6 Cheap and Free Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains

GSMNP entrance sign

The Smoky Mountains is one of the most perfect places to have an affordable yet enjoyable vacation. This is partly because of all the exciting things you can do for free! You won’t have to break the bank to have a great time in the mountains. To help you save money on your vacation, we’ve come up with 6 cheap and free things to do in the Smoky Mountains.

1. Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few national parks in the country that doesn’t charge an entrance fee. That means you can explore more than 850 miles of hiking trails, go fishing and enjoy a picnic — all without spending a dime! If you want to experience all that the Smoky Mountains has to offer, there is no better place to do it than the National Park. When you stay at our Smoky Mountain cabins, you’ll be just minutes away from all the fun that’s inside the park. You can go see cascading waterfalls, admire the wildflowers in the spring or try to spot some wildlife!

South Baden Clubhouse swimming pool at Chalet Village2. Enjoy Your Cabin Amenities

Another thing you can do that’s completely free is take advantage of all that your cabin has to offer! Our cabins are already affordable as it is, but when you make use of all the in-cabin entertainment, you’ll save money and have fun. You can curl up in front of the fire and read a book or watch TV, soak in the bubbling hot tub while watching the sunset, or cook and share a meal with your loved ones in the fully equipped kitchen. Some of our cabins even have pool tables, air hockey and other fun games, as well as a home theater so you can pop some popcorn and watch a movie on the big screen! But that’s not all – some of our cabins have access to a pool! In the summer months, bring your bathing suit along and splash around.

3. Drive Through Cades Cove

Cades Cove is one of the most popular spots in the National Park. Not only is it free, but you can explore the area from the comfort of your car! Along the 11-mile loop road, you’ll see breathtaking views, historic buildings, wildflower meadows and the chance to spot your favorite Smoky Mountain wildlife! Cades Cove is the best place to spot a black bear. They are typically seen along the loop in late summer and fall. Cades Cove Loop Road usually takes about 2 hours to complete, so that’s two hours of fun that you don’t have to pay for!

4. Visit the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community

Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community sign.

The Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community is home to the largest group of independent artisans in North America. When you take a stroll along this 8-mile loop, you’ll have the chance to see the people and the events that shaped Tennessee into what it is today. It’s completely free to walk through the loop, and there is so much more than just arts and crafts. You’ll also find restaurants, cafes and candy shops in case you want to stop and get a bite to eat!

5. Go See a Show

One of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains is to go see a show! There are a number of exciting shows that are fun for the whole family. One of the best shows in Pigeon Forge is Country Tonite, a dynamic performance that includes singing, dancing, comedy and more! The best part is that kids get in free with a paying adult, so it makes the family outing even more affordable.

6. Listen to Music at the Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

smoky mountain tunes

Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans portraying characters from as far back as the 1800s. This festival is free to attend, so you don’t have to spend anything to enjoy all the excitement that Gatlinburg has to offer. In the wintertime, be sure to check out the Winter Magic Tunes & Tales. This festival includes storytelling, caroling and more for perfect Christmas entertainment!

Vacationing on a budget is easy when you stay in our affordable cabins and take advantage of all of these cheap and free things to do in the Smoky Mountains. Browse all of our Smoky Mountain cabins and start planning your vacation today!