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It’s the season of romance, and there’s no better place to spend time with your loved one than in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are full of great couples’ activities, adventures, and attractions. Let the beauty of the mountains enhance your love, and embrace the cozy cabin atmosphere with your partner. Here are all the best romantic things to do during your stay in the Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. 


Stay in a Cozy Cabin

Bring some wine and turn up the romance in one of our cozy cabins, each equipped with amenities that cater to love and comfort. Picture yourselves in a hot tub under the stars, or cuddled up by a crackling fire pit. Great Smoky Mountains Cabin Rentals has cabins that feature fireplaces for those chilly mountain evenings, porches with rocking chairs overlooking splendid views, and luxurious bathrooms with Jacuzzis and walk-in showers. A Smoky Mountain cabin is the perfect setting for a romantic retreat, with all the best romantic activities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge a hop away.


Take in the Views

The Smoky Mountains are a lovers’ paradise, and what better way to enjoy it than soaking in the breathtaking views with your significant other? Your partner may be the most beautiful sight, but the vistas of the Smokies sure come close. A scenic drive through the National Park offers a tapestry of stunning landscapes. The best romantic drive in the Smoky Mountains is through Cades Cove. This historic area is filled with beautiful scenery dappled with color and wildlife, with all sorts of walkable areas to explore. Cruise along the 11 mile road at your own pace, stopping to take pictures and view the deer and bears that come into the fields, then stop and enjoy a romantic picnic with your partner near one of the preserved cabin homesteads or century-old churches.

The viewing platform at Anakeesta is an ideal spot for a heart-stirring moment amidst the beauty of the mountains. This adventure park sits atop a ridgeline and offers incredible 360 degree views of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. There are so many activities to enjoy, from mountain coasters to light shows, from gem mining to fine dining. Enjoy a cocktail while you walk together through the mystical gardens or magical treetop bridges, drinking in the views and romantic atmosphere the mountains create.


Create and Connect

Immerse yourselves in a world of creativity and connection with unique couple’s classes in the Smoky Mountains. At Fowler’s Clay Works, join hands in shaping clay into beautiful forms, a perfect metaphor for building your life together. Alternatively, discover the mesmerizing art of glass blowing at Sparky’s, where you can craft stunning glass pieces that reflect the light and beauty of your relationship. For those who love painting, Art Studio of the Smokies offers couple’s art classes, providing a serene space for you to paint your love story onto canvas.

These engaging and enjoyable activities offer more than just fun; they’re an opportunity to strengthen your bond and create lasting, tangible memories in the heart of the Smokies. Whether it’s through the touch of clay, the glow of molten glass, or the stroke of a paintbrush, these experiences are an ideal way to deepen your connection and celebrate your love in a uniquely artistic setting, while learning about the amazing skills that set Smoky Mountain craftsmen apart from the rest.


Adventure Awaits with Outdoor Activities

For the adventurous couples, the Smokies offer exhilarating outdoor activities. Embark on a romantic horseback ride through scenic mountain trails with Davy Crockett Riding Stables. Located in nearby Townsend, this stable is a favorite of the area, featuring great guides and amazing views as you trek through the Smokies the old-fashioned way. Want even more horse power? Try a rugged ATV tour exploring the hills and hollers. Bond with your partner over a friendly race and explore the less traveled areas of the Smokies.

Want a more birds-eye view of the area? A helicopter tour provides an exhilarating aerial experience your partner will love. Soar hand-in-hand above breathtaking landscapes, from misty peaks to lush valleys. These tours offer various routes, each providing a unique and awe-inspiring view of landmarks like Mount LeConte and the surrounding valleys. It’s an unforgettable way to add excitement to your sightseeing and make thrilling memories on your romantic getaway.

These adventures are perfect for couples looking to add a little excitement to their romantic getaway.


Shop, Wine and Dine

Culinary delights await in the Smoky Mountains. Visit Tennessee Mountain View Winery for a taste of exquisite local wines while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding mountains. This winery features muscadine wines, a uniquely Southern variety of grape unlike any you’ve tried before. If liquor is more your thing, explore the richly flavored small-batch whiskeys at Company Distilling Co in Townsend.

Southern and Appalachian cuisine is a huge part of the Smoky Mountain experience. Trust the experts at Paula Deen’s Kitchen or opt for something fancier with the Greenbrier Restaurant in Gatlinburg. For an unparalleled dining experience, book the Chef’s Table at The Appalachian in Sevierville, where gourmet dishes and a romantic ambiance combine to create an unforgettable meal.

Stroll hand-in-hand through the quaint streets of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, exploring unique shops and local artisans. From handcrafted souvenirs to boutique clothing, shopping in the Smokies is an experience all its own. For amazing deals on your favorite brands, treat them to a shopping spree at the Tanger Outlets in Sevierville. The perfect gift for your special someone is waiting for you in the Smoky Mountains.


The Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge offer the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway. From the comfort and charm of our cabins to the myriad of activities and experiences, love blossoms naturally in the heart of the Smokies



 Anakeesta, located in the heart of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, offers a unique outdoor experience that is especially enchanting during the Christmas season. This mountaintop park transforms into an enchanted winter wonderland, adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors of all ages. Guests can explore the whimsical treehouses, walk along the scenic canopy walkways, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Smoky Mountains. The ride to the summit provides a breathtaking journey, showcasing the beauty of the area in all its winter splendor. Anakeesta also features interactive activities for kids, cozy fire pits, and delightful dining options, making it an ideal destination for families looking to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit. The blend of natural beauty, holiday cheer, and a range of activities, from zip-lining to gem mining, ensures that a visit to Anakeesta during Christmas is a memorable experience.  


Ober Gatlinburg 

The 25 Days of Christmas at Ober Gatlinburg are extra special. Beginning on December 1st, the 25 Days of Ober may be the coziest and happiest event in Gatlinburg. Each year, Ober Gatlinburg transforms its area into a snowy wonderland, inviting guests to enjoy tubing, skiing, and other winter activities. Tickets are now available for the Family Snow Zone. After enjoying the frosty fun, warm up next to one of the fire pits, roast marshmallows, and listen to carolers. Featured artisans will be exhibiting their wares, and there will be crafts for kids to enjoy. As always, indulge in delicious fudge, visit delightful critters, and take in amazing views as you ride the alpine tram to the mountain’s summit! 


**Christmas Lights** 

Just north of Gatlinburg, the town of Pigeon Forge goes all out with its Christmas decorations. Each year, Winterfest celebrates the season by adorning the town with over 5 million lights, creating an unbelievably festive display at every turn. Embark on a self-guided tour through the 24 illuminated attractions and marvel at the twinkling lights. You can download a map of the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights from the Pigeon Forge Winterfest website. This activity is completely free and fun for the whole family. The lights don’t stop there; many ticketed attractions, like Dollywood and the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, join in with incredible displays of their own. Don’t miss the Christmas parades in Downtown Gatlinburg on December 1st, following the Christmas tree lighting ceremony! 


**Christmas Shopping** 

Need to tackle some Christmas shopping during your stay? Here in the Smokies, we take that term literally. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are home to several Christmas shops that offer everything you need to celebrate the season. Find lights, trees, garlands, ornaments, gift wrap, home decor, and more at stores like The Christmas and Candle Shop, Santa’s Claus-et, and the Christmas Place. Once you’re decked out for the holidays, find gifts for everyone on your list at the many souvenir shops, retail outlets, and specialty shops throughout the Smokies. 


**BONUS: Great Smoky Mountain Railroad** 

 The Smoky Christmas fun isn’t limited to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The Smokies stretch into North Carolina, home to many Christmas-loving mountain towns. One such town is Bryson City, home of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. This fully functioning train tour takes you through the beautiful scenery of the Smoky Mountains. Every Christmas season, the train transforms into the Polar Express. Climb aboard to meet Santa, enjoy hot chocolate, and embrace the music and merriment of the season as you ride through the mountains on this historic train and rail line. This is an incredible Christmas experience like no other and one you don’t want to miss. Book early, as tickets sell out fast! 



It’s been a beautiful fall here in the Great Smoky Mountains. Leaf-peeping season begins in late September, continues through October, and wraps up around mid-November, depending on the elevation. You’re going to want to know the most beautiful drives to take during your visit. Get ready to experience golden tree tunnels and red-dappled mountain ridges. Here is a guide for the best fall drives near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge during your stay with us at Great Smoky Mountains Cabin Rentals. We even added some ideas for what to include on your adventure itinerary.  


Newfound Gap Rd 

Newfound Gap Road is your main access-point to all things Great Smoky Mountains. This road drives straight through the National Park, connecting Gatlinburg, TN all the way to Cherokee, NC. Drive along babbling Smoky Mountain streams as you climb thousands of feet in elevation through the endless smoky mountains. Drive through picturesque tunnels, under golden leafy canopies, and past multiple stunning viewpoints such as Morton Overlook. Once you reach Newfound Gap, hop out and explore the landmark- but bundle up! It can be up to 20 degrees cooler here compared to Gatlinburg. Take a look at the monument where Franklin D. Roosevelt first inaugurated the Park back in 1940, then step onto the infamous Appalachian Trail. Make sure to stop at Sugarlands Visitor Center before you begin your adventure to get road updates, maps, souvenirs, and a parking pass.  

