10 reasons Fall in the Smoky Mountains is the Best Time to Visit

Fall in the Smoky Mountains is truly a magical time, and one of the best times to visit offering a range of delightful experiences and breathtaking scenery. Here are some of the best things about fall in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Vibrant Fall Foliage

The Smoky Mountains come alive with an explosion of colors during the fall season. The leaves of deciduous trees turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold, creating a stunning tapestry of color across the landscape. See all the fall colors.

2. Scenic Drives

The park’s scenic drives, such as the Cades Cove Loop Road, Newfound Gap Road, and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, offer picturesque views of the fall foliage. You can enjoy the vibrant colors from the comfort of your car and stop at designated overlooks for photo opportunities. See the official auto tourism site from NPS.

3. Hiking in Autumn Splendor

Fall is an excellent time for hiking in the Smokies. The trails are surrounded by the colorful foliage, creating a picturesque backdrop for your outdoor adventures. The cool, crisp air and milder temperatures make hiking more comfortable, and you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature without the summer crowds.

4. Wildlife Viewing

Fall is the time when many animals in the Smoky Mountains are preparing for the winter months. You might spot black bears, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and various bird species as they forage for food and engage in mating rituals. The vibrant fall colors provide a stunning backdrop for wildlife photography.

5. Harvest Festivals and Events

The surrounding communities celebrate the fall season with various festivals and events. You can enjoy live music, arts and crafts fairs, traditional Appalachian food, and local produce. The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair and the Townsend Fall Festival are popular events that showcase the region’s culture and heritage. (Click here for the full list of seasonal events)

6. Smoky Mountain Heritage

Fall is a time when you can experience the rich heritage and traditions of the Smoky Mountains. Visit historic homesteads, such as the Mountain Farm Museum in the park, to learn about early settlers’ way of life and their connection to the land.


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

7. Cool and Comfortable Weather

The fall weather in the Smokies is generally mild, with cooler temperatures and lower humidity compared to the summer months. It’s a pleasant time to explore the park without the scorching heat and humidity that can be present in other seasons.

8. Waterfall Beauty

The park’s numerous waterfalls take on a different charm during the fall season. Surrounded by the colorful foliage, these cascades become even more picturesque. Some popular waterfalls to visit in the fall include Laurel Falls, Abrams Falls, and Rainbow Falls.f

9. Tranquility and Solitude

Fall is considered the shoulder season in the Smoky Mountains, meaning fewer crowds compared to the summer months. This allows for a more peaceful and serene experience in the park, with fewer people on the trails and more opportunities to connect with nature.

10. Photography Opportunities

The stunning fall colors, misty mornings, and soft light create ideal conditions for photography enthusiasts. Whether you’re a professional or a casual photographer, the Smoky Mountains in the fall offer countless opportunities to capture breathtaking images.

These are just a few of the best things about fall in the Smoky Mountains. The combination of autumn foliage, outdoor activities, cultural events, and the natural beauty of the park makes it a truly remarkable season to visit.

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Have you come to the Smokys in the Fall? What are your favorite things about the Fall in the Smoky Mountains? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!

Best Place to Watch Fireworks in the Smokys

In the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Wears Valley areas, there are a few popular locations to watch fireworks displays. Not that this is a very busy time of year. It’s summertime, school is out, and it’s a Holiday weekend. There will be lots of cars on the road, so go early to find a parking spot and claim a good spot to set up for fireworks. Or ride the free Parkway trolley that makes stops along the Parkway between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Here are some options that offer great views:

1. Patriot Park (Pigeon Forge): Patriot Park is a popular gathering spot for various events, including fireworks displays. It’s a spacious park with ample seating and grassy areas. Many people choose to watch fireworks from here due to its central location and unobstructed views.

2. Gatlinburg’s Fireworks Finale: Join the celebration in downtown Gatlinburg to mark our nation’s “Independence Day” with a spectacular 20-minute firework show starting at 11:00 p.m. from the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Spectators can view the fireworks from any vantage point in Gatlinburg. This event is designated as a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society. The city does their 4th of July parade at 12:01 am on the 4th. It’s been a long running tradition for the last 45 years and is the first city in the nation to hold the parade ever since.
Good to know: put your chairs out early to claim your spot. Often people put their chairs out a day or two before the parade.

