What are the 3 largest cities in the Smoky Mountains to either visit or live in? Luckily, not only are the 3 smoky mountain towns the largest but also the best places to visit in the region in my opinion.
So whether you’re in the area to hike the smokies or want to relocate to a mountain town, hopefully, one of the towns below will pique your interest.
1. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the south. It’s actually the deepest city within the smokies, and as a matter of fact, the other day when we hiked to the top of Mount le Conte, Gatlinburg was slightly visible from the peak.
The town’s natural beauty and a wide array of attractions like Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum brings in millions of visitors every year.
Along with the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, the bustling downtown district is full of restaurants, shops, bars, and lodging and is also home to the Arts and Crafts Community, which is a collection of over 120 artisans working and living in one of America’s most unique art traditions.
They also say of every town, Gatlinburg has the best views of the Smokies. So whether you’re in the area for an epic hike or want to move near the smokies, Gatlinburg is a fantastic choice.
2. Sevierville, Tennessee
Just 15 miles north of Gatlinburg is another large and unique mountain town in the smokies, Sevierville Tennessee. Along with it being the birthplace of Dolly Parton, Sevierville offers plenty of outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, camping, fishing, hunting, and whitewater rafting.
And unlike most cities in the smokies, it’s not too much of a tourist attraction but also, not too small of a town either with 17,889 people in the 2020 census. Considering the city neighbors 2 tourist attractions Gatlinburg and pigeon forge which we’ll get to next, there are many opportunities in the area.
The downtown region with the mountains in the background gives it a very peaceful feeling, and when I was there, the people seemed incredibly polite and it looked like a nice place to live. So while the other two cities on this list might be better to visit, Sevierville is a great option to live in the smokies without too many tourists.
3. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Only 7 miles south in the middle of Sevierville and Gatlinburg is the theme park city, Pigeon Forge. This city in the smokies is known for its family-friendly attractions, outdoor activities, beautiful scenery, and its abundance of shopping and entertainment.
It’s also home to the popular Dollywood theme park and Splash Country water park, as well as the Island at Pigeon Forge, an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment district with rides, mini-golf, and arcades.
Other attractions in the area include popular musical theatres, an extensive dinosaur-themed miniature golf course, the Titanic Museum Attraction, and the WonderWorks indoor amusement park. Pigeon Forge also offers a variety of festivals, such as the annual Craftsmen’s Fair, the Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass Festival, and the Summer Music Roadfest.
My Final Thoughts & Bonus Town
Overall, all three of these cities are great places to visit near the smokies, but Sevierville is a better choice to live in my opinion. That’s unless you prefer to live in a tourist attraction.
But when we were here filming the forest from the last ice age and Clingman’s dome, afterwords heading back home on the eastern part of the smokies opposite from the other three cities we ran into Cherokee north carolina.
Although it’s much further than the other towns from the national park at roughly 27 miles away, it was still a peaceful and unique place. Not only that, but it’s also the capital of the federally recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
In case you’re trying to find the best places to visit in Georgia, USA, see the top 10 choices here. Thank you for reading, have a blessed day.