Seeking fun things to do in Townsend, Tennessee? You’re in the right place! The city of Townsend, Tennessee, is one of the entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains and offers travelers adventure and enjoyment.
Despite Townsend’s reputation for drawing few tourists, there is enough to explore and do there. Townsend is just as charming as many other locations across the nation and state.

Everyone can find something to enjoy in Townsend, whether they’re seeking an exciting day trip, a weekend vacation, or a family-friendly excursion. There are so many things to do in Townsend that you can extend your trip by one or two days!

It can be difficult to decide which sights or attractions to visit in Townsend. Well, we’ve compiled a list of the best, brightest, and most beautiful things to do in Townsend to help you plan your next trip.

So, pack your bags, grab your sense of adventure, and get ready to discover the fun things to do in Townsend, TN!

Fun things to do in Townsend, TN

1. Visit Bircher and Twine

Your visitation to this city is complete with stopping by Bircher and Twine to purchase some gifts to bring back home.

Visitors can purchase a variety of beautiful items ranging in size from tiny to huge, including jewelry, gemstones, antique furniture, one-of-a-kind home décor, etc.

They have their things neatly stacked and arranged, so you can find the specific item you need with ease. When you arrive, you will be greeted with open arms and receive excellent customer service.

Address: 161 Painted Trillium Wy, Townsend, TN 37882, United States

2. Visit  the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Your list of enjoyable activities should start with visiting this thrilling location. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the primary reason why most visitors arrive in the area in the first place.

This national park is situated in an ancient mountain range that covers historic Tennessee and a portion of North Carolina.

This park has rivers, forests, ridges, and meadows dotting the terrain, which gives it magnificent scenery. Over 15,000 different species of plants and animals can be found in the park’s more than 800 square miles of wildness.

In addition to taking in the breathtaking scenery of the mountains, you can partake in a wide range of thrilling activities provided by several places in the vicinity. Townsend offers river tubing and ziplines in addition to camping.

Plan to spend more well-earned vacation days in the park if you want to take advantage of everything it has to offer. Thus, put this on your list of enjoyable things to do this weekend in Townsend, Tennessee!

Address: 8440 TN-73, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

3. Visit Cades Cove

Cades Cove is a beautiful valley located in the Great Smoky Mountains. The 11-mile loop is a popular route for visitors to the National Park. It’s a great place to see wildlife like black bears, white-tailed deer, and turkeys. The route has scenic stops as well as areas where visitors can see historical buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Cades Cove Loop is incredibly popular during the summer, fall, and on weekends, so remember that vehicles can get backed up at these times. Also, the National Park Service closes Cades Cove to vehicle traffic on certain days during the summer to allow visitors to explore on foot and bike. 

Address:  107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

4. Spruce Flats Falls Trail

One of the best things to do in Townsend is to try the hiking trails. The Spruce Flats Falls Trail is a must-visit for anyone up for an easy to moderate hike. The trail is 1.8 miles out and back and begins at the Tremont Institute.

The terrain is rocky and uneven in places. I had to stop a few times to catch my breath and also watch my footing carefully in a few spots. The waterfall at the end was worth the effort.

Families with children can hike the Spruce Flats Falls Trail if the children are used to somewhat challenging hikes. I would not recommend trying this hike with a child in a carrier.

Address: Drive west on Little River Rd. for 17.6 miles to the intersection of Laurel Creek Rd and TN 73

5. Explore  Tuckaleechee Caverns

If you are looking for the best places to visit in Townsend, Tennessee, then you should know. It’s amazing to see the size of this cave network.

The Tuckaleechee Caverns are a historic structure regarded as one of the greatest sites in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is the highest-rated cave site in the Eastern US, according to the AAA.

The depths are home to stalactites and stalagmites that can grow to be 24 feet long, as well as odd stone formations that can reach the size of entire houses.

Spelunkers are drawn to Silver Falls mostly because it’s a large, two-tiered underground cascade with serene waters and stunning views. Another popular location on excursions is The Big Room, a large space almost the size of an entire football stadium.

You will be walking and climbing a lot as you explore the incredible cave system, so make sure you eat well before and throughout the tour.

Address:  825 Cavern Road Townsend, TN 37882

6. Vee Hollow

Vee Hollow has 14 miles of bike trails for those who are interested in mountain biking. There are a range of paths in Vee Hollow, and there’s an appropriate trail for every skill level. You can even try out some moves in the skills area if you want to practice without being out on a trail.

The trails at Vee Hollow are free for anyone to use. You can bring your bike or rent one from the shop. Anyone, from a beginner (like me) to an expert, can find something to enjoy at Vee Hollow.

Address: 8411 Hwy 73 in Townsend!

7. Visit The Great Smoky Mountains Institute

The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont should be on anyone’s travel itinerary who wants to learn more about the ecological diversity of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Great Smoky Mountains Institute is situated at 9275 Tremont Road and gives children, adults, and learners a chance to learn about the area and the various plants and animals that call it home.

