National Park Sign
February 27, 2022

There are plenty of activities to do in the national park, including fishing and taking scenic drives. With that in mind, you don’t have far to go when you want to find something for the whole family to do! Here are 6 fun things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for families:

1. View Wildlife

black bear in the smoky mountains

One of the most popular activities in the Smokies is viewing wildlife. The Smoky Mountains are home to many animals, such as white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and the famous black bear! You’ll want to take a family trip to Cades Cove or Roaring Fork Nature trail to see most of the animals. However, you’ll only be able to see elk if you explore Cataloochee Valley. Wherever you go, just make sure you view Smoky Mountain wildlife safely and from a distance.

2. Take a Dip in a Swimming Hole

Another fun thing your family can do is bring your swimsuit and water shoes so you can splash around in the various swimming holes around the Smokies. Popular swimming holes include Metcalf Bottoms, Midnight Hole, and the Townsend Wye. These are perfect to try out in warmer weather but especially in the summer!

3. Go Horseback Riding


Horseback riding is another one of the best things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can go horseback riding from the middle of March to late November. Cades Cove Riding Stables and Smokemont both give you the choices to ride individually or go on hayrides! You can also bring your own horses to ride in the mountains. Just be sure to check which trails and areas allow horseback riding if you choose this option.

4. Take a Hike

There are over 850 miles of hiking trails in the Smokies, so you’ll love taking your family on a hike! You’ll have opportunities to see many things on these hikes. Smoky Mountain plants, animals, and views of the mountains themselves are some features to expect on the trails. Have younger children that you want to take hiking? Start with one of these kid friendly hikes!

5. Search for Waterfalls

Laurel Falls

Love water features? Explore the hiking trails and scenic drives that lead you to or past waterfalls! A few of the most popular waterfalls are Abrams Falls, Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Ramsey Cascades. Even if you don’t get to see these, there are over 100 waterfalls and cascades you’ll want to find!

6. Try a Scavenger Hunt

If you really want to get the most out of exploring the national park, try going on a scavenger hunt! This can be a great way to learn about the Smoky Mountains and its history. You’ll also enjoy watching your little ones get excited when they’ve crossed something off the scavenger hunt list! Some scavenger hunts you might be interested in doing might be this Smoky Mountain hunt or this one for Cades Cove.

Now that you know about some fun things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll be prepared to bring your family for a visit. Looking for interesting places to visit? Check out one of these interesting places in the national park!