What better way to get the family together and enjoy the great outdoors than with an old-fashioned family picnic? And what better destination to enjoy the great outdoors than the Smokies? As the most visited national park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers several beautiful options for your picnic fun. Here are a few of our favorites:
One of the first settled areas in the Smokies, Cades Cove offers a day of fun for the whole family. After soaking in the scenery on the 11-mile loop road, choose from 81 different picnic spots in Cades Cove for your family’s outdoor dining experience. Follow lunch with a horseback ride, a visit to century-old log cabins and churches, or a quick dip in the nearby stream. Cades Cove is open year-round and closes at 8 p.m. from May 1 to August 31. All other dates, the grounds close at sunset.
A favorite locale along the Little Pigeon River, The Chimneys offers restrooms, 68 different picnic tables, outdoor grills, and easy-access parking. After your meal, enjoy skipping rocks on the river or casting a trout line. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out the 3.8-mile Chimney Tops Trail, a favorite hike along the Newfound Gap Road for its panoramic view of the Smokies. The Chimneys is open from March 14 to November 29, closing at 8 p.m. from May 1 to August 31 and at sunset all other days.
Although Greenbrier is a great place to picnic all year long, the best time to enjoy its splendor is the spring. Home to some of the national park’s best wildflowers, Greenbrier also contains a large pavilion seating up to 70 guests! If you are planning a large outdoor gathering—perhaps an office get-together, a family reunion, or a wedding rehearsal—Greenbrier is the perfect outdoor venue for you. This former home of the Parton family also contains 12 small-scale picnic sites for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Greenbrier is open year-round; the pavilion can be reserved in advance for $10.
The second-largest picnic area in the Smokies, Metcalf Bottoms also offers a pavilion with a capacity of 70 guests, this time along the Little River. Only 11 miles from Gatlinburg, this outdoor venue boasts 122 other picnic sites as well. All the tables have large grills and are close to several convenient rest areas, and the location along the river means plenty to keep the family busy after you eat. Metcalf Bottoms (except the north half) is open year-round; the pavilion is open from April 10 to October 31 and can be reserved in advance for $20.
To make your picnic experience possible on your Smoky Mountain vacation, be sure to call our reservation specialists at 1-800-684-7865. They are more than happy to help set you up in one of our cabins with a fully-equipped kitchen. Then enjoy your delicious homemade meals in the picturesque landscape of the Great Smoky Mountains for endless family fun!