There’s no better way to wake up your roughly six-month-old quarantine body than a trip to a National Park.
The Great Smoky Mountains is currently the most visited national park in the United States. Which is why I felt the need to go. I had to see what all the hype was about.
I spent a total of 4 nights in an Airbnb cottage in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Spending my days on hikes and my nights on the Gatlinburg strip. There was a lot to do here, so depending on what you want to do will depend on what’s the perfect amount of time for your stay. So, amid all your research to plan, this is my opinion on things you have to do.
Make a night out of all the moonshine distilleries
I highly recommend you do it this way. Just on the Gatlinburg strip, there are four moonshine distilleries. We did three in one night and it was so much fun. You pay $5 a person (before tip) and you sample over 10 tiny shots of some of their best moonshine flavors. There is a good chance you will get tipsy. The bartenders who host the tastings make it fun and have good energy. Some of the favorites we tried were a Banana pudding cream liqueur, a Blueberry flavored one, and a peanut butter flavor.
Try these candy spots
You must indulge while here. It will be hard not to. We bought some stuff from three candy shops. The Caramel Candy Company was beyond delicious, they had blocks of caramel and are known for their caramel not sticking to your teeth. We got fudge from Ole’ Smoky Candy Kitchen, this wasn’t our favorite spot, but they had a lot to choose from. The last place we tried was Kilwin’s for fudge and it was amazing from here! I recommend checking it out.
Go up to Clingmans Dome
I recommend going up to Clingmans Dome for the sunset or rise. This is the highest point to see the park. We drove past about three lookouts that would be worth it to pull over to see the view. The roads are literally S shaped to get up. Shout out to all my motion sickness people. If you’re traveling during the fall season, the wind makes it extra cold, and of course, there will be a lot of people. We had no trouble finding a spot though, but we were nervous because most people said it was hard to get one. The walk up is a little steep but less than a mile, you should go to the top but the view right from the parking lot was also amazing.
Sky Lift or Space needle
The sky lift line was super long so we decided to pass and just do the space needle. It was $14 a person and a super cute thing to do. You get sent up an elevator and you get a high view of the strip. Also, you’ll see the mountains around the town that are obviously hard to see from the ground.
Our favorite meal here without a doubt was our breakfast at Log Cabin Pancakes. A major heads up the chances of you waiting in a long line is very possible. We did, but it moved super quick and this specific restaurant is known for its fast service, which it was. Our bill was only $23 and some change (before tip). We both got banana pancakes with chocolate chips, and their homemade royale sauce, which you can get on top of or on the side of your pancakes, that tasted like heaven. We only tried this one place to save time and money. Pancake Pantry is also highly rated and would be a good one to try.
This is a given. The Smokies are never-ending with hiking trails. I recommend downloading the app called All Trails and you will be able to find trails you would possibly like to hike. As I’m sure you’ve already heard, the parking was seriously rough. We did get a spot every time though, some spots were just harder to get then others. It is also true that if you can get an early start you should be fine with parking and crowds. The most popular trails seemed to be Rainbow falls, which was a nice hike. Grotto falls, which if you hate crowds you should attempt early. And Laurel Falls we did not do but seems to be one a lot of people like.
This was a beautiful trip! If you enjoy the outdoors this is a trip for you.
Welcome to my blog! I am a 21 year old college student who was forced to write a personal story back when I was in a communications class. Little did I know I would fall in love with the idea of being able to share my travel adventures, hacks and my personal experiences. That is how this all started. I have big plans, and no plan at the same time. So, stick around :)