Outdoor Vacations: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC, TN

Enjoy epic sunsets, lush trails, and a throwback to another century at this beautiful park.



Why go?
The whole family will love the sunsets on Clingmans Dome Road, the colorful wildflowers, the lush trails and overlooks, and the chance to cruise along what some consider America's most scenic byway. For more on Great Smoky Mountains National Park, click here.

While you're there
To get a sense of how families may have lived a century ago, take in the 19th-century Mountain Farm Museum, which includes a log farmhouse, a barn, an apple house, a springhouse, and a working blacksmith shop. Then head over to Mingus Mill, an 1886 grist mill, where a miller will show the whole family how corn was ground in the late 19th century. Souvenir alert: Buy some of the mill's stone-ground meal and make cornbread with the kids once you're back home.

Where to stay
If your children are up for a beautiful five-mile hike, consider an overnight at LeConte Lodge, located near the summit of Mount LeConte at 6,360 feet. A rustic, hand-hewn lodge room or cabin (plus dinner and breakfast) costs $121 per adult per night and $85 for kids. For more information on LeConte Lodge, click here.
* All hotel prices are approximate.

Insider tip
"Every summer, my family rents a cabin near the national park, and we rent tubes from Smoky Mountain River Rats and float down the Little Pigeon River," says Georgia Holliday, 9. "It's really pretty and a lot of fun, since I get to hang out and play with my sister, brothers, and my cousins, Ava and Libby."

Download activity sheet

If you like this destination, and are interested in a variety of other travel spots, feel free to visit the following websites:


You will find travel information for a number of agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, National Park Service, and Bureau of Reclamation.


Visit Affordable Attractions in Missouri
Experience Southern Hospitality in Texas
Go Fly-Fishing in Sante Fe

Raising Kids
Age 13
Age 12
Age 11
Age 10
Age 9
Age 8
Age 7
Age 6
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3
Travel and Vacations