7 Reasons to Ditch the Passport and Plan a Smoky Mountain Vacation

sunrise above the peaks of smoky mountains

Longing for an exotic getaway?

You imagine some far-flung locale with mystic smoke rising up from a land of lush green vegetation, teeming with wildlife and adventure around every corner.

We’ll let you in on a little secret… that bucket-list destination might not be so far after all.

Mystic smoke… check.

Lush landscape…check.

Wildlife galore…check.

Non-stop adventure…you betcha.

Where could all this be found you ask? The Smokey Mountains of course.

Read on to see how you can ditch your passport and satisfy the explorer in you on your next smoky mountain vacation.

1. Save Some Cash, Gain Some Culture on Your Smoky Mountain Vacation

Who isn’t looking for an action-packed vacation on the cheap? A smoky mountain vacation is a great way to tour new territory without spending thousands on airfare.

With a Vegas-esque strip stretching from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg, there is something for everyone – boutiques, restaurants, arcades, entertaining shows and more!

If you’re looking for some cultural immersion, try the Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail. This historic 8- mile loop was first started in the early 1900’s as a way to showcase the largest community of artists in the U.S. Goods for purchase include:

  • pottery
  • jewelry
  • framable art
  • baskets
  • quilts
  • silver-smithing
  • stained glass

All items are original works created by the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts collective.

2. Experience the History of Gatlinburg

No vacation is complete without learning a little history. A great way to do this is through Gatlinburg’s ‘Tunes & Tales‘ event.

This summer series offers street performances with outfitted musicians and storytellers bringing to life some of the state’s most famous characters dating back to the 1800s.

Giving visitors a chance to connect with the Smoky Mountain heritage in a fun and interactive way.

3. Disney? No, Dolly!

Dollywood that is.

Honestly, you might have to do a double-take to know you’re not at the magic kingdom.

Dollywood is owned by famous country crooner, Dolly Parton and opened in 1961.

This place offers Broadway -worthy entertainment, tons of rides for every age and top-rated food choices.

If you’re a roller coaster fanatic, don’t miss the park’s newest addition – the Lighting Rod – it’s billed as the fastest wood coaster in the world!

Oh, and did we mention Dollywood was named the #3 Best Theme Park in the country by USA Today? We’re just saying, it might be worth visiting on your smoky mountain vacation.

We’re just saying it might be worth visiting on your smoky mountain vacation.

4. Number One National Park

We’re # 1! We’re # 1! But seriously, we are or at least our park is.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the US.

From the gorgeous timeworn mountains to reminders of the past Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this epic park oozes adventure.

Blooming flowers year-round, historic churches, glistening ponds, and roaring waterfalls are just some of the treasures you’ll find as you hike along on some of the most popular trails in the park, including:

  • Alum Cave Bluffs
  • Andrews Bald
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Chimney Tops

Remember to check the park’s website for any alerts or additional advisory information before hitting the trails.

5. Photo-ops and Wildlife Watching Galore

If seeing animals in their natural habitat is your thing, a smoky mountain vacation is a great way to get your fix.

The national park is home to one of the world’s largest numbers of black bears. There are approximately 1500 bears living in the park currently.

Summer is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of these smaller, less aggressive relatives of the Grizzlies, as they are most active in warmer months.

Try to schedule your viewings in the early morning or later at night for the best chance at a photo.

Cades Cove Loop is filled with wildlife watching and offers a scenic drive for those wanting to pack a picnic and experience this tranquil piece of nature.

For a more active option, you can pedal your way through the famous loop every Saturday and Wednesday morning before 10:00 am when the path opens to motor vehicles. The path is a smooth 11- mile trip and offers a few turn- offs for those bikers who prefer a shorter ride.

Visiting in the month of May or June? Stop by the area right outside the Elkmont campground to see a synchronized firefly show only nature could provide.

Other animals to keep an eye out for on your smoky mountain vacation include white-tailed deer, ground hog, skunk, raccoon,  coyotes and wild turkeys.

6. Detach From the Hustle and Bustle

Pinterest boards are filled with the catchphrase Glamping but what is it?

You’ll find the answer when you step inside your smoky mountain cabin rental.

Far away from the daily stress of work and tiresome routines, you’ll find the peaceful beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

And there’s no need to stress about space on this getaway, the cabins for two offer just as much luxury as the spaces sleeping 30 – it’s called Sothern Hospitality for a reason.

7. Wine Trails, Whiskey Tastings

What’s a vacation without an adult beverage or two?

Here in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll find a tour for whatever spirit is to your liking.

Dare to try Moonshine? Feed your fascination of this Appalachian lore with a trip to one of the most popular moonshine production spots, Ole Smoky MoonsDistilleryillry.

Feed your fascination of this Appalachian lore with a trip to one of the most popular moonshine production spots, Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery. Here you’ll find the largest selection of moonshine flavors and proof levels.

The Old Forge Distillery is a great spot to try some authentic Tennesse Whiskey and learn about their 100-year-old production process.

Wine lovers rejoice as you set out on the Rocky Top Wine Trail. The trail boasts 12 miles of wineries with over 70 types of wine to sample!

With gorgeous scenic views, fields of wildflowers and up close encounters with animals of every size – we hope you’ll agree to ditch your passport and grab your camera because the trip of a lifetime awaits.

Contact us now to book your stay!

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