picnic area in the smoky mountains
February 1, 2022

There are plenty of fun ways to enjoy the beauty of the Smoky Mountains with your family. When the weather is nice, one of the most popular things to do in the national park is have a picnic. Whether you want to pack a lunch to bring with you or fix something on the grill, this is a great way to enjoy some family bonding time! Here is your complete guide to Smoky Mountains picnic areas:

Where to Go

Cades Cove

Did you know there are more than 10 different places where you can enjoy a picnic in the Smokies? Two of the most popular Smoky Mountains picnic areas are at Cades Cove and Metcalf Bottoms. In Cades Cove, you can enjoy a delicious family meal while taking in the scenery of the beautiful mountains! Who knows, you might even see some wildlife trying to share the meal with you? This picnic area is open year round and closes at sunset for the safety of the guests.

At Metcalf Bottoms, you can sit at one of the multiple tables and enjoy a fantastic lunch. If you want to cook your own meal, there are grills set up that are conveniently located on select sites. After you finish eating, there is easy access to the creek where you can enjoy some time splashing in the water! If you have a big group with you, they also have a pavilion that is open April through October. This area has a shelter that allows you to escape the rain and can seat up to 70 people.

Tips for a Successful Picnic

If you have never been on a picnic in the Smoky Mountains, there are a few tips that might be helpful when planning your trip. First of all, you will want to check the weather forecast when planning any outdoor adventure. While there is always the possibility of a pop up rain shower, you don’t want to plan a picnic when there is heavy rain in the forecast. If that is the only day you can go, be sure to look into having your event at one of the picnic areas that have a pavilion.

Another helpful tip is that you should always remember that there are animals around. It is good to always be mindful of this, especially when you are cleaning up. Bears have a remarkable sense of smell that can easily lead them to human food, so cleaning up all the leftover food is very important. There are plenty of animal proof dumpsters throughout all the picnic areas that make cleaning up a breeze and they also help deter unwanted visitors.

What to Bring

picnic basket on picnic table

In addition to the obvious things, such as food, there are a few extra items you will want to bring along for your picnic. One of the things that people sometimes forget about is utensils. Whether that be a spatula for the grill or serving utensils for the meal, you always want to be sure you have what you need to enjoy your lunch. Also, you will want to wear good shoes because there are sometimes stairs or uneven ground to get to the picnic areas. Plus, if you wear good shoes, you are ready to enjoy a hike afterwards!

Now that you have a complete guide to Smoky Mountains picnic areas, you are ready to start planning your next trip to the Smokies! Be sure to check out some of the other fun things to do while you are visiting. We hope to see you soon!