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When you visit the Smoky Mountain area with your family, the one thing you have to make time for is a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The national park has a variety of activities for people of all ages to enjoy. Whether you want to go for a hike or a scenic drive, you can do it all when you visit the Smoky Mountains. To help you plan your trip, we’ve made a list of the top things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for families.
1. Go Hiking
One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is to go hiking! With more than 850 miles of hiking trails, you’ll be able to find one that best fits your family. There are plenty of family friendly hiking trails for visitors to explore! One of the most popular trails for families is the Laurel Falls Trail. About 1.3 miles along the trail, you’ll see Laurel Falls, an 80 foot waterfall. Because it’s one of the most popular trails to hike, keep in mind that parking at the trailhead is limited. Other popular hikes for families include Grotto Falls, the Gatlinburg Trail, and the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail.
2. Wildlife Viewing
Another great thing to do in the national park is view wildlife! The Smoky Mountains are home to about 65 species of mammals, over 200 varieties of birds, about 67 fish species, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians. Some of the most popular animals you’ll see in the Smokies are white-tailed deer, birds, and black bears. You can keep an eye out for wildlife when you hike, or see them from the comfort of your car on a scenic drive. Keep in mind for safety reasons you should stay at least 50 yards away from black bears and other wildlife at all times.
3. Cades Cove
One of the most popular spots to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Cades Cove. When you want to go for a scenic drive, try the Cades Cove Loop Road. The Cades Cove Loop Road is an 11-mile, one-way loop road that allows visitors to explore the area from the comfort of their cars. Cades Cove is home to wildlife, historic structures, popular hiking trails, and more. Both the adults and kids will enjoy the opportunity to see everything that Cades Cove has to offer.
4. Have a Picnic
Another great way to spend time in the national park with your family is to have a picnic. You’ll love getting to spend time in the great outdoors while you dine. You can pack your own picnic basket or you can take advantage of the grills at the picnic sites and have a cookout! If you don’t feel like cooking anything, stop by one of the nearby restaurants and pick up a meal to-go to bring into the national park with you. Whatever you decide to eat, you’ll love being able to share a meal with your family in the Smokies!
5. Go Camping
When you truly want to enjoy everything that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer, plan a camping trip! Camping is a great way for your family to bond and spend quality time together, and you’ll love getting to spend the night under the stars. You can gather around the campfire and make s’mores, or take advantage of the amenities at campgrounds like volleyball and basketball courts, or outdoor swimming pools! Camping is the best way to end your trip to the Smoky Mountains.
Now that you know all of the top things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for families, it’s time to visit! Learn more about the Smoky Mountains, then plan your trip.