Things to do in Smoky Mountains

Our most recommended things to do in Smoky Mountains

Pigeon Forge: Titanic Museum Advance Purchase Ticket

1. Pigeon Forge: Titanic Museum Advance Purchase Ticket

Step aboard the popular Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, experience the largest display of Titanic artifacts anywhere in the world, and interact with exhibits that appeal to all ages. Listen to an audio tour that brings the Titanic's story to life. Enter the Museum through a half-scale model of the exterior of the Titanic. Get your passenger boarding ticket, featuring the name of an actual Titanic passenger or crew member. Follow them throughout the ship, enter the Memorial Room, and discover the fate of your assigned person. Stand in awe of the grand staircase, valued at one million dollars. Touch an authentic iceberg, shovel “coal” in the Titanic’s Boiler Room, and learn how to send an SOS distress signal. Get your whole family involved with this living classroom’s hands-on opportunities to motivate, educate and inspire. Every child receives a boarding pass profiling a youngster who sailed on the Titanic and can listen to a special audio tour just for kids. Don’t miss the onboard scavenger hunt.

Pigeon Forge: Rocky Top Mountain Coaster Ride

2. Pigeon Forge: Rocky Top Mountain Coaster Ride

Take a thrilling ride on the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster — the longest coaster in east Tennessee and the first one in the world with four uplifts. Travel through stunning Smoky Mountain scenery, 360-degree turns, and several tunnels on over 20 acres of property. Control your own speed through tunnels, curves, and thrilling hairpin turns on a single cart that can go up to 30 miles per hour. The coaster is fun for all ages, with riders ranging from 3 to 90 years old. For an extra unique experience, visit after nightfall where the colorful lights will guide you through a beautiful night ride.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Self Driving Tour

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park Self Driving Tour

Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and discover why it’s the most visited National Park in the country. Buckle up and prepare for a deep dive into the most famous stretch of the Appalachians. Enjoy a flexible route that allows you to take all the time you need to admire the timeless wonders of the mountains. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Drive through the scenic mountains and hear all about parts of Cherokee history, like the ancient Cherokee monarchy and the revolutionaries who fought against it. Get detailed accounts of Cherokee ancestral legends, from the great buzzard who shaped the Smoky Mountains from clay to the witch whose droplets of blood bloom into stalks of corn. Experience animated videos allowing you to visualize what you cannot see, such as snapshots from different centuries or interior rooms. Be pointed towards some of the most awe-inspiring sights in the park. Gaze at the majestic Rainbow Falls, the breath-taking 360-degree views atop Clingmans Dome, and hear about the deep-rooted history of the Elys Mill. Learn about the complex flora and fauna which call the mountains home. Get to know the creatures of Cades Cove and learn how wildfires form an integral part of the vast and interconnected ecosystem. As you drive, audio stories will automatically pop up and start playing, allowing you to keep your attention on the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

Pigeon Forge: French Broad River Helicopter Tour

4. Pigeon Forge: French Broad River Helicopter Tour

Two options allow you to choose the perfect flight: The Lake View flight extends past the French Broad River and takes you out to Douglas Lake. Douglas Lake is a 33,000 acre man-made lake with over 450 miles of shoreline. This flight will get you up to 1,500 feet in altitude, allowing you a superb view of the Great Smoky Mountains towards the south. Along the route, you will see areas of farmland and quilt-like patterns of pastures. As you get closer to Douglas Lake you will fly next to Douglas Dam. Lake view is a 6-minute flight covering 12 miles. The most popular option, Extended Lake flight, takes you even further. You will fly directly over Douglas Dam, and then proceed over the lake. In the summer take in astonishing sun-glistening views of the water and the people enjoying their time on the lake. In the winter the water level is lowered, so expect majestic views of exposed islands and coves. As well as the beautiful lake, you will see the Great Smoky Mountains towards the southwest. On this option, you climb to a slightly higher altitude than on the Lake View flight, allowing for better visibility of the National Park. Extended Lake is an 8-minute flight over 16 miles.

