10 Great Gatlinburg Day Trips

10 Great Gatlinburg Day TripsLove the Great Smoky Mountains, but want to make the most of your East Tennessee vacation? Rent a Gatlinburg Cabin then take a short drive to one of these great destinations each day…you’ll be right in the middle of it all.

1. Cherokee, NC – Encircled by majestic mountains, Cherokee, NC is a Smoky Mountain destination with plenty of fun activities including museums, amusement parks, casino, hiking trails, scenic drives and great shopping.  Cherokee is an easy town to explore and a fun place to shop.  Stores are sprinkled throughout town and there is plenty of parking. In fact, it’s a snap to meander from store to store taking it all in.  Approx. 35 mile drive from Gatlinburg.

Visit Knoxville Museums & Galleries!2. Knoxville, TN – How about a day of great art?  Knoxville’s vibrant fine arts community highlights East Tennessee’s unique character and appeal. The city is known to attract world-renowned performers and artists in addition to showcasing exhibitions from around the world along with permanent collections of contemporary art at various performing arts venues.  Approx. 35 mile drive from Gatlinburg, TN.

3. Cherohala Skyway – This road enthusiast’s dream connects Robbinsville, North Carolina with Tellico Plains, Tennessee. Winding up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 15 miles in North Carolina and descending another 21 miles into the deeply forested backcountry of Tennessee. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name “Chero…hala.”  FREE except for the gasApprox. 80 mile drive from Gatlinburg, TN to Tellico Plains, TN.

Tour historic homes in Asheville, NC!4. Asheville, NC – Step back in time and experience Gilded Age elegance at America’s largest home, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room Biltmore House. Relive the Victorian era at the circa 1840 Smith-McDowell House-Museum, Asheville’s oldest home. Explore the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, the acclaimed author’s boyhood home and the inspiration for his novel “Look Homeward, Angel.”  Approx. 90 mile drive from Gatlinburg, TN.

Bristol Motor Speedway - "the world's fastest 1/2 mile"5. Bristol Motor Speedway – Welcome to the Holy Grail of Motorsports aka the “world’s fastest half-mile.”  The track is so short that speeds here are far lower than is typical on most NASCAR oval tracks, but very fast compared to other short tracks due to the high banking, making for a considerable amount of “swapping paint”.  The congestion inherent in this facility and the power of the cars has been likened to “flying fighter jets in a gymnasium.” Approx. 120 mile drive from Gatlinburg, TN.

Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway!6.  Blue Ridge Parkway – The Blue Ridge Parkway ends in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park just 25 miles from Gatlinburg.  You can follow the Parkway for the whole 465 miles, or just a few miles and come back.  A nice and scenic loop is to follow the Parkway to US 276, follow 276 into Waynesville, then take US 73 back to Cherokee, and then follow 441 back across to Gatlinburg   Be sure to take advantage of the scenic pull-offs and short hikes along the Parkway.  FREE except for the gas.  Approx. 25 mile drive from Gatlinburg to pick up the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

7.  Lost Sea Caverns – Stroll through an 18th century village, explore huge fascinating caverns, then float across America’s largest underground lake!  America’s largest underground lake, located in beautiful Sweetwater, Tennessee. The Caverns are open every day of the year for tours (except Christmas Day). Be sure to bring your camera and be prepared for an unforgettable experience!  Approx. 75 mile drive from Gatlinburg, TN.

American Musuem of Science & Energy8.  Oak Ridge, TN – During World War II, the town was built literally overnight for workers and their families involved in the construction and testing of components for a new experimental weapon. The location was kept secret from the American public & was not included on any maps of the region. Today, we know that it was here the Manhattan Project constructed the first atomic bomb. The Department of Energy offers seasonal bus tours of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Nearby an informative and educational science center, American Museum of Science & Energy is FREE and open to the public and has innovative exhibits geared to all ages. Approx. 65 mile drive from Gatlinburg, TN.

Pick a Pumpkin!9.  Amazin’ Acres in Sparta, TN – Can you find your way through all three of their incredible corn mazes?  Then you can take a hayride across and pick a pumpkin right from the patch. Stroll on over to the barn to play in the straw or pet the country critters. They have pig races, rubber duck races, and you can even milk Dixie the cow. Take a break as you enjoy the warmth of a camp fire or the scenery in a rocking chair. Approx. 150 mile drive from Gatlinburg.

Bays Mountain Planetarium10. Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium – This 3500 acre nature preserve features a 44 acre lake, Nature Center, Farmstead Museum, and a spectacular Planetarium Theater with a 40 foot diameter dome. Framed on all sides by mountain ridges, much of the park lies in a natural basin and is a protected haven for wildlife. Open all year, Bays Mountain beckons visitors to enjoy various activities through all seasons. A leisurely walk in the Spring may reveal over 60 kinds of wildflowers, in  Autumn the maples, sourwoods, and tulip trees come ablaze with color , and the quiet snows of winter invite cross country skiers to test their skills on 25 miles of trails, spotting deer and wild turkey as you go.  Approx. 100 mile drive from Gatlinburg.

ERA In The Smokies Realty & RentalsThis blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN.  For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277.  ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.


4 thoughts on “10 Great Gatlinburg Day Trips

  1. Pingback: 10 Great Gatlinburg Day Trips – Part 2 « A Day In The Smokies: A Smoky Mountain Travel Blog

  2. Pingback: GATLINBURG: Shopping–Fall and All Year ‘Round « A Day In The Smokies: A Smoky Mountain Travel Blog

  3. Pingback: Day Trip From the Smokies – The Lost Sea » Jewel Mooney

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