Plan Your Visit

If you plan to visit the Great Smoky Mountains Park for just a day, or as long as a month, its crucial that you put together a very detailed itinerary of what and when you are going to do. There are quite a bit of activities that are available and planning wisely will help you get the most out of your stay.

Travel – The first thing to figure out is how you be getting to the area. If you are within a few hundred miles the best way would be to drive. You can check out the direction and Map pages for more information on the best routes. If you are coming from a further location and plan to fly into the vicinity then the closest area airport would be McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) at Tennessee (45 miles west of the Park), or Asheveill Regional Airport, in North Carolina. (around 60 miles east of the Cherokee Park entrance. )

Hotels (Top Rated) – The next item on your itinerary will be a place to stay. When it comes to staying in the Great Smoky Mountains you can spend your nights in the Park (with limited options) or in a more modern facility within a few miles. It is always important to book your stay well in advance, especially if you plan to visit during the peak season. It’s recommended that…READ MORE

Dining (Best 10 Options) – Number two on the list (you may have guessed) is food. There is a natural phenomena that makes us 10 times more hungry when we are on vacation. At home its easy to skip meals but on vacation we require to eat five times a day. Whether you like traditional Appalachian mountain cooking, or prefer your meals upscale and modern, visitors to the Smoky Mountains can enjoy a myriad of fresh, delicious dining with a large dose of Southern hospitality. Here, you’ll find 10 for the Smoky Mountain’s most favorite establishments…READ MORE

Adventures (10 Most popular) – now, that you covered your basic needs for survival (Food & Shelter), you may begin to plan for some fun. With so much to do in the Great Smoky Mountains, choosing the best place to start can be very difficult. You can visit archeological and historical sites to hiking through the various climate zones and elevations. There is white water river rafting for the adventurous and the quieter bird watching of the magnificent condors that soar through the Mountains for the less adventurous. Lets go through a few of the more popular activities. For the complete list of the top 10 see the activities page.

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Forest – As one of America’s most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers visitors a number of ways to enjoy the park including auto tours, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, visits to historical buildings, and more…READ MORE
  • Gem Mining – Grab your boots, rubber gloves, and favorite mining gear (old clothes) and Lady Luck to experience the Smoky Mountains gem and gold mining boom. With more than 10 local mining outfitters to choose from, you can shovel, buckets, or screen for exquisite precious gems during your Smoky Mountain vacation…READ MORE
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – Although Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is hundreds of miles from the ocean, the aquarium treats visitors to a world-class aquarium of water life. Voted America’s #1 aquarium by TripAdvisor…READ MORE

Nature Quests – If you enjoy nature and everything it has to offer you can indulge in the following popular activities:

  • HIKINGBecause the Great Smoky mountains are open all year round, hikers can enjoy the many different trails that the park has to offer. Although you might not realize it, the winter season is actually a great time to hike some…READ MORE
  • FishingWith more than 2,115 miles of beautiful streams, the Great Smoky Mountains are the home to some of the last wild trout reserves in the entire eastern United States. Giving its visitors a variety of unique...READ MORE
  • WaterfallsWith more than 200,000 annual visitors, the Great Smoky mountains have many well traveled trails that lead to beautiful views of the Abrams, Grotto, Rainbow, Laurel waterfalls. While larger crowds tend to flock to the bigger waterfalls, small falls and cascades can be found...READ MORE

Nearby attractions – If you would like to spend some of you days with a bit less excitement and adventure, you should consider visiting some of the nearby attractions such as the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site or the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. If you are Ok in driving a bit you can head towards the Blue Ridge area. he Blue Ridge Parkway spans 469 miles and winds through no fewer than 29 counties in Virginia and North Carolina, boasting stunning views of...READ MORE

You can also use the park’s official internet store for park guides, maps and books. Managed by a nonprofit organization called the Great Smoky Mountains Association. The Great Smoky Mountains Mobile App is also available for download. Providing visitors with a free mobile app, useful park information can be download directly to your cell phone. Completely functional even without a signal, park visitors will have access to recreational and planning information.

To Summarize, the Great Smoky Mountains Park is full of history and beauty making it one of the few places that everyone should visit at least once.  For those who have already visited and experienced the fun and adventure of the Smoky Mountains the odds are high that you will be back.  Please check back often as we constantly update our information as we receive it.