The Smoky Mountains are a popular vacation destination every year, but this summer is looking to be one of the busiest yet. So why are so many people flocking to the Smokies?
Well for one thing, the Smoky Mountains are home to a gorgeous national park, and the data shows that national parks are set to experience a surge of visitors in the coming weeks. This makes sense given how long many Americans have been cooped up inside their homes waiting out the global pandemic.
Here are 5 facts about the Smoky Mountains that make this Southern woodland the go-to destination for summer travelers.
1. Short Drive to the Eastern U.S.
The Smokies make a good base camp for a sightseeing tour of the Eastern U.S. In just an hour or two you can be at any number of popular tourist destinations or other famous locations all up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
Vacationing in the Smoky Mountains puts you within minutes of great theme parks, restaurants and well-known travel destinations within Tennessee. Yet at the same time, your cabin is tucked away inside the wild splendor of the mountains, unbothered by city lights or loud traffic. It truly is the best of both worlds.
2. 500,000+ acres to Explore
Just how large are the Smoky Mountains? This National Park attracts the most visitors out of the dozens of such parks across the U.S., but don’t worry about getting stuck in a crowd, because those millions of yearly visitors are spread out over more than 522,000 acres.
That’s one heck of a backyard!
3. 2,900 miles of streams
Do you enjoy fishing or just walking alongside a bubbling waterway? There are thousands of miles of streams to enjoy in the Smokies. Nothing says “R and R” like a gurgling stream and an afternoon all to yourself.
The streams of the Smoky Mountains traffic in trout and bass, so get your fishing license ready and take to the waters to test your skills.
4. 850 Miles of Hiking Trails
Hiking is another Smoky Mountain pastime. The park boasts more trails than you could possibly complete in a single summer. Many of them run through old ghost towns or past areas dense with exciting wildlife.
Some Smoky Mountain trails can be tricky, and it’s not unheard of to stumble upon a black bear or two, so do your research before you set out and play it safe.
5. 384 Miles of Roads to Explore
Autotouring is a popular concept on the Eastern Seaboard and the Eastern U.S. in general. Soaking in the sights from the comfort of your car, stopping and parking for the occasional perfectly-timed photo, it’s all part of the experience. Some of the Smoky Mountains’ most famous forest trails are actually vehicle-friendly!