Did you spend most of your summer busy at work? Maybe you were able to take a quick beach trip or hit the local fair. But as summer is winding down to a close, you can’t help but wish you did more.
Don’t let the end of summer leave you unmotivated to travel! With cooler weather and changing leaves, autumn is the perfect time to go on vacation.
Organize a trip to the Smoky Mountains in the fall to see breathtaking views and enjoy the last of the warm weather. But, don’t just walk around the local towns. Take your trip to the next level by finding unique ways to witness the autumn foliage.
Do you want to know what we’re talking about? Keep reading to discover 7 tips to enjoy the gorgeous fall scenery in the Smoky Mountains.
1. Stay in a Log Cabin
Of course, no trip to the Smoky Mountains would be complete without some camping. This area is known for having some of the coziest cabin rentals you can find – that’s why it’s one of the top things to do. It’s more convenient than camping in a tent and you can still enjoy the fall foliage.
Spend your days exploring the natural beauty surrounding you. Go fishing, hiking, or birdwatching to reconnect with mother nature. When the day is almost over, head back to your cabin and witness the breathtaking sunset amongst the red and orange leaves.
2. Take a Helicopter Tour
Once you’ve experienced fall in the Smokies from a cabin on the ground, it’s time to get a bird’s eye view. What better way to do that than from inside a helicopter?
This once in a lifetime experience will let you soar over the Smoky Mountains and look down and the autumn foliage below. You may think that a helicopter tour would be rather pricey – but it’s more affordable than you’d think. You can find tours as low as $30 per person!
3. Go Ziplining
Do you want to fly right above the treetops – so close that it looks like you could reach out and touch them? Ziplining offers the perfect medium between the high sky helicopter tour and camping on the ground.
You’ll be able to get a unique view of the Smoky Mountains in the fall. Plus, ziplining gives you the perfect amount of adrenaline – just enough to get your heart racing, but not so much that you’re terrified the entire time.
4. Fly in a Hot Air Balloon
Are you planning on escaping to the Great Smoky Mountains with your sweetheart? You’ll probably want to slip in at least one or two romantic activities on your trip. But don’t just rely on a fancy dinner – try something different!
Taking a hot air balloon ride is one of the most romantic date ideas no matter where you are. But taking this ride during the fall season in the Smoky Mountains will bring it to the next level.
Wrap a blanket around the two of you as you float above the breathtaking mountains. Plan a sunset flight or bring a bottle of wine to make this day even more unforgettable.
5. Ride the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
Are you still a little kid at heart? Do you always look forward to carnivals, so you can ride the Ferris wheel? Then we have good news for you.
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is a permanent Ferris wheel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. At 200 feet high, it can give you spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains in the fall. Since it uses enclosed glass gondolas, you can take the kids and enjoy the ride together!
6. Go on a Hike
Do you want to get up close and personal with mother nature but don’t want to commit to camping? Why not spend the day hiking?
The Smoky Mountains in October are cool enough to give you the perfect hiking weather. You’ll be able to cover your feet and lets so avoid getting scratched by tree branches without feeling like you’re overheating. Plus, you’ll still be able to catch a glimpse of some of your favorite wildlife and experience the orange and red leaves falling all around you.
Don’t worry if you’re not much of a hiker – there’s a way for you to experience this too! Horseback riding is one of the most popular things to do in the Smoky Mountains. You can still travel on some gorgeous trails, but you’ll have a horse to help you along the way.
If you want something a little more unique, consider hiking with llamas! It’s the perfect way to combine your love for nature with your love for animals in one unforgettable experience.
7. Head Up the Gatlinburg Space Needle
Are you looking for a way to witness the beauty of the Smoky Mountains in autumn while learning a little about the area? The Gatlinburg Space Needles does just that.
An observation deck sits 407 feet above ground, giving you a 360-degree view of the surrounding land. Plus, a glass elevator takes you up to the top, so you can experience the fall scenery from different levels.
Once you’re done soaking up the views, check out the higher learning exhibits to learn some Gatlinburg history and Smoky Mountain fun facts. If you have kids, don’t forget to take them to the on-site arcade and playground to expend some of that energy before heading back to the hotel (or cabin) for the night.
How to See the Smoky Mountains in the Fall
If you’re looking for a vacation that will put you right in the middle of beautiful fall foliage, look no further than the Smoky Mountains. But don’t come here without a plan. Follow our guide to visiting the Smoky Mountains in the fall to get the best views.
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