Where to Hike:  

“The Jumpoff” – Mount Kephart 

Once you are in the Newfound Gap parking lot, the Appalachian Trail is steps away. This iconic and infamous trail crosses through Newfound Gap and connects to several trails through the Smoky Mountains. One fantastic viewpoint you can hike to is at the top of Mount Kephart, a spot known as the “Jumpoff.” The total hike is 6.5 miles and is moderate to strenuous and takes you through gorgeous cedar ridges. The view from the Jumpoff overlooks Mount LeConte and Charlie’s Bunion, and it sits at over 6,000 feet of elevation. This adventure is definitely worth it if you don’t mind getting your heart pumping!  

Where to Eat: 

Park Grill 

This Gatlinburg staple is located right at the entrance to the National Park alongside the Nantahala Outdoor Center. This restaurant has a cozy lodge and features American eats and local staples showcasing the best that the Smokies have to offer. Menu highlights include homestyle fried green tomatoes, fresh rainbow trout, several premium steak options, and homemade blackberry cobbler for dessert. Don’t forget their amazing cocktails featuring local whiskey and Ole Smoky moonshine!  


From Gatlinburg, follow East Parkway for 441 south towards Sugarlands Visitor Center. Continue past the visitor center onto Newfound Gap Road. Follow for 15 miles to reach Newfound Gap, then another 19 miles to get to Cherokee, North Carolina.   


Cades Cove 

An absolute must-see for visitors to the smokies, this 11-mile one way drive through a historic mountain community boasts some of the most stunning scenery in Tennessee. Drive next to open pastures situated below stunning mountain peaks, while catching glimpses of how people lived in the Smokies long ago. There are multiple stops along the way to tour meticulously preserved cabins and quaint churches- many of which still have active congregations today. This is one of the best areas to see wildlife such as deer, turkeys, coyotes, and especially bears. Just be sure to give them a respectable distance as you cruise by! Take your time as you drive and find your favorite view to set up the most perfect fall photoshoot with your family. Stop at the Cades Cove Ranger station for even more history of the area, souvenirs, and information about some off-path attractions like Rich Mountain Road and Gregory Bald!   

Where to Hike:  

Abrams Falls 

This moderate hike features one of the most recognizable waterfalls in the state of Tennessee. Cradled by colorful autumn maples and dogwoods, the 25 foot waterfall is a sight to behold. The trailhead is located at the apex of Cades Cove loop road, making it a great trail to add to your fall drive itinerary. The trail is 5 miles round trip, with two short uphill sections that most visitors describe as “manageable” due to the downhill portion sandwiched in between. Keep your eye out for our resident black bears; they like to pop up near this trail!  

Where to Eat: 

Peaceful Side Social and Creamery  

This casual dining spot has something for the whole family. Featuring craft brews and a delicious artisan menu, this locally owned restaurant is a great hangout spot to relax and unwind from a day of adventures. There’s a huge outdoor space with a quaint children’s play area, a Taco Bar, and an ice cream shop next door. Be sure to grab one of the creamery’s unique seasonal flavors! Menu highlights include stone-fired margherita pizza, smoked trout and avocado sandwich, and the Appalachian Trail charcuterie board.  


Though the drive from Gatlinburg is lengthy as you meander through the park, it’s worth it as you drive along rambling Smoky Mountain streams and old growth forest. From Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn right onto Little River Gorge Rd. Follow this road for 20 miles until it reaches Cades Cove Loop Rd. Stop in the parking lot before you enter the one-way road to grab a parking pass, as you’ll want to hop out and explore the historic homesteads and churches along the way.  


Foothills Parkway 

This scenic road, only finished in 2018 after construction initially began in 1966, begins in a town just outside Gatlinburg called Wears Valley. Similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it follows along mountain ridges and features multiple incredible overlooks. Sprawling layers of mountains are framed by stunning red sumac shrubs and golden cottonwoods. View the impressive front range of the Smokies, and on a clear day, see as far as Clingman’s Dome. Take your time cruising over this smooth road as the leaves float down around you. This route goes all the way into the peaceful town of Townsend, TN, which features quaint artisan shops, river rafting, and the Smoky Mountain Outdoor Center. Exit the parkway onto Lamar Alexander Parkway to get into town, or keep going to reach Look Rock and Lake Chilhowee.  

Where to Hike: 

Look Rock 

Look, a rock! Actually, this is a hike to an overlook structure similar to Clingman’s Dome, but much less steep! This hike is accessible directly from Foothills Parkway and is only 0.8 miles round trip. This concrete structure overlooks the front range of the Great Smoky Mountains, Foothills Parkway, and Maryville, TN. From the parking lot, follow the sidewalk and the crosswalk over the road before stepping into the woods along a paved trail. This short and rewarding hike is perfect for all ages.  

