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6 Family Friendly Places to Visit in the Great Smoky Mountains

foothills parkway

When you bring your family to the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll make a ton of memories that will last a lifetime. There are so many fun things to do and places to explore, but you’re probably wondering where you should go with your kids when you visit the national park. Here are 6 family friendly places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains:

1. Cades Cove

cades cove tnThe top place to visit in the national park with your family is Cades Cove. This is the most popular destination in the park, and once you’ve been, it’s easy to see why! This 11-mile loop road has all kinds of historic buildings scattered throughout the valley that is surrounded by mountains. Many people see wildlife along the loop, and you can stop and get out at any point along the road. Cades Cove is a beautiful place to visit with your family!

2. Laurel Falls

If you want to get out on a hike with your family, you should hike Laurel Falls Trail. This is one of the only trails in the Smokies that is paved all the way to the top. As you hike, you’ll get beautiful wooded views and possibly see the mountains peeking in between the trees. At the end of this hike, you will come up on Laurel Falls, an 80-foot-tall waterfall with two tiers. Families enjoy taking pictures in front of the falls and exploring a little past the waterfall.

3. Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area

metcalf bottomsYour family should definitely go on a picnic in the national park, and one of the best places to go is Metcalf Bottoms. This area has 122 picnic spots with charcoal grills you are allowed to use, as long as you bring your own supplies. You’ll love making memories of creating sandwiches while sitting at the picnic table and spending time together as a family. After you eat, you can play in the river or explore the area along some hiking trails.

4. Sugarlands Visitor Center

Sugarlands Visitor Center is a fun place to go to learn more about the Great Smoky Mountains. This building is located right outside of Gatlinburg, and it has a small museum with all kinds of information about the national park, including how it was constructed and animals that live in the area. There’s even a gift shop if you want to pick up a souvenir or two. People of all ages will enjoy learning about the park, and there are a few hiking trails nearby!

5. Grotto Falls

grotto fallsAnother hike that’s perfect for your family is Grotto Falls. This easy-to-moderate hike is 3 miles roundtrip. The path takes you through the woods and alongside the creek. Once you reach Grotto Falls, you’ll enjoy watching the water pour into the pool at the bottom. Grotto Falls is the only waterfall in the national park you can walk behind. Keep an eye out for fish, reptiles, and amphibians when you’re near the falls!

6. Foothills Parkway

Foothills Parkway is another family friendly place you should explore. This scenic drive has been completed in parts over the last 75 years, and you can choose which section you want to drive. There are sweeping mountain views and plenty of spots where you can pull off to enjoy the view or take pictures. There’s a picnic spot at Look Rock, as well as an overlook, where you can get out and have a picnic or just explore.

These are just a few of the family friendly places you should visit in the Great Smoky Mountains. You’ll find plenty of fun things to do on your trip with your family. Browse through our Smoky Mountain Adventure Pass to see what kinds of discounts and free tickets you’ll get when you book one of our cabins!