Before you head to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the country’s most popular park, we have a secret to share with you. Don’t stay with everyone else. Book your vacation at Under Canvas, a gorgeous new glamping spot that converts the most ardent anti-campers. Short for “glamorous camping,” glamping at Great Smoky means you can experience nature while sleeping in modern tents equipped with the creature comforts of home.
In 2020, Under Canvas opens April 2 and stays open until Nov. 29. Here are five reasons why you need to make a reservation.
1. Sleep in Luxury Accommodations near the Park
Does falling asleep in luxurious linens in a king-sized bed with the sounds of a creek and a modern crackling wood stove sound dreamy? What about sipping gourmet coffee in the morning on your private deck? Welcome to vacation at Under Canvas’ Great Smoky Mountains “glampground.” Just 20 minutes from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s the kind of place where non-campers find themselves completely enamored with tented living. From the moment you step into the West Elm-curated lobby tent, you realize luxury and the outdoors aren’t mutually exclusive. Choose between six different tent configurations, three of which are equipped with a king-sized mattress, luxury linens, an in-tent flushing toilet and an in-tent private shower equipped with organic EO soap products. If you stay in the more economical Safari tents, choose between a king bed or three twins. The communal bathrooms are steps away.
2. Stay Minutes from Popular Tourist Attractions but Away from Crowds
Under Canvas’ glamping resort is 15 minutes from Gatlinburg, making it easy to check off all the tourist attractions on your list. Walk one-mile round-trip to Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to stand at 6,643 feet, the highest point in Tennessee and on the Appalachian Trail. On a clear day, you can see into seven states. Don’t miss the park’s Cades Cove, an 11-mile loop driving loop. It’s the best place to see wildlife and the largest collection of historic structures in any national park. In Gatlinburg, peruse souvenir shops and visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to see penguins, sharks and exotic fish. In the neighboring town of Pigeon Forge, home to Dollywood (named for Dolly Parton who grew up in the area), you can ride a flume at 50 miles per hour or see nightly fireworks in the summer. But once you return to your tent at Under Canvas, you’ll feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle.
3. Disconnect From Devices and Connect with Friends and Family
Under Canvas is more than a place to rest your head. It’s designed to encourage guests to stay off their phones and share experiences in the outdoors with those around them. For instance, there is no WiFi at the camp, an absence which Under Canvas staffers gleefully refer to as an “intentional inconvenience.”
Instead, it offers board games, a volleyball court, free yoga classes, live music and s’mores in the evening around a community fire pit. “It sets us apart from a standard hotel,” says Stephen Nelson, a guest experience manager for Under Canvas. “We like to send people off with lifelong memories.” Look for the chalkboard in the lobby tent every day for a list of complimentary on-site activities.
4. Leave Booking Activities to the Concierge Service
You’ll avoid hours of research and the hassle of booking daily activities when you work with Under Canvas’ guest experience coordinators. With their expert knowledge of the area and a list of vetted guiding companies, they’ll help you decide how best to spend your time. They can book everything from horseback riding and ATV tours to guided hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
5. Avoid Lengthy Restaurant Lines
Forget about battling the crowds for a seat in one of the bustling restaurants in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. At Under Canvas, you can enjoy delicious healthy breakfasts or dinners at the resort’s Embers Restaurant. The diverse dinner menu includes the Under Canvas Burger, Pan-Roasted Trout or the Superfood & Quinoa Salad. At breakfast, there’s something even the pickiest of eaters from French toast to breakfast burritos. If you’re planning on being in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the day, order a gourmet box lunch by 9 p.m. the night before you go for pick-up the following morning.
Under Canvas® Great Smoky Mountains
1015 Laurel Lick Rd.
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863