The Smoky Mountains is one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States. In fact, more than 11 million people visited the Smoky Mountains in 2016.
The Smoky Mountains are by far the most popular national park. Nearly 7 million more people visited the mountains spanning from North Carolina to Tennessee than the Grand Canyon.
The mountains see substantially more visitors than Yosemite and Yellowstone as well. While the other national parks are beautiful, there are simply so many things to do in the Smoky Mountains.
Read on to learn the top 10 things to do in the Smoky Mountains. From hiking to amusement parks, there is a never-ending to-do list.
1) It All Starts With Renting a Cabin
Everyone needs a home base on a vacation. There is no better way to experience the Smoky Mountains than renting a cabin.
In a cabin, your family can still enjoy modern luxuries and sleep in comfort. At the same time, you do not sacrifice the nature experience.
Best of all, your cabin is ready for you immediately. No need to pitch a tent or prepare a campsite. All of the amazing things to do in the Smoky Mountains can start and end with a cabin.
2) Go Visit One of the Many Waterfalls
There are dozens of waterfalls to take in. The Smoky Mountains feature roughly 2900 miles of gorgeous streams.
Take your loved ones on a hike to these majestic waterfalls. Laurel and Mingo Falls are two popular options. Laurel Falls is actually 120 feet high and ranks amongst the tallest in the Appalachian Mountain range.
There are a few waterfalls that can be accessed by vehicle. Meigs Falls and The Sinks are two perfect examples.
Snap a selfie with your spouse or child with a waterfall in the background and put it on social media. It will be a memory that you will never forget.
3) Take Advantage of Ranger-Led Park Tours
This is a great benefit of the national park that you cannot pass up. There is an events calendar on the park’s website that tells visitors when the Rangers host exploration programs.
These programs are largely designed for children to explore the park. However, the park rangers even offer programs for teenagers and young adults. Ranger-led tours are generally offered from March to September.
4) Hiking Is One of the Best Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains
The Smoky Mountains are perfect for hiking. There are kid-friendly trails, in addition to some more challenging paths.
The most popular destinations for hikers are Alum Cave Bluffs and Rainbow Falls. Hiking is not limited by the seasons either. The Smoky Mountains see hikers all year long.
The spring is a great time as the flowers bloom and the wildlife emerges from winter hibernation. If you want to hike overnight, make reservations to stay in the national park’s backcountry.
5) Try Zip Lining in the Smoky Mountains
Zip lining is growing in popularity around the world. Adventure seekers can try zip lining in Gatlinburg. The rush from a zip lining path is a feeling that is hard to replicate.
It is also a great way to see the mountains from an epic vantage point. There are also things to do for children at the zip lining locations. Net courses are offered to allow both children and adults an opportunity to climb.
6) Elkmont Ghost Town
This is a great day trip for the entire family to take. Elkmont Ghost Town is a historical village dating back to the early 1900s.
The National Park Service is currently refurbishing many of the old abandoned houses. Visitors are intrigued by seeing how the village’s residents lived more than a century ago.
Additionally, there is a relic cemetery nearby and several walking trails around the village. Elkmont is a great place for a family picnic to split up the day.
7) Horse Riding
This is another activity to get the blood flowing. There are a number of riding stables in and around the Smoky Mountains.
Many of the stables accommodate riders of nearly all ages. The horse rides generally take 45 minutes to 2 hours. There are at least four different stables spanning from North Carolina to Tennessee.
The guided horseback rides take you on a scenic tour of the Smoky Mountain trails. These tours typically run from March to November so long as the weather is permitting.
8) Go Fishing
Do you love to fish? Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor things to do in the Smoky Mountains.
As mentioned earlier, there are over 2900 miles of freshwater streams in the mountains. The Smoky Mountains feature one of the last habitats for wild trout in the United States.
As long as you possess a fishing license, there are no restrictions and access is granted to fishermen year round. The freshwater streams are well known for smallmouth bass and rainbow trout.
9) Hit the Old Forge Distillery for a Drink
Sometimes you need an alcoholic beverage when on vacation. Take a trip to Pigeon Forge and visit the Old Forge Distillery.
This attraction is award-winning and has been serving drinks for a hundred years. There is a tasting bar and a gift shop famous for its moonshine jugs.
10) Gatlinburg Space Needle
Forget Seattle and visit the Gatlinburg Space Needle. This is one of the best ways to see the Smoky Mountains from a high vantage point.
This is especially true if you are not fond of hiking, but still want to see the mountain range. The Gatlinburg Space Needle provides elevator access to the top for a 360-degree view of the mountains. This is a great option for visitors of all ages including children and the elderly.
Wrapping It Up
A top 10 list does not do the Smoky Mountains justice. Between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, there are so many activities to do. It is impossible to do everything in a single trip.
In addition to the multitude of outdoor activities, there are tourist attractions like the Gatlinburg Space Needle as well. For more information on things to do in the Smoky Mountains, please contact us for assistance.