The Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee draws tourists to Gatlinburg like a Toby Keith concert draws starry-eyed southern girls. What’s great about the beautiful southern city is that it is easily accessible by less than a day’s drive for more than half of the country’s population. On a good day, you can get there by taking I-40 to Exit 407 and going south through Sevierville and Pigeon Forge. For alternative routes consider the following:
-If coming by way of Virginia, consider a 45 minute drive via I-81 South to I-40 East and get off at Newport (Exit 435). Then, follow Highway 321 South into Gatlinburg.
-For those coming from Lexington, Tennessee, take I-75 North and follow Highway 321 to I-40 East to Exit 435, which should also take 45 minutes.
-From Chattanooga, Tennessee, take Exit 81 on I-75 North, following Highway 321 North to Gatlinburg through Maryville and Townsend. Expect to be on the road for approximately an hour and ten minutes.
–Nashville dwellers, you will take I-75 South and follow the same directions as if you were coming from Chattanooga.
-Those arriving from Asheville, North Carolina can take I-40 West to Exit 440 and follow Highway 321 South to Gatlinburg. This should take 45 minutes.
–Atlanta residents can take a leisurely road trip along I-85 North to I-985 North to US 23. Take US 23 to Highway 23/441, changing to Highway 74/441 through Cherokee, North Carolina. It will take you about 4 hours and ten minutes. This will allow for maximum sight-seeing potential along the drive!
For those who may balk at taking a road trip but still want to take in the unique fun and foods of Gatlinburg, consider flying into Knoxville – McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) which is 55 miles north of Gatlinburg. Most major airlines fly there daily and once you are on the ground, renting a car is quite easy for maximum enjoyment of the trip. Hop in the car, turn up the radio to a little Sugarland, and be prepared to enjoy some good ole southern hospitality! Gatlinburg is waiting with open arms.