Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Where To Stay In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Best Overall: Inn On The River

Great Smoky Mountains Travel Guide: 2 Days Exploring the National Park

Courtesy of Inn on the River

Once a Hampton Inn, the remodeled Inn on the River has a super prime location that’s just steps away from the attractions of Pigeon Forge , and offers 128 rooms and suites in a peaceful riverside setting. TripAdvisor users love the upper level rooms overlooking the river, however not all rooms offer those views, so be sure to ask when booking. The hotel features a scenic outdoor pool, heated indoor pool with a hot tub and a patio. Standard Rooms have maple wood furniture, mini refrigerators, flat-screen televisions and baths with granite counter tops. Many rooms also have private balconies or gas fireplaces and a free breakfast buffet is included with each stay.

What Kind Of Accommodation Is Right For You

The beauty of booking your accommodations with Bear Camp Cabin Rentals is that their properties are not at all limited. On the contrary, the fact that they manage over 150 individually-owned properties means that no matter what specifications you require for your visit, there will be accommodations that suit your needs.

With rentals in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Wears Valley, Sevierville, Townsend, Pittman Centre, and more, your options are near endless.


With the word built right into their name, you can bet that Bear Camp Cabin Rentals will have a cabin property perfect for you. They have everything from 1 to 10 bedroom cabins and beyond, with a wide range of amenities on offer.

Booking a cabin is great if youre going for a more unique, nature-filled experience, or if youre traveling with a large group.


Not only do Bear Camp Cabin Rentals offer their namesake accommodations, but they also have Hotel and Motel suites at the ready. Specifically, the Pigeon Forge Motel Suites are close to a ton of attractions, including hiking, mountain biking, and, when the time is right, Dollywood!


Looking for something a little more unique? Then try out one of Bear Camp Cabin Rentals Smoky Mountain Treehouses! Set to open in 2021, these treehouses are perched 10 feet off the ground, and come with all modern amenities including oversized windows from which to soak up the view.

The Amenities

Pigeon Forge Larger Than Life In The Smokies

Driving along the main parkway of Pigeon Forge, you’ll know what I mean by larger than life when you pass by replicas of Alcatraz, the Titanic, King Kong atop of the Empire State Building, dinosaurs, and castles to name a few.

This mountain town is all about fun for the whole family, making it a perfect companion to the Smoky Mountains. While offering some of the things Gatlinburg has to offer, you could say that things are at a bigger scale here.

Well-known celebrities also have a huge footprint in town. Country star, Dolly Parton, has her Appalachian-themed Dollywood theme park and her Dixie Stampede show. There’s also American chef and culinary personality, Paula Deen, who has her own experiences including the Lumberjack Feud show, store, and family kitchen.

Mountain Sunset View Destiny Den

This is the near perfect luxury cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Fitted with 1 bedroom and 1.5 baths and hot tub on deck, this is in the Hidden Spring Resort area of Pigeon Forge with ridiculously good views of the mountains while also being close to Dollywood and 20 minutes from the national park.

Another bonus is that it has the perfect angle to view the nightly fireworks at Dollywood which runs from June to August.

This is easily one of the most-reviewed property on VRBO in Pigeon Forge that somehow manages to hold 5 stars. Everyone that has left feedback has exceptional things to say about Destiny Den.

License to Chill Camp Margaritaville

*cues* Escape by Rupert Holmes.

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Sevierville Where To Stay Near Great Smoky Mountain National Park On A Budget

North of Pigeon Forge, Sevierville is a little bit off the beaten path but a great choice for those on a budget! Staying in Sevierville also means having to deal with fewer tourists and crowds as the area is less popular as the neighbouring cities.

Accommodation here is usually significantly cheaper than the equivalent in Gatlinburg, and the restaurants have a more local atmosphere. If you have a car and want to save some cash, you cant go wrong with Sevierville.

Its cheap accommodation and food arent the only attractions, however! The lower tourist numbers mean this town has a more authentic vibe. You can truly sample a little piece of Tennessee life in Sevierville, all while being within an hours drive of the national park.

Final Thoughts On Places To Stay In The Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Celebrates 80th Anniversary

When we first started planning on Smoky Mountains itinerary, we thought it’d be pretty straightforward and expected to book the standard hotels and motels along the way.

After researching the region, we realized that not only do things get complicated by the fact that you have two very distinct sides of the Great Smoky Mountains, but there are so many more cool unique stays than you can count.

The challenge is 1) figuring out which city/town to be in and 2) finding all of your options. If you simply look at TripAdvisor, you’d never find most of these incredible properties.

Hopefully with our curated list of properties in Waynesville, Bryson City, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, you’ll get a head start in finding that perfect place to stay in the Smoky Mountains.

