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Gateway Towns

Find Authentic Charm Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Sevierville

From farm-to-table dining to theme parks the kids will love, this Tennessee town is your perfect basecamp.

Located just 13 miles from the Sugarlands Entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sevierville (pronounced Severe-vill) is the perfect basecamp for your adventures. Sevierville is authentically charming and you won’t feel like you’ve walked into Disneyland when you visit. Explore its historic downtown, boutique shopping, chef-driven restaurants and a wide range of lodging options.

If you want to visit the park in a truly unique way, book a tour with Sevierville-based Scenic Helicopter Tours where you can get a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a great way to see parts of the park you can’t reach by car and foot and your knowledgeable guide will share ecology and history with you to give you a deeper understanding of the place.

Aerial view of the Great Smoky Mountains
Aerial view of the Great Smoky Mountains (Photo: Visit Sevierville)

Outside the park, there’s plenty of other activities to get you out into that fresh Smoky Mountain air from world-class smallmouth bass fishing to horseback riding at Five Oaks Riding Stables.

Whether you spent the day hiking, sightseeing or soaring over the park, be sure to save some energy when you get back to town to hit up Sevierville’s great shopping scene. Downtown you’ll find boutiques like Beyond 436 which specializes in clothes and housewares and the Cherry Pit, an award-winning quilt store. Don’t miss Jolene’s on Bruce, which has all the Dolly Parton souvenirs you could wish for. Sevierville was where the country star grew up and her theme park, Dollywood, is just down the road in Pigeon Forge. Make a stop at the Dolly Parton statue downtown in front of the Sevier County Courthouse. Outside of downtown you’ll find other great shopping like the Tanger Outlets and Smoky Mountain Knifeworks, which has 108,000 square feet of merchandise carrying everything from kitchen knives to pocket knives to historic relics.

Dolly Parton statue in Sevierville
Dolly Parton statue in Sevierville (Photo: Visit Sevierville)

When dinner rolls around, check out one of chef David Rule’s spots in downtown Sevierville to really understand the region through your tastebuds. The Appalachian is a farm-to-table spot that focuses on traditional dishes with a modern twist. You’ll find fried chicken and frog legs on the menu, but you’ll also find wood grilled meats, fried eggplant and artisan cheeses. At Trotter’s Whole Hog BBQ, the name itself explains the cuisine. The team cooks locally sourced whole hogs slowly, at low temperatures and serves the meat on sandwiches or platters along with traditional sides like baked beans, mac & cheese and collard greens. You can pour your own craft beer from 20 taps and enjoy live music many nights while enjoying your food.

When it’s time for bed you’ll find options no matter your taste. In Sevierville, when you search for “cabins” you’ll find luxury homes with full kitchens, hot tubs and gas fireplaces. If glamping is more your style, check out The Ridge Outdoor Resort with canvas glamping tents, tiny homes and RV sites. For a one-of-a-kind stay, you can book a covered wagon to sleep in at Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort or a treehouse at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort, opening in 2023. There are also two resorts, Wilderness at the Smokies and The Resort at Governor’s Crossing, with indoor/outdoor waterparks on-site, perfect for winter stays or just getting the kids’ wiggles out.

Soaky Mountain Waterpark in Sevierville
Soaky Mountain Waterpark in Sevierville (Photo: Visit Sevierville)

If you’re looking for more activities the kids will be sure to enjoy, head to Skyland Ranch. This theme park is located at the top of a mountain. When you arrive, you’ll take a chairlift up with gorgeous views and from there you can interact with farm animals like miniature horses, donkeys and cows, goats, sheep and even longhorns. There’s also food, shops and live entertainment but perhaps the biggest reason to visit is The Wild Stallion. This 1.25-mile ride is the longest mountain coaster in the Southeast. Ride during the day for great views or at night to see the lights of the towns sprawled out before you.

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