Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most visited, and for good reason. Its trails, views, and history make it one of the most important (and beautiful) parks in the National Parks Service.
As far as parks (well, at least parks outside of Alaska go), it’s big. It’s the 11th largest in the lower 48 and well over 500,000 acres. So to properly experience it, you need to spend at least two days exploring. Most visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park enter through the Sugarlands entrance in Tennessee, just outside the towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Others come in through the main southern entrance near Cherokee, North Carolina.
In terms of pricing, the average nightly rate varies more by season than by town. Hotels will be the most expensive between May and September (peak hiking season) and drop to their lowest between December and January. Winter rates can be a fraction of the peak summer rates, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to plan a budget trip.
Whichever you choose, these are the best Great Smoky Mountains National Park hotels, lodges and places to stay.
Looking to stay in a cabin? Check out Matador’s guide to all the best cabins near Great Smoky Mountains National Park
We hope you love the lodges and hotels near Great Smoky Mountains National Park we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
- Lodging inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Where to stay in Pigeon Forge
- Where to stay in Gatlinburg
- Where to stay near the southern entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The only Great Smoky National Park hotel in the park
LeConte Lodge is the only lodging inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park boundaries. Only accessible via a minimum five-mile hike, accommodations are rustic but classic – you’re rewarded with fresh-cooked meals and a cozy place to sleep inside a simple but comfortable cabin. There’s no more authentic way to experience the park than to spend a night here swapping adventure stories with fellow guests over a beer while taking in the striking quiet and peacefulness of the park at night. Sack lunches are available for purchase from the gift shop in the morning. Be advised that weather on Mt. LeConte varies, and there are no roads or cars – pack it in, pack it out.
To book, call 865-429-5704. Reservations are first-come, first-served, and the waitlist is closed for the 2022 season – though cancellations do occasionally occur.
Price: $162 per person (includes meals)
Where to stay in Pigeon Forge
Country Cascades Waterpark Resort
No Great Smoky Mountain National Park hotels are better suited to families than the Country Cascades Waterpark Resort. With multiple slides, a large pool, a kiddie pool, and a hot tub, this is the spot to let the kiddos – and the adults – unwind. Rooms are spacious and cozy, with space to lounge and views of the green mountains over yonder. It’s definitely the best of the Pigeon Forge Great Smoky Mountains National Park hotels if you plan to hit Dollywood since it’s equidistant between the theme park and national park. There’s no better place to feel like you’re at a beach resort in the heart of Appalachia.
Price: From $90 per night
Twin Mountain Inn and Suites
Overlooking the river and with mountain views on three sides, Twin Mountain Inn and Suites is the best of hotels near Great Smoky Mountains National Park for watching the sunrise (or sunset). There’s usually morning mist hovering over the hills as you enjoy the breakfast buffet, setting the mood for an unforgettable day in the park. If you spend a day outside the park, you can walk to Dolly Parton’s Stampede or the Old Mill shopping area, or hop a short ride over to the Dollywood theme park and The Grand Majestic Theatre. This is Pigeon Ford’s best hotel for couples, not only because of the views, but because it has a higher-end pool and lounge area and is very close to restaurants and nightlife in Pigeon Forge. Oh, and because many rooms include large hot tubs.
Price: From $71 per night
Margaritavilla Island Inn
Who doesn’t love a taste of Key West in Tennessee? The Margaritaville Island Inn is the bustling, fun, and perfectly convenient option for your trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The amenities and attractions of Pigeon Forge are within walking distance, and the park itself is a mere 20 minutes away on Highway 321. The hotel features both an indoor and outdoor pool, a superb continental breakfast, and views that make you feel as though you’re in a high-rise penthouse in . . . well, Pigeon Forge. But given the nearby theme parks, that’ll do just fine.
Price: From $89 per night
Where to stay in Gatlinburg
Old Creek Lodge
In downtown Gatlinburg, the Old Creek Lodge offers the best of both worlds. It has quick and easy access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and walkability to dining, shopping, and other amenities in the town center. Cozy up next to the fireplace in your room after adventuring, have a dip in the outdoor pool, and then wake up refreshed and hit the breakfast bar on your way back out for another day of playing in the park. This is a great pick among great Smoky Mountains National Park hotels for couples looking to experience both nature and a date night afterward.
Bonus: this property is available for a Booking.com Genius discount, so you’ll get points you can spend on future hotel stays when you book.
Price: From $114 per night
Edgewater Hotel and Conference Center
Edgewater Hotel and Conference Center is among the nicest hotels near Great Smoky National Park. Rooms have balconies overlooking the hills and the pool is an indoor-outdoor hybrid. The property is accustomed to large groups and business travel (so you know the WiFi is on point) and the downtown location means you can grab a nice meal before crashing for the night without venturing too far if your legs are sore from a day hiking in the park.
If you do want to do some exploration in town, the Mountain Mall, Space Needle, and the dining scene in downtown Gatlinburg are within walking distance. If you’re a remote worker or freelancer who usually needs to work a bit while traveling, but still want to get in full days in the park, Edgewater is a great option.
Price: From $129 per night
Bearskin Lodge on the River
Who doesn’t love a lazy river after a day of hiking, biking, or sightseeing? Bearskin Lodge is home to Gatlinburg’s quaintest outdoor lazy river and pool, making this the best of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park hotels for families. The resort is between downtown and the park – which, of course, means more playtime for the kiddos and for adults and more time to relax and recover for another day of exploring. Rooms are cozy and clean, maintaining the rustic mountain aesthetic without sacrificing comfort. This is a great lodge for small groups and families.
Price: From $144 per night
Bonus: this property is also available for a Booking.com Genius discount when you book a stay.
Check out Matador’s guide to Gatlinburg Airbnbs for your trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park hotels near the southern entrance
Panther Creek Cabins – Cherokee, North Carolina
Cherokee, North Carolina, is full of cozy mountain cabins to serve as basecamps for a trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But reviewers especially love the Panther Creek Cabins, which gives you both easy park access and an incredible lodging experience that embodies the true spirit of Appalachia. Hike the surrounding property, head into Cherokee for dinner, soak in the hot tub, or even do a bit of gambling up the street at Harrah’s Casino, if that’s your thing. You sacrifice by leaving WiFi and civilization behind, but you gain a truly immersive experience in the Smokies – something we could all use right about now.
Price: From $109 per night
Historic Tapoco Lodge
Far from the hustle and bustle of the Sugarlands entrance is the Historic Tapoco Lodge. It’s an ode to the good ole’ days of early tourism in the Smokies, back when it was all about getting out into nature and leaving the city behind. From the lodge, you can kayak Chilhowee Lake (actually more like a river), raft the Cheoah River, or see the lesser-traveled side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Be sure to grab a pizza and a beer from Tapoco Tavern one night, perhaps to celebrate being one of the few who actually hike their way into the park (you’ll be proud of yourself for skipping the line of traffic up north).
Price: From $159 per night
Staying in (or traveling through) Asheville? Check out Matador’s guide to the best Asheville Airbnbs.