Tennessee lends itself as a great recreational destination, as it should, for it has the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited in the United States. The Volunteer State is home to various attractions such as the adrenaline-pumping Dollywood, the majestic Parthenon in the capital city of Nashville, museums, quaint back streets and historical landmarks, among others.
Those looking to experience raw beauty, however, should visit the state’s charming mountain towns, where the breezes are not only fresh but invigorating. The cities mentioned are the best meeting places for nature lovers and those who want to be close to Mother Nature. These destinations are so enchanting that tourists want to become locals.
10/10 pigeon forge
Pigeon Forge is probably Tennessee’s most famous mountain town due to its proximity to the Great Smokies and the home of Dollywood. Country music fans and those interested in culture will enjoy their vacation in this city, as it has musical theaters and museums in addition to the already mentioned attractions. Cruises and sightseeing are popular activities in the city, but outdoor lovers can also enjoy the biking trails, hiking trails, and rafting. Pigeon Forge takes tourists to cloud nine.
Gatlinburg follows Pigeon Forge as one of the top vacation spots in Tennessee, thanks to its location on the border of the Great Smokies. At this destination, the mountain calls travelers to explore further. There’s the SkyLift that takes you to the top of Crockett Mountain where you can cross the longest footbridge in the country. Hikers can conquer the trails of Charlie’s Bunion, while winter adventurers can conquer the hills of Ober Gatlinburg ski area. Gatlinburg does have talent.
8/10 Bears valley
As the frontier town of the Great Smokies, Wears Valley is adept host to those keen to explore where the wild things are. The national park is the main attraction, so hikers, horseback riders and other outdoor enthusiasts can book accommodation in the city. Wears Valley offers beautiful views of Mt, especially in the fall when the landscape changes from green to red, yellow and orange. Although a small town, just 3 miles wide and 5 miles long, Wears Valley knows how to delight.
The scenery in the census-designated Walland site is exciting. Not only is this destination nestled in the foothills of the Great Smokies, but it’s also embraced by the Chilhowee, Hurricane and Bates Mountains. With wonders like these, outdoor lovers will experience zen in Walland. Dubbed the “peaceful side of the Smokies,” this Tennessee charmer’s most famous spot is Blackberry Farm, a luxury hotel and resort where family fun is guaranteed. The town also has antique shops, but the best part is the endless hiking trails for nature lovers.
Nicknamed the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies,” Townsend is a haven for those who want to be at one with nature. It’s close to the park entrance but has less crowds, perfect for those who want to stay away from them. The city is home to many natural attractions such as Cades Cove, Tuckaleechee Caverns, Clingmans Dome, and Clingmans Dome, so there is something for every traveler. Townsend sends everyone on a satisfying outdoor journey, be it gentle or action-packed.
Despite being small, Cosby is known as the “Moonshine Capital of the World” as said drink was once a thriving industry in the city. Besides the national park, the community also offers other outdoor adventures for travelers who want to keep their legs busy. Hikers can take the trail that leads to Mount Cammerer lookout tower, while casual travelers can go llama trekking. Those wanting to take a dip can hike to Midnight Hole from town, while Cosby Campground awaits those wanting to explore the area for more than a day. Cosby is really charming.
4/10 Pittman Center
The Pittman Center prides itself on being a “community dedicated to preserving our mountain heritage,” which is reflected in the city’s attractions. After all, it’s in the Great Smokies where mountain life is at its finest. The city’s historical landscape is well-preserved, attracting lovers of the past who want to travel back in time while having a fun day with Mother Nature. Activities in this enchanting destination include hiking, fishing, bird watching, wildlife viewing and sightseeing. There is something for everyone at the Pittman Center.
North of Maryville lies the Great Smokies, while to the south lies the Chilhowee Mountain, making the city’s breezes not only welcoming but inspiring. Downtown Main Street is the best introduction to the area’s charm before tourists visit one of the parks. Parks are perfect for picnics and short walks, such as Maryville Alcoa Greenway, Pearson Springs, Sandy Springs, Bicentennial Greenbelt, and Jarvis. Parks and recreation are a way of life in Maryville, though for some they’re a show.
2/10 Tellico level
No more than 800 souls (as of 2020) live in Tellico Plains, so the town is always happy to welcome those curious enough to visit the charming community. Located on the Tellico River, the city is a gateway to the lush Cherokee National Forest and the scenic Cherohala Skyway. It has stunning views of the Smokies, giving a beautiful panorama to even those who stroll and shop in the streets. From the waterfalls and rivers to the restaurants and shops, Tellico Plains aims to impress.
Those looking to get their heart pumping should visit Hartford, where adrenaline-pumping moments are always guaranteed. Located in a valley along the Pigeon River, rafting is a popular pastime in the city. Conquering rapids in this enchanting destination is not only action-packed but also scenic as it is surrounded by mountains: Cammerer, Green, Stone and Snowbird. This allows rafters to scream but be lulled by the beauty of the area. Only in Hartford can one have such a blissful experience.