Content Produced in Partnership with Visit Sevierville

With one of America’s most beloved national parks in its backyard, planning a family vacation to Sevierville is a must-do bucket list item for more than one reason. Located in the Forks Valley of the Little Pigeon River and squarely between Asheville, North Carolina and Knoxville, Tennessee, Sevierville is within easy driving distance for nearly half the population. Hometown starlet Dolly Parton may have helped put it on the map with her successful music career, but even she would tell you there’s always been something special about Sevierville. With hidden caverns, beautiful valleys, and the famous Smoky Mountains as its playground, Sevierville is a mountain town that has something for every type of visitor, proving time and again, there’s more than one way to take in the Smoky Mountains — and always another reason to come back for more.

Photo Courtesy Visit Sevierville

Explore Forbidden Caverns

More than 8,000 caves can be found within Tennessee, but there’s only one like Forbidden Caverns. Located less than 30 minutes outside downtown Sevierville, Forbidden Caverns offers one-hour guided tours from April through November through one of the prettiest cave systems in America. Along the way, you’ll learn how Native Americans first used the caverns for hunting and later by moonshiners who manufactured moonshine during the Prohibition Era. The drive to the caverns along a pretty backcountry road through a valley is just as pretty as what you’ll find beneath the ground, which includes towering chimneys, gorgeous rock formations, an underground stream, and even the occasional bat and salamander.

Photo by Corinne Edmiston

Zipline with Foxfire Mountain Adventures

Located on the opposite side of the valley from Forbidden Caverns is Foxfire Mountain Adventure park, a family farm turned full-service adventure park. In addition to its hiking trails, Foxfire Mountain has zipline and ATV tours, a BBQ joint, and a cider house that serves homemade alcoholic and non-alcoholic ciders. It’s essentially a one-stop-shop for family fun. Since its opening in 2010, the family-owned ranch has managed to hold its own in the adventure world, too. Aside from being home to the longest and highest zipline in the Smoky Mountains, it’s also home to the longest swinging rope bridge in the United States. For those in search of an adrenaline rush during their time in Sevierville, Foxfire Mountain Adventures is a true Smoky Mountains treasure.

Sunset from Morton Overlook by Tim Lumley via Flickr Creative Commons

Take a closer look at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Once you’ve zoomed over the treetops at Foxfire Mountain, it’s time to get a little more closely acquainted with Mother Nature in the heart of the most popular national park in the US. More than 11 million people visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2016, and park officials expect that number to only continue to climb in the coming years. Just minutes away from downtown, Sevierville tourists can explore the more than half a million acres at their leisure through a series of active pursuits like hiking and fishing or by taking in the scenery behind the steering wheel with a quiet drive through the back roads.

Photo via Scenic Helicopter Tours Facebook Page

Soar above the Smokies on a helicopter tour

Sevierville based Scenic Helicopter Tours is the local favorite for group helicopter excursions over the Smokies. Depending on the tour, you’ll be able to soar over lakes, rivers, and, of course, the mountains of the local area. The skilled pilots will ensure you have a safe and smooth ride while they share details and fun facts about the surrounding area. All tours offer amazing 360-views of the surrounding mountains, making for a unique family adventure over one of the prettiest spots in North America.

Crunchy's Raft 14 by Jeff Stvan via Flickr Creative Commons

Get wet and wild on the Pigeon River

For some simply fishing in the waterways of Sevierville and the Smokies isn’t enough. For those who prefer to dive straight into the fun with an adrenaline packed activity, whitewater rafting is an absolute must, especially during the summer months. Big Creek Expeditions in nearby Hartford offers fully guided whitewater rafting trips along the Upper Section of the Pigeon River. For newbies to the activity, the Class II and Class IV rapids in this area are the perfect spots to get your feet wet (pun intended).

Photo via Visit Sevierville Facebook Page

How to do it

Whether you prefer a cabin nestled at the base of the mountains, a resort with a waterpark for the kids to enjoy, or a simple tent right in the thick of things, Sevierville has accommodations for any budget and travel style. With attractions ranging from museums, shows, and outdoors adventure, there's always something to do in Sevierville, which means you'll always have a reason to visit again. What are you waiting for? Start planning your Smoky Mountains adventure in Sevierville today.