*Traveling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic increases your risk and the risk of those around you. Please be mindful and observe local restrictions, stock up on supplies and fuel close to home, wash your hands, WEAR A MASK, and practice social distancing with locals. Your safest bet: bookmark this article for fall 2021.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Known for its diverse plant and animal life as well as the ancient mountains that straddle the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, this is America’s most visited National Park.
Established in 1931 and comprised of over 300,000 acres of land once previously owned by small farms, large tracts, and other miscellaneous parcels of land, the unique national park and it’s surrounding area is a true test of America’s willingness to protect it’s most precious natural landscapes. It was no easy feat to create a park that was once privately owned. President Franklin Roosevelt declared that it would be a national park for all of the people of the country, and the rest of the world to enjoy. And so it continues to be today.
Gatlinburg is located just an hour outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, and borders the entrance (hence the gateway!) to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With 12.5 million people visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park annually, your lodging options are endless. A-frames, log cabins, mountain chalets, and tiny homes galore provide you comfort after adventure-filled days.
If you’re the active-type, your days will be filled with seemingly endless hiking and mountain biking trails within the Park. And, in the summer, you can spend a day doing fun things like white-water rafting along the Pigeon River with a guide, checking out Ripley's Aquarium, or visiting the famed Dollywood, which is a convenient 20 min drive away.
At the end of your action-packed day, stroll down the parkway in downtown Gatlinburg for a drink at local whiskey and moonshine distilleries like Sugarlands Distilling Company and The Old Smoky Moonshine Distillery. But, beware, the $5 samples might sneak up on you! Once you finish your moonshine tour, a big hot spot is the Gatlinburg Space Needle where visitors can soak in the incredible downtown Gatlinburg and Smoky Mountain views.
Not sure when to plan your trip? Gatlinburg has two peak seasons: summer months and late October when the foliage reaches its peak colors. With 12.5 million visitors annually, we think the best times to visit are between September and October. But, be sure to pack layers because the temperature drops quickly on those fall nights. While early spring (March to May) marks Gatlinburg’s low season, you’ll likely catch the spring wildflowers takeover the mountainsides.
This small town charm, and the 300,000 acres of endless adventure make for a memorable break from your normal 2021 routine. Check out our selection below of great Smoky Mountain cabin rentals and get ready to plan your escape!
Vibe: Influencers Unite
You may have seen this quintessential A-frame on Instagram. So, get your camera and tripod ready because this cabin offers endless photo opps with its rustic yet modern feel, large deck, and a hot tub surrounded by woodlands. Within minutes to several Smoky Mountain trailheads, this A-frame is also perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in Chalet Village, enjoy amenities like theater rooms, game rooms, saunas, tennis courts, pool access and more.
Vibe: Handcrafted Home
This hand-built mountain getaway was constructed with Tennessee wood and carefully curated to create the ultimate homey stay. Start your morning with coffee on the wrap-around porch and finish off the day by lying beneath the unpolluted skies for a stargazing you won’t soon forget. This well-thought-out tiny house is the ultimate getaway for a couple.
Vibe: Hillside Hideaway
The perfect cabin for a romantic getaway, with modern and rustic touches, this cabin will be your private sanctuary. With outdoor seating, a back porch swing, a hot tub, and a jacuzzi tub in the living area, it’s a great spot to unwind after a long day of exploration in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Vibe: Treetop Oasis
With four live trees growing through the interior and exterior of the treehouse, this treetop vacation rental is one of the more unique spaces within the area. A fun spot for a family vacation or secluded oasis for writers and creatives, you’re remote enough to be inspired by nature, but close enough to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge to re-emerge into society when you’re in need of a coffee break. Be sure to check out the areas bustling Arts and Crafts Community for some inspiration as well.
Vibe: A Hiker's Dream
This vibrant treehouse is surrounded by dense woodlands. It is a hiker’s dream with 800 miles of trails connecting throughout the Great Smoky Mountains. This peaceful escape gives you a bird’s eye view of the adventures you conquered during your stay. If this treehouse doesn’t suit your fancy, the resort has seven other options on their property to choose from!
Vibe: Compact and Efficient
Skip the commotion and go straight to nature. This handcrafted 1 bedroom cabin sits on a 140-acre idyllic farm next to a classic red barn, and is only 15 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cosby entrance. Sit on the porch and take in the amazing views, or build an outdoor fire at the community fire pit. Need more space? There are two Glamping domes and a barn apartment on the property.
Vibe: Creekside Farmhouse
This brand new farmhouse sits atop the roaring fork stream that flows right from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With a covered outside deck and a fireplace in the living room, you’ll be sure to stay cozy. Perfect for a small group, or the whole family, this waterfront sanctuary is just steps away from downtown Gatlinburg.
Vibe: Soak Inside & Out
Two words: bedside Jacuzzi… need we say more? This unique cabin has not one, but two jacuzzis. With its stone-surround fireplace and vaulted beamed ceilings, this eclectic-luxury Gatlinburg cabin would be best for couples or a solo-getaway.
Vibe: Cozy and Dependable
Located minutes away from the main attractions of Dollywood, this charming tiny Pigeon Forge cabin is efficient, cozy, and dependable. With room to cook in the fully-equipped kitchen, others can enjoy the patio while listening to the sounds of Mill Creek. If you’re traveling with a large group, you can also rent its twin tiny home right next door!
Vibe: Modern Rustic
This family-friendly cottage has a modern aesthetic with touches of rustic, old-world charm. With an open-concept living room, there’s plenty of space for everyone to hang. Look towards the mountain views as this cottage is located only one mile from Ober Gatlinburg Mountain Top, just 10 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park entrance and 30 minutes to the peaceful Wears Valley. In the heart of Chalet Village, take a dip in the clubhouses' many swimming pools or take advantage of its numerous amenities for some fun.
Vibe: Fun for the Fam
This pet-friendly cabin, “Mountain Splash'', will be sure to keep the whole family entertained with its heated indoor pool, hot tub, and pool table. And, with a spacious open floor plan, incredible natural light, and a large porch, you’ll get all the woodland views and crisp mountain air that you’ve been craving.