The 11 Best Hotels, Camping, and Glamping in the Great Smoky Mountains

Among the more than 500,000 acres to explore, these are some of the best places to stay.

White glamping tents in a forest

Looking for a Great Smoky Mountains stay? Consider sites like that of Under Canvas.

Photo by Bailey Made

With mountains more than 6,000 feet high, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the crown jewel of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. The park spans some 522,000 acres, amassing 13 million retreat-ready visitors each year. There are plenty of towns and areas worth a stay on a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, from heavy traffic hot spots like Gatlinburg and Bryson City to campsites and boutique lodges nestled off park trails and backroads.

Whether you’re eager to explore Dolly Parton’s Dollywood or seek seclusion in cabins and campsites, here are 11 lodging options for making your Smoky Mountain stay a memorable one.

1. Under Canvas

  • Book now: Under Canvas
  • Location: Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  • Type: Glamping

Nestled only nine miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s northern Sugarlands entrance, Under Canvas is a campsite ideal for luxury travelers. While accommodations are nestled under safari-style tents, a peek behind the curtain will reveal en suite bathrooms, king beds, West Elm furnishings, and wood-burning stoves. Let the lodge’s on-staff concierge book adventures like zip-lining and whitewater rafting during the day, then retreat to Under Canvas for counter-service dining and complimentary campfire s’mores.

How to book

All tent types at Under Canvas are bookable online, starting at $179 per night.

White building with pool in front

With a recent renovation, the Wayback is a stay worth considering.

Photo Courtesy of The Wayback

2. The Wayback

  • Book now: The Wayback
  • Location: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  • Type: Retro motel

Those who frequent Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge know the area’s allure all too well: While the destination offers easy access to the national park and stunning mountaintop views, commercial tourism is the name of the game here with chain hotels, themed restaurants, and charmingly kitschy shops. The Wayback, a retro roadside motel that received a ’70s-style makeover in 2023, fits in perfectly with its colorful theming and photo opps galore. Relax poolside at the Swim Club sipping a frozen cocktail served from an Airstream, then enjoy a cantina-style dinner at Paloma on-site.

How to book

Rooms are bookable online or by calling 1-865-428-7500.

3. Cades Cove Campground

  • Book now: Cades Cove
  • Location: Cades Cove Valley
  • Type: Campground

Wildlife aficionados, look no further than Cades Cove for your next camping adventure in the western Smoky Mountains. The valley is known for its droves of deer, turkeys, raccoons, coyotes, and the occasional black bear, with sightseeing options available by car on an 11-mile loop or by foot on a variety of trails. The campground offers 161 total sites, RV and trailer parking, and modern conveniences like flush toilets and potable water.

How to book

A site at Cades Cove can be reserved online for $30 per site per night.

White bed in front of a window with a forest view

The Glamping Collective’s property spans more than 150 acres.

Photo by David Rinella

4. Glamping Collective

If you’re eager to take in mountain views but are wary of being fully outdoors, the Glamping Collective offers glass dome cabins to take camping to the next level. The mountainside domes come equipped with hot tubs, fire tables, and sweeping mountain views, with luxury touches like slippers and robes, plush bedding, a kitchenette, and a modern full bathroom. Situated on 160 acres, the private retreat also offers access to five exclusive hiking trails.

How to book

All domes are available to book online or by calling 1-828-492-3620.

5. Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort

Perhaps the most famous Smoky Mountain resident is Dolly Parton, who has planted cheerful roots in Pigeon Forge through her amusement park empire, Dollywood. There are thrill rides, water parks, dinner shows, and a collection of resorts to choose from, one of which is inspired by Parton’s fervor for the Smoky Mountains: Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort. The 302-room resort incorporates natural elements from the surrounding mountains through decor, with each of its five floors dedicated to a specific season, mountain sound noise machines in each room, and campfire singalongs with s’mores at night.

How to book

All lodging and activities are bookable online or by calling 1-800-365-5996.

Two people sitting on rocking chairs on a balcony in front of a living room

There’s plenty of space to relax on Cataloochee Ranch’s 700-acre property.