3. Dollywood (Pigeon Forge): Dollywood, the famous theme park, occasionally presents spectacular fireworks displays. If you happen to visit Dollywood, you can enjoy the fireworks from within the park. They typically launch the fireworks near the entrance area, and you can view them from various locations inside the park.

Unique spots to watch fireworks in the Smokys

4. You may be able to see fireworks from your cabin, as long as you’re high enough and have a good view.

5. The Island in Pigeon Forge: The Island is a vibrant entertainment complex that often hosts fireworks shows on special occasions. It features numerous restaurants, shops, and attractions. The large open area around the Ferris wheel provides an excellent vantage point to enjoy the fireworks.

6. Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster (Pigeon Forge): If you’re seeking a unique experience, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster offers thrilling rides during the day and an opportunity to view fireworks from a different perspective at night. As you glide along the coaster track, you’ll be able to enjoy the fireworks display.


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

These locations are popular choices for watching fireworks in the Wears Valley and Pigeon Forge area, but it’s important to note that fireworks displays may vary depending on events and holidays. It’s always a good idea to check local event calendars or contact the specific venues for accurate information on upcoming fireworks shows.

What are your favorite spots to watch fireworks in the Smokys? We want to know, comment below!

Eat Like a Local in the Smoky Mountains

Everywhere you look on the Parkway, you’ll find restaurants trying to lure you in with their buffets, dinner shows, diners, etc. But these places aren’t where the locals go. Here’s your go-to guide to eat like a local in the Smoky Mountains. We’ve separated it out by town and included a brief description for each restaurant so that you can find the best place to eat.

Eat Like a Local in Pigeon Forge:

1. The Old Mill Restaurant ($$): Known for its traditional Southern cuisine and historic setting, featuring dishes like fried chicken and homemade desserts.

2. The Pottery House Café and Grille ($$): Located at Old Mill Square, this restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere and serves American cuisine, including sandwiches, soups, and salads.

3. Frizzle Chicken Cafe ($$): Start your morning off right with a fun-filled meal at Frizzle Chicken Café! Perfect spot to take the kids for breakfast or lunch. Their family-friendly restaurant in Pigeon Forge serves up delicious, Southern-style breakfast and lunch with a side of fun. There won’t be a minute of boredom during your meal as you watch their animatronic singing chickens!

4. The Local Goat ($$): This is probably the most popular restaurant in the area. It’s a gastropub offering a farm-to-table experience with a wide range of dishes, including burgers, salads, and locally sourced ingredients. They make everything from scratch, from the buns to the ketchup. Reservations are highly recommended as this place gets packed.

5. Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que ($$): This barbecue joint is popular among locals and visitors alike. They serve up delicious smoked meats like pulled pork, ribs, and brisket, along with classic sides like mac and cheese and baked beans.

6. The Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store ($$): A Pigeon Forge institution, the Apple Barn is a favorite among locals. They serve hearty Southern fare, including apple fritters, fried chicken, and country-fried steak. Don’t forget to try their famous apple cider and apple butter!

7. Mama’s Farmhouse ($$): If you’re looking for a family-style dining experience, locals often recommend Mama’s Farmhouse. They offer an all-you-can-eat feast of Southern comfort food, including fried chicken, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cornbread.

8. The Local Goat Distillery ($$): For those interested in craft spirits, the Local Goat Distillery is a popular spot. They offer tastings of their locally distilled whiskey, moonshine, and other spirits, along with a small food menu featuring snacks and appetizers.

9. Blue Moose Burgers & Wings ($$): This family-friendly restaurant is known for its juicy burgers, flavorful wings, and a wide variety of sauces. They also have vegetarian options and a selection of craft beers.

10. Little Tokyo ($$): If you’re craving Japanese cuisine, Little Tokyo is a popular choice. They offer a range of sushi rolls, sashimi, teriyaki dishes, and other Japanese specialties in a cozy setting.

