaries. If you wander into North Carolina check out Haunted Asheville, the city's original and oldest ghost tour.
The Star Of Knoxville
The Star Of Knoxville is an authentic paddlewheeler that takes visitors on a cruise down the Tennessee river. The riverboat is a popular setting for a variety of events, from black tie occasions to a tailgate or celebration during football season. The boat has a fully enclosed main deck, 2 bars, a dance floor, a band stage and can be decorated elegantly for special occasions. While you ride, you’ll be treated to incredible views of Knoxville.
The Donut Friar
634 Parkway #15, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
The Village Shops in downtown Gatlinburg are a great place to go shopping. The area is also home to one of the city's most recognized bakeries: The Donut Friar. If you're walking around in the Village you won't be able to resist the wafting aromas of fresh doughnuts, cinnamon bread and pastries. Your mouth will water upon sight of their delicious selection.
Swinging Bridge to Prosperity
3757 Thomas Ln, Sevierville, TN 37876
Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park is home to the 335 foot Swinging Bridge to Prosperity, among many other exciting activities. The 70 foot high swinging bridge is actually the longest in the country and stretches across the gorge at a length longer than a football field.Foxfire Mountain
IJAMS Nature Center
2915 Island Home Ave, Knoxville, TN 37920
This beautiful location in Knoxville, Tennessee offers something for every kind of lover of the outdoors. You can go paddle boarding or kayaking in Mead's quarry, mountain bike the 10 miles of biking trails, hike along the water and through the forest, or work out in one of their "primal" playgrounds. IJAMS also hosts lots of events, camps and programs. Stop by for some awesome outdoor exploration time.
Hike To Mt. Cammerer
The fire tower atop Mount Cammerer reaches nearly 5,000 feet above the mountain tops and is probably one of the most instagrammable locations within hiking distance. The incredible octagonal structure is a beauty in itself, but the views from the top are the real treasure.Mount Cammerer
The Lost Sea
140 Lost Sea Rd, Sweetwater, TN 37874
Listed in the Guiness Book of World Records, The Lost Sea in Sweetwater, Tennessee is the country's largest underground lake. You can tour the caverns on a guided walk offering plenty of crazy scenery, history, and geological facts about the caverns. At the end of the tour you even get to go on a boat ride! The location also offers a shop, café, a gem mine, and the opportunity to watch glass blowing.
Trillium Gap Trail, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
One of the national park hikes leading to Mount LeConte, Trillium Gap Trail has some beautiful scenery along the way, including the feathery soft cascades of Grotto Falls. There's a handfull of waterfall hikes in the park, but this might be the only one where you get the chance to see some llamas.Grotto Falls
Seven Islands State Park
2809 Kelly Ln, Kodak, TN 37764
Seven Islands State Birding Park is located in Kodak, Tennessee and is a popular destination for outdoor recreation. Head to the park to explore 7 miles of diverse landscape, catch views of the Smoky Mountains off in the distance and spot many kinds of wildlife. Popular wildlife sightings include songbirds, hawks, waterfowl and owls. Visitors to Seven Islands can also take part in activities like fishing, biking, hiking and birding.
Visit The Old Mill
164 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
The Old Mill near the Pigeon Forge parkway has been a staple of the area since 1830. Voted best restaurant in 2020, their delicious dining experience isn't the only thing you'll find at this historic location. Their award winning creamery and classic Appalachian candy kitchen are favorite stops amongst visitors of all ages. You can even purchase great gifts like handmade pottery, cookbooks and pantry items from the shop.
Riverstone Resort & Spa
212 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Treat yourself to a relaxing getaway at Riverstone Resort. This luxurious lodge has everything you need for a refreshing trip, including top-notch amenities, river or golf course views and an on-site spa with massages, facial and nail treatments, body treatments, waxing, make-up and more.Riverstone
There are 5.8 miles of hiking trails leading up to the highest point in Knox County, Tennessee. At the peak of House Mountain 2,100 feet up you'll find incredible views of the Smoky Mountains and more, at least 30 miles away. This is a great place for mountain biking, hiking, and even birdwatching; more than 100 species of birds can be found in the park.
Salt & Pepper Museum
461 Brookside Village Way, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
The Smoky Mountains are full of eye-catching attractions and popular landmarks, but one many visitors don't know about is the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum. This museum is the only one of its kind in the whole world. Inside, you can view over 20,000 pairs of shakers. The shakers show how the world has changed over the years, with some coming from ancient times!
