The 5 Best Towns in the Smoky Mountains

With over 11 million annual visitors, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular national park in America! Most of the vacationers who come to the Tennessee-side of the Smokies choose to stay over in Sevier County, which is located right on the border of the national park. To help you make the most of your getaway in Sevier County, Timber Tops Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to the five best towns in the Smoky Mountains.

1. Gatlinburg

A lively day in downtown Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg is the most famous destination in the Smoky Mountains, boasting a convenient entrance to the national park along U.S. Route 441. In many ways, Gatlinburg is filled with contradictions. It is a small town with less than 4,000 permanent residents, but it hosts millions of guests each year. Gatlinburg is surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery and mountain views, yet it features a bustling downtown area that is overflowing with attractions, shops, and restaurants. It is this unique mix of quaint charm and vacation fun that makes Gatlinburg such a special place to visit.

Unlike many other towns in the Smokies, Gatlinburg is very walkable. Once you find parking on the downtown Parkway, also known as “The Strip,” you can stroll around the center of town for hours, stopping by fudge shops, moonshine distilleries, mini golf courses, and many other popular spots. Highlights of Gatlinburg include Anakeesta, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, and the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area & Amusement Park.

2. Pigeon Forge

Beautiful aerial view of Pigeon Forge and the mountains.

Pigeon Forge’s motto is “The Center of Fun in the Smokies,” and it certainly lives up to this slogan! The Parkway, the main highway that cuts through the center of Pigeon Forge, is lined with a seemingly endless array of museums, dinner theaters, go-kart tracks, souvenir shops, and restaurants. Simply driving down this road is a memorable experience in itself, as you’ll see an enormous replica of the Titanic, King Kong scaling the Empire State Building, an upside-down building, and even more delightfully strange sights.

The most-buzzed-about destination in Pigeon Forge is definitely Dollywood. Co-owned by country superstar Dolly Parton, this wonderful theme park is the biggest ticketed attraction in the state of Tennessee! Timber Tops has a number of excellent cabin rentals that are minutes away from Dollywood.

3. Sevierville

The town of Sevierville TN and the Smoky Mountains.

Sevierville is another one of the very best towns in the Smoky Mountains. Boasting a more residential feel than Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Sevierville is known as “your hometown in the Smokies.” In downtown Sevierville, visitors will find the iconic Sevier County Courthouse, which includes a beautiful clock tower and a well-known statue of Dolly Parton out front. Some of the most popular attractions in Sevierville include the Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic Petting Zoo, Tennessee Legend Distillery, Forbidden Caverns, and Legacy Mountain Ziplines (which you can visit for free with our Luxury Pass).

4. Pittman Center

A river in the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Pittman Center is a delightful small town located off of Gatlinburg’s East Parkway. When we said it was small, we weren’t joking; the community is just 6 square miles with only 500 residents! Perfect for anyone looking for a break from the excitement of downtown Gatlinburg, Pittman Center offers a tranquil atmosphere away from the Parkway.

Many visitors to Pittman Center come to take advantage of the Greenbrier entrance to the national park. Featuring a gorgeous picnic area by the Little Pigeon River, beautiful hiking trails, and lovely wildflowers, the Greenbrier section of the park is not to be missed. Other highlights of Pittman Center include the Glenn Cardwell Heritage Museum and Hungry Bear BBQ #1.

5. Wears Valley

Wears Valley Road in the Smoky Mountains.

Considered a hidden gem in the Smokies, Wears Valley is a gorgeous community situated off of the Pigeon Forge Parkway. This high mountain valley features spectacular mountain views, a peaceful ambiance, and a “secret” entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. Some of our favorite spots in Wears Valley include Goats on the Roof, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, Elvira’s Cafe, and GSM Outfitters.

Where to Stay in the Smoky Mountains


When you stay with Timber Tops Cabin Rentals, you will have the perfect home base for exploring all of the best towns in the Smoky Mountains. Our cabins in Sevier County come with your choice of amazing amenities, including decks with rocking chairs and hot tubs, stunning mountain views, fully furnished kitchens, awesome game rooms, and incredible theater rooms. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 15 bedroom lodges, we are sure to have the ideal accommodations for your escape. To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of cabin rentals in the Smoky Mountains!