Several initiatives support the conservation of the park’s abundant life and care for the region’s biodiversity. These include family outings, organized hikes, photography courses, and summer camps.

You can learn more about and develop a tremendous respect for the animals of the Great Smoky Mountains by taking part in one of these activities or even just touring the facility’s exhibits.

Address: 9275 Tremont Rd, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

8. Explore Townsend Historical Trail

Another option for hiking and biking is the 10-mile Townsend Historical Trail. The greenway runs along the main road in Townsend, but it’s up to you how much of it you tackle. The trail is relatively flat and easy, but remember, you’re right next to the Great Smoky Mountains, so there are some hills.

The Townsend Historical Trail allows you to see both the scenery and several of the top attractions in the area. The Townsend Historical Trail is one of the best hiking trails in the area for those who want a more leisurely hiking experience. For that, an e-bike can help you over some of the larger hills.

Address:  along both sides of US 321 through Townsend, TN

9. Pay a Visit to Cades Cove Gallery

Visit the Cades Cove Gallery if you want to have an awesome time taking amazing photographs.

Throughout the store are images taken by Barry Spruce that showcase the animals and scenic splendor of the area. Additionally, he offers guided excursions that allow you to follow his directions as you explore Cades Cove and take in the nomadic wildlife.

Along with teaching you the best photographic skills, he also educates you on the history of the area and the various plant and animal species to be aware of.

Bring your photos back to the gallery to be printed and framed as a kind reminder of your trip. If you are looking for what to do in Townsend, TN, then visit the Cades Cove Gallery.

Address: 7843 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

10. Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro

Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro is one of the best places to go in Townsend for an amazing culinary experience. The farm-to-table restaurant is located in a beautiful wooded setting at Dancing Bear Lodge.

The menu at this local restaurant changes seasonally, but you’ll always find dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. Order the Appalachian Lunchable if it’s on the menu to try out a charcuterie-style assortment that includes country ham and pickled vegetables.

For the perfect end to your dinner at Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro, you can make s’mores outside at the firepit.

Address: 137 Apple Valley Way, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

11. Gain Knowledge at Townsend Visitor Center

Conveniently situated near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance is the Townsend Visitor Center. If you want to know how the trails you wish to hike are doing, this is a wonderful place to stop. The staff is welcoming and knowledgeable, providing you with up-to-date information that you won’t find elsewhere and excellent recommendations for things to do around Townsend.

There are several fascinating local history exhibits at the Townsend Visitor Center and a gift store selling items from the National Park. This location also offers passport stamping for national parks.

Address: 7906 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

12. Little River Railroad & Lumber Museum

The Little River Railroad & Lumber Museum preserves and displays equipment that was used by the lumber industry in the area. The Little River Railroad & Lumber Company was one of the largest companies logging in the Smokies before the national park was formed.

The museum is small, but interesting if you want to learn more about what the Smoky Mountains were like in the past. It’s also a great place for those interested in the history of rail or lumber.

Address:  7747 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy., Townsend, TN 37882

13. Next to Heaven Adventure

If you want to have a fun time while visiting Townsend, Tennessee, and are searching for the greatest things to do, then you should check out Next to Heaven Adventure.

You will have a unique experience on this lovely horseback riding track that you won’t soon forget.

You are surely going to enjoy your horse-riding time. The trail is marked and roped off, so even if humans were to be distracted, the horses would know their directions.

You don’t have to be worried about being unguided; the horses are very well-trained. The horse knows the way and won’t let you get lost. They are even very sensible about when to take you to the photography spot, so don’t miss out on this adventure!

Address: 1239 Wears Valley Rd, Townsend, TN 37882, United States

14. Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing

Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing offers tube rentals and transportation for tubing routes in Townsend. The company has two outposts where visitors can start their adventure on the Little River.

Outpost A is a relaxed route with just a few small rapids. It’s the best option for small children and those who are looking to sit back, take in the views, and maybe stop at a couple of swimming holes. The outpost is also dog-friendly.

Outpost B is a bit more adventurous. There are more intense rages here, but you’ll still find beautiful views and areas for swimming. Children under 6 and dogs are not allowed on this route for safety reasons.

Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing allows you to switch between the two options. It takes about an hour to tube each route, and you can easily spend an afternoon or even an entire day on the river.

Address:  205 Wears Valley Rd, Townsend, TN 37882-3307


15. Cades Cove Cellars

Cades Cove Cellars will undoubtedly be a fantastic experience for wine lovers. This long-standing institution in the community crafts rustic and sumptuous wines that perfectly capture the grandeur of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Cades Cove Cellars offers its visitors a free tasting of these fruity drinks, and you can also take a tour of their facilities to learn how wine is made there or go to wine festivals to view some of the greatest bottles in the region.

