The Smoky Mountains, found on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, are a great place for people who love nature and outdoor adventures. In this area, you’ll discover the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most popular national park in the United States, attracting millions of visitors with its natural beauty and Appalachian heritage.

When you visit, you can escape the fast pace of city life and enjoy diverse wildlife, stunning scenery, and rich cultural traditions. Whether you want exciting adventures or peaceful walks in the woods, the Smokies offer a memorable experience. Here are eight ideas to make the most of your trip to this beautiful destination.

#1: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not just vast; it is teeming with life. Imagine strolling through a forest filled with diverse trees, listening to the songs of birds, and perhaps even catching a glimpse of deer if you’re fortunate. This park hosts a wide variety of animals and plants, serving as a vibrant showcase of nature. 

The mountains can appear to be cloaked in mist, creating a truly distinctive sight. You can easily spend an entire day exploring, whether you’re hiking the mountain trails, admiring the waterfalls, or simply finding a tranquil spot by the river.

After a day of adventure, it is time to rest. Choose accommodations that capture the essence of the Smoky Mountains. Opting for Smoky Mountain bed and breakfast inns is a popular choice. For the best services, check out Visit My Smokies. Here, you’ll find more than just a place to lay your head; you’ll experience true Southern hospitality and charm. These inns provide a warm, cozy, and welcoming atmosphere, making your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains memorable and exceptionally remarkable.

#2: Arts and Crafts Community

The Smoky Mountains offer not only natural beauty but also a thriving community of artists and crafters. The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is not your typical shopping destination; it is an 8-mile trail where you can watch artists in action. 

You’ll discover various crafts, such as pottery, candle making, and weaving. What makes this place unique is that it preserves traditions that have endured for centuries and remain vibrant today. When you visit, you’re not just shopping; you’re actively supporting these vital cultural traditions.

#3: Savor Authentic Smoky Mountain Cuisine

When you’re in the Smoky Mountains, don’t miss out on the delightful Southern cuisine that’s deeply rooted in its history. Picture savoring fluffy buttermilk pancakes, savory country ham, or a comforting stew that evokes the feeling of home.

What makes the food here exceptional isn’t just the taste but the rich stories behind it. Many local restaurants still prepare dishes using cherished family recipes passed down through generations, often using ingredients sourced locally.

And for a unique experience, you can legally sample moonshine. It is not just a potent drink; it is a glimpse into the region’s fascinating past.

#4: Experience the Melodies at Dollywood

Dollywood, the renowned amusement park founded by singer Dolly Parton, effectively immerses visitors in the essence of Smoky Mountain culture, particularly through music. Guests can enjoy live shows showcasing local sounds such as bluegrass and country, which are beloved in this region.

Yet, music is just one aspect of the fun. The park hosts various festivals throughout the year, each centered on a specific facet of mountain life. These events provide a deeper insight into the region and its people. It is not every day that you encounter a park that offers both an exciting experience and an opportunity to learn about local traditions.

#5: Adventurous White-Water Rafting

White-water rafting on the Pigeon River is a top choice for those seeking excitement in the Smoky Mountains. This river caters to various preferences. Some stretches offer thrilling, wild rapids that deliver an exhilarating experience.

In contrast, other sections provide a tranquil journey, making it ideal for families who want to savor the scenery while gently floating downstream. What sets rafting here apart is that it offers more than just fun; it provides an opportunity to appreciate the mountains from a unique perspective.

Local businesses also offer guided tours down the river, ensuring everyone has a great time while staying safe. They are knowledgeable about the best spots on the river and proficient in navigating its twists and turns.

#6: Fishing in Abundant Streams

Fishing enthusiasts will find the Smoky Mountains an ideal destination for their next trip. The region boasts numerous streams, many of which are teeming with fish like rainbow and brook trout. In fact, within the national park alone, you’ll discover approximately 2,900 miles of streams, providing a wide array of fishing spots to explore.

What’s fantastic about fishing here, whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, is that you can enlist the services of a local guide. These experts not only assist you in catching fish but also educate you on the proper techniques for catch and release, ensuring the preservation of the environment for future fishing adventures. 

Additionally, these guides possess in-depth knowledge of the local ecosystem, making your fishing experience not only rewarding in terms of catches but also enlightening in terms of understanding the region’s natural world.

#7: Horseback Riding 

Horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains offers a unique perspective on the region’s stunning landscapes. Many stables provide guided rides through picturesque scenes, including open fields with wildflowers, tranquil forests, and alongside clear streams.

The best part is you don’t need to be an expert rider; they have horses and trails for all levels, even complete beginners. Riding at a slower pace allows you to notice the smaller details you might otherwise miss. Plus, spending time with your horse adds a special dimension to your exploration of these ancient mountains.

#8: Attend Smoky Mountain Cultural Events

Exploring cultural events is a must in the Smoky Mountains. These local gatherings offer a glimpse into the essence of life in this region. Attendees can enjoy traditional music and dance performances, and local artisans showcase their crafts.

One notable event is the annual Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, where artists gather to display and sell their handmade creations. Another delightful experience is the Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales, featuring people dressed in period attire who share stories and perform music reminiscent of days gone by.

These events serve not only as enjoyable experiences but also as educational opportunities to learn about the history and culture of the Smoky Mountains. They highlight how the local community keeps its traditions alive.


The Smoky Mountains offer a wide range of adventures, from thrilling white-water rafting to peaceful fishing. Local crafts and cuisine showcase the region’s rich culture, while Dollywood and cultural events offer both fun and a deeper understanding of mountain traditions. Exploring the mountains on horseback not only reveals their unique beauty but also supports the local community and preserves the region’s history and natural splendor. 

Your visit is more than a trip; it is an experience that will stay with you.