Now that we’re getting into warmer weather and greener views, have you considered having a picnic lunch in the Smokies? There are several spots near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge to relax with family and loved ones and enjoy the scenery. Not sure what to pack? We have a list of places that will make a picnic lunch for you!
Parton’s Deli in Gatlinburg
Located next to Hillbilly Golf, Parton’s Deli has been around for over 40 years and offers traditional picnic fixings like sandwiches, potato salad, slaw, and desserts. They even have picnic supplies. Make sure you take cash because they don’t accept credit cards. There is an ATM at the Marathon station nearby (south as you head into Gatlinburg). You might want to grab a few of their delicious deviled eggs and eat those on your way to your picnic spot!
Hungry Bear BBQ
You have two locations to choose from. Location #2 is closer to Gatlinburg near Roaring Fork, and the other (#1) is farther along US-321 closer to Pittman Center. They can make you a picnic pack to take with you (pick your meat, two sides, and bun/rolls) or you can choose what you want from options like ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and chicken. Location #1 has dog-friendly seating. Location #2 is only two miles from the Gatlinburg strip. They both offer those delicious sandwich options, as well as, delectable sides like potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, and mac and cheese.
If you’re staying at this intimate resort, they offer two lunch options. One is designed for a lunch hike and includes a backpack with water, fruit, and sandwiches. The second, a picnic basket with an added blanket, has a bottle of sparkling cider, fruit, pasta salad, and grilled chicken sandwiches.
Of course, there is the standard Cade’s Cove or one of the balds (high mountain areas with thick native grasses that provide a field with views) like Andrews Bald, Silers Bald, Gregory Bald, Maddron Bald, or Spence Field.
You’ve probably heard us mention Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge, when we talk about Winterfest and firework displays, but did you know about the other wonderful things to do at this park? Patriot Park is dedicated to the Sevier County veterans and has memorials alongside the walking trail (about a half a mile long), which has flags from all 50 states. You can also reserve the gazebo for free (contact Ann Ping at 865-429-7373 or firstname.lastname@example.org). The large open spaces offer plenty of places to stretch out a picnic blanket. Parking is free if you want to drive in, but you can also pick up the Fun Time Trolley there to hop on over to another destination. You can find public restrooms at the Trolley depot on-site.
Greenbrier Picnic Area
Get out of the sunlight and under the canopy of the Great Smoky Mountains. The picnic pavilion at Greenbrier has BBQ charcoal grills and a covered picnic area, but it can be reserved, so we recommend you plan in advance if you want to use it. The facility has a parking area, portable toilets, and drinking water available. Your picnic could either be the start of a hike or the perfect closer! You can learn more about other picnic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park including open/close dates, number of spots, and reservation information by going to the National Park Service website.
Take the scenic chairlift (operating year-round) up to the top of Mount Harrison and enjoy brilliant views of the area, including Mount LeConte. Mount Harrison has an elevation of 3,590 feet. Pretty impressive! You can purchase drinks at the top of the mountain, and between Memorial Day and Thanksgiving you can listen to the live bluegrass band. While there aren’t any picnic tables, there are plenty of benches. The summit is one of the few places where you can view the mountains in all their colorful glory during the fall. Recently, a scenic viewer for colorblind individuals was installed (a part of the Tennessee Vacation Colorblind-less Scenic Viewer Program), allowing the beauty of the Smokies to be experienced with the full array of vibrant colors.
One of the less touristy destinations on our list, Mynatt Park can be accessed from Asbury Lane off the Historic Nature Trail in Gatlinburg, before it turns into Cherokee Orchard Trail. The Park comes up alongside Le Conte Creek with plenty of picnic tables. You can rent a pavilion for either 0–4 hours or 4+ hours. They have horseshoe pits, a playground area, public restroom facilities, grills, places to play basketball, tennis, or baseball, as well as a fishing stream for kids. The wooden bridge at the park is a fantastic spot for photos. Feel free to walk here from one of Gatlinburg’s attractions.
We hope you liked our list of some places to pick up food for a picnic and spots to enjoy a picnic. If you want to try something a little different, check out the Rocky Top Picnic Wine Trail. The event is on June 2, 2018, and offers a glass of wine and picnic foods at three wineries. Learn more by visiting their website.
Have more to add to the list? Let us know in the comments area below.
Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.