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The Best Things to Do and See in the Great Smoky Mountains

How can you go wrong when you're surrounded by spectacular hills, crashing waterfalls, shaded paths, glinting mountain lakes, winding highways with dramatic overlooks, and all of it within reach of Dollywood? Come to the Smokies and have some natural fun.
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2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863, USA
Those who have never visited Dollywood may be surprised that Dolly Parton’s namesake attraction is anything but a dusty tourist trap up in the hills. In fact, it’s a world-class amusement park with top-notch thrill rides for all ages....
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United States
Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains is America’s most visited national park. Among the forests and ancient mountains, visitors find a vast array of plant and animal life as well as vestiges of...
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2230 Hidden Mountain Rd, Sevierville, TN 37876, USA
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 800 miles of trails, and you’ll encounter crowds on only about a dozen of those. Sharing the magical, remote parts of the mountain range is what led husband-and-wife team Erik and Vesna...
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1080 Ski Lodge Rd, Maggie Valley, NC 28751, USA
The Southeast may not offer the never-ending runs of the Rockies, but when you need your fix, snow is snow, and Cataloochee’s 740 feet of vertical drop and 5,400-foot summit elevation rank it among the region’s best. Five lifts service...
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135 Smokemont Riding Stables Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719, USA
Smokemont’s horseback-riding routes, which average $30/hour per rider, can easily fill the better part of a day spent outside. The most popular ride is a 2.5-hour expedition that climbs uphill to a hidden mountain waterfall. It’s...
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576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA
Accessible only via a gondola or chairlift, this mountaintop theme park features fun for the whole family. Thrill rides like a double zip line and single-rail mountain coaster appeal to adrenaline seekers, while the treetop skybridge—the...
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7230 Grassy Branch Rd, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA
Fontana Lake, on Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s southwest border, is a worthy vacation destination. Easily accessed from Bryson City, NorthCarolina, the lake offers camping, hiking, fishing, and boating in one of Appalachia’s most scenic...
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Rainbow Falls Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA
Rainbow Falls is known for producing a visible rainbow on sunny days. Close to get to from downtown Gatlinburg, this is a fairly popular hike although not for the ill prepared. It's rated moderate to difficult and is a 5.4 mile roundtrip with...
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Black Mountain, NC 28711, USA
OK, America has plenty of beautiful little mountain towns. I just happened to catch this one on a quiet, low-season day and I was utterly charmed. The secondhand bookshop was a thing of joy - run by a woman who knew her Dorothy Parker from her...