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Please help direct me to a good town to the our "hub" for a Smokey Mountain vacation

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[Editting my thread title here since this thing won't let me do so. Thread title :-) = Please help direct me to a good town to be the "hub" for a Smokey Mountain vacation.]



We're planning a trip to the Smokey Mountains this fall. We'd like to find a good "hub" town in the middle of lots of attractions for families (don't mind a little driving from the hub once we are there). We want to do some Whitewater rafting (low levels of course), tubing, hiking, near restaurants, goofy golf, caves, waterfalls, etc.


We're thinking Georgia, east TN, west NC, etc.


Any ideas?

Edited by mhg
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Pigeon Forge is a little easier to navigate than Gatlinburg but farther away from the more "natural" resources that are mostly on the NC side. Cherokee, NC is a hub for the activities, but not so great as far as accomodations (IMO). Townsend is north of the park, farther away from the glitzy attractions with fewer options for food, groceries, etc., but quiet and easier to drive through.


What we have liked best is to get a mountain view cabin between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge because it's close to grocery shopping and we deal with food allergies(PF has a better store). The drive to get to the cool stuff in Cherokee is a bit long though- and they roll up the streets early! The drive to Cade's Cove takes awhile too. I'm not sure there is really any quick way to Cade's Cove though.


For the goofy stuff, you will be well served with any of the area around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We have stayed for a full 2 weeks and still not fit everything in that we wanted to do. (I'm quite fond of the area, can you tell?)







So jealous! :)

Edited by MomatHWTK
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Depends if you want to focus on doing mountain type stuff, ie nature, or doing alot of touristy type stuff.


W NC, is great for the nature oriented...Bryson City, NC is really the hub area...there's some lakes, lots of hiking, waterfalls, white water rafting, family tubing, etc. Cabins are the way to go. There's really not alot of "touristy" things going on, except maybe the Cherokee Indian show they do up the road a bit.


Gatlingburg in TN is kinda the best of both worlds....you can do all of the nature stuff, but then there's some fun things to do in Gatlinburgn, and then LOTS of touristy fun junk to do 10 miles down the road in Pigeon Forge. Anything you can think of there. Personally Pigeon Forge was not for us, in terms of "mountain experience". Reminded us alot of Myrtle Beach....except in Mountains...just wall to wall tourism. Gatlinburg was way more cute.

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We just got back from a family reunion in a cabin near Gatlinburg. It had easy access to the national park for the nature lovers, and plenty to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for those who wanted to be "tourists." Gatlinburg also has access to plenty of outdoor excursions, like rafting. My mom flew into Knoxville, that is the nearest airport I believe. We really enjoyed everything about the area!

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