The Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited National Park in the US for over four decades. Entrance to the park is free, and the town of Gatlinburg, TN is full of stores, restaurants, and activities for the whole family.
Places to Stay While Visiting The Smokies
You should have no trouble finding a place to stay here. The area surrounding Gatlinburg is littered with hotels, cabins, Airbnbs and plenty of other options to spend your nights nestled in the wilderness.
We found a small cabin that easily fit the five of us that was about 15 minutes from downtown. The traffic was light at first, although it could get a little busy once in the heart of the city. here is the distance of local towns to the Gatlinburg Visitor’s Center:
- Gatlinburg, TN (4 miles away)
- Pigeon Forge, TN (10 miles away)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established on May 22, 1926, and has a total area of 522,427 acres (816 square miles, or 2,115 square kilometers).
|Address||107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738|
|Hours||It is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year|
|Learn More||Official Website|
When to Visit: Weather vs. Peak Visitation
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the 2nd most visited park in the country.
We crunched 30 years of historical weather and/or park service data to find the best months to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We looked for the optimal temperatures, the least amount of snow and rain, and stayed away from peak visitation months if we could help it. All this data then helped us paint a picture as to what the absolute best time to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park is.
Our data shows the best months to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park are April, May, June & September.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Road Trips
Many family vacations consist of stringing one or more national parks together during a week-long trip. Creating these types of trips is our specialty! Here are the road trips we've created where Great Smoky Mountains National Park is visited.
|Trip Name||Trip Miles||Trip Days|
|The Full Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip||713||8|
|Mammoth Cave & Smoky Mountains||536||8|
|DC, Shenandoah, New River Gorge to Great Smoky Mountains||767||9|
Other Nearby National Park Sites
From national monuments, to historic sites to seashores and more, here are the other parks closest to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
|Andrew Johnson National Historic Site||51 mi|
|Cumberland Gap National Historical Park||64 mi|
|Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site||67 mi|
|Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area||85 mi|
|Obed Wild and Scenic River||90 mi|
|Cowpens National Battlefield||104 mi|
|Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park||110 mi|
|Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument||117 mi|
|Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area||125 mi|
|Kings Mountain National Military Park||126 mi|
Nearby Campsites & RV Parks
If you are looking to pitch a tent or park an RV at a campsite near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, here is a list of the closest campsites in the surrounding area. They all have slightly different amenitites, so its best to check them all out instead of just chosing the first on the list.
|Elkmont - Great Smoky Mountains National Park||Gatlinburg, TN more||3 miles|
|Cades Cove - Great Smoky Mountains National Park||Townsend, TN more||15 miles|
|Smokemont - Smoky Mountains National Park||Bryson City, NC more||15 miles|
|Deep Creek - Great Smoky Mountains||Bryson City, NC more||16 miles|
|Sevier County Park - Douglas Reservoir||Sevierville, TN more||18 miles|
|Cosby - Great Smoky Mountains National Park||Gatlinburg, TN more||19 miles|
|Douglas Dam Tailwater||Sevierville, TN more||19 miles|
|Douglas Dam Headwater||Sevierville, TN more||19 miles|
|Tsali||Bryson City, NC more||19 miles|
|Cable Cove||Fontana Villag, NC more||21 miles|
Nearest Ski Resorts
For those of you who are the diehard outdoors type, visiting a national park on a ski trip can be quite the adventure. Here are the ski resorts within 100 miles of Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
|Ober Gatlinburg||Galinburg, TN||3,300 ft||34%||2 mi|
|Cataloochee||Maggie Valley, NC||5,400 ft||28%||25 mi|
|Sapphire Valley||Cashiers, NC||3,450 ft||15%||47 mi|
|Wolf Ridge||Mars Hill, NC||4,700 ft||31%||61 mi|
|Sugar Mountain||Banner Elk, NC||5,300 ft||33%||98 mi|
|Beech Mountain||Banner Elk, NC||5,505 ft||38%||100 mi|
When visiting a National park, many people are faced with either a very long drive across country, or a much shorter flight. For those of you looking to fly into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we've listed the closest airports in the area.
A large airport has scheduled major airline service with millions of passengers per year. This type of airport always accepts international flights. Here are the closest large airports to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
|Charlotte Douglas International Airport||CLT||Charlotte, NC||149 mi|
|Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport||ATL||Atlanta, GA||150 mi|
|Nashville International Airport||BNA||Nashville, TN||178 mi|
|Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport||SDF||Louisville, KY||211 mi|
|Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport||CVG||Cincinnati / Covington, KY||241 mi|
|Raleigh-Durham International Airport||RDU||Raleigh/Durham, NC||266 mi|
|Savannah Hilton Head International Airport||SAV||Savannah, GA||279 mi|
A medium-sized airport has scheduled regional airline service. This type of airport may or may not accept international flights. Here are the closest medium-sized airports to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
|McGhee Tyson Airport||TYS||Knoxville, TN||27 mi|
|Asheville Regional Airport||AVL||Asheville, NC||58 mi|
|Tri-Cities Regional TN/VA Airport||TRI||Bristol/Johnson/Kingsport, TN||83 mi|
|Greenville Spartanburg International Airport||GSP||Greer, SC||92 mi|
|Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (Lovell Field)||CHA||Chattanooga, TN||104 mi|
|Athens Ben Epps Airport||AHN||Athens, GA||120 mi|
|Concord-Padgett Regional Airport||USA||Concord, NC||160 mi|
Credits: Campground data provided by USCampgrounds.info. Map shapes from CartographyVectors. Weather data from MeteoBlue. Airport data from OurAirports.com. Images from Unsplash, Flickr and Parks&Trips. All data has also been updated and augmented by Parks&Trips.