Our Smoky Mountain Favorites
I grew up going to Tennesse often, it’s a favorite in our family. Now days, we usually get down to the Great Smokey Mountains about once a year, and it’s always a blast.
Where to stay
Every year, our family rents out a huge cabin with two other families out in the mountains. We rent from Volunteer Cabin Rentals: http://www.volunteercabinrentals.com. They have everything from one bedroom cabins all the way up to eight rooms. The cabins are absolutely beautiful, they are well kept and clean and very cozy. Our favorite part about them is how secluded they are. They are tucked away high up in the mountains away from all the craziness of town. The cabins have large front porches with rocking chairs and a beautiful view overlooking the mountains. You really can’t beat it.
Where to eat
The cabins we stay in always have full kitchens, so we usually do a lot of cooking while we are there. However, we also love to go into town a couple of times and find fun places to eat. One of our favorite spots is a little hole in the wall BBQ place at a town adjacent to Pigeon Forge. It is called Smokin’ Joes BBQ and it is some of the best around. We go here every year. If you don’t want to fight the traffic in town, this little gem is in Townsend, TN, about 15 minutes away
If you enjoy the more touristy areas of town, head into downtown Pigeon Forge and Sevierville and you will find anything and everything to eat. If you’re looking for some good comfort food, The Old Mill Restuarant is a popular place to go. Located in Pigeon Forge, it is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you can go whenever you want.
Another BBQ restaurant that is popular is Corky’s Ribs & BBQ. This is a fun little place with a 50’s vibe to it. The atmosphere is enjoyable and different, you get a real “Tennessee” feel from this place. They are only open for lunch and dinner, from 11AM-9PM.
What to do
There is tons to do around the Smokey Mountains. If you enjoy shopping, there is a Tanger Outlet mall in Sevierville that has a lot of great shops and really good deals. There are also endless amounts of touristy shops lining the streets of Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg. You could spend your entire trip just shopping if you wanted to.
If you are into more antique and boutique shops, they have plenty of those as well. Some of the best ones are on the back roads around where the cabins are located. These shops are locally owned and have lots of things that make great gifts and souvenirs.
One thing we do almost every year is to go to The Grand Ole Opry in Pigeon Forge. This is very family friendly and great for every age. This show is fun and exciting and has a wide variety of music, something for everyone. You can get more information on their website: http://smokymtnopry.com/smoky-mountain-opry-show/
In The Great Smoky Mountain National Park
The Smokey Mountain National Park many beautiful trails tucked away in the mountains. My favorite is Chimney Tops. It is a 4-mile roundtrip trail with 1,400 feet of elevation gain; making for a fairly steep first 2 miles to the top.
If you would like to take a more relaxed, less rugged hike, I would highly recommend Laural Falls. It is 2.6 miles round trip and paved most of the way. The pavement is a little old and cracked in some spots so not ideal for strollers. The first 1.3 miles is uphill (not too steep) and ends with a view of the falls.
Cades Cove is one of the most popular areas visited in the national park. It is a little, isolated valley that was home to settlers before it was turned into a national park. It is an 11-mile one-way paved road loop that you can drive or walk. It is a wonderful area to go through if you would like to see some wildlife on your trip. If you plan to go visit and tour Cades Cove, allow yourself at least 2 hours to do so. https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/cadescove.htm
The Great Smoky Mountains is a great get-away destination for all ages, there is something for everyone to do. You can stay hidden away playing card games up in a cabin or get right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of town, then find yourself on a beautiful trail in the middle of the mountains with a stunning view of God’s creation.