Sometimes referred to as “Kitsch Mountain”, the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are no stranger to tourists. The National Park Service reported 11.4 million visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2018. With the help of Yelper insight, we’ve curated picks to escape the “touristy scene” for an authentic Gatlinburg getaway.
Whether you’re hiking in the woods or looking to saddle up and sample some moonshine, we have you covered with must-see spots surrounding the Smokies.
Gatlinburg: Like A Local
Yelp Insight: “We were actually going to go to a different distillery and some locals we met while hiking said you have to go to Sugarlands instead. So we did. You enter, you pay $5, and then you are corralled around a rectangular bar and see a little bar mat in front of you with 13 flavors of moonshine on them. Your bartender/entertainer quickly gets started explaining that you will have the opportunity to try all 13 -yes, 13, flavors of moonshine.” – Yelp Elite Caitlin K
Yelp Insight: “My husband and I both chose one of their specials for our entree, the lobster pie with puff pastry. It was so creamy and had large chunks of lobster topped by a perfectly flaky puff pastry. We finished off by sharing their amaretto bread pudding…it was so good I had to stop by husband from licking the bowl And make sure you order a dozen of the Wild Plum muffins to take with you, you won’t be sorry I promise!” – Yelper Tracy M
Yelp Insight: “Currently they offer three free “sips” and then an additional three “sips” if you join their mailing list. I got a nice little 10% off a purchase for checking in with Yelp, so I had to put it to use and buy my daughter a bottle of her favorite wine.” -Yelp Elite Angela J
Roll up your sleeves for a family-style dinner at Mama’s Farmhouse.
Yelp Insight: “When you want the gut busting gorging of all you can eat, without the stranger germs of a buffet. Bonus, you get to sit on your lazy butt while the food comes out…and comes out…and comes out. The side dishes were fantastic, in particular the green beans were my favorite.” Yelp Elite Deanna P
Feast on Cuban cuisine in the heart of the Smoky Mountains at Smokies Cuban Cafe.
Yelp Insight: “This is the best Cuban food I have had since Miami – I ordered the Ropa Vieja and my husband had traditional Cuban sandwich. Amazing! We visit about once a year and am sad I’ll have to wait that long to come back to this place.” -Yelper Leah L
Yelp Insight: “This is such a great trail as your introduction to the Smokies. First of all, in my opinion it is the most accessible hike. The park is so vast with windy roads and hidden trails it’s easy to miss your trailhead. But Laurel Falls is the first trailhead you’ll reach after entering the park. You’ll have to drive through some gorgeous roads first but before you know it you’ll spot the trailhead on your left.” -Yelp Elite Paisley T
Have electric bike rentals delivered to your doorstep thanks to Bike the Smokies.
Yelp Insight: “Ok, guys. Pick up the phone and make a reservation with Bike the Smokies. Just do it. Seriously! Where do I even start?! Ok, first they will bring the bikes to you wherever you are. Renting a cabin in the area and want to tool around in the National Park? Hanging out on the strip in Gatlinburg and want to get around on the roads without having to deal with the traffic like you would in a car? Want to see some incredibles views and countryside? Perfect! Pick one of those or do all three! You can rent the bikes for and hour, 3 hours, or all day. Totally your call.” -Yelp Elite Erika S
Experience drop-dead gorgeous views on the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in America.
Yelp Insight: “The Skylift is well worth the $20 to walk the new pedestrian suspension bridge. Gorgeous lookouts make a beautiful backdrop to photo ops. An 8-foot glass bottom, midway (about 200 feet above terra), is not for the faint of heart who are afraid of heights, but hey, if you are in for a thrill the glass bottom is pretty cool.” -Yelp Elite Rebecca A