Photo by Ben Finch Photography

6. Cataloochee Ranch

You won’t need to go out west for a dude ranch experience — North Carolina’s Cataloochee Ranch is a premium cabin-style lodging option that’s been drawing visitors for nearly a century. Tucked in the foothills of the Smokies, the ranch is a Relais & Châteaux property spread across 700 acres. Mountainous hiking trails are plentiful, and the ranch also offers horseback riding, an adventure course, archery, an on-site spa, and chef-led dining that merges Appalachian and Alpine cuisine.

How to book

All cabins are bookable online or via phone (1-828-926-1401) or email (stay@cataloocheeranch.com).

7. Deep Creek

  • Book now: Deep Creek
  • Location: Bryson City, North Carolina
  • Type: Campground

As its name suggests, the Deep Creek campground is home to its fair share of water features, from trickling streams to flowing waterfalls and a creek that welcomes anglers. The campground’s 92 sites are open seasonally for tents and RVs and include flush toilets and potable water. Year-round, visitors can enjoy mountain biking, fishing, and waterfall chasing throughout the Deep Creek area, which is inside the Smoky Mountain National Park, one and a half miles from the Bryson City entrance.

How to book

Open from spring through late October, a site at Deep Creek campground can be reserved online or by phone at 1-877-444-6777 for a $30 fee per site per night.

Wooded building surrounded by forest, with bushes of pink flowers in the foreground

The Swag is a great choice for those considering a romantic getaway.

Photo by Steve Yocum

8. The Swag

  • Book now: The Swag
  • Location: Waynesville, North Carolina
  • Type: Hotel

The Swag, at 5,000 feet in elevation, is the highest boutique retreat not only in the Smokies but also in the entire East Coast. The campus-style property offers cabins, suites, and guest rooms teeming with rustic touches like wood paneling and stone fireplaces and luxury amenities (including an outdoor soaking tub in some rooms). The grounds offer something for every traveler, including an on-site spa, fishing pond, library, hiking trails, and farm-fresh meals.

How to book

All accommodation types are bookable online or by calling 1-828-926-0430.

9. Treehouse Grove

Animal Planet’s resident Treehouse Master Pete Nelson designed a collection of 16 elevated cabins right on the cusp of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s northern Sugarlands entrance. Cabins at Treehouse Grove range from one to four bedrooms, each accommodating up to 10 guests, each with amenities including hot tubs, screened-in porches, and kitchenettes. The premier location offers a private national park entrance and sits a short drive from the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg tourism districts.

How to book

All treehouses are bookable online or by calling 1-865-409-1410.

Wooden platform with a roof around a forest

The cozy Snowbird Mountain Lodge features locally sourced meals that are made in-house.

Photo by Keen Eye Marketing

10. Snowbird Mountain Lodge

The all-inclusive respite at Snowbird Mountain Lodge sits inside the Smoky Mountains and is under four miles to the shores of Santeetlah Lake, offering visitors a choice between wooded hiking trails and waterfront strolls. Three on-site lodges offer varying levels of accommodation types, from entry-level rooms in a renovated 1940s cabin to suites with private decks and hot tubs. Breakfast, a picnic lunch, and a coursed dinner are included daily, along with a collection of add-on outdoor activities like rafting, mountain biking, and fishing.

How to book a room

All accommodation types are bookable online or by calling 1-828-479-3433.

11. Elkmont Campground

Elkmont was first settled in the 1840s, then became a destination for wealthy travelers a century later. History buffs will enjoy a visit to the park’s campground dotted with structures like chimneys and a toll bridge slowly being preserved and restored, earning the grounds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Restored structures are open for tours, and 200 mixed tent and RV campsites are available to book for an overnight stay.

How to book

A site at Elkmont Campground can be reserved online for a $30 fee per site per night.

Kellie Walton is a Nashville-based freelance writer specialized in food and travel. A former hospitality PR pro, she now tells stories of her own adventures (and misadventures), shouts about places she loves, and creates guides to inspire readers to wander the world.
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