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Perfect Picnic Spots in the Great Smokies

As the sweltering heat is nearing an end, the fall season provides many enjoyable outdoor activities. Utilizing the beauty of East Tennessee with a picnic can encourage locals and travelers to stay closer to home.  

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park provides a variety of options, including the perfect picnic spots. Having a picnic can be a wonderful escape from the monotony of a daily routine or being stuck at home. Picnics also enable you to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather, while allowing for proper social distancing.  

These spots provide a way to share a meal with family or friends and appreciate their beauty while staying safe:  

  • Cades Cove Picnic Shelter: This area has been well-known to locals and visitors as an ideal spot to convene and have a meal while visiting Cades Cove. The picnic location provides mountain-view sunsets and wildlife sightings. While there, visitors can explore the 11-mile loop dotted with historic buildings.  
  • Look Rock Observation Tower: Located on the Foothill’s Parkway, the journey to the tower provides a scenic drive and is accessible by a half-mile hike. The picnic area, below the ramp, has tables available. The tower itself has beautiful 360-degree views on clear days and is a less-trafficked option. 
  • Metcalf Bottoms: This scenic picnic spot is located at the Wears Valley entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Little River runs through this beautiful wooded area, creating a peaceful atmosphere. The location has tables, ample parking, and restrooms available to the public to enjoy a day-long outing.  
  • Andrews Bald: This picnic area has such incredible views that the three and a half-mile round trip hike is worth the payoff. This option stands out among others since it requires a hike to the destination rather than driving up to a pavilion or picnic table.  

The Blount County and Townsend area offer a drivable destination from nearby cities with many options for a quick day trip or weekend getaway. More information on picnic areas within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be found at smokymountains.org. Visitors are also encouraged to view the most up-to-date travel advisories on the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus

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