5 Romantic Things to Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Author:
Publish date:

With its amazing mountain vistas and smoky sunsets, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a fantastic place to spend a romantic weekend, celebrate Valentine’s Day or an anniversary, or to just spend time together. Don’t miss these five activities.

1. Profess Your Love in Two States at Once

Sign marking the  state border on Newfound Gap road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sign marking the state border on Newfound Gap road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Year-round the main north-south road in the park, Newfound Gap Road, offers 31 miles of mountain views. Stop midpoint at at the gap itself for the best vistas from the viewing wall. But another attraction is quietly sitting in the middle of the parking lot. This point, marked with the simple sign, happens to be the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. It's the opportunity for you to mark the moment by standing with one leg in each state and announce your intentions (or at the very least get a souvenir photo.)

Want to go bigger? Climb to the top of Clingman's Dome and shout it out to seven states.

2. Stay in a Cozy Cabin

Log cabin in the mountains.

Log cabin in the mountains.

Although Great Smoky Mountains National Park only has one lodge, the areas bordering the parks offer hundreds of log cabins and cottages for rent, many with fireplaces and hot tubs. Your choices range from the large cabin resort communities in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, to individually owned vacation homes in the communities of Bryson City, Townsend, and Cherokee. The best-kept secrets of the region are the quaint cabins and B&B's near the tiny town of Waynesville, N.C. such as the 1898 Oak Hill House on Love Lane. (www.oakhillonlovelane.com)

3. Get Married in the Park

Forget about the beach or Las Vegas. A wedding in a mountain forest or a pioneer cabin beats those locations in ambiance, uniqueness and romance. You can reserve a wedding spot in the park by simply applying for a special use permit and paying the $50 fee. There are over 50 pre-scouted locations in the park for your selection, or request a spot with special meaning to you. Note that there are limits as to the number of people and cars, food, and the volume of music. Learn more at the NPS wedding webpage www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/wedding-information.htm (Video by the Great Smoky Mountains Association)

4. Watch the Sunset at Cliff Top

This romantic adventure takes of bit of planning plus a bit of luck. Check the weather forecast for a partly cloudy (for color), mostly sunny (for clarity) afternoon. When you think you've found a golden day, pack your headlamps, a picnic dinner, and warm clothing then head for the Alum Cave Trailhead at the foot of Mount LeConte. It's a 5.5-mile hike to get to LeConte Lodge. Then take the short Cliff Top Viewpoint Access Trail. Your reward? Famous views of the sun setting over Clingman's Dome and Gatlinburg.

5. Take a Dip in Midnight Hole

A short 1.5-mile trek from the Big Creek Campground takes you to a natural swimming hole formed from Big Creek waters crashing between two large boulders. The crystal-clear water of Midnight Hole invites you to jump and make a splash, but we recommend a gentle wade after a steamy hot summer day. Venture on the trail another half mile to see Moose Creek Falls.

Related

Kids on the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

10 Things to Do With Kids in Great Smoky Mountains Park

Sweeping views that are easy to get to, many old historic buildings to explore, and picnic spots galore, make it one of the most family-friendly national parks in the east.

Bull elk grazing near the Palmer Chapel in Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

48 Hours in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It’s our nation’s busiest park, so here are tips on how to see the best of Great Smoky in just two days. Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in both the Tenn. and N.C. sides of the park.

Sunset over the Smoky Mountains in autumn

10 Best Things to Do on a Great Smoky Mountains Vacation

Don’t leave the park without ticking off at least one of these top ten Smokies to-dos including historic sites, grand overlooks, wildlife, and waterfalls.

Hyatt Lane through Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A Perfect Day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Got 24 hours? Get the most out of them with this guide. Take a hike, touch the past, cruise a view, and more.

Laurel Falls in the winter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

4 Things to Do in Winter in the Great Smokies

Snow just makes it more of an adventure. See our list of to top things to do in winter in the park and nearby – one of which is just a fun way to get around

The Sinks on the Little River

Most Popular Waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Feel the mist on your face on one of these top trips to the park’s impressive cascades. Some are seen right from the road. Others require a hike.

Float past Tom Branch Falls along Deep Creek's 2-mile tubing section.

5 Top Ways to Get Wet in the Great Smoky Mountains

Stay cool in summer at these water hot spots including swimming holes under waterfalls, boating in a fingered lake, and floating down creeks.

Entrance sign to Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Gatlinburg

Park Entrances to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The majority of visitors enter through the Sugarlands entrance on the park’s north side by driving through Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

A monarch butterfly on a milkweed flower.

Fall Monarch Migration in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The national park and parts of North Carolina are on one of the natural migration routes. Learn more about the annual monarch-tagging event.