It is estimate that over 12 million people visit the Smoky Mountains each year. That is, on average, a million folks a month heading to cities like Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Townsend, Cosby and Wear Valley. What is the allure of this part of Tennessee and North Carolina? Why do so many people from Florida to Illinois make it an annual trip? Here’s a closer look at what attracts so many to this part of the Appalachian Mountains.
Even those just passing through while traveling have to admit this is a remarkably beautiful place, even if you never leave the highway. Winding roads that climb and fall and wind through the mountains provide changing vistas around every corner. The haze that provides the area with is name adds to the allure of this special place.
The air seems fresher, cleaner and even cooler here. You have an opportunity to take a leisurely float down a river, splash in a waterfall or take a kayak down some white water. Climb to see an amazing sunrise or sunset. Hike to rejuvenate your spirit or just take a walk along a trail to regain your balance. Whether you camp, stay in a lodge or luxury hotel, opportunities to have a natural adventure abound.
Where else can you see moonshine being made and grab a sip? In the Smoky Mountains you can mine for gems or enjoy an original Moon Pie. You’ll find stores that specialize in western wear and boots to an almost unending selection of early American and antiques.
The best part of the Smoky Mountains is that there is something for everyone. There are go karts, mini-golf courses, zip-line, arcades and escape rooms. There’s an extraordinary amount of shopping to be done, restaurants to try and pubs to crawl. There’s Dollywood, white river rafting and guided or unguided hikes to take. You can relax, if you prefer, or stay busy for your entire visit. In one minute you can be in a busy tourist district and five minutes later alone in the mountains.
What’s the allure of the Great Smoky Mountains? It may just be a perfect combination of the best America has to offer.