Eat Like a Local in Gatlinburg:

1. The Peddler Steakhouse ($$$): A long-standing local favorite specializing in hand-cut steaks, grilled to perfection, and served with delicious sides.

2. Cherokee Grill ($$): Known for its upscale mountain lodge ambiance, this restaurant offers a diverse menu featuring steaks, seafood, and regional favorites.

3. Best Italian Café & Pizzeria ($$): A family-owned Italian restaurant serving pizza, pasta, and classic Italian dishes in a relaxed atmosphere.

4. No Way Jose’s Mexican Cantina ($$): Are you looking for authentic Mexican food in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge? They combine the delicious and fresh flavors of Mexican dishes and mix it with a fun and family-friendly atmosphere. They have both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg restaurant locations.

5. Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar ($): Indulge yourself in a crazy, and we mean crazy milkshake stacked high with all sorts of delectible treats. Your kids will go wild at the sight of these and their sugar high will last for hours.

5. The Park Grill ($$): Another popular steakhouse in Gatlinburg, The Park Grill is known for its wood-fired steaks, fresh seafood, and extensive salad bar. It has a cozy mountain lodge atmosphere and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

6. The Donut Friar ($): For a delightful breakfast or snack, locals often visit The Donut Friar. Located in The Village Shops, this charming bakery offers freshly baked pastries, including their famous cinnamon bread and donuts. Pair it with a cup of coffee for a perfect start to the day.

7. Delauder’s Smoky Mountain BBQ ($): If you’re craving barbecue, locals recommend Delauder’s Smoky Mountain BBQ. They serve mouthwatering smoked meats like pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, along with delicious sides like baked beans and coleslaw. It’s a casual and authentic barbecue joint loved by locals.

8. The Greenbrier Restaurant ($$$): Tucked away in the Smoky Mountains, The Greenbrier Restaurant is known for its scenic views and excellent food. They offer a menu featuring Southern cuisine, including dishes like trout almondine, shrimp and grits, and prime rib.

9. The Alamo Steakhouse ($$): It’s been ranked the best steak of Pigeon Forge, so you won’t regret a visit to Alamo Steakhouse. With it’s aged steaks, burgers, soups, sides, and sauces, you can’t go wrong!

10. The Wild Plum Tea Room ($$): Located in Gatlinburg, this tea room is known for its charming atmosphere and delicious teas, sandwiches, and desserts.


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

Eat Like a Local in Sevierville:

1. Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant ($$): The oldest restaurant in Sevierville, this is a local favorite featuring hearty southern food and orchard fruits. It’s owned by the same local company as LeConte Lodge.

2. The Chop House ($$): Known for its delicious steaks and seafood, The Chop House offers a warm and inviting atmosphere. They also have a great selection of wines to complement your meal.

3. Trotter’s Whole Hog BBQ ($$): New for 2023, this is a artisan BBQ restaurant located in the Historic District of downtown Sevierville. It’s owned by the same folks of The Appalachian and the BBQ served sets a high bar of excellence. They also have a pour-it-yourself beer wall.

4. Thai Basil ($$): If you’re in the mood for Thai cuisine, Thai Basil is a popular choice. They serve authentic Thai dishes made with fresh ingredients, including curries, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.

5. Tony Gore’s Smoky Mountain BBQ & Grill ($$): This barbecue joint is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. They serve mouthwatering ribs, pulled pork, and other barbecue classics, along with delicious sides.

6. Five Oaks Farm Kitchen ($$): This is a wonderful southern cooking at its finest. Enjoy their ring baked griddle cakes, hearty soups, or fried chicken. Set in a beautiful vaulted ceiling cabin-like interior, this is a favorite among locals and located on the North end of Sevierville.

7. Graze Burgers ($$): For burger enthusiasts, Graze Burgers is a must-visit. They offer gourmet burgers made with high-quality ingredients and unique flavor combinations. They also have vegetarian and gluten-free options.

8. The Appalachian ($$$$): Located in The Lodge at Five Oaks, The Appalachian is known for its farm-to-table concept. They serve dishes inspired by Appalachian cuisine, using locally sourced ingredients to create delicious and seasonal meals.

