Summer is well on its way and families are setting out on their highly anticipated family road trips across the nation. The Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee are one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the U.S. and offers a wide variety of family entertainment and outdoor adventure. The Smoky Mountains region spans a 75-mile stretch of highway from the northernmost boundary near Newport, Tennessee to the southern boundary near Bryson City, Tennessee.
When planning your Smoky Mountains vacation one of the most important, and often most difficult, choices to make is where to stay. While on vacation with the entire family it is important to find family-friendly lodging that offers amenities, activities, and services to keep every member of the family entertained and interested for a week or more. Finding the best place to stay in the Smoky Mountains while on vacation can be a challenge with so many choices available that offer such a wide range of services, amenities, and prices.
This list of the top-rated family resorts in the Smoky Mountains was compiled from not only the most popular and highest ranked family resorts but also those that are the most unique, a little less known (you may not find a lot of big name chains on the list), and offers the widest range of activities or experiences. If you are planning a Smoky Mountains vacation this is a good place to start!
Outdoor Lovers’ Favorite Family Lodging in the Smoky Mountains
#1 LeConte Lodge, Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Families must hike in to this family lodge that sits at an elevation of over 6300 feet; making it the highest guest lodge in the eastern U.S. Guests visit LeConte Lodge for the outdoor experience and stunning views of the Smoky Mountains. Rustic Cabins and 2-3 bedroom lodges are available and offer no modern conveniences. Reservations are taken and there is a waiting list and lottery system.
#2 Balsam Mountain Campground: At over 5000 feet elevation, Balsam Mountain Campground is the highest campground in the Smoky Mountains. This primitive campground is owned and operated by the Cherokee Nation and is accessible via the Blue Ridge Parkway from Maggie Valley, North Carolina. With some of the best views in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Balsam Mountain Campground offers bunkhouses as well as hot showers and clean bathrooms.
Top-rated Family Resorts in Cosby, Tennessee
#1 Smoky Mountain Premier RV Resort: This spacious RV park is surrounded by the beauty and serenity of the Smoky Mountains. Outdoor lovers enjoy modern resort amenities including a well-stocked camp store, Wi-Fi, cable, and a swimming pool. The large shaded sites are equipped with picnic tables and fire pits and guests enjoy clean, semi-private bathhouses, laundry facilities, group accommodations, and fitness facilities.
#2 Garden of Eden Cabins: Sitting on 10 acres bordering the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Garden of Eden Cabins offers a central location for visitors who want to explore all the Smoky Mountains have to offer in Tennessee and North Carolina. Their clean, comfortable, one and two bedroom cabins are fully furnished with porches that overlook a mountain creek. Amenities at Garden of Eden Cabins include free Wi-Fi, picnic tables, fire pits, BBQ grills, hammocks, and the entire Smoky Mountains to gaze at and explore. Ms. Iva is friendly and welcoming making guests feel at home!
Traveler’s top choices for family resorts Townsend, Tennessee
#1 Timberwinds Log Cabins: This TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Winner offers gorgeous settings, clean and impeccably decorated cabins near all the outdoor adventures the Smoky Mountains. To keep the kids, and the kids-at-heart, entertained, Timberwinds Log Cabins offer swimming pools, Wi-Fi, game rooms, and much more!
#2 Pioneer Cabins & Guest Farm: With six cozy, unique cabins on 12 wooded acres near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the historic Cades Cove Loop, Pioneer Cabins & guest farm offers a unique and interesting experience on the “quiet side of the Smokies”. A true working farm, guests experience organic gardens, a petting zoo, and walking trails. Cabins are equipped with welcoming porches, fireplaces, decks, hot tubs, and fully-stocked kitchens.
The best family resorts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
#1 Elk Springs Resort: With room for large families Elk Spring Resort offers family-friendly accommodations at affordable prices. The cabins are beautifully decorated and fully-equipped with all the modern conveniences and offers quiet, private locations. Elk Springs Resort amenities include pool table, hot tub, free High speed internet, game systems, and so much more!
#2 Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort: A unique camping resort that offers everything from luxury tree houses to primitive campsites. Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort offers a full schedule of activities to keep the entire family entertained. The lush, quiet, peaceful setting offers full rest and relaxation for family members who just want to take in the gorgeous Smoky Mountains.
Family-friendly resorts in Cherokee, North Carolina
#1 Indian Creek Campground: This out-of-the-way wooded campground is situated in the Cherokee reservation and surrounded by Smoky Mountains’. Offering primitive to full hook-up RV sites Indian Creek Campground provides fully-stocked camp store, free limited Wi-Fi, laundry facilities. Guests rave about the well-kept bathhouses, friendly, helpful staff, and breath-taking views of the Smoky Mountains.
#2 Panther Creek Resort: This little known gem in the North Carolina Smoky Mountains offers guests cozy, clean, and inviting cabins near a mountain stream. Friendly, accommodating owners provide beautiful cabins and attentive service. The quiet setting offers peace and relaxation close to local entertainment.
Top choices for family resorts in Maggie Valley, North Carolina
#1 Smokey Shadows Lodge: This Smoky Mountains rustic lodge is so spectacular guests want to keep it a secret. Sitting atop a 4500-foot bluff in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, Smokey Shadows Lodge is a former grist mill moved to its present location. The eleven private rooms and two cabins available at Smokey Shadows are each uniquely decorated in rustic charm complete with feather beds and quilts. Guests enjoy family style meals daily highlighted with Ginger’s famous Tomato Pie.
#2 Cataloochee Ranch: Cataloochee Ranch is a peaceful escape just minutes from Asheville, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Owned and operated for 80 years, family pride shows in the service, accommodations, and gourmet country meals provided at Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Guests enjoy clean, well-appointed private cabins complete with fireplaces and family style dinner at the main lodge. Outdoor lovers will enjoy horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and viewing the stunning Smoky Mountains.
This list of the best family resorts in the Smoky Mountains is just a glimpse of the beautiful and unique resorts available. To learn more about family resorts and lodging in the Smoky Mountains check out www.greatsmokymountainsvacation.net
If you are planning a Smoky Mountain road trip his list of best places to stay in the Smokies is for you!
Planning a trip to Pigeon Forge? Check out Where Are the Best Places to Stay in Pigeon, Forge, Tennessee?