Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Other Nearby Places to Visit
Ratings by kids' ages
- Tots (0-2)
- Little kids (3-5)
- Big kids (6-8)
- Tweens (9-12)
- Teens (13+)
Anna Woncki-Estus and 2 other parents have been here
Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains. Cades Cove, a valley with a number of preserved historic buildings including log cabins, barns and churches, is the single most frequented destination in the national park. There are 850 miles (1,368 km) of trails and unpaved roads in the park for hiking, including 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail. After hiking and simple sightseeing, fishing (especially fly fishing) is the most popular activity in the national park.
Tips for Families
While hiking, fly fishing and sightseeing are great family activities available within the park, the towns around the park rely on tourism and are set up to accommodate family travelers. After a day in the park, check out some of the family fun in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Cherokee.
Address: 107 Park Headquarters Rd, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee 37738| Map
Hours: Open 24 hours More Info
Price: Free to enter. Fees apply for camping and some activities. Check prices. More Info
Recent User ReviewsView All
- Visited: July 2010
- Submitted: Mar 19, 2013
- Traveled with:
Little Kids (3-5), Big Kids (6-8) and Tweens (9-12)
Outdoor fun for all!Flag review
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park outside of Gatlinburg, Tn is a frequent vacation destination for my family. When we go we include grandparents, adults, and kids. The best thing about this park is that there is something for everyone. Short hikes, long hikes, driving tours, beautiful scenery, historical buildings with learning opportunities, swimming and fishing in the rivers, waterfalls, and BEARS! Without fail we see the iconic black bears everytime we visit. Elementary age children can earn a Junior Ranger Park badge at no cost by completing certain activities. We like to earn the Junior Ranger badges at each National Park we visit. It makes for a fun souvenier and a (hidden) learning opportunity at the same time! Because you are at your own pace, this is a great vacation for any age!
Tips for Families
Pack a picnic lunch and a swim suit. Chimney Tops picnic area or Little Greenbriar Picnic area are our favorites and have shaded picnic tables and a river to get wet in! Don't forget the sunscreen and a lawnchair, you will be there all afternoon! Visit one of the visitor centers on your first day to get maps and suggestions from the park rangers on what is appropriate for your group's skill level. You can also pick up information on the Junior Ranger Program and start working on a Junior Ranger badge. The Cades Cove driving tour is the most popular activity in the park. Plan to arrive early (by 10:00am) to avoid the traffic that builds as the day goes on. This will probably take most of the day so pack a picnic lunch. There are evening hay rides through Cades Cove which offer great wildlife viewing opportunities. Reserve your spot in advance. Be sure to read the park's newspaper which lists ranger led activities for the month. We have seen a school house presentation, been on salamader hikes, watched fireflies come out, and sat around campfires learning about the people who called the Smoky Mountains home.
Suggestions for nearby family-friendly accommodations
We like to rent a house with washer and dryer, full kitchen (for easy breakfasts), and hot tub. We can get enough bedrooms we can spread out and everyone can have their own bed. Lots of the homes have extra amenities, like pool tables, free internet, porch swings with a view, and more! I use Moutain Rentals of Gatlinburg, but there are many others out there.
Suggestions for nearby family-friendly restaurants
Don't miss the Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge for dinner one evening. Be sure to arrive early (by 5pm) or risk waiting an hour or more for a table. Great homestyle cooking with portions large enough for 2-3 people (or save the leftovers and have dinner the next night too!) The Smoky Mountain Brewery in Gatlinburg has awesome microbrews and is family friendly. They have coloring menus with crayons for the kids and kid friendly food too!
My Kid's Review
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