9. El Paso Mexican Restaurant ($$): If you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, El Paso is a popular choice. They offer a range of traditional Mexican dishes, including tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, and margaritas.

10. Holston’s Kitchen ($$): This restaurant serves Southern comfort food with a modern twist. From fried green tomatoes to shrimp and grits, Holston’s Kitchen offers a diverse menu in a casual setting.

Eat Like a Local in Wears Valley

Wears Valley has a smaller selection of food options, and you’ll find it’s a lot less crowded than Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, and it’s only a 5-10min drive from Smoky Mountains Lodge.

1. Elvira’s Cafe ($$): This place offers a mix of American and Mexican cuisine. They are known for their breakfast and brunch options, including delicious omelets and Mexican-inspired dishes. Named as one of the “Top 100 Places to Eat Across America” in 2022, this is one place not to miss.

2. Wears Valley Social Food Truck Park ($): Open most of year, they offer a rotating list of local food trucks and a nice open eating area. They’ve had trucks such as the Chicken Coop, Coles Southern BBQ, Fat Bear, Gringos Tacos, and others come by. They also have a playground for the kids and feature live events throughout the year.

3. Sloppy Hog Burger Joint ($): Enjoy their smash burgers and make sure to order the onion rings, (but skip the pizza). It’s located right in the valley amongst the beautiful views.

4. Hillbilly’s Restaurant ($): This is a casual restaurant serving southern comfort food and burgers.

5. PawPaw’s Kajun Kitchen ($$): This restaurant specializes in Southern and Cajun cuisine. You can expect dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and po’boys.

Eat Like a Local in Townsend

1. The Abbey ($): Originally a church, this is now converted into a dining and beverage hall. It’s a great way to spend a sunny afternoon, eating lunch by the river and drinking your favorite brew, whether it be Craft Beer, Cider, Sweet Iced Tea or a Soft Drink. In the summer you can watch the rafters float by on the river. They also offer flatbreads and bites, as well as corn hole and Connect-4 for some fun family yard games.

2. Dancing Bear lodge ($$): Located at the Dancing Bear Lodge, this upscale restaurant offers a refined dining experience with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and Appalachian-inspired cuisine. The menu features dishes like trout, duck breast, and venison. Grab yourself a date and reserve a table for 2 for a romantic night out. This is one of “The South’s 38 Essential Restaurants” according to Eater.

3. The Peaceful Side Social Brewery & Craft Kitchen ($$): Experience culinary bliss at Peaceful Side Social and Craft Kitchen in Townsend, TN, where locally sourced ingredients are masterfully crafted into delectable dishes, offering a harmonious blend of flavors that reflects the essence of the Smoky Mountains in every bite, all within a warm and inviting atmosphere. Indulge in a gastronomic journey that celebrates community, quality, and the artistry of Southern cuisine.

4. The Trailhead Steak & Trout ($$): This rustic steakhouse specializes in high-quality steaks and other grilled meats. They also offer seafood options and vegetarian dishes. The Trailhead Steakhouse provides a relaxed atmosphere and friendly service.

5. Little River Bar-B-Q: If you’re craving barbecue, Little River Bar-B-Q is the place to go. This casual joint serves up delicious smoked meats, including ribs, pulled pork, and chicken. The sides, such as mac and cheese, coleslaw, and baked beans, are also worth trying.

6. The Apple Valley Mountain Village & Café ($$): Situated in a charming log cabin, The Apple Valley Café offers homestyle Southern cooking. They are particularly famous for their breakfast menu, which includes pancakes, omelets, and biscuits with gravy. They also serve lunch and dinner, featuring comfort food classics.

7. Riverstone Restaurant ($$): Overlooking the Little River, Riverstone Restaurant offers a picturesque setting to enjoy a meal. They serve a variety of dishes, including seafood, steaks, sandwiches, and pasta. The patio seating is especially delightful during warm weather.

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

Where have you been that’s not your usual tourist traps? We want to know about it! Comment below.