What you should read next

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Before You Leave The United States

Make sure to plan ahead:

  • You tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Do not travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms.
  • You are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test.
  • If your test comes back positive while you are at your destination, you will need to isolate and postpone your return until its safe for you to travel. Your travel companions may need to quarantine.
  • You had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and are recommended to quarantine.
  • Do not travel until a full 5 days after your last close contact with the person with COVID-19. It is best to avoid travel for a full 10 days after your last exposure.
  • If you must travel during days 6 through 10 after your last exposure:
  • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact. Make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling. If you dont get tested, avoid travel until a full 10 days after your last close contact with a person with COVID-19.
  • Properly wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during days 6 through 10. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during days 6 through 10.
  • If you had close contact with a person with COVID-19 but are NOT recommended to quarantine

    Things To See And Do In Pigeon Forge

    • Dollywood is a given! Also check out Dolly Partons Dixie Stampede a long-established and highly impressive dinner show in the heart of the town.
    • Drive around Cades Cove pioneer village with the kids. Hope to see some elk .
    • Want to get the heart pumping? Rapid Expeditions offer adrenaline rush activities along the Pigeon River great for older kids.
    • See what all the fuss is about at these popular attractions: Titanic Museum, Grand Ol Opry, The Island, and Wonderworks.
    • The Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride is the absolute worst attraction Ive experienced in my life! Spend your money here if you enjoy irony but expect very little.

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    Gatlinburg Overall Best Place To Stay Near The National Park

    Gatlinburg is the main gateway to the Smokies for most tourists. Its where youll find the largest selection of bars, shops, entertainment venues and some of Gatlinburgs best Airbnbs. Its the quintessential vacation destination for first-time visitors to the Smokies, which is why Ive put it first in the list.

    Gatlinburg is home to a wide range of tour guides and excursion providers. The town itself is worth exploring for a day or two as it has a very family-friendly entertainment focus, rivalled only its sister Pigeon Forge, which well get into later.

    Staying in Gatlinburg is strategically your best option if you want to explore the national park, since 1 of the 3 main roads out of town leads directly into the heart of the park. This makes it an excellent choice for those that dont have their own transport. You will also have quick and easy access to Pigeon Forge and Sevierville if you fancy a change of scenery during your trip.

    Where To Stay Near The Great Smoky Mountains

    11 Useful Tips For First Time Visitors To The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Now that you know a bit more about the best areas to stay in the Smoky Mountains and why you might want to stay there, let us dive into each mountain town and specific recommendations for unique stays, hotels, and resorts you should consider on your trip.

    The truth is, you can’t go wrong with any of these places to stay in because at the end of the day, you’ll have a car and getting around isn’t that hard.

    The key decision you do want to make though is whether you want to be in North Carolina or Tennessee or if you can’t decide, you do both like we did in our Smoky Mountains itinerary. Each side of the Smokies is surprisingly different.

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    Courtyard By Marriott Gatlinburg Downtown Hotel

    The Courtyard by Marriott Gatlinburg Downtown Hotel offers spacious, comfortable rooms with modern furnishing. You can always expect Marriott properties to have amazing amenities, the friendliest staff, and a sparkling clean hotel. Be sure to take advantage of the onsite restaurant and the large fitness center.

    The large fireplace in the lobby and the firepit on the outdoor terrace is the perfect area to hang out with a glass of wine on a chilly evening. The private balcony off of each room also provides a relaxing place to unwind at the end of the day.

    The property is centrally located in Gatlinburg, just .6 miles from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

    Sque Treehouse In The Smoky Mountains Secluded Hideaway

    Looking for something unique? This charming treehouse in Bryson City comes with a huge balcony where you can admire the stunning forest scenery and spark up the barbecue during the warmer months. Guests also have discounted admission to the nearby leisure center, so you can keep up your fitness routine. This place has 3 bedrooms and makes a great getaway for a group of friends.

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    Gatlinburg Tn The Best Place To Stay In Smoky Mountains For Park Access And Attractions

    Gatlinburg is a very convenient option for where to stay near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Tennessee town, also known as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, is beautifully located just outside the spectacular park.

    If you stay in Downtown Gatlinburg, you only have 3 miles from your Great Smoky Mountains accommodation to Sugarlands Visitor Center in the park. The Great Smoky Mountains hotels in Gatlinburg sit so near the park border that you easily can go between your lodging and the Smokies.

    But Gatlinburg does not only cater to the active nature-lovers who plan to sepnd the majority of the time inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You must be impressed by how vibrant the small city is, and how many attractions there are to explore if you have a day or two off the park.

    Ripleys Aquarium, Gatlinburg Space Needle and Hollywood Star Cars are three popular Great Smoky Mountains attractions in Gatlinburg for rainy days. And of course you have a good selection of restaurants to choose from when you stay in the Tennessee town too. So Gatlinburg is an option for where to stay in Great Smoky Mountains that really delivers the whole package.

    To sum up, Gatlinburg is the best place to stay near Great Smoky Mountains if you want both the ultimate park access and entertainment. In the gateway town you find hotels near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and all the side attractions that the city offers is a great complement to the amazing nature in the park.

