Looking for something different, off the beaten path.

Mountain creek in Great Smoky Mountains national park


1 | Mountain Top Resorts: www.mountaintopresorts.com or 1-800-490-7450
Highlights: Cabins available with lakefront views, mountain scenery, and playground facilities. Renters at all resort within Mountain Top Rentals have access to private amenities at Douglas Lake Resort. Some pet-friendly units.
Resort community: Cabins available in Eagle Springs Resort, Lone Branch Resort, and Douglas Lake Resort.Access to shared boat launches and docks at Douglas Lake. Cabins have from one to eight bedrooms.
Location: resort complexes throughout Sevier county, located west of Pigeon Forge. Cabins also available in greater Pigeon Forge area.
Price of one-bedroom cabin: $99-$175, plus $200 refundable security deposit, and $45 nonrefundable pet fee. Note: Daily maid service is available for $20 per day. Book through their Web site and receive a 30% discount.

2 | Paradise Landing Resort: www.paradiselandingresort.com or 1-888-778-6287
Highlights: Cabins close to Douglas Lake, some with private docks (others with shared access to resort dock, launch ramp, and limited boat slips).
Resort community: about 10 cabins in rental program. Cabins have one to four bedrooms.
Location: On Lake Douglas, east of Knoxville in Dandridge. About 30-40 minutes drive from Sevierville.
Price of one-bedroom cabin: $100-$140.

3 | Smoky Mountain Lake Vacations: www.smokymountainlake.com or 1-800-839-5253
Highlights: Lakefront cabins, some with private docks and/or boat ramps. Some pet-friendly units. Some rentals have private pools.
Cabins: 30 individually owned cabins scattered around Lake Douglas. Some cabins lack key amenities (hot tubs, game rooms) but make up for it with lakefront access.
Location: on Lake Douglas, east of Knoxville
Price of one-bedroom cabin: $135-$295


4 | Aunt Bug's: www.auntbug.com or (865) 908-4948
Highlights: Unusual features, including indoor pools, climbing walls, Internet access, and streamside cabins.
Individual cabins: 130 log cabins scattered throughout Pigeon Forge, with a few in Gatlinburg and Sevierville. Some rentals located above the ski slopes on Ski Mountain (where most rentals are chalets).
Location: Ski Mountain, near Dollywood, Wears Valley, The Spur, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg
Price of one-bedroom cabin: $100-$240, plus $15 cleaning fee (varies by size; $15 for each additional bedroom) and $45 reservation fee

5 | Butterfly Gap Retreat (Editor's Choice―most unusual): www.butterflygap.com or (865) 984-6021
Highlights: An undiscovered gem. Strikingly modern guest houses―you can't really call them cabins―add an unexpected twist to this 900-acre preserve, which borders the scenic Foothills Parkway. Contemporary interiors (a walk-in shower room, a pull-out bed on a screened sleeping porch) feel inviting. A lake, nondenominational chapel, and reception hall (with pivoting walls for indoor/outdoor parties) set this place apart. Note: Children and pets are not permitted.
Resort community: Five guest houses tucked in the woods offer plenty of privacy. The owners will bring breakfast to your door―or leave all the fixings for cooking your own. Designed and built by a local family (including two twentysomething sisters who hammered away with carpenters), this is a popular wedding spot. Weekends book in advance, so check availability during the week or in the off-season.
Location: On the outskirts of Maryville, about 20 minutes from Townsend. You won't want to drive into town for meals, so bring groceries or make advance arrangements for their on-staff chef to prepare dinner.
Price of one-bedroom cabin: $175-$195

6 | Dancing Bear Lodge: www.dancingbearlodge.com or 1-800-369-0111
Highlights: The sister resort to Blackberry Farm, Dancing Bear Lodge (formerly known as Maple Leaf Lodge) features walking trails, bike rentals, and a concierge that will help arrange other activities. A new restaurant (one of a few here with a license to sell beer, wine, or liquor by the glass) serves continental breakfasts and three-course dinners. Front desk staff on site 24-7.
Resort community: In addition to the main lodge (12 rooms), this resort offers 17 cabins on property, with flat roads and proximity to Townsend's quiet community. All clustered near the parking area, you won't get lost trying to find these cabins. Wheelchair-friendly.
Location: Townsend (close to Cades Cove, The Wye, a famous local swimming hole, the ghost town of Elkmont, tubing and fly fishing on the Little River)
Price of one-bedroom cabin: $150-$375, plus $50 nonrefundable deposit and $250 refundable damage deposit

7 | Tanasi Lodge (Editor's Choice―Best Views): www.summitcabins.com or (865) 207-4961
Highlights: One-of-a-kind lodge on the summit of Hatcher Mountain, with sunrise or sunset views from 10 of its 11 bedrooms. Ample decks and lots of windows maximize the 360-degree vistas. Leather sectionals, granite countertops, contemporary decor. Pet friendly ($50 fee per pet, with prior approval).
Cabins: Just two cabins built and owned by a Knoxville couple. Tanasi sleeps 26 to 28. Dreamcatcher, next door, sleeps 12 to 14. Road to summit has sketchy, steep gravel section for last a quarter mile.
Location: Wears Valley, halfway between Pigeon Forge and Townsend. Close to a less-traveled entrance to the national park.
Price: Tanasi Lodge rents for $750-$1,200 per night. Dreamcatcher rents for $225-$325 per night (depending on occupancy and season), plus $100-$150 cleaning/supply fee