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Do you have an outdoorsy family filled with an adventurous spirit? Plan a Great Smoky Mountains road trip through Tennessee! Families can see a national park, nature center, and museums, plus enjoy both city and small town life. Read on for a five-day Tennessee road trip itinerary for families, filled with Trekaroo-recommended dining, attractions, and lodging.
Day 1: Gatlinburg TN
Start your Great Smokies adventure by heading to Gatlinburg from Knoxville, TN (driving or flying in). Make a first stop in Pigeon Forge, TN, where many attractions for families await, including the somewhat random but very educational Titanic Museum. Drive on to Gatlinburg, your home base for the next two days.
Check in at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa for a lodging option that delivers on comfort, dining, and recreation for the kids. After a long day in the national park or historic sites, this Gatlinburg resort with a very ‘Daniel Boone’ feel offers kids downtime in the pools and the new indoor water park, Wild Bear Falls. Parents will appreciate the convenience of a 24-hour marketplace so snacks and meals can be made as needed, plus on-site dining options.
Day 2: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Entrance
Drive US 441 –> Little River Road the very short distance today into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Start at the Cades Cove Visitor’s Center, take an auto tour of the park to get a general overview, then picnic lunch at one of the many scenic vistas. In the afternoon, let kids stretch their legs with a trail hike to Abram’s Falls, one of many waterfalls in the park with an easy 2.5 mile trek.
Return to Gatlinburg to lodge for the night, perhaps doing some shopping or checking out Ripley’s Believe it or Not for silly fun.
Day 3: Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC
35 miles, 1 hour
Head to the North Carolina section of the park today via US 441 to learn about the history of the area by touring some of Great Smoky’s historic cabins. Start at the Oconaluftee Visitor’s Center for the ‘Voices of the Smokies’ exhibit. Then tour a homestead and farm at the Mountain Farm Museum. Finish the day at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee. Stay the night in Cherokee.
Day 4: Cherokee NC to Asheville NC
Drive US-19 –> I-40 to Asheville. In Bryson City, pick up the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Take your time. Once in Asheville, tour the famed Biltmore Estate, then buy the makings of a natural foods picnic at Earth Fare.
Day 5: Asheville NC to Cumberland Gap, TN
Return to Tennessee today via I-40 –> US-25E. At Cumberland Gap, tour the Hensley Settlement and then either camp or grab a hotel for the night. In the morning, return full-circle to Gatlinburg, TN (96 miles), or head to Knoxville (60 miles) to fly home.
Check back this week for these fabulous road trip giveaway, tips & inspiration:
NEW ENGLAND: Connecticut to Bay of Fundy National Park
SOUTHWEST: Utah’s Scenic Highway 12