Running along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to the famous Great Smoky Mountains mountain range, along with a diverse native wildlife, historic homes and churches, mountain hiking trails and stunning wildflowers. The Heritage-listed Great Smoky Mountains are the biggest draw, featuring a range of unique forests and over 60 species of mammals, 240 species of birds and 60 species of fish.
You can explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park on various hiking trails while keeping an eye out for white-tailed deer, cougars, elk, river otters, coyotes and black bears. If you’re hanging around the lakes and rivers, you might spot an eastern box turtle, northern water snake or a northern green frog.
Cades Cove is a verdant valley in the national park where you can cycle or walk the one-way loop track and discover centuries of Cherokee history within its historic buildings, churches, working grist mill, barns and log houses. Don’t forget to explore one of the scenic trails, such as Charlies Bunion, Rainbows Falls or Chimney Tops.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just over 2.5 hours’ drive from Charlotte, where you can fly into Charlotte Douglas International Airport. It’s also just over three hours’ drive from Nashville and the Nashville International Airport.