I’m just going to come right out and say it: Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are just not for me.
They are both super overcrowded tourist destinations on the edges of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park crawling with tons of stores selling fudge, cotton candy, popcorn, crappy t-shirts and shitty souvenir keychains.
There are a million hotels/motels, restaurants and lots of family activities to do, but perhaps most importantly, there is also a Starbucks.
But on the outskirts of town, set in the woods waaaaaaaay back from paved roads and the hustle and bustle of tourists, there is a place called Under Canvas – an immersive outdoor “glamping” experience. It’s a canvas-type tent set under the stars, but with all the amenities of a hotel.
According to the website, “The Under Canvas safari-inspired tents include amenities such as daily housekeeping and fresh towels, plush king-size beds, luxurious linens, en suite bathrooms and even a wood burning stove for chilly nights. Kids and adults alike delight over evening s’mores around the communal campfire as they share their stories of their day’s adventure. Happy, well-rested glampers wake to sounds of nature, perfectly positioned to explore America’s most iconic national parks and monuments.”
We had previously stayed at another Under Canvas location and loved it so much, we decided to bring Ro for a little camping trip.
If you are going to explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I would put Under Canvas on your “must do” list – it’s the perfect place to stay.
This particular location also has an on-site restaurant, and serves beer and wine. But if you’re feeling ambitious and want a true camping experience, there are grills where you can cook up your own meals.
As for the rest of the “must dos,” it’s pretty simple: you’re here for the hiking, swimming and R&R. Take it easy.