Take advantage of stopping by their gift shop! There are numerous premium items to choose from, including bottles of fine wine, accessories, locally made crafts, and many other things. Add this to your list of fun things to do in Townsend, TN, today.

Address: 7126 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

16. Townsend Heritage Festival

Arrange your vacation to coincide with the many festivals held in Townsend or the Great Smoky Mountains.

Taking place in the spring or fall, the Townsend Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day commemorate Appalachian customs and crafts with exhibits, bluegrass music, and other events.

During the Tennessee Pottery Festival, you will get the chance to see how regional potters construct their intricate pieces at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.

If you enjoy balloon rides, enjoyable music, delectable cuisine, and refreshing beverages, then you shouldn’t miss the Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Address: Townsend Visitor Center, 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 

17. Apple Valley Mountain Village & Cafe

Apple Valley Mountain Village & Cafe is a popular spot for visitors. In the Mountain Village, you’ll find a store with outdoor gear and a general store with fudge, cider, and other fun items.

The Mountain Village offers two different places to eat as well. In addition to coffee, the quaint Dancing Bean Coffee House serves bubble tea and kombucha. Additionally, the Apple Valley Cafe offers substantial fare including sandwiches and burgers. You must, of course, sample the fried apple pies.

Address: 7138 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

18. Lazy Daze Campground

Lazy Daze Campground, only 2.2 miles from the city center, is one lovely attraction you shouldn’t miss out on your visit to this city.

Lazy Daze Campground offers beautiful surroundings, making it a great place to spend a summer day. It’s the ideal place to unwind and have a great time with your family and friends.

Visitors can participate in a variety of activities, and the staff is warm and welcoming. This campground offers a variety of activities, including swimming, hiking, picnicking, and more.

Address: 8429 TN-73, Townsend, TN 37882, United States

19. Foothills Parkway

For breathtaking views, take a drive along the Foothills Parkway. The entire national parkway is supposed to run a total of 72 miles. Despite being authorized in 1944, only 22.5 miles of the Foothills Parkway have been completed.

Funding issues, challenges protecting wildlife, and inhospitable terrain have made the construction of the Foothills Parkway difficult. Still, the sections that are open are worth exploring. You’ll want to stop at the viewpoints along the way, to admire the beauty of the mountains and take photos.

Address: Foothills Parkway, Foothills Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

20. Visit Townsend Wye

Located close to the intersection of Lamar Alexander Parkway and Little River Road, the Townsend Wye is a well-liked swimming hole in the community. It’s the ideal location for a day of swimming, tubing, and picnics, all while surrounded by gorgeous, peaceful scenery.

This is a family-friendly location, however, please ensure that small children are wearing life jackets. Unexpectedly, some places are deeper than others. If you wish to go tubing at Townsend Wye, you may bring your tubes or hire them nearby.

Address: Laurel Creek Rd & Little River Road, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

21. Chilhowee Mountains

Nestled in the heart of Tennessee, the Chilhowee Mountains in Townsend offer a plethora of exciting activities for visitors. Take a scenic drive through the mountains on the Foothills Parkway for breathtaking views.

Hike to the summit of Chilhowee Mountain for panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape. The nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides opportunities for camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Visit the Little River for some of the best trout fishing in the state. Enjoy a relaxing day at the Chilhowee recreation area, where you can picnic, swim, and explore the area’s history at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle, the Chilhowee Mountains have something for everyone.

Address: 29 Chilhowee Mountain Trail. Maryville, TN 37803

22. Visit Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop

Wood-N-Strings sells mountain dulcimers handmade by Mike Clemmer as well as instruments made by other skilled artists. The shop is only open a few days each week, but it’s worth stopping by to see the beautifully crafted instruments here.

Wood-N-Strings also sometimes hosts events where you can listen to mountain music. You’ll find the shop owners at Dulcimer events in the area as well.

Address: 7645 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882, USA

Frequently asked questions about Townsend, Tennessee

What are the best outdoor activities in Townsend, TN?

Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting down the Little River, surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Smokies.

Where can I find authentic Southern cuisine in Townsend?

Indulge in farm-to-table dining at The Trailhead Steakhouse, where locally sourced ingredients shine in every dish.

Are there any family-friendly attractions in Townsend?

Absolutely! Families can enjoy exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or visiting the Heritage Museum & Visitor Center to learn about the region’s history.

What wellness activities are available in Townsend?

Recharge your mind, body, and soul with yoga retreats at Mountain Sol Yoga, nestled amidst the serene beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

Are there any beginner-friendly hiking trails in Townsend?

Certainly! Beginners can enjoy scenic strolls along trails like Trillium Gap Trail, offering breathtaking views without the challenge of strenuous terrain.

What cultural experiences await visitors in Townsend?

Delve into the town’s rich history at the Heritage Museum & Visitor Center, where interactive exhibits showcase the region’s cultural heritage.

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