Discover Family-Friendly Activities and Unforgettable Experiences
The Great Smoky Mountains offer a stunning backdrop for memorable summer adventures. With its pleasant weather, lush forests, and numerous outdoor activities, the Smokies are an ideal destination for families seeking fun and excitement. In this article, we’ll explore some of the top summer activities, including family-friendly hikes, waterfalls, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Family-Friendly Hikes and Waterfalls
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the Great Smoky Mountains, and there are trails suited for all ages and skill levels. During the summer months, families can enjoy these easy-to-moderate hikes with rewarding sights:
- Laurel Falls Trail: This 2.6-mile round trip hike leads to the stunning 80-foot Laurel Falls, a two-tiered waterfall. The paved trail is suitable for families with young children and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding forest.
- Grotto Falls Trail: A moderate 3-mile round trip hike, this trail takes you behind the 25-foot Grotto Falls, a unique experience for all ages. You’ll also have the chance to see salamanders and other wildlife along the way.
- Cades Cove Loop Road: This 11-mile loop road offers a scenic drive or bike ride through a lush valley surrounded by majestic mountains. Stop at historical homesteads, churches, and wildlife viewing areas for an educational and enjoyable family experience.
Horseback Riding and Mountain Biking
The Smokies offer numerous horseback riding and mountain biking opportunities for families seeking adventure. Horseback riding is a great way to explore the park’s trails while taking in the beautiful summer scenery. Several stables in the area offer guided trail rides suitable for riders of all experience levels.
Mountain biking enthusiasts can tackle the park’s multi-use trails or venture to nearby destinations like the Tsali Recreation Area for more challenging terrain. Bikes can also be rented in nearby towns, making it easy for families to explore on two wheels.
Picnicking and Scenic Drives
Summer is the perfect time for picnicking and enjoying the park’s scenic drives. Pack a lunch and head to one of the numerous picnic areas throughout the park, such as Metcalf Bottoms, Cades Cove, or Chimneys. These areas offer tables, grills, and restrooms, providing a comfortable and convenient spot to enjoy a family meal in the great outdoors.
For those seeking spectacular views without breaking a sweat, scenic drives like Newfound Gap Road and the Blue Ridge Parkway offer stunning vistas of the Smokies. Stop at overlooks and capture family photos with the majestic mountains as your backdrop.
Summer in the Great Smoky Mountains offers a variety of family-friendly activities and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re hiking to picturesque waterfalls, exploring the park on horseback or bike, or enjoying a leisurely picnic surrounded by nature’s beauty, the Smokies provide a perfect setting for creating lasting memories with your loved ones.
Start planning your trip to the Smoky Mountains with our free vacation planning guide.