Best Things to do with Your Family in the Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains offer a multitude of family-friendly activities and attractions. After a short drive through Pigeon Forge Parkway and Gatlinburg, you’ll be faced countless options of things to do with your family during your stay at Smoky Mountains Lodge. Here are the 10 best things to do with your family in the Smoky Mountains (and driving times from our cabin:

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (10min drive): Explore the most visited national park in the United States, known for its stunning natural beauty, hiking trails, wildlife, and scenic drives. Don’t miss Cades Cove, Clingman’s Dome, and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

2. Dollywood (30min drive): Visit Dolly Parton’s popular theme park in Pigeon Forge, featuring thrilling rides, live entertainment, shows, and family-friendly attractions suitable for all ages. It’s the #1 ranked theme park by Tripadvisor.

3. Outdoor Gravity Park (29min drive): Roll down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball! This unique and memorable attraction is sure to garner some laughs and memories with the family. This is a great summer activity and bring your swimsuit because you’ll likely get wet.

4. Ober Gatlinburg (40min drive): Enjoy year-round family fun at Ober Gatlinburg. Ride the aerial tramway to the mountaintop, do some snow tubing, skiing or snowboarding in winter, try ice skating, ride the alpine slide, and experience other attractions and activities.

5. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (30min drive): Voted best aquarium of North America by USA Today, this is a must see indoor attraction. You’ll discover a fascinating underwater world with over 350 species at this acclaimed aquarium in Gatlinburg. Explore interactive exhibits, walk through their unbelievable Shark Lagoon underwater tunnel, and marvel at a wide variety of marine life. In addition of exploring the aquarium, some of their most popular add-on experiences are the Penguin Encounter and Turtle Time. We recommend booking these in advance as they can sell out! Kids under 2 are free.

6. Anakeesta (35min drive): Take a scenic chairlift ride to Anakeesta Mountain in Gatlinburg. Once there, enjoy treetop canopy walks, ziplining, a mountain coaster, gem mining, and picturesque views from the observation tower. Also check out their incredible Astra Lumina night walk!


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

7. Foxfire Adventure Park (46min drive): Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the Smoky Mountains, Fox Fire Adventure Park offers an exhilarating escape for families seeking outdoor fun. This immersive park caters to adventurers of all ages, making it an ideal destination for families with kids. From thrilling zip lines, to challenging obstacle courses and swinging bridges, to rock climbing walls, there’s no shortage of excitement here. The park’s emphasis on safety ensures a worry-free experience for parents, allowing them to join in the excitement or relax and enjoy the scenic beauty. Located a bit out East past the Parkway, Fox Fire Adventure Park promises unforgettable memories and endless opportunities for family bonding amidst nature’s wonders.

8. Dinner Shows: There are several dinner shows in the area and most are expensive, but fantastic! It’s probably best for kids who are 8 and up (younger kids might not make it through). Some of the top recommended are Dolly Parton’s Stampede (high production value), Hatfield & McCoy (great food & comedy), Pirates Voyage (best for kids), the Comedy Barn, and the newest show in 2023, Array.

Pirates Dinner Show
Pirates Dinner Show
Hatfield and McCoys dinner
Hatfield and McCoys dinner

9. Goats on the Roof (17min drive) is a unique attraction where you could easily spend a half-day. They have goats running around their roof and have a great mountain coaster. As of May 2023, they’re in the process of installing some large-scale dinosaurs along the track, so watch out for the T-rex! Another great mountain coaster alternative for the family is Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. Experience an exhilarating ride on the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, an individual coaster cart that zooms through the mountains, providing thrills for the whole family.

10. WonderWorks (26 min drive): Explore this interactive indoor amusement park in Pigeon Forge, featuring over 100 hands-on exhibits and activities that blend education and entertainment.

11. Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic Petting Zoo (41min drive): Visit this petting zoo in Sevierville, where you can interact with a variety of animals, including deer, kangaroos, camels, zebras, and more.

12. Knife Forging: Go forge a one-of-a-kind knife at Circle Bar T Forge (29min drive), Iron Mountain Metal Craft (26min drive), or Viking Blade Forge (47min drive): This is an awesome and unique experience for your family to be a blacksmith and forge your own knife. Not only will you learn about the process of forging and making a knife, but you’ll actually be able to MAKE it and bring it home with you.

