Best of the Smokies

Family attractions, romance, relaxing, Here's where to find it


Gatlinburg is a really great mountain town. It's romantic, it's charming. It's tucked in the hills. It's the closest of the five towns to the national park. Which means that, you know? If you wanna visit the park, you're not gonna have to drive through traffic. It's really cute. It also has some of the more hilly locations. So you might have to drive some steep mountain roads which can be a little tricky to navigate in the dark. But but it's usually worth it if you want a little privacy, seclusion, and those really great mountain views. Sevierville is a shopper's paradise. They have hundreds and hundreds of outlet stores, and you could just spend all day shopping there. There's also a little place that's new that I like. Called Walden's Landing. They've got some boutique shops that are a little more upscale, some makeup shops, spa shops, and some of the best pizza that I think I've found in the area. Pigeon Forge is classic Smokey's town. It is like Myrtle Beach in the mountains. It's great for families, you've got all sorts of family attractions from go cart tracks to family theatres. To my personal favorite which is Dollywood. Dollywood is a a theme park that is like no other, it is Southern, it is super. They've got really good roller coasters and some of the best food in town. They have home cooking there and you can just get great meals, you can watch craftsmen at work, blacksmiths and actually buy their products. So, it's also good shopping and that's all rolled into one. And in the summer, they have a really, really fun theme park, that's a water park as well. Townson is a really nice, you know out of the way town. They build themselves as the Quiet Side of the Smokies. And they really are. You don't have the big bright lights and attractions. Noise and buzz of Pigeon Forge. It's just more of a quiet town where you can go and really relax and enjoy being in the mountains. It's also close to the back entrance to the national park, which means you can get to Kate's Cove which is a very popular driving loop. You can drive the loop or bike it. Some days they close it for bicycles. And you can sometimes see bears and old homesteads and wildlife. And it's a really nice place to be. If you're driving to Townsend from Pigeon Forge you actually drive through Wears Valley, on highway 321 and this is also a little bit quieter. It's one of my favorite little stretches because it's a side valley. And, there are some really nice cabins tops, up in those hills, and it's, it's just a little less traffic than the rest of the smokies, and a nice place to escape the crowds. Also in Townsend there's a great swimming hall called The why, and it's just inside the national park bound. And they have places where you can jump off rocks and go swimming and then if you go just outside of the national park they've got really good tubing on the little river. There's a couple of companies that'll rent you a tube and shuttle you all day if you want for about 12 or 15 bucks to to the top of the river. And you can just float in a lazy tube down the river. It's not real extreme the upper stretch has a little more rapids, the lower stretch is better for kids, it's a little calmer and it's a really relaxing way to pass a summer's day. The town that I think of as sort of the gateway to the smokies is Maryville, it looks like Maryville on the map, but locals call it Maryville. There's one company there that I think is just spectacular, Butterfly Gap Retreat. They have created something that doesn't really exist anywhere else in the Smokies. They have built these modern guest homes. It's hard to even call them cabins because they're so modern, and colorful, and just whimsical. They have it's a family run operation. Where they bought 900 acres I think. That bumps up to these Foothills Parkway. And they made it a little paradise. Lake Douglas is a really great surprise found in the Smokies. I think a lot of people don't know about it. It's only 30 or 45 miles away from Pigeon Forge in Sevierville, but it's this beautiful lake, and you can actually get a cabin on a lake with a dock. So if you've got a boat, you can pull it up and dock there, some of them that don't have private docks have slips at marinas that you can go to. And it's such a beautiful lake in the Smokies, to go and tube and water ski and fish and while some of the cabins there don't quite have as many amenities as the ones in town, you have the lake, and that, makes it worth it. You don't mind that you don't have a hot tub. Because you've got this beautiful lake, and there's plenty of stuff to do on it.
Experience our exclusive vacation collection.