Things to Do at the Smokey Mountains

Things to Do at the Smokey Mountains
The Smoky Mountains region, on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. This is for a variety of reasons, the most prominent being Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which has more visitors than any other park in the country. With 9 million people visiting the park every year, a number of other attractions have popped up in the area, making the Smoky Mountains a special combination of wonderful outdoor scenery and other tourist opportunities.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

In addition to the famous Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, Gatlinburg is host to Ripley's Aquarium. The aquarium features an immense tunnel that immerses you with the fish. With everything from 12-foot-long sharks to piranhas, this can be a decidedly intimidating experience.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
88 River Rd
Gatlinburg, TN‎
(865) 430-8808

Waterfalls

One of the most dynamic visual sights in Great Smoky National Park are the waterfalls. Trails to popular waterfalls, including Grotto, Laurel and Rainbow, have foot traffic in excess of 200,000 every year. The hikes are worth it. While Laurel Falls are the most famous in the park, both Hen Wallow and Juney Whank Falls are taller, at 90 feet. Immediately outside the park, on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, you can find Mingo Falls, one of the most fantastic waterfalls in the eastern United States.

Hiking

With the famous Appalachian Trail running straight through the center of the park, you can be sure that Great Smoky Mountains National Park has some of the finest hiking in the country. From the top of Clingman's Dome to the rivers and streams of the valleys, the Smoky Mountains feature well-attended trails and varied scenery. A number of cabins, campsites and other shelters are available for those inclined toward multiday backpacking hikes.

Townsend, Tennessee

There are three entrances to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, at Cherokee, Gatlinburg and Townsend. The first two are overrun with tourist attractions and other business. This all is well and good, but Townsend offers opportunities for those looking to keep things quiet and easy going. This small town of 244 has a wide variety of festival opportunities, including yearly music and woodcarving festivals.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

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