13. Soaky Mountain Water Park (38min drive): The summer months can be hot, so why not take the family to a huge water park!? This has several massive water slides, pools, and rides for all ages. Located in Sevierville.

14. Wilderness at the Smokies (36min drive): Right across the street from Soaky Mountain Water Park is this hotel and water park. You don’t have to have to stay at the resort to enjoy their water park. They offer a limited amount of day passes available between $40-$80/day per person, depending on the time of year. Be sure to check out their new and expanded for 2024 Kaleidoscope Kavern Lazy River.

15. Wild Bear Falls Water Park (33min drive): This is an exhilarating and safe aquatic adventure, and you don’t need to stay at Westgate Resorts to visit their water park. With thrilling water slides, a lazy river, and splash zones, it offers endless entertainment for all ages regardless of the weather outside. Parents can relax in the hot tubs while kids enjoy the interactive play areas, creating unforgettable memories in a vibrant and family-friendly environment. Plus, its convenient location near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes it a perfect addition to any family vacation itinerary. Day fees: Adults $35, Kids $18, and kids under 3 are free

16. Activate Gatlinburg (37min drive): Activate Gatlinburg offers an exciting adventure experience for both kids and adults, featuring a variety of interactive games and challenges. From thrilling obstacle courses, light games, light-up basketball, lazer tag, blacklight rock climbing, to virtual reality experiences, the attractions cater to groups of kids ages 10+ up to adults. With its immersive activities and state-of-the-art facilities, Activate Gatlinburg promises a memorable and engaging entertainment destination.

17. The Brown Buffalo Farm (45min drive): This hidden gem is worthy of a visit…plus it’s free! When you need a break from the crowds, hop in the car and drive the 15 scenic minutes through the Arts & Crafts Loop to have some time watching several of these magnificent, wild animals. Click here for directions.

18. Parrot Mountain (36min drive): Enjoy a wildlife sanctuary of many varieties of parrots and the surrounding gardens. A visit here would get you up close and personal with these beautiful birds and the lush gardens that the live in. Note that they typically close down during the slow months of January and February.

19. Skyland Ranch (27min drive): SkyLand Ranch combines all your favorite things about the Smoky Mountains into one exciting Sevierville attraction. Gorgeous views, exciting rides, shops and eateries, live entertainment, miniature animals, and more are waiting for you at SkyLand Ranch.

20. Jayell Ranch (30min): This is a premier outdoor adventure destination nestled in the scenic Smoky Mountains. Known for its thrilling ziplining experiences, visitors can soar through the treetops while enjoying breathtaking views. The ranch also offers horseback riding adventures, ATV tours for those seeking an adrenaline rush, and a family-friendly petting zoo where guests can interact with farm animals. With gem mining activities, pony rides for children, and the backdrop of the stunning Smokies, Jayell Ranch provides a diverse range of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

21. Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing & Rafting (14min drive): Embark on a thrilling family rafting adventure along the Pigeon River. Choose from calm float trips or more exciting whitewater rafting experiences suitable for different age groups.

22. Visit Mountain Mile (24min drive): As one of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee’s most unique shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations, there is something for everyone. They have a few thrill rides for the older kids and thrill seekers, but also have fun lawn games like checkers and corn hole. It is also a fantastic place to shop, get dinner, or relax on the lawn.

23. Lorelei’s Candles (42min drive): This handmade candle shop is a great hidden gem in Gatlinburg. They have tons of unique candles and you can also create your own hand-dipped candles. Let your imagination go wild!

24. Forbidden Caverns (48min drive): Take a guided tour of these mysterious underground caves near Sevierville. Learn about stalagmites, stalactites, and the intriguing history of the caverns.

Remember to check the operating hours, availability, and any specific requirements for each activity before visiting. The Smoky Mountains offer a wide range of attractions that cater to various interests and age groups, ensuring a memorable family vacation. Have fun and make memories with the family!

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

What are your must-see things to do with your family in the area? We’d love to hear and add to our list! Comment below.