Spring break at the beach? Yeah, been there done that! Find out why the Great Smoky Mountains are the hippest spring break destination in the country. Families and college kids love these mountains and with more things to do than ever, it’s the place to be!
The view from Charlies Bunion on the Appalachian Trail (photo: Andrew Eames/Independent)
We’ve compiled a list of the Top Activities for Spring Breakers in the Smokies! What will you do this year?
Hit the trail – the Appalachian Trail!
Sure hiking is great fun year round but springtime is a real treat. The views during spring are second to none in the Smokies’ high country with visibility over one hundred miles (weather dependent, of course!) We suggest driving to Newfound Gap and walking along the famous Appalachian Trail (AT). The leaves are off the trees which afford striking views of the National Park and nearby mountain ranges like the Stecoahs. The hike from Newfound Gap to the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower puts you at the highest elevation on the entire Appalachian Trail! Clingmans Dome is the second highest peak in the Eastern United States at 6,643′ above sea level. The hike from Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome is a rocky 7.9 miles one-way, so you’ll need to park an extra car at Clingmans Dome or arrange for a pick-up to take you back to Newfound Gap. The hike from Newfound Gap to Charlies Bunion is 8 miles round-trip and offers panoramic vistas along the way to one of the most spectacular bluffs in the Appalachian Mountains. Use caution when exploring the craggy cliffs of the Bunion. Be sure and prepare for the hike with our 10 Essentials for Hiking in the Smokies suggestions. A little nervous about hitting the trails alone? Hire an expert guide to lead the way and enjoy the journey. Our friends at The Wildland Trekking Company can help you out!
Hit the Rocky Top Wine Trail and More!
Almost every group of spring breakers has a party animal in the bunch who will love the diverse choice of wineries, breweries and moonshine distilleries that have exploded in the Smokies. The Rocky Top Wine Trail offers a tour of five wineries in a 12-mile area within the Pigeon Forge/Sevierville TN area. You can sample over 60 varieties of vino and tour the wine cellars and tank rooms of some of the wineries. Pick up your passport and wine glass at your first stop and receive a special free gift upon completing the trail.
Or perhaps you came to sample some good ol’ Mountain Dew – that’s hillbilly talk for moonshine! It’s legal now and with so many flavors to choose from you could spend all night at the sample bar but save room for some great locally-crafted brews at Smoky Mountain Brewery in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. Sugarlands Distilling Company in Gatlinburg and Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler in Gatlinburg and Ole Smoky Moonshine Barn at The Island in Pigeon Forge offer live music concerts from popular performers. If you’re over on the North Carolina side of the Smokies, be sure to check out the Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City for the awesome Trail Magic Ale.
Grab a Paddle!
If you’re craving some waves this spring break, no worries! There’s waves of fun on a Big Pigeon River Whitewater Rafting adventure! You can choose a wild ride with Class III & IV rapids on the Upper Pigeon or take it slow and easy on your raft on the Lower Pigeon, either way our friends at Smoky Mountain Outdoors can hook you up with a Spring Break adventure you’ll never forget! Be sure to check out Hey Smokies Rafting for more info.
Biking in the Mountains! (photo: CLIMBWorks Gatlinburg)
Grab a Rope! Jump on a Mountain Bike!
Your feet won’t touch the ground for 2 1/2 hours on a high-flying Zipline Tour with CLIMBWorks in Gatlinburg. And for a one-of-a-kind mountain bike experience, you don’t even have to bring your own bike! ClimbWorks has everything you need to explore the mountains in a whole new way!
Pitch a Tent!
Camping is always a great way to spend time with your friends and make memories that will last a lifetime. Smoky Mountain memories don’t make themselves they need your help. All you need is a tent, a campfire, s’mores, and a rushing mountain stream and you’re in heaven! It’s often said that camp life is where authentic Smoky Mountain memories are made, and it is so easy to do! Some favorite Campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Cades Cove, Big Creek, Cataloochee, Cosby, Elkmont, Abrams Creek, and Deep Creek. You can reserve your campsite on line at Recreation.gov. For campgrounds outside of the park, visit Hey Smokies Campgrounds.
If camping isn’t your thing, HeySmokies a great selection of recommendations for Cabins, Condos, and Hotels. Whatever you do this Spring Break…have fun, and remember to Spring Break Responsibly because Smokey is watching!