The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is famous for its mist-covered mountains and lush forests. Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the sprawling landscape attracts nature lovers from all over the country. Follow a trail map to fields of blooming wildflowers, streams, and waterfalls. Or spend an evening camping in a cabin under the stars. Whatever you choose, a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will leave you with lasting memories! Here are some of the things you’ll find there.
Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Visitors to the Park enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty year-round. Every season offers its own special rewards! During winter, the absence of leaves opens new vistas and reveals stone walls, chimneys, and other reminders of past residents. Spring brings a parade of wildflowers and flowering trees. In summer, hikers can seek shade in the forests or follow cool mountain streams to roaring falls and cascades. Autumn provides crisp, dry air and a vibrant palette of fall colors to enjoy. Be sure to pack your camera!
Did you know that Great Smoky Mountains National Park features one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States? Over 90 historic structures including houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools, and grist mills can be found in the park. The best places to see them are at Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Oconaluftee, and along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Self-guided tour booklets are available at each destination.
Wildlife viewing in the Smokies is both fun and challenging. Because most of the park is covered by dense forest, wildlife is best seen in open areas like Cataloochee and Cades Cove. You may spot species such as white-tailed deer, elk, black bear, turkeys, woodchucks, and other animals. We suggest looking for wildlife in the morning and evening since many animals are most active at night. Don’t forget your binoculars!
Where to Stay Near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Richmont Inn of the Great Smokies: Just a 10-minute drive from the Park, the Richmont Inn in Townsend, TN, offers wonderful accommodations and unparalleled service. Amenities include gourmet breakfasts, wood-burning fireplaces, spa tubs for two, and super plush canopy beds. The stunning mountain views are just a bonus!
Eight Gables Inn: Eight Gables Inn is nestled at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With a luxurious common area, beautifully appointed guest rooms, and a porch with hammocks, rockers, and swings, Eight Gables Inn is an ideal home-away-from-home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Christopher Place: Named one of the “10 Most Romantic Inns in America”, Christopher Place was created for romantic getaways, intimate weddings, and delicious fine dining. This Newport, TN, B&B gives you access to the Park, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, while still providing the opportunity to escape and relax.
The Swag: Discerning travelers seeking peace and solitude often find it in Waynesville, NC, at The Swag – the highest mountaintop inn in the eastern United States. At an elevation of 5,000 feet, The Swag’s 250-acres share a mile-long border fence with the National Park. Convenient amenities and comfortable accommodations await at this North Carolina Country Inn.
Andon-Reid Inn: The Andon-Reid Inn is also located in Waynesville and features spectacular views and a freshly prepared breakfast each morning. You can play pool, shuffleboard, or work out on fitness equipment in the large game room. Or simply relax in the inviting guest lounge. With so much to do and see, the Andon-Reid Inn guarantees a wonderful vacation.
Snowbird Mountain Lodge: This magical, historic retreat is situated on a secluded mountaintop in western North Carolina. The Snowbird has delighted guests since 1941, healing souls and refreshing spirits with its astounding Smoky Mountain vistas.
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