In the breathtaking state of Tennessee you’ll find the picturesque Smoky Mountains. Both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are great places to visit for fantastic indoor and outdoor fun! A vacation to the Smoky Mountains is perfect too, because there are so many things to do in the Smoky Mountains. Even better, there are plenty of FREE things to do in the Smoky Mountains!
The natural outdoor allure of the Smoky Mountain destinations of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg is easy to understand. With the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as their backyard, these two vacation destinations allow guests to discover what they’ve been missing…refreshing, all natural fun!
1) Cades Cove: This is a great area for a scenic drive! There is an 11 mile one way loop that winds around the valley, complete with wildlife, campgrounds, bike rentals, spectacular foliage in autumn, and facilities for horseback riding.
2) Sugarlands Visitor Center: A free 20-minute orientation motion picture provides an in-depth look at the Smokies and the enormous diversity of plant and animal life in the Park. Natural history exhibits include mounted specimens of park animals in recreations of their habitats and reproductions of journals kept by the first park naturalists are also on display. Ranger talks and slide shows are presented daily from spring through fall. You’ll also want to visit Laurel Falls, a beautiful waterfall located off Little Rover Road near the Sugarlands Center.
3) Mills Park: Located in Gatlinburg, this park’s facilities include a softball field, horseshoe pits, playground, tennis courts, football field and basketball court. It’s a great place for families to enjoy the outdoors!
4) Mynatt Park: A beautiful park complete with picnic area by the river, bbq grills, and recreation opportunities such as baseball and basketball.
5) Tennessee Heritage Trails: Our Heritage Trails link attractions in three categories – History, Arts & Crafts and Music – to showcase the distinctive character and talents of Tennessee trails and to connect both well-known and obscure attractions under a common theme.
6) Great Smoky Mountains Arts and Craft Community: The largest group of independent artisans in North America. This historic 8-mile loop has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail. Established in 1937, these artisans create unique and treasured pieces.
7) Newfound Gap Road: The 33-mile drive from Gatlinburg to Cherokee North Carolina along Newfound Gap Road is the only route that completely traverses the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The drive offers a unique opportunity to enjoy an abbreviated experience of everything the Park has to offer, without necessarily trekking far from your automobile.
8) Hiking: Enjoy a hike on any of the more than 800 miles of trails through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. With over fifty trails available to hike, you’ll discover a new treasure each time you explore.
9) Douglas Lake: Beautiful Douglas Lake extends its 33,000 lake acres and 513 miles of shoreline to the rolling hills of the Great Smoky Mountains, attracting nearly 2 million visitors each year. Favorite activities at Douglas Lake include fishing, boating, rafting, swimming, camping, and bird watching.
10) Shopping in the Smokies: Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are a shopper’s dream and it doesn’t cost a thing to look! There are several Outlet malls, such as Belz Factory Outlet Mall, as well as hundreds of unique shops to explore.
11) Festivals: Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are a haven for festivals. Many of these, such as the Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival, have free admission and concerts!
12) Plus, at Dollywood, you can get your next day FREE if you arrive at the park after 3 pm!
With so many things to see and do in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, you and your family are sure to experience the vacation of a lifetime!