6 of the Best Free Things to Do in the Smokies
When you take a vacation in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time. In fact, there are many activities in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge that don’t cost a cent! To help you make the most of your getaway, Smoky Mountain Chalet Rentals has put together a guide to six of the best free things to do in the Smokies.
1. Go for a Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Unlike many other national parks in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not charge an entrance fee! Over 800 miles of beautiful trails are free for visitors to explore. With everything from hikes that are less than a mile long to 14 mike treks, you are sure to find a trail in the Smokies that suits your interest and ability. According to the National Park Service, these are the most popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains:
- Appalachian Trail
- Abrams Falls Trail
- Laurel Falls Trail
- Alum Cave Trail
- Trillium Gap/Grotto Falls Trail
2. Feed the Ducks at The Old Mill
The Old Mill is Pigeon Forge’s most iconic landmark. This historic gristmill was built in 1830 along the Little Pigeon River and still grinds grain into flour to this day. While there are a number of excellent restaurants and shops around The Old Mill, one of the best free activities is feeding the ducks and geese that congregate in the river. Duck food is available for about $1.00 per bag at The Old Mill General Store, so you and your kids can make some new feathered friends!
Listening to live music in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is another one of our favorite free things to do in the Smokies. Some of the distilleries and restaurants that offer live entertainment in the area include:
- Sugarlands Distillery
- Ole Smoky Moonshine (both locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge)
- Smoky Mountain Brewery (both locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge)
- Crystelle Creek Restaurant
- Loco Burro
- Three Jimmy’s
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Mellow Mushroom at The Island
- Harpoon Harry’s Crab House
4. Take a Drive Through the Mountains
Hiking isn’t the only way to enjoy the beauty of the Smoky Mountains! The area also offers a number of scenic drives with truly breathtaking views. Here are some of the most popular roads in the Smokies:
- Newfound Gap Road
- Cades Cove Loop Road
- Upper Tremont Road
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail (closed during the winter)
5. Visit The Island in Pigeon Forge
The Island in Pigeon Forge is one of the most popular shopping and entertainment destinations in the Smokies. While there are plenty of opportunities to spend money at The Island, it is also just a fun place to walk around and take in the sights. One of our favorite things to do at The Island is sit in their complimentary rocking chairs and watch their show fountain. This incredible fountain syncs its geysers with classic songs to create a fun show that your kids are sure to love.
When you stay with Smoky Mountain Chalet Rentals, you will be near all of the best free things to do in the Smokies. Of course, just relaxing at your cabin is a quintessential part of any vacation. Sitting out on the deck and admiring breathtaking mountain views, soaking in your hot tub, or playing a round of pool on your billiards table are all wonderful ways to spend time with your family. These quiet moments may end up being the best part of your trip!
To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of Smoky Mountain cabin rentals!