Smoky Mountains travel guide

Are you coming to the Smokies and looking for the best way to experience every last drop of nature, entertainment, and excitement? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to the Great Smoky Mountains for you and your family. Enjoy!

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Fish at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokiesgf

Create unforgettable memories in the Great Smoky Mountains at one of the most incredible experiences in Gatlinburg! Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, named the “#1 Aquarium in North America” by USA TODAY 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award, is the place to explore the remarkable wonders of life underwater. Where else can you pet and take photos with adorable penguins, learn about stingrays, and get close to sharks in the amazing underwater tunnel? There is so much to take in; we recommend spending a whole day exploring the ins and outs of this incredible destination.  

Ripley’s also has some unique bonus attractions that are great for the whole family. Have you ever dreamed of channeling your inner Bob Ross with some penguin pals? At Ripley’s Aquarium, you can make those dreams come true with the Penguin Painting Experience! Help these Penguin Picassos paint on a canvas, which you can take home to remember this special time with your family.

Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show

Pirates fighting at Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show

Ahoy, matey! Are you ready to get aboard to a thrilling entertainment destination? Pirates Voyage is an exciting dinner with a show! Be amazed by the beautiful mermaids, tropical birds, and much more, all while you enjoy a fabulous four-course feast! Chomp down on Buccaneer Biscuits, Matey’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and mouth-watering Walk the Plank Peach Turnover! This show is one for the books, and it’s just getting started.

During the winter season, you’ll enjoy a special treat with Christmas at Pirates Voyage! A fun and delightful twist on the Christmas Classic “A Christmas Carol,” you’ll see the wonderful story of Christmas while creating lasting memories. Get your tickets today for one of the most memorable attractions in the Smokies!

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Noah "Bud" Ogle Cabin, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, named after one of the largest and fastest-flowing streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is an extraordinary way to experience the serenity and splendor of the Smokies. This 5.5-mile, one-way loop provides a plethora of magnificent sightings such as mountain streams, old-growth forests, historic log homes, grist mills, and other well-preserved buildings. One landmark you’ll see just before entering the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is the Noah “Bud” Ogle farmstead. 

Moreover, Roaring Fork provides access to many popular Great Smoky Mountain trails. For instance, the Rainbow Falls trailhead begins just past the Ogle farmstead. While Grotto Falls, one of the park’s most popular waterfalls, can also be accessed from Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Do note that the Motor Nature Trail is closed during the winter. 

Dollywood & Dollywood’s Splash Country

The Wild Eagle at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge

Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, is known for exciting thrill rides. However, this legendary amusement park offers so much more! Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Smokies while enjoying many of the year-round festivals and celebrations. The Flower & Food Festival, Summer Celebration, and the Festival of Nations are just a few that draw crowds from worldwide! Enjoy exciting attractions and roller coasters, as well as the must-see Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park, which is adjacent to the theme park. Splash Country is the ideal balance of water rides and lazy river floats that will create the most perfect experience. 

Looking for a superb place to stay while you explore Dollywood? What better place than Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort? A beautiful resort inspired by Dolly Parton’s childhood memories that will quickly become your new home away from home. There’s a reason why Dolly chose to build in these incredible mountains, and we can’t wait for you to see for yourself!

Ober Gatlinburg

Aerial Tramway at Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area and Amusement Park offers mountaintop fun all year round. There are endless activities for you and your family to enjoy. Bundle up in the winter for ice skating, magnificent mountain skiing, snowboarding, and more! Warm up with hot coffee and tea at the Seasons of Ober Restaurant or any other delectable dining options at Ober.

Ober is more than just winter entertainment! There’s summer tubing, ice bumper cars, Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, a mountain coaster, an alpine slide, and more! Adults can shop at the many shops located right onsite while kids play. A mountain of fun awaits!

Jayell Ranch 

Horseback riding at Jayell Ranch in Sevierville, Tennessee

Horseback riding, ziplining, and ATV adventures await you at Jayell Ranch! Get ready to get a little dirty on the experience of a lifetime. Jayell Ranch has the ultimate ATV riding tour. You and your group can explore the mountains on ATVs or UTVs and create lifelong memories with million-dollar views.

Jayell Ranch also has ziplining, mountain tubing, and horseback riding. No riding experience is necessary. You’ll become a pro in no time as you ride through the Great Smoky Mountains soaking up views of North Carolina, Mount LeConte, and Shield’s Mountain Fort. Jayell Ranch doesn’t take reservations, so come whenever you feel like zipping, riding, and tubing through the mountains at this marvelous Smoky Mountain attraction!

Additional attractions free to guests include a petting zoo, a bounce house, and farm games! A little something for everyone to enjoy. Besides, you don’t want to miss out on these tremendous MobileBrochure coupons, such as $5 Off Any Ride or purchasing a Combo Riding and Ziplining Package for just $49.

Rafting in the Smokies

Whitewater rafting at Rafting in the Smokies, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Where can you experience exhilarating whitewater rafting, thrilling rock climbing, a ropes course, and soaring through the air on a zipline, all in one location? Only at Rafting in the Smokies can you enjoy a day filled with outdoor adventure! Rafting in the Smokies has been locally owned and operated since 1978 and prides itself on preserving the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. 

While you can enjoy ziplining and the ropes course at almost any time of the year, whitewater rafting Class III and IV rapids is only available March through October, with scheduled water releases from Memorial to Labor Day. In addition, families can explore the lovely wildflower trail or enjoy a relaxing picnic surrounded by beautiful forests and a gently burbling river. 

Lucky for you, we’ve got even more ways for you to save with these great Smoky Mountain coupons: $12.00 Off Rafting or Raft, Zip, & Rope for Only $99!

Cades Cove

Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove is an extraordinary place to visit if you love observing wildlife, biking, hiking scenic trails, primitive camping, and exploring historic structures. The 11-mile one-way loop is the perfect way to take in the beauty of this broad, lush valley surrounded by mountains. You might even catch a glimpse of the local wildlife such as black bears, white-tailed deer, coyotes, turkeys, and more. 

If you feel like getting your heart pumping, the loop is open to walkers and bicyclists only every Wednesday and Saturday morning until 10 am from early May to late September. Additionally, you can hike one of the Cove’s numerous trails, such as the five-mile round trip hike to Abrams Falls or the more lengthy Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top (yes, the one featured in the infamous “Rocky Top” song) trails. 

Furthermore, Cades Cove is rich in history. Along the journey, you will find eighteenth and nineteenth-century structures scattered along the loop, such as churches, log homes, a working grist mill, barns, and more. Cades Cove has the widest variety of historic structures than any other area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The list of things to do in Cades Cove is endless, so plan on staying a little longer and exploring the Smokies as much as possible!

We hope your experience in the Great Smoky Mountains is filled with wonderful moments to treasure. There’s no place like the Smokies, and we love to show you what makes this place so special. Be sure to share your Smoky Mountain vacation with us by tagging us (@mobilebrochure) on Instagram or Facebook. Lastly, we invite you to use to plan your adventure to the Smokies! Happy exploring! 

Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller is a native Tennessean who currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina. She loves spending time in the great outdoors, such as camping, hiking, and mountain biking. She also enjoys exploring all that the Smoky Mountains have to offer.

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