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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most well-known national parks in the country. The park has a rich history and is home to a variety of hiking trails, attractions and restaurants. If you’re considering a vacation in the Smokies, these are the reasons to visit!
If you enjoy learning about history and you like to visit historic areas, the Smoky Mountains are the place for you! The land was once occupied by Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee referred to the land as ‘shaconage,’ which means ‘land of the blue smoke.’ Due to the moisture in the air and the fog that collects, the mountains are visualized as ‘smoky.’ In the early 1800s, settlers began making their way to the mountains. They settled in the area that is now known as Cades Cove. When the national park was created, the people had to move out and create homes elsewhere. Today, when you visit Cades Cove, you can see many of the old buildings, homes, mills and barns that occupied the area in the 1800s. Other areas of the park, such as the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, have historical buildings and mills to view.
National Park Hiking Trails
No vacation in the Smokies is complete without an adventure into the mountains. There are over 800 square miles of hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. According to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are also 17,000 documented species in the park. The scenery in the park is stunning and the quiet, peaceful hiking trails are relaxing for many visitors. Within the park, you will find waterfalls, wildlife and many plants and flowers. There are hiking trails for every family, so make sure you choose an appropriate trail for the hikers you will be taking!
Attractions and Restaurants
The attractions and restaurants in the area are another great reason to vacation in the Smokies. Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are filled with things to do. Dinner shows, theaters, museums and attractions line the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Parkways. There are an endless number of restaurants, too. If you’re looking to enjoy some country cooked favorites, you can check out local restaurants like Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. For those looking to experience Southern barbeque, there are plenty of places like Bennett’s Pit BBQ.
If you’re looking for things to do on your vacation in the Smokies, check out our ‘What to Do’ page for a complete list of everything fun for your trip! Visit My Smokies recommends checking out all of the other pages on the website to plan the best trip to the Smoky Mountains.