Pigeon Forge: Ridge Runner Helicopter Tour

5. Pigeon Forge: Ridge Runner Helicopter Tour

Enjoy picturesque vistas over the Smoky Mountains on this 15-minute flight dubbed the “Ridge Runner.” After taking off from the local partner’s private heliport, begin your flight over the stunning, misty Chilhowee mountain range. Feel the speed of the helicopter as you fly low over the treetops and mountains, getting a true taste of the beauty that is the American South. Gaze at historic downtown Sevierville and Pigeon Forge in the distance. Along the way, your expert guide will point out facts about the region, like the original designation of where the national park was supposed to be, as well as countless details about the flora and fauna of the region. After covering a distance of 30 miles, you’ll head back to the heliport, enriched by the one-of-a-kind, bird’s eye viewpoint of the mystic Smoky Mountains.

Smoky Mountains: Sightseeing Flex Pass

6. Smoky Mountains: Sightseeing Flex Pass

Discover the thrilling, dazzling, historic, and adventurous with a Tennessee Sightseeing Flex Pass. Access top attractions and tours throughout Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the scenic Smokies all in one pass. Take advantage of full admission to attractions or save up to 30% on entry costs. Let your Flex Pass take you into the great outdoors and see the natural splendor of the Smokey Mountains up close and personal: select between a 3-attraction or a 5-attraction pass and choose what you want to enjoy when you arrive. Coast down whitewater in a raft or take in the sights from a thrilling vantage point on the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster Ride. Have your breath taken away from the top of Gatlinburg Space Needle. Experience the awe-inspiring vision of the Great Smoky Mountains, where colorful fog-rich forests surround majestic Appalachian peaks this renowned Tennessee UNESCO World Heritage Site. Partner Tennessee’s exciting outdoor marvels with family-friendly and group-friendly attractions. Play around at the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum or Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud. Learn the history of the world’s most famous tragic transatlantic ocean liner at the Titanic Museum Attraction, then catch a dazzling magic show at Wonderworks. Whatever activities you choose, enjoy the convenience of an all-in-one pass. Top Attractions: • Best of Smoky Mountain Special Tour - Rocky Top Tours • Beyond the Lens • Escape Game Pigeon Forge • Smoky Mountain Rafting - Upper Pigeon River• Smoky Mountain Rafting - Lower Pigeon River • Titanic Attraction • Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud • Dolly’s Rags to Riches - Rocky Top Tours • Rocky Top Mountain Coaster • Gatlinburg Pinball Museum • Rainforest Adventure Zoo • Wonderworks • The Best of Three Cities Tour - Rocky Top Tours

Great Smoky Mountains NP & Cades Cove Self-Guided Tour

7. Great Smoky Mountains NP & Cades Cove Self-Guided Tour

Explore the Great Smoky Mountains at your own pace with a self-guided and self-driving tour. Hike to Alum Cave, enjoy a panoramic view from Charles Overlook, and discover Cades Coves from the comfort of your own car. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one.. Drive to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to start your journey. After exploring the Visitor Center, head past the Mingus Mill, a remnant of a once-thriving town. As you drive to Beech Flats Quiet Walkway, hear accounts of the Cherokee people who once lived here. Learn about their legends and their struggle to hold onto their land. Once you arrive, enjoy a meditative stroll through nature. Hop back into your car and head to Charles Webb Overlook, which offers a panoramic view of the park. Once you’ve snapped some stunning photos, continue toward Clingman’s Dome, the highest peak in the Smokies, for more unparalleled views of the mountains. Continue to the trail for Alum Cave, one of the most popular hikes in the park. If you wish, take the moderate 4.4-mile roundtrip trail for beautiful panoramas and fascinating rock formations. After your hike, drive to Chimney Tops Overlook, offering more stunning mountain views. Next, enjoy an easy wilderness walk at Balsam Point. As you continue past yet another incredible vista and another secluded walkway, hear little-known park history. Jump back in your car and drive towards Gatlinburg, stopping on the way to check out the pristine Cataract Falls. In Gatlinburg, pass the famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Drive past Ogle Place, an old-timey homestead dating back to the 1800s, before arriving at Rainbow Falls. Continue your drive past several more waterfalls and the historic cabins of Ephraim Bales and Reagan Tub, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past. Finally, finish your Great Smoky National Park tour with a visit to the old Ely’s Mill, which is still in operation today. Start the second part of your combination tour, discovering Cades Coves, just west of Gatlinburg. From there, continue west toward the scenic loop. The first landmark on your route is John Oliver Place, once home to some of the first homesteaders to make a living here. After that, pass 3 churches dating back to the 1800s and uncover the devastating impact of the Civil War on this community. Drive to Elijah Oliver Place, a beautifully-preserved homestead offering an authentic look at early pioneer life. If you wish to stretch your legs, hike to Abrams Falls, a secluded, powerful waterfall. Next, drive to Tipton Place. Finally, reach the Carter Shields Cabin, another idyllic homestead from a bygone era. Finish your tour at the start of the loop as you hear about the last family to call the cove home.

