A Guide to the Best Sites to See for Large Groups in the Smoky Mountains
Are you traveling with a large group to the Great Smoky Mountains? There’s so many things you can do when you travel in large groups, so make sure you visit these places in the national park:
Sugarlands Visitor Center
No matter the size of your group, making a stop at Sugarlands Visitor Center is the perfect way to start your day in the mountains. At Sugarlands, you can start by entering through the main doors and stepping into the museum. The museum area is a collection of Smoky Mountain information where you can learn all about the national park. There is also a 30 minute video presentation that plays on a constant loop throughout the day for all visitors, showcasing all of the aspects of the national park and what there is to see in the forest. It’s great to watch this video before you start a hike or an auto tour.
Also at Sugarlands Visitor Center you will find a retail shop filled with all sorts of great gifts, souvenirs and information about the national park. There’s everything from books to t-shirts to children’s toys and stuffed animals. All of the proceeds from the purchases at the retail shop will benefit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
(See Related: Tips for Packing for a Gatlinburg Vacation (for Everyone Who Doesn’t Really Like to Pack))
Newfound Gap Road is the roadway across the mountains that connects Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC.
This road is known for its numerous pull offs and splendid views of the national park no matter the season. The spring months are known for wildflowers, then the fall months are known for the brightly colored leaves that turn to winter, where you can see the snow covered mountaintops.
Newfound Gap Road is also very popular because of the stop at Newfound Gap, where the plaque sits where President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
If you’re traveling to take a tour of Newfound Gap Road, you should make sure that the weather conditions are clear before you leave.
You can check the road conditions on the National Park Service website.
Of course, one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Cades Cove. This is perfect for large groups in the Smoky Mountains because the are very spacious and is accommodating for buses or group vehicles.
Cades Cove is one of the most historical sites in the Smokies, where families used to make their home. There, you can find old log cabin homes, churches, a schoolhouse and grist mills. You will see the lifestyle that the pioneers of Cades Cove once had.
With the creation of the national park, the families who made Cades Cove their home were forced to move from the land. This created a lot of hardship for the people of the area, but was for the benefit of the national park and the future visitors to the area.
Driving Tips for Tour Buses Traveling in the Great Smoky Mountains
Be sure to keep a close eye on the weather. You won’t want to be driving along any of the roadways in a tour bus or large can if the weather gets nasty. Winter in the Smoky Mountains is a dangerous time to take any risks with the roadways.
You can see the latest weather information from the National Park Service website.
Traffic through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is typically not busy or hectic when traveling along Newfound Gap Road. In the peak seasons, you will probably run into some traffic issues and will possibly sit through a little traffic when you visit Cades Cove. When you visit either of these areas, be prepared to spend at least an entire afternoon enjoying the park because each location will take a couple of hours to enjoy.
Where to Stop
There are many pull offs along the roads in the Great Smoky Mountains and these are beneficial to large buses. First, it gives your riders a chance to get out, take some pictures and enjoy the view of the national park. Second, it also gives the bus some time to cool down from all of the traveling uphill and downhill in the national park.
Large Group Cabins in the Smoky Mountains
If you’re looking for lodging for your large group, Stony Brook Cabins has everything you will need to make the most of your vacation to the Smokies. Take a look at all of our Group Cabins for your stay and give us a call to start planning and booking your rentals.