If you’re looking for a Smoky Mountains vacation guide on how to get to the Smoky Mountains, you’ve come to the right place!
Here, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make the journey.
We’ll tell you about the different routes you can take, and we’ll give you some tips on what to expect along the way.
So read on for everything you need to know about making the trip to one of America’s most popular tourist destinations!
The Smoky Mountains are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.
Thousands of people visit the mountains every year to enjoy the natural beauty and stunning views.
If you’re thinking about making a trip to the Smokies, here is a guide on how to get to the Smoky Mountains.
Where Do You Fly Into For Smoky Mountains?
The following are the airports located nearest to the Smoky Mountains.
McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS)
The closest airport to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Knoxville McGee Tyson Airport.
It is a medium-sized airport located in Alcoa, TN.
Knoxville McGee Tyson Airport is served by five major commercial airlines: Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, and United.
If you’re looking to primarily stay on the Tennessee side of the Smokies, including Cades Cove, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Townsend, then this airport is best for you.
It’s located approximately 41 miles/1 hour 15 minutes from the Gatlinburg park entrance.
The easiest way to get from the airport to the Smokies is by renting a car.
There are eight rental companies located at the airport, including
Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)
Asheville Regional Airport, located 60 miles east of Cherokee, is the closest airport to the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.
If your vacation itinerary mostly includes attractions on the North Carolina side of the park like Cherokee, Maggie Valley, Cataloochee or Oconaluftee, then Asheville is your best bet for flying in.
It’s approximately a 58.9 Miles/1 hour drive from the airport to the Cherokee park entrance.
Choose your car rental from Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National or Thrifty – all conveniently located on-site.
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP)
The Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport is a medium-sized airport located in Greer, South Carolina.
The airport is served by five major commercial airlines:
- and United
It is approximately 151 Miles or 2 hours and 45 minutes from the Gatlinburg park entrance.
Closest International Airports
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport- approximately 192 miles away
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport – approximately 200 miles away
- Nashville International Airport- approximately 202 miles away
Directions To The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Many people travel to the Smokies from major cities nearby, such as Nashville, Knoxville, or Asheville.
If you’re coming from any location other than Cherokee, NC, then you’ll likely take Interstate 40 at some point during your journey.
From there, you can take the following routes.
Driving Direction to the Gatlinburg, TN entrance
From interstate highway I-40
- Take Exit 407 for Sevierville. Once you’re on TN-66 South
- Stay straight at the Sevierville intersection onto US-441 South.
- You’ll follow this all the way through Sevierville and Pigeon Forge until you reach the park.
Driving Direction to the Townsend, TN entrance
From the north:
- For travelers coming from Knoxville on I-40, take Exit 386B onto US-129 South towards Alcoa/Maryville.
- In Maryville, continue on US 321 North/TN -73 East through Townsend.
- Once you get to Townsend, stay on TN 73 into the park.
From the south:
- From interstate highway I-75, take Exit 376 to I-140 E towards Oak Ridge/Maryville.
- Then, use Exit 376B to merge onto I-140 E towards Maryville.
- After that, turn onto US-129 South (Alcoa Highway) at Exit 11A and travel toward Alcoa. Finally, turn TN-35 and follow it until you reach US-321 North/TN -73 East through Townsend.
- Continue straight on TN-73 into the park.
Driving Direction to the Cherokee, NC entrance
From the north:
- From interstate highway I-40, take Exit 27 to US-74 West towards Waynesville.
- Turn onto US-19 and go through Maggie Valley until you reach Cherokee. T
- hen, turn onto US-441 North at Cherokee and follow the road into the park.
From the south:
- Follow US-441/US-23 North.
- At Dillsboro, merge on US-74 West/US-441 North.
- At Exit 74 merge onto US-441. Follow US-441 through Cherokee and into the park.
Where To Stay In The Smoky Mountains?
If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay in the Smoky Mountains, look no further than the GSM Family Vacations cabin rental. With over 2600 square feet of living space, five bedrooms, and five bathrooms, this cabin is perfect for large families or groups.
And best of all, the cabin is located in the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts District, making it just minutes from all the excitement of downtown Gatlinburg.
What Is The Best Month To Go To Smoky Mountains?
When is the best time for you to visit the Smoky Mountains? It really depends on your idea of a good vacation.
Many people say that summer ( June, July, August) or fall ( October) are the best times to go because there are more activities and events.
However, spring and winter can be beautiful too– especially because there aren’t as many people visiting then, so rates tend to be lower!
- Things to do in the Smoky Mountains in Summer
- Smoky Mountains Fall Colors
- Things to do in the Smoky Mountains in Spring
- Things to do in the Smoky Mountains in Winter
Not sure when to visit the Smokies? Read our guide to the Best Time To Visit Smoky Mountains
How Many Days Do You Need In The Smoky Mountains?
While you can enjoy the Smoky Mountains in any amount of time, if you want to see everything the area has to offer, we recommend 4-5 days.
Learn How Many Days Do You Need In The Smoky Mountains? and start planning your vacation today!
Download Our FREE Smoky Mountains Checklist Now!
Related Smoky Mountain Resources
- Pigeon Forge Vacation Guide
- Gatlinburg Vacation Guide
- 125+ Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains
- Great Smoky Mountains Family Vacations Facebook Group
More Related Resources
If it’s your first time visiting the Smokies, then our guide on How To Avoid Crowds In the Smoky Mountains will definitely come in handy!
To make the most out of your trip, also check out our list of 125+ Amazing Things To Do in the Smoky Mountains! and while you’re at the National Park, you can try this national park photo scavenger hunt idea that the kids will surely enjoy!