Things to do for the Family for Little to No Cost

Discover the beauty of the Smoky Mountains without breaking the bank with our guide to affordable adventures and hidden gems. From scenic hikes to budget-friendly eats and free attractions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this iconic destination. Join us as we uncover the best ways to explore the Smokies without spending a fortune.

  1. Scenic Hikes: Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With over 800 miles of trails, there’s a route for every skill level. Don’t miss exploring Laurel Falls Trail or the picturesque Clingmans Dome Observation Tower, both offering breathtaking views at no cost.
  2. Picnic at Cades Cove: Pack a picnic lunch and head to Cades Cove, a stunning valley surrounded by mountains. Enjoy your meal at one of the designated picnic areas while taking in the serene beauty of the surroundings. Keep an eye out for wildlife sightings, including deer, black bears, and wild turkeys.
  3. Affordable Eats: Grab a bite to eat at one of the local eateries offering delicious meals at friendly prices. Checkout West by God Coal-Fired Pizza or the Old Mill Farmhouse Kitchen for southern classics made from scratch. While you’re there you can explore the Old Mill Square and stop for a treat at the Old Mill Creamery.
  4. Shop Local: Explore the charming shops and boutiques in the Smoky Mountains, where you can find unique souvenirs, handmade crafts, and locally-made goods. Don’t miss the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, an 8-mile loop featuring over 100 artisans showcasing their work. Three Bears General Store is another great shop to explore! This is the largest General store in the Smokies filled with tons of souvenirs, an arcade, photo booth, treats and more!
  5. Free Attractions: Discover free attractions. Visit Bush’s Visitor Center for a free tour of the museum to learn about the rich history of the brand and enjoy interactive exhibits throughout the tour! Or explore the The Island in Pigeon Forge and watch The Island Show Fountain with fourteen different choreographed pieces.
  6. Explore Waterfalls: Seek a waterfall adventure and experience the beauty of cascading waterfalls throughout the national park. Some popular waterfall hikes include Grotto Falls and Abrams Falls, offering stunning views without spending a dime.
  7. Scenic Drives: Take a leisurely drive along the scenic routes and byways winding through the Smoky Mountains. Don’t miss the picturesque Foothills Parkway or the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, both offering stunning views of the mountains.

Exploring the Smoky Mountains on a budget is not only achievable but also incredibly rewarding. With a wealth of affordable adventures and hidden gems waiting to be discovered, there’s no need to break the bank to experience the beauty and charm of this iconic destination. From scenic hikes and picnics in nature to sampling delicious Southern eats and uncovering the region’s rich history, the Smokies offer something for every budget-conscious traveler. So whether you’re planning a family getaway, a romantic escape, or a solo adventure, pack your sense of adventure and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes of the Smoky Mountains.

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