Going on a picnic is one of our favorite vacation activities! We can’t think of anything better than enjoying a delicious sandwich amongst the spectacular scenery of the Smokies. To help you make the most of your next getaway, Park Place on the River has put together a guide to the best picnic areas in Gatlinburg TN and the Smoky Mountains.
1. Mynatt Park
Mynatt Park is just a five-minute drive from downtown Gatlinburg, but it feels like a world apart. With a beautiful stream and a peaceful atmosphere, this park is a wonderful place to kick back and relax with some tasty food. In addition to the park’s lovely picnic area, visitors can also enjoy tennis courts, a basketball court, a baseball field, a horseshoe pit, and a children’s playground. Mynatt Park is located off of Historic Nature Trail on Asbury Lane.
2. Greenbrier Picnic Area
The Greenbrier Picnic Area is one of the most scenic sections of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Located along the Little Pigeon River, Greenbrier is known for its breathtaking wildflowers in the spring. After your lunch at Greenbrier, you can hike two of the best trails in the Smokies: the Ramsey Cascades Trail or the Porters Creek Trail. Greenbrier is situated off of the East Parkway, about six miles from downtown Gatlinburg.
3. Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area
Metcalf Bottoms is a local favorite for summertime picnics. Visitors will love dining right beside the gorgeous Little River, which is also an excellent spot for tubing. If you’re looking to do a little hiking after your meal, you can visit the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse and The Walker Sisters Place, two historic structures that were built in the 1800s. The Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area is located off of Lyon Springs Road in Wears Valley.
4. Cades Cove Picnic Area
Cades Cove is the most visited area in the national park. With its stunning mountain views, historic cabins, and spectacular wildlife, this picturesque valley is unlike anywhere else in the nation. The Cades Cove Picnic Area is located right before the entrance to the valley’s loop road. If you don’t feel like picking up food before your trip to Cades Cove, you can purchase hot dogs, burgers, and ice cream at the campground store. Cades Cove is about 50 minutes from downtown Gatlinburg,
Best Places to Buy Food for Your Picnic in Gatlinburg
Once you’ve chosen the perfect location for your picnic, you’ll need to find the perfect food! Here are a few of our favorite places to pick up sandwiches before visiting one of the picnic areas in Gatlinburg TN or the national park:
• Old Dad’s General Store has everything you need for a great picnic lunch. Visitors can either purchase pre-made sandwiches or they can buy deli meats and cheeses by the pound. The friendly staff at Old Dad’s will even pack your meal for you, providing separate containers for all of the sides and plenty of napkins and silverware.
• Parton’s Deli has been a staple of downtown Gatlinburg for over 40 years! This restaurant is famous for its mouthwatering steamed subs, deviled eggs, potato salad, and lemon pound cake.
• Hungry Bear BBQ # 1 is located across the street from the Greenbrier entrance to the national park, making it very convenient for picnics in this area. If you’re a fan of pulled pork, brisket, and ribs, you’ll love the BBQ at Hungry Bear!
When you stay at Park Place on the River, you will be just a short drive from these restaurants and all of the best picnic areas in Gatlinburg TN and the Smoky Mountains. With fully furnished kitchens, Jacuzzi tubs, mountain stone fireplaces, and swimming pool access, our condo rentals have everything you need for an unforgettable getaway. To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of condos in Gatlinburg!