Where to Eat:   

Apple Valley Cafe   

This quaint cafe and store has a lot to offer any visitor to the Smokies. Located in a log cabin off Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend, everything you need to refuel is located right here! Grab coffee at the dancing bean, snacks for the road from the general store, and a delicious lunch at the cafe. Run into the SMOC for some hiking gear for your next adventure! Menu highlights include the massive Clingman Burger, pulled pork barbeque, and fried apple pies and hand-spun milkshakes for dessert!  


From Gatlinburg, head north on Route 321 towards Pigeon Forge. Turn left on Cates Lane when you reach the Wild Bear Tavern, then left onto the Parkway southbound. Immediately swing a right onto Conner Heights Rd, which quickly turns into Little Cove Rd. Follow this for about 8 miles until you reach Wears Valley Rd, then turn right. Follow this until you see the sign for Foothills Parkway; turn right and get ready for an adventure!  


Highway 129  

If you consider yourself a motorist or enjoy riding motorcycles, chances are you’ve heard of this stretch of highway known as “The Dragon.” Highway 129 is a mountain road that bisects the Smokies, leading all the way from Maryville, TN to Robbinsville, NC. This is the epitome of all winding mountain roads, featuring more than 300 turns over just 11 miles. On this drive, you pass through stunning hardwood forests as you bend and loop over the mountains, passing a few stunning overlooks as well. Stop at Tail of the Dragon for a souvenir to prove that you survived the thrilling drive before continuing into North Carolina, where the road is a little less adrenaline-pumping as you drive along beautiful Lake Santeelah. This is a great road to add to an all-day adventure through the mountains, as it connects easily to other scenic roads like Foothills Parkway and Newfound Gap Road.   

Where to Hike:  

Yellow Creek Falls 

Down 129 just past Tapoco Lodge is a small gravel parking area. This is the gateway to a short hike featuring a stunning little waterfall. The quick trek to Yellow Creek Falls is well worth the detour. This short jaunt from the parking lot is only 0.6 miles round trip and follows the creek along multiple cascades as you enter a lush forest. This is a great hiking location for those wanting to get up-close to nature without exerting too much energy.  

Where to Eat:  

Tapoco Tavern 

Sitting right next to the Tapoco River nestled up against the North Carolina Smokies sits the Tapoco Lodge, a historic hotel that first opened in 1930. This incredibly scenic all-brick structure includes hotel rooms, a gift shop, and a restaurant called the Tapoco Tavern. Featuring wood-fired pizza, trout fish-and-chips, and signature burgers, this fresh menu also has seasonal beers and cocktails to try! Sit down next to the river, chat with the motorcyclists passing through, and enjoy true mountain hospitality.   


BONUS: Cherohala Skyway 

Though further away from Gatlinburg, this hidden gem is one you may want to add to your mountain vacation itinerary. If the crowds of the Smokies are too much for you, this lesser known scenic drive is the perfect place for you to explore. It is accessible from Hwy 129 once you reach Burnsville and leads back into Tellico Plains, TN. The soaring drive is mainly above 4000 feet in elevation, where the air is crisp and the leaves are crispier. You won’t believe the incredible views, and you’ll be even more stunned by the lessened crowd. Take your time as you drive under breathtaking peaks and over huge bridges overlooking the Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests.   

Where to Hike:

 Huckleberry Knob  

About 20 miles into the Cherohala Skyway from its start on Hwy 129 sits a hidden hiking trail that leads you to an insane 360-degree view. Huckleberry Knob trail is a moderate hike featuring two stunning balds- mountains with very few trees to block the view. It is a total of 1.7 miles round trip and passes through a field of wild asters, goldenrod, and blueberry bushes before reaching an impressive elevation of 5500 feet. Explore the otherworldly meadow at the top of the mountain as you take in an ocean of endless sky and mountain peaks.  

Where to Eat:  

Iron Works Grille

Iron Works Grille is located right at the bottom of the Cherohala Skyway along the beautiful Tellico River. This family-friendly restaurant and bar regularly has live music and events, as well as porch activities like cornhole and a firepit. Menu highlights include bacon-wrapped fried pickles, hand-breaded trout, and the Southern smoked half-chicken plate. Check their website for regular events and get ready to mingle with motorcyclists from all over the world.  


Accessing the Cherohala Skyway is a “choose your own adventure” experience. It can be an addition to your trek down Highway 129- where you simply turn right onto the Skyway– or add it to your excursion down Newfound Gap Rd. Once you reach Cherokee, North Carolina, continue down 441 until it ends at Hwy 74, where you will turn right. Keep right at the fork and continue onto Route 28, then left onto 143 towards Robbinsville.  Keep following this road, as this is what becomes the gorgeous Cherohala Skyway, and enjoy the ride!