Plan Your 2020 Family Trip to the Great Smoky Mountains!

With over 500,000 acres of land, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an expansive, gorgeous destination for your next family vacation! In fact, the Smokies are the most visited national park in the country. With free admission and no gates or closing hours, you can feel free to visit any time that works well with your travel plans. As the best tour of the Great Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove Heritage Tours has the inside scoop on the top locations and attractions in the park as well as tips on how to plan your trip. Read on to learn more!

Top Destinations in the Park

With so much area to cover, it can be difficult to know where to start planning your family trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. Not to worry! We have some of the top destinations ranked for you, directly from the National Park Service. The top four locations to visit within the park are Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Clingman's Dome, and Roaring Fork.

Cades Cove is the most popular destination in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for good reason! This area provides opportunities to learn about the rich history of the region, enjoy professional driving tours and museums, and possibly see the area's beloved black bears and other wildlife. This part of the park does have gates that close at dusk and reopen at dawn, so be sure to plan our visit around those hours so you don't end up inadvertently spending the night! One of the best attractions in Cades Cove is a tour with Cades Cove Heritage Tours. Professional guides take care of the driving while you enjoy the gorgeous scenery and wildlife and listen to incredible historic stories about the area.

Popular Smoky Mountains Activities

There are so many fun and incredible things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it can be hard to choose! Before you set your itinerary in stone, consider the region's forecast, the group you're traveling with, and the goal of your trip.

Weather can get somewhat extreme in the Smoky Mountains, so be prepared with a back-up plan if trails are closed or your outdoor activity gets rained-out. If you are planning to explore Newfound Gap, make sure to check whether or not it is clear to pass. In the winter, it can often be blocked by snow and become impassable. If it is clear, make sure to still bring a few extra layers for the trip. The over 5,000-foot elevation makes for a much cooler temperature when you reach the top. Stay comfortable during your photo-ops with a few extra layers.

If you and your significant other are traveling alone and have an adventurous streak, going with a more active option could be a perfect choice! There are numerous hiking and backpacking trails in the area to explore. Rent bicycles, or bring your own, and take a ride through the park's best scenic routes. Choose from over 100 waterfalls within the park for an incredible experience. Some of the waterfalls, like Grotto Falls, allow you to walk behind the waterfall for the unique and exhilarating experience of enjoying a literal behind-the-scenes view.

For large families or groups that include little ones, there are several low-key and family-friendly activities. With numerous family campgrounds and picnic spots, you can pick your favorite place and spend quality time with your loved ones. Corral the kiddos by taking a professionally guided driving tour. Cades Cove Heritage Tours provides excellent touring services so you can focus on your family and enjoying nature together.

Planning Your Trip

It is a good idea to start your trip at one of the visitor's centers in the area to make sure you have all of the information and advice possible before heading out into the park. The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center is a beautiful place to begin your journey. Enjoy the incredible permanent and temporary museum exhibits to learn about the rich history of the area and view transported historic buildings and modes of transportation. There is also a wonderful gift shop full of unique and beautifully hand-crafted items for you to choose from.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an incredibly popular destination to visit, but it is also still a wild and mostly untamed place. As you plan your trip, make sure to take extra precautions and prepare for the worst so you aren't stuck. Start your journey into the park with a full tank of gas, pack snacks and bottles of water, and ensure you have emergency items readily available. Examples of emergency items you may want to carry with you are a first aid kit, a flare, heavy-duty blanket, hand warmers, reflective triangles, and (depending on how adventurous you plan on being) a long-range radio.

Your Cades Cove Experience!

Cades Cove Heritage Tours is the best tour of the Great Smoky Mountains! We pride ourselves on sharing the area's rich history, beautiful landscapes, and amazing wildlife every chance we get. Call today to schedule your vacation in 2020 - we can't wait to see you!

P.O. Box 268
Townsend, TN 37882-0268


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