10 Fun Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains

10 Fun Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains
Sitting between North Carolina and Tennessee, the Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Smoky Mountains, a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, are renowned for their breathtaking natural beauty and an array of exciting activities for visitors of all ages. Sitting between North Carolina and Tennessee, this majestic mountain range offers a perfect blend of serene wilderness and vibrant culture.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the Smoky Mountains have something special for everyone. From the adventurous trails in Pigeon Forge, TN to the charming streets of Gatlinburg, TN, let’s explore the top ten fun activities that make the Smokies a must-visit destination.

1. Hiking the Trails

One of the quintessential experiences in the Smoky Mountains is hiking its diverse trails. With over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks, there’s a path for every level of hiker. The Alum Cave Trail, leading to Mount LeConte, offers stunning views and unique geological features. On your journey, you’ll encounter lush forests, cascading streams, and perhaps even some local wildlife. Remember to pack your camera, as the breathtaking vistas are truly a photographer’s paradise.

2. Going on a Scenic Drive

Embarking on the scenic drive from Pigeon Forge TN to Gatlinburg TN is an experience in itself. This route, winding through the heart of the Smokies, showcases the splendid beauty of the region. Along the way, you can stop at various overlooks to soak in the panoramic views of the mountains and valleys. Pigeon Forge, known for its vibrant entertainment scene, and Gatlinburg, with its charming mountain town ambiance, are connected by this picturesque road, making the journey as enjoyable as the destinations themselves.

3. Exploring Dollywood

Dollywood, located in Pigeon Forge, is a world-famous theme park co-owned by Dolly Parton. This park combines traditional amusement rides with a unique Smoky Mountain flavor. From exhilarating roller coasters to live music shows featuring bluegrass and country music, Dollywood offers a fun-filled day for the entire family. Don’t miss the chance to taste some of the park’s famous southern cuisine, like the hearty skillet meals and mouth-watering cinnamon bread.

10 Fun Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains
For those seeking a thrill, whitewater rafting in the Smokies is a must-do.

4. Whitewater Rafting Adventures

For those seeking a thrill, whitewater rafting in the Smokies is a must-do. The Pigeon River, with its varying levels of rapids, caters to both beginners and experienced rafters. Guided tours will take you through rushing waters, surrounded by the natural beauty of the forest-clad mountains. This exhilarating activity not only provides an adrenaline rush but also allows you to view the stunning landscape from a unique perspective.

5. Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. It’s a haven for nature lovers, offering a diverse range of flora and fauna, along with historical structures like log cabins and grist mills.

Visitors can enjoy scenic drives, such as the Cades Cove Loop, which offers chances to spot wildlife like deer, black bears, and turkeys in their natural habitat. The park also has several picnic areas, making it a perfect spot for a family day out amidst nature.

6. Ziplining Through the Canopy

Ziplining in the Smoky Mountains is an unforgettable way to experience the grandeur of the region from above. Glide through the canopy of lush forests and over sparkling streams, feeling the rush of the wind and the thrill of height. Operators in the area offer various courses, from family-friendly lines to extreme zips for the more adventurous souls. This activity is not just an adrenaline kick; it’s a chance to see the Smokies from a unique, bird’s-eye view.

7. Horseback Riding on Mountain Trails

Horseback riding is a more serene way to explore the Smoky Mountains. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a beginner, local stables offer guided tours along picturesque trails. Riding through the tranquil forests and meadows, you’ll get a sense of how early settlers traveled through these mountains. It’s a peaceful, grounding experience that connects you with the natural beauty of the area in a very personal way.

10 Fun Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains
Horseback riding is a more serene way to explore the Smoky Mountains.

8. Sampling Local Cuisine

A trip to the Smokies is incomplete without indulging in the local cuisine. The area boasts a rich culinary heritage, with specialties like smoked barbecue, fresh trout, and homemade fudge. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are teeming with restaurants and eateries that offer these delicious dishes. Make sure to visit the local pancake houses, a staple in mountain cuisine, for a breakfast you won’t forget.

📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out No Place Like the Smokies: Why You Need to Visit the Smoky Mountains

9. Exploring the Arts and Crafts Community

The Smoky Mountains are home to a vibrant arts and crafts community. The 8-mile loop road in Gatlinburg is lined with studios and shops where local artisans sell handmade goods like pottery, paintings, quilts, and candles. It’s not just a shopping trip; it’s an opportunity to watch these skilled craftsmen at work and perhaps even try your hand at making something yourself.

10. Enjoying Seasonal Festivals

The Smokies are alive with festivals throughout the year. From spring’s wildflower celebration to fall’s harvest festivals and winter’s Christmas lights, there’s always something happening. These events are a fantastic way to experience local culture, with music, food, and crafts highlighting the best of the Smokies. They also provide an opportunity to mingle with locals and learn about the traditions and history of the region.


The Smoky Mountains, straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, are a treasure trove of experiences, blending natural beauty with rich cultural heritage. From the thrill of ziplining and whitewater rafting to the peace of horseback riding and scenic drives, the Smokies cater to every kind of traveler.

The region’s unique offerings like Dollywood, the arts and crafts community, and its delicious cuisine add to its charm. Whether it’s a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, the Smoky Mountains promise unforgettable memories. So, pack your bags and set off on a journey through this majestic landscape, where every turn brings a new discovery and every moment is a chance to connect with the heart of the Appalachian wilderness.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for any purchases made through the links. Your trust is important to us, and we ensure that all products or services we recommend meet or exceed our editorial standards.

Last Updated on January 13, 2024

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