When it comes to planning a holiday full of activities to do and places to see, a holiday to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is right on the top of the list. If you think that the Great Smokies only have the mountains on offer, you need to think again. Unlike other one-attraction wonders, the Smokies offers a list of activities and fun things to do with family and friends. The largest terrestrial national park in the East, the Smokies comprises of more than 800 sq. miles of valleys, streams, and of course, mountains. Contained within this area is a wildlife habitat that is incredibly diverse and thriving. More than 240 different birds, 76 fish, 30 species of salamander (including the red-cheeked salamander which is only found in the Smokies), 65 mammals, and 100 different species of native trees, as well as 1,500 types of flowering plants, are found in the Smokies. While camping in the Smokies, you are likely to get a glimpse of majestic animals such as the white-tailed deer, elks, black bears, bobcats, great blue herons, wild turkey, and the red-tailed hawk.
While the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934, the area of the Smoky Mountains has been called home by hunters and gatherers for more than 12,000 years. A part of the native land of the Cherokees, this area was redeveloped by the Euro-American settlers who made their way here in the late 1700s. Preserved by the National Park Service, the biggest collection of log buildings in the East is a reminder of these settlement endeavors. Since its establishment, the Smokies have become the “most-visited national park in the country” with more than 10 million recorded visits each year.
What to Do While Camping in the Smokies
When it comes to recreational activity options, you will be completely spoiled for choice while camping in the Smokies! From fishing to hiking and wildlife watching, the Smokies offer an array of options that make for a perfect activity holiday with your family or friends in tow. Here are a few of these options, jump at the one that piques your interest or get a small taste of every one of them while camping in the Smokies.
Home to the largest collection of historic log building in the East, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the perfect place for history lovers. While camping in the Smokies with children in tow, explore the historical sites of the national park to give your kids a taste of the rich cultural history and tradition of the Smokies.
The Cades Cove valley is a scenic and picturesque one; it also contains the maximum number of historic buildings as compared to other locations in the park. Take some time to explore the functional grist mill, cantilever barns, 19th Century homes, three churches, and more.
The open-air Mountain Farm Museum is located next to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, and houses a majestic log home, apple house, smokehouse, blacksmith shop, corn crib, springhouse, and more. In the summer and fall season, the Museum conducts interpretive events and historic tours.
If you want to keep away from the milling throngs of tourists, try the Cataloochee Valley that generally sees light visitation but packs a powerful punch. It once housed the largest settlement in the Smokies (1,200 people in 1910) and this picturesque valley now offers the best sights in the park.
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