    Sevierville Where To Stay Near The Smoky Mountains On A Budget

    The Siberian American: Five Reasons You Should Visit the Great Smoky ...

    The final city in our list of areas to stay in the Smoky Mountains is Sevierville, Tennessee. Their claim to fame is being Dolly Parton’s birthplace but it’s so much more.

    As your base for your Smoky Mountains adventure, you’ll be able to dine on southern classic dishes at restaurants like the iconic Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, check out the underground cavern network used by moonshiners, go shopping at Tanger Outlets, or bring the family out to a local petting zoo.

    Being away from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge means that it’s normally a bit quieter and you’ll be able to see a more authentic side to the region.

    Nature Cabin Retreat Mooseberry Ridge

    Close but just far away enough from the main drag along Sevierville is this lovely cabin in Mooseberry Ridge. Surrounded by the forest, you’ll be sure to find peace and relaxation here.

    This hand-hewn log cabin features steep vaulted ceilings, rustic decor, gas fireplace, screened porch hot tub area, plush living room furniture, a full kitchen, porch swing, board games, and more.

    This is the perfect getaway for two.

    Cozy B& BBlue Mountain Mist Country Inn

    Also featured in our 6 day Smoky Mountains itinerary is this lovely country inn that is in a quieter and more peaceful part of Sevierville. Set in a Victorian-style farm at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, this property is a favourite for many and is always highly regarded.

    Things to do in Sevierville

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    Budget Friendly Cabin In Cherokee: Near Casino

    This basic cabin comes at a very favorable price, making it perfect for a budget vacation to the Smoky Mountains! The small porch has a dining area and views of the nearby creek, creating an ambient atmosphere. There is also a private hot tub for guests to use throughout their stay. The main casino is within walking distance, as are many other Cherokee attractions.

    What Is The Best Area To Stay In Gatlinburg Tn

    Where to Stay in Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg Neighborhood Guide. Gatlinburgs 3 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in. #1 Parkway District Overall Best Place to Stay in Gatlinburg. #2 Ober Gatlinburg Best Place to Stay in Gatlinburg for Families. #3 Great Smoky Mountains National Park Where to Stay in Gatlinburg for Adventure.

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    Wyndham Great Smokies Lodge

    If your kids are adventurous and fun-loving, then youve got to spend a few nights at the Wyndham Great Smokies Lodge! It offers two enormous onsite waterparks full of thrilling water slides! You can enjoy the indoor water park or the seasonal outdoor water park as well as the miniature golf course.

    The rooms at the Wyndham are actually fully equipped apartments that are quite spacious. You can enjoy your own kitchen with everything youll need to whip up meals for the family, as well as a balcony and a washer and dryer. Beds are luxuriously comfortable and youll have your own seating and dining area so you will never feel cramped.

    The staff at Wyndham are incredibly organized and willing to help you with anything you may need during your stay. Guests can take advantage of the other resort amenities, including a fire pit, a large fitness center, two restaurants, and a game room. And the Sevierville Golf Club is just a 5-minute walk from the property.

    The Wyndham is farther from the Great Smoky Mountains than the other hotels but its worth the drive because of how much fun your kids will have!

    Frequently Asked Questions About The Smoky Mountains

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Where should I stay when visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

    Gatlinburg is the perfect getaway town for visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park thanks to its closeness to the park entrance and popular attractions. Some of the best hotels to stay here are andOld Creek Lodge.

    Is it better to stay in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg?

    Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are both popular gateway towns for visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park but if you want to be close to the park entrance Gatlinburg is better. Pigeon Forge is a great place to stay for families thanks to its fun attractions.

    Can you stay inside the Great Smoky Mountains national park?

    Yes, there is one lodge and some campgrounds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The campgrounds are called Elkmont Campground, Cades Cove Campground, and Abrams Creek Campground.

    How many days do you need in the Smoky Mountains?

    I recommend staying at least 3 nights in the Great Smoky Mountains to discover hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all the attractions in the town. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are the most popular towns to stay in the Smoky Mountains.

    What are the best hotels near Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

    The Hollywood Star Cars Museum Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center The Tennessee Museum of Aviation Cades Cove

    Enjoy your great smoky Mountain vacation,


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    Where To Stay In The Smoky Mountains

    Every year, millions of visitors journey to the Great Smoky Mountains to see natural beauty, play at fun attractions, and reconnect with friends and family. If you’re planning a vacation to the mountains, there’s no doubt your planning a getaway to give you the best possible experience.

    At some point, you’ve probably asked yourself: Where should I stay in the Smoky Mountains?

    The answer depends on what you want from your vacation. This, of course, all comes down to one thing: location.

    Staying close to the sights and attractions you want to see can truly take your trip to the next level! To help you decide, we’ve made a handy guide to help you narrow down where you should stay in the Smokies during your vacation.

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