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The Smoky Mountains are home to countless popular activities that draw millions of visitors back year after year. Whether it’s visiting a world-class theme park, going to an award-winning aquarium, or taking a drive through Cades Cove, there are some things you just don’t want to miss while you’re on vacation. We recommend also taking time to enjoy some of the lesser talked about activities in the Smokies. Here are 8 things to do in the Smoky Mountains that you’ve never done but should try!
1. Go Zorbing at Outdoor Gravity Park
We bet you’ve never even heard of zorbing before! Zorbing originated in New Zealand and involves rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball. At Outdoor Gravity Park, you’ll roll down a 1,000 foot hill in an inflatable ball filled with 10 gallons of water for an unforgettable slip-and-slide adventure! The ball is filled with cold water in the summer and 90-degree water in the winter. If you don’t want the water, you can enjoy dry zorbing from November to March!
2. Visit Douglas Lake
Just outside of Sevierville, you’ll find Douglas Lake. This beautiful lake attracts more than 1.7 million visitors each year. It’s a popular spot for fishing and boating, and the scenery is spectacular! It’s been voted in the top 10 for both largemouth bass and crappie fishing. If you’re in need of a peaceful afternoon spent on the lake, you won’t want to miss the chance to take a drive to Douglas Lake.
3. Explore Forbidden Caverns
We’re sure you’ve heard of Forbidden Caverns before, but have you ever taken the time to visit? Forbidden Caverns is one of the most impressive caves in the country. When you visit, you can enjoy an entertaining and educational tour past sparkling formations, natural chimneys, grottos and a crystal clear stream. Special lighting effects and sounds make your tour even better. And don’t worry, the trails are well lit!
4. Drive the Missing Link
The Foothills Parkway is a well known scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains, but if you haven’t been in the past year and a half, you’ve missed the addition of the Missing Link! The Missing Link is a 16-mile stretch between Walland, TN and Wears Valley. Now, you can enjoy a 33-mile drive from Chilhowee Lake to Sevier County! This drive is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves turn shades of orange, yellow and red.
5. Take a Carriage Ride in Cades Cove
Cades Cove is the most popular area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Cades Cove Loop Road is one of the most popular scenic drives. But have you ever traveled through the area in a carriage? Cades Cove Riding Stables offers guided rides on horse-drawn carriages that take you through the winding forest trails of Cades Cove. Your guide will tell stories about the history of the area while pointing out native plant and animal life. Carriages hold up to 6 people, so the whole family can enjoy the experience together!
6. Go on a Ghost Tour
Are you in the mood for something spooky? Go on a ghost tour in Gatlinburg! Ghost & Haunt Tours offers one of the most popular ghost tours in the Smoky Mountains. Along the tour, you’ll learn the stories of settlers, famous pioneers and others who came to the Smokies only to find heartbreak, misery or even death. It mixes tales of historical facts and legends with visits to the actual locations where ghost sightings have taken place!
7. Go Glamping
Take your camping trip to the next level by going glamping in the Smoky Mountains! Under Canvas offers an upscale camping experience in the Smokies that is something you definitely have to try. They have tent options that allow you to enjoy the great outdoors while still having luxury amenities on your vacation. Tents include things like beds, private bathrooms, private decks and wood-burning stoves. Camp amenities include daily housekeeping, a fire pit with ingredients for s’mores, a picnic area with grills, on-site dining and more.
8. Drive Across Harrisburg Covered Bridge
Harrisburg Covered Bridge can be considered a hidden gem in the Smoky Mountains. Located in Sevierville, it’s been around since the mid 1800s and was used to cross the East Prong of the Little Pigeon River. The original bridge washed away in 1875 and was rebuilt later that year. Since then, people have worked hard to keep the bridge up and get it placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, you can drive over the bridge and take some beautiful pictures while you’re there! The bridge is 83 feet long and 14 feet wide.
More Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains
Once you’ve tried all of these things to do in the Smoky Mountains, be sure to spend some time enjoying the popular attractions around town and exploring the national park! The Smokies are home to fun activities for people of all ages, so it’s easy to find something you love when you visit. For ideas of what to do next time you visit, take a look at more Smoky Mountain attractions.