Maybe you're not the glamping type. In that case, check out the many backcountry campsites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Score a permit from the NPS, choose your hike, pack your bags, and head into the wilderness. Don't forget to do your research! Camping in the backcountry is not for rookie backpackers.Camping
The Gatlinburg Inn
755 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Fans of the Tennessee Vols might know a little something about the history of The Gatlinburg Inn: it was the location where the song Rocky Top was written in 1967 by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. You can even visit the exact place where it was written in Room 388.Gatlinburg Inn
Tennessee Mountain Tours
153 East Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Tennessee Mountain Tours was voted Best Tours in Pigeon Forge for 2020. They share the history and heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains on exciting tours of your favorite locations, including a Sights of the Smokies tour, a Cades Cove tour and even fun Mixology, Moonshine & Wine Tours. For guests who wish to explore on their own, they also offer ATV rentals.TN Mountain Tours
Bristol Motor Speedway
151 Speedway Blvd, Bristol, TN 37620
Bristol Motor Speedway, located in the Tri-Cities of East Tennessee, is one of the most popular NASCAR short tracks in the country. With a capacity of 162,000, it is the third largest sports venue in America. The annual night race at Bristol is considered one of NASCAR's top 10, and it can be tough to attain tickets. Not a fan of loud cars going in circles? Try driving on the speedway yourself in the winter time for Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland.
Hike To Andrews Bald
Clingmans Dome Trailhead
At 5,860 feet in elevation, Andrews Bald is the highest bald in the national park. The hike to reach it is short but moderate in difficulty. Start at Clingmans Dome and head for Forney Ridge Trail for 1.8 miles to reach the magnificent views and flame azaleas.Andrews Bald
Davy Crockett Birthplace
1245 Davy Crockett Park Rd, Limestone, TN 37681
Davy Crockett was more than just a guy wearing a raccoon on his head; he was a politician, a soldier and a pioneer. His birthplace is located in Limestone, Tennessee (about a half hour drive southwest from Johnson City) and was turned into a state park in 1973, 187 years after he was born. Stop by the park to learn more about the life and death of this famous Tennessean and why his legacy is worth remembering.
Smoky Mountain Water Parks
Who doesn't love a good water slide? From Dollywood's Splash Country to the popular Wilderness at the Smokies and the brand new Soaky Mountain water park, the Smokies are a great place to splash around and have some fun in the sun. You can even save a bit of money by bundling your lodging with the water park activities and staying at a hotel with a water park.Water Parks
Carver's Apple Orchard
3460 Cosby Highway, Cosby, TN 37722
Carver’s Orchard & Applehouse Restaurant is a treasure on the Cosby side of the Smoky Mountains. Since the 1940s, Kyle Carver and his family have been growing apples on their 75 acre family farm. Stop by to buy apples, apple butter, fresh squeezed cider and their famous fried apple fritters. The farm also boasts a candy store and farm restaurant that serves home-cooked favorites catfish, pinto beans and country fried steak.
3337 Mint Rd, Maryville, TN 37803
Rutherford Farms is located in Maryville, Tennessee just a short drive from the Smoky Mountains. The farm has been open since 1976 and offers a variety of pre-picked and you-pick fruits and veggies throughout the year. They are most well known for their strawberries, but depending on the season they also offer green beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli and more. They take appointments for picking, so stop by and bring some Tennessee fruits and veggies home on your next trip.
Deer Farm & Petting Zoo
478 Happy Hollow Ln, Sevierville, TN 37876
The Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic Petting Zoo is a great stop for animal lovers looking for close-up encounters. Guests can walk among the critters, which include camels, kangaroos, zebra, goats, reindeer, Elk, emu, deer, horses, cattle, Watusi, donkeys, zonkies and even more. You'll be able to pet and feed many of these animals and even take one of their horses for a ride.
The Townsend Wye
The Townsend Wye, located right next to the GSMNP entrance, is a popular destination for swimming and water recreation in the Smokies. It’s a completely free opportunity to enjoy tubing and swimming during the summer. Go early to get parking and bring along a picnic, sunscreen and your own tubes and floats. Life jackets are highly encouraged and parents are reminded to watch children closely while they swim.Townsend Wye
Hot Springs, North Carolina
Max Patch is one of the most popular places in the region to catch a sunrise or sunset. Max Patch is a 4,600 ft bald located along a section of the Appalachian Trail. It offers 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains on a clear day. Many visitors enjoy packing a tent and picnic and camping overnight during the warmer months in the year. During the fall, hikers are treated to spectacular views of the changing leaves.
Floyd Garrett Car Museum
320 Winfield Dunn Pkwy, Sevierville, TN 37876
The Floyd Garrett Muscle Car Museum in Sevierville is a car fanatic’s dream. The museum has on elf the largest collections of American made muscle cars in the nation. Currently, they have 90 cars that are worth over $8 million. They have everything from classic muscle cars to modern cars and even a large gift shop to get all of the car merch you can think of. The cars on display change often so there’s always something new to check out.
