Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.


4 Great Smoky Mountain Day Trips

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on March 27, 2023

Let's start with the assumption that at some point this year, you'll be vacationing in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and that you'll be basing your trip in Gatlinburg, Sevierville or Pigeon Forge - the three primary tourist communities in the Smokies. Granted, there's enough to do in those three towns (not to mention Great Smoky Mountains National Park) to keep a family immersed in good times for weeks on end.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, that you're looking to mix things up a little bit while you're in town; you're interested in venturing out for just a day to a nearby regional destination. Or maybe you're looking for a place to visit briefly on your way to or from one of the cities we mentioned above. That's where day trips come into play, and they're a great way to spice up any vacation to the Smokies. They're almost like a vacation from your vacation, giving you and your family the opportunity to expand your horizons and experience some things you might not have otherwise.

This week, Smoky Mountain Ziplines will introduce you to four of the most popular day trip options for visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you already plan to visit Dollywood, zip line Gatlinburg or see a music theater show, any of these treks would be the ideal side quest.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville is only a half-hour's drive from Sevierville, 45 minutes from Pigeon Forge and an hour from Gatlinburg, depending on which route you take. But there's a lot to do there, including attractions like the Knoxville Zoo and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Also, venues like Thompson Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus, the Tennessee Theatre and the Bijou Theatre host a wide variety of live performances, from musical acts to traveling Broadway productions. And if you consider yourself a foodie, you're in luck. Knoxville is a restaurant Mecca, particularly in downtown enclaves like The Old City, Market Square and Gay Street. You'll find dining and nightlife options for all ages, tastes and budgets. If you're into collegiate sports, the University of Tennessee has athletic events throughout the school year, most notably football, basketball and baseball.

Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina, this small city marches to the beat of its own drummer. But its laid-back vibe is just one of the many things that visitors like so much about visiting Asheville, which is only an hour to an hour and a half away from the Tennessee Smokies, depending on your starting point. The city is best known for the being the home of Biltmore, a palatial mansion and estate that was built by the Vanderbilts around the turn of the 20th century. Back then, it was a retreat where the family went for health and relaxation purposes. Today, visitors can tour the home, the surrounding acreage and the many other points of interest that have sprung up on the estate in recent decades. While you're in Asheville, consider visiting the River Arts District, the Grove Park Inn or the downtown area, which is also known for its vibrant dining, nightlife and cultural scene.

Cherokee, North Carolina

In many ways, Cherokee is a mirror image of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Like those communities, it's essentially the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, except on the North Carolina side of the national park. As the name would suggest, much of the culture and tourism there is rooted in its Native American history, specifically that of the Cherokee nation. While you're in town, two of the biggest attractions are the live outdoor drama Unto These Hills and Oconaluftee Indian Village. For the past 20 years, Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort has been a big draw with visitors, offering legal gaming opportunities and live concert events, all supported by the presence of a 1,100-room resort hotel. And while you're in the area, you might as well check out the North Carolina half of the national park.

Townsend, Tennessee

This is the closest day-trip option for Smokies visitors, especially if you're staying in Pigeon Forge. The community of Townsend is less than a half-hour's drive away, and it has rightly earned its reputation as “the peaceful side of the Smokies.” It offers handy national park access as well as lots of outdoor recreational activities (like tubing, camping, horseback riding and the city's nine-mile cycling/walking/running trail) - all found right there in town. Recommended attractions include the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and the Little River Railroad Museum. And although Townsend doesn't have nearly the number of shops, attractions and restaurants as its neighboring communities, there's still enough there to give day visitors plenty of options.


This content posted by Smoky Mountain Ziplines. Visit our home page, for more information on zipline adventures in the Smoky Mountains.

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