Pigeon Forge: Newfound Gap and Smoky Mountains Jeep Tour

8. Pigeon Forge: Newfound Gap and Smoky Mountains Jeep Tour

Before your adrenaline charged 4x4 off-road adventure, you'll depart in an iconic, open-air Pink Jeep Wrangler from Pigeon Forge. From there, Sugarland's Visitor Center is your first stop. Learn the history of the towns along the way. Passing through a forest that mimics the boreal forests, discover how the Smokies got their name, stop for amazing photo opportunities and hear more of local geology and history. Arrive at Newfound Gap, nearly 1 mile above sea level. See part of the mighty Appalachian Trail on a short walk, see Newfound Gap’s stunning viewpoint. The return trip from Newfound Gap includes stops for more photos. You’ll see the streams that ultimately feed the Gulf of Mexico via the mighty Mississippi River. Your tour finishes with a hand-gripping, off-roading ride through a trail on private land. Your professional tour guide has been expertly trained to give you an experience unlike any other in the Great Smoky Mountains.

From Pigeon Forge: Roaring Fork 2.5-Hour Jeep Tour

9. From Pigeon Forge: Roaring Fork 2.5-Hour Jeep Tour

With your hands on your camera and your guide’s hands on the steering wheel, head toward a road where tour busses can’t go. The heavily forested Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a single lane road.  Along the way you’ll learn of the hardwood forest in the Smoky Mountains. A narrow, paved path through chestnut oak, white oak, magnolia, maple and tulip trees take you to the pinnacle, where stops at overlooks give you striking views. Historic structures dot the road’s edges. This was the American Frontier in the 1830s and 1840s.  From Roaring Fork, it’s one last pass through Gatlinburg on the way to a thrilling off-roading ride through a trail on private land. Your professional guide has been expertly trained to give you an experience unlike any other in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Pigeon Forge: Wears Valley Helicopter Tour

10. Pigeon Forge: Wears Valley Helicopter Tour

Get an amazing overview of Sevier County’s most beautiful areas on this helicopter tour. Upon departure, you will travel over historic downtown Sevierville with the Smoky Mountains National Park in the distance. Continue over the rolling foothills of the Smoky Mountains and the Pigeon Forge Parkway before getting away from civilization over Pine Mountain. As you climb in altitude, you’ll follow the terrain up to the crest of Cove Mountain at the National Park boundary line where you’ll be met with spectacular views of the Wears Valley area. Cruising along Wears Valley, travel north over the east end of Waldens Creek and the foothills of Bluff Mountain before returning over the Tennessee Valley.

Frequently asked questions about Smoky Mountains

What top attractions are a must-see in Smoky Mountains?

What are the best tours to do in Smoky Mountains with kids?

What are the best indoor activities in Smoky Mountains for rainy days?

Other Sightseeing Options in Smoky Mountains

Want to discover all there is to do in Smoky Mountains? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Smoky Mountains

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 702 reviews

Interesting museum and artifacts. Audio guide is included and has adult or kid modes. Timed entry and self-paced helps avoid unreasonable congested areas. Took about 1.5 hours to explore the museum.

Wonderful educational experience for family. Love the boarding pass idea.

This is a must ! It’s a self guided tour and you will learn so much !

Very informative and exciting exhibit. Lots of history there.

Was very Interesting. We enjoyed it very much. Go early