Rocky Top Wine Trail
Sevierville & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
The Rocky Top Wine Trail is a five-stop journey through the Great Smoky Mountains. Visitors stop at each of the wineries on the trail and receive free wine samples and a passport stamp. Guests who get all of their passport stamps will receive a free gift at the last winery on their trek.Wine Trail
Gatlinburg Craft Trail
Tucked away in Gatlinburg, shoppers will find the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. Over 100 artists and craftsmen create their work and sell it in shops that can be found on an 8-mile loop. When you visit, you'll have an opportunity to meet many of the artists, see their creations and experience pieces of Appalachian culture.Gatlinburg Crafts
English Mountain Trout Farm
291 Blowing Cave Rd, Sevierville, TN 37876
Skip the classic restaurant option one night on your Smoky Mountain vacation and head to the English Mountain Trout Farm. They have a fully stocked pond and all the gear and bait you need to catch your very own trout. Once you catch it, they'll cook it up for you and you can enjoy a delicious meal. They even have pricing per pound for you to take your catches home.
Wild Gals Old Time Photo
1981 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Pick your era and choose a costume to get started with the fun of Wild Gals Old Time Photo. From 1800s classic western-style sets and costumes to gangster outfits of the 1920s, you're sure to love the end result. Check out their online photo gallery to get an idea of the kind of photo you'll want framed on your wall forever.
The Cherohala Skyway is a 43 mile long scenic byway in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. It's considered one of the best motorcycle rides in North America, but you can also enjoy the sweeping mountain views and forested mountainsides by car. The skyway is best traveled on a clear day with moderate weather. Fun fact: the road got it's name from the combination of Cherokee and Nantahala, the two national forests the road passes through.
Race Go Karts
Have the need for speed? Compete with friends and family and race to the finish line at one of these top rated go kart tracks. Many of these attractions offer other fun activities as well. You'll find arcades, laser tag, classic carnival rides, and some unique things to do in Smoky Mountains like The Track's Blaster Boats, a fun and competitive take on bumper cars.Go Karts
Smoky Mountain Angler
469 Brookside Village Way, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Smoky Mountain Angler is an authorized fishing guide service for the Smoky Mountains. If you’ve ever wanted to fish in the Smokies but didn’t know where to start, taking a guided trip with their team is a great way to start. The guides will show you everything you need to know, including fishing techniques, top locations for fishing and more. Half day and full day trips are available and all the gear you need is provided. Just make sure you have a fishing license!
Backpack The AT (71.4 mi)
The Great Smoky Mountains portion of the Appalachian Trail is an awesome segment to try for those who don't want to backpack all 2,143 miles from Georgia to Maine. The trip takes an average of one week to complete, and you'll see some of the best views and highest points in all of the AT.Appalachian Trail
1471 W Millers Cove Rd, Walland, TN 37886
In the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains you'll find this luxury hotel situated on 4,200 acres of gorgeous sweeping land. Blackberry Farm is more than just a resort, however; the destination has a spa, a brewery, wine & whiskey tastings, delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, and multiple places to enjoy your meal. Other things the resort offers: cooking & gardening classes, a clay course, fly fishing, paintball, water sports, hiking, cycling, carriage rides, and horseback riding!
As of September 2020, Blackberry Farm property is only open to registered guests.
Scenic Helicopter Tours
Locations in Sevierville & Pigeon Forge
Imagine an aerial view of Gatlinburg, TN and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since 1972, Scenic Helicopter Tours has had the highest number of FAA and NPS approved flights, giving you access to sights you wouldn't otherwise get to see. Helicopters can hold up to 6 passengers.Scenic Helicopter Tours
Throw An Axe
2850 Parkway Suite 13, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
A newer attraction in the Smokies, The Axe House has introduced a sport to the area that has been rapidly growing in popularity worldwide. Step out of your comfort zone and try to hit the target and score the most points. If you've never done it before, don't sweat it; fully trained axe throwers will be there to assist.The Axe House
Norris Lake is a beautiful body of water located north of Knoxville, Tennessee. With more than 800 miles of shoreline, there's plenty to do both on and off the water. Rent a boat and pull a wakeboard behind you for some exciting water sports fun. Do some research on hydrobiking! There are also plenty of places to go swimming, fishing or camping. Grab dinner at one of the local marinas after a day of fun in the sun. It's a great family destination with activies for all ages.
Basketball Hall Of Fame
700 S Hall of Fame Dr, Knoxville, TN 37915
Since 1999 this 35,000 square foot facility in Knoxville has stood with its unique basketball crown to honor all levels of women's basketball. The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization whose mission is to "honor the past, celebrate the present, promote the future of women's basketball." Sports fans can enjoy touring the facility, but it's also a great location for special events (wedding receptions, birthday parties, and even proms).
Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff
One of Gatlinburg's most recognizable fall events is the Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff. Bush's Chili Beans puts on the event, where festival-goers can sample chili from many of the area's restaurants. Vendors are competing for the People's Choice award, Best Booth Presentation and more.Chili Cookoff
Antiquing in Wears Valley
921 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, 37863
If you're staying in a Smoky Mountain cabin, you won't have to look far to find a unique little antique shop. Yesterdays Antiques is a great place to start. If you've never been antiquing, don't knock it 'til you try it! These are great places to find unique gifts, authentic Smoky Mountain decor, and collectors items that you may not have considered purchasing before.Yesterdays Antiques