Picnic in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There are so many great things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains, and having a picnic among the trees is up there on our list of favorite Smoky Mountain activities. We’ve put together a list of all the food necessities and some of the best spots to set up for your perfect picnic in the mountains—check them out!

Greenbrier Picnic Area

Salad and Sandwich on patio from J.O.E & Pop's Sub Shopp

Let’s start with the fixin’s for a proper southern lunch. Do you know J.O.E. and Pop? Well, it’s about time you were introduced to the newest sub spot in Gatlinburg that’s perfect for picnicking, J.O.E. and Pop’s Sub Shoppe. They serve fresh toppings on warm crusty bread that can be enjoyed on their sunny, screened-in porch, or along the river at the Greenbrier Picnic Area nearby. This off-the-beaten-path area offers soothing spots along the river for relaxing family time. You might even see some local wildlife including deer, wild turkeys, and black bears (of course, be safe and don’t attempt to go near or feed the wildlife). Kids can play and splash around in the river while everyone soaks up nature around them. Greenbrier has a lovely atmosphere and is the perfect place for a family picnic.

Mama’s Chicken Kitchen picnic food

In addition to fabulous subs and sandwiches, there are plenty of healthy salads, boxed lunches you can take with you, and side options to bring along. Try the mouthwatering fan favorite—a slow-cooked Italian roast beef sandwich, or a tasty hot dog with creamy coleslaw and tangy mustard!

You can’t call it a southern meal without fried chicken at your picnic. In addition to the Sub Shoppe, Mama’s Chicken Kitchen next door, owned and operated by the same friendly folks, offers all the traditional southern favorites. Enjoy buckets of crispy fried chicken along with scrumptious sides of mac and cheese, chicken and dumplin’s, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked beans, and of course, warm, buttery biscuits. A sweet southern picnic is truly one of the most satisfying things to do in the Smokies.

Salad and Sandwich from J.O.E & Pop's Sub Shoppe in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Live Bluegrass at Ober Gatlinburg

If you’re looking for a picnic with a view, visit Ober Gatlinburg. Scenic mountain views are only a scenic chairlift way. During the spring and summer months, enjoy live bluegrass bands on top of Mount Harrison and grab a delicious picnic pack from Hungry Bear BBQ. Traditional sides like creamy mac and cheese, baked beans and corn on the cob are all available for an incredible finger-licking meal.  

Collins Creek

Another great spot to set up your picnic is the pavilion at Collins Creek. Located between Cherokee, NC, and Gatlinburg, there are covered seating areas, picnic tables, restrooms, and of course, beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains. This is a great spot that provides a few more comforts for you and the family to enjoy so that you can get your BBQ on!

If you’re looking for things to do in the Smokies, be sure to add a family picnic to the list! Show us your perfect picnic photos on Instagram! Tag us @mobilebrochure, we love to see happy faces enjoying our beloved Smokies.

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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