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The 10 Best Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains

Travelers Today       By    Ernest Hamilton

Updated: Dec 10, 2019 04:42 PM EST

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The 10 Best Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains

(Photo: The 10 Best Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains)

Soak up the beauty of the Southeast with this list of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains.

Are you planning a trip into the Smoky Mountains? Then there are some things that you simply have to do while you are there!

Keep reading to learn about the top things to do in the Smoky Mountains. 

1. Paddling at Fontana Lake

Fontana Lake is formed by a dam on the Little River and is located near the southern end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This long, skinny lake, is a great location for those who are enthusiastic about kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. 

You can rent a boat in nearby Fontana Village for a day trip on the lake. If you are interested in a long camping trip in the backcountry, you can rent a touring kayak and set out on the water traveling from one campsite to the next. 

2. Learn About Pioneer History

The Great Smoky Mountains was once full of settlers coming to make a new life in the New World. Today you can visit some of these historic cabins, churches, and mills to learn what it was like to be a pioneer in the early 1800s. 

There are several museums where you can visit exhibits featuring clothing, farm equipment, or housewares. There are also some living museums where life from the early 1800s is reenacted allowing you to feel like you are stepping back in time and seeing what life was really like. 

3. Ziplining

If you are seeking some thrilling entertainment then a ziplining adventure is perfect for you. You can get a great view of the Great Smoky Mountains all while soaring through the trees, over streams, and through ravines. 

You can also enjoy this adventure all year long, so no matter when you visit you will get to enjoy the view in all seasons. 

4. Hiking

If you are an outdoorsman and love going on hikes than hiking on the Appalachian Trail should be on your bucket list. This famous trail is seventy-one miles long and cuts through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Many people have challenged themselves to hike the entire length of the trail but there are other options for those who don't have the time or the will to do so. There are some options that just take a day to hike, starting at the trailhead of Newfound Gap Road and ending at Clingmans Dome. 

5. See Some Spectacular Waterfalls

There are over 100 waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains thanks to the approximately 2,000 miles of rivers and streams. There are many trails that you can hike to reach these waterfalls and get a great picture or take a cool swim. 

The waterfalls are a popular place, especially Laurel Falls, the parking can be limited so plan on getting there early to secure a spot. This can be especially true in the hotter summer months so be sure to plan accordingly. 

6. Visit the Ripley's museums 

Robert Ripley was an American cartoonist who loved learning about strange facts and people. These curiosities became perfect for gathering into museums for people to gaze at and wonder just like he did. 

The city of Gatlinburg loves these odd facts so much that they have seven museums dedicated to featuring over 500 different oddities. There are many different exhibits to see and enjoy, such as taxidermied animals or shrunken heads.

You can even get lost in the Mirror Maze which features an infinite number of reflections. There is only one way in and one way out, and thousands of ways to get lost. 

7. Enjoy Dolly Parton's Stampede

Dolly Parton's Stampede is a dinner show that features a 35,000 square foot arena where performers will ride on live horses and sing country and bluegrass songs. Before the show begins you can get up close and see the variety of horses that are in the show by taking a stroll down the Horse Walk. 

Then you can watch the performances while enjoying a four-course meal. Shows change daily and with the holidays so you are guaranteed something new every time you visit the Great Smoky Mountains. 

8. Head to Anakeesta Theme Park

Opened in 2017, Anakeesta Theme Park is new to the Great Smoky Mountains and offers plenty of thrilling rides and unique outdoor experiences. The theme park was built around the mountains and allows visitors to go for a gondola ride up the mountain and has several roller coasters to experience. 

Perhaps the biggest draw for visitors is the Tree Canopy Walk which features 16 sky bridges connected by viewing platforms. The Walk is 40 to 60 feet about the treeline and is not for the faint at heart. 

9. Drive the Newfound Gap Road

The Great Smoky Mountains are a beautiful sight to see and one of the best ways to take it all in is by driving on the Newfound Gap Road. The roadway is the lowest drivable pass of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is about 31 miles long stretching between Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina. 

The Newfound Gap Road is the only way to pass through the park and is a great way to see the lush forest and wildlife. Take some time to stop for a picnic and give your chance to appreciate the scenery. 

10. Climb Up to Clingmans Dome Observation Tower

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower was opened in 1959 and is a great way to get a birds-eye view of the mountains without having to hike unsteady terrain. This is the highest point of the entire park and offers a complete 360 view of the mountains. 

The tower is free to access but you will have to climb the steep paved ramp to the top. Depending on the weather the road to the tower might be closed so check the park's website for up to date information before heading out. 

Learn More About Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains!

There are so many great things to do in the Smoky Mountains that everyone in your family will find something they enjoy. 

For more travel tips and ideas, be sure to visit our website daily! 

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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