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25. Gatlinburg. From parks and museums to restaurants and shopping, the Tennessee city is an ideal place to spend a fun-filled family vacation.
24. Hiking. The mountains are home to miles of beautiful hiking trails, including parts of the infamous Appalachian Trail. Some even offer guided tours.
23. Cataloochee Valley. Get an idea of what life was like in one of the most prosperous settlements in the area in the late nineteenth century, hike a seven-mile trail, go fishing or watch for wildlife in the valley that is surrounded by rugged 6000-foot peaks.
22. Pigeon Forge. Visit Dollywood, take in a show at one of the many theaters or just spend a day shopping at one of the city’s outlet malls.
21. The Music. From bluegrass festivals to an old-time music demonstration around the campfire at Cades Cove, if you love mountain music, you will hear plenty of it in the Great Smoky Mountains.
20. The Festivals. Festivals are plentiful and held year-round throughout the Great Smoky Mountains. Some of the more popular ones are Cosby in the Park (May), Festival of Christmas Past (December) and the Foothills Fall Festival (October).
19. Cherokee. Cherokee, North Carolina is home to numerous Native American cultural attractions for history buffs and activities for nature lovers, such as hiking, camping, fishing and wildlife watching.
18. The Seasons. Few other places in the South are as delightfully warm in the summer, home to such gorgeous foliage in the fall, accumulate enough snow on the ground for skiing in the winter and feature some of the most beautiful wildflowers blooming in the spring.
17. The History. From historic buildings built by early settlers to Civil War era landmarks to the rich culture of the Cherokee Indians, every family who visits the Great Smoky Mountains will have so much fun soaking up the history, they will not even realize they are learning something.
16. Camping. Looking for a place to spend a night or two in the great outdoors? Cabins and campsites are located all over the area, and some are only reachable by boat.
15. Waterfalls. There are over eleven stunning waterfalls located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some are reachable by car and some by foot.
14. Fishing. Some say the best trout they ever caught in their lives came from the Smokies’ 700 miles of streams and rivers.
12. Train Rides. Enjoy a gourmet dinner, take in a mystery theater show or simply enjoy a unique view by taking a ride on The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
11. Golf. The Laurel Valley Golf Course offers eighteen holes that can be played against the beautiful backdrop of the mountains.
10. Hospitality. You just cannot beat Southern hospitality. Count on friendly staff at restaurants, shops, lodging facilities and tourist attractions all around the area.
9. Foothills Parkway. Enjoy parts of a 71-mile scenic drive through valleys and mountains, and learn a little history while you are there. Even though it has been in the works since 1944, the road is still only partially completed.
8. Whitewater Rafting. Whether you are a beginner or advanced, white water rafting packages are offered in many areas of the Great Smoky Mountains. They make a great way to cool off on a hot summer day.
7. Cades Cove. The eleven mile open-air museum will provide your family with an up-close look at some wildlife and historic buildings from some of the area’s earliest settlers.
6. The Wildlife. It is not unusual to see a black bear, a herd of elk or a white-tailed deer while out on a hike or scenic drive.
5. The Proximity. Did you know that over half of the United States population could drive to the Great Smoky Mountains in a day or less? What are you waiting for?
4. Museums. From the Little River Lumber Company to the Mountain Farm Museum, there are dozens of museums you and your family can explore.
3. Shopping. Whether you prefer the big outlet malls or quaint shops owned by the locals, shoppers of all ages will be glad they brought their wallets on vacation.
2. Peace and Quiet. Even though it is a major tourist attraction, you cannot find a more peaceful or relaxing place than the Great Smoky Mountains. The laid-back way of life and secluded cabins are ideal for a family who just wants to get away from it all.
1. The Scenery. The number one reason why people come to the Smokies is the amazing scenery. Whether you plan to catch a breathtaking view from atop a mountain or hope to spot a black bear cub frolicking in a creek, do not forget to bring your camera.