horses in Cades Cove

4 Fun Ways to Spend Time in the Cades Cove Park

Cades Cove Loop Road
August 25, 2022

If you’re looking for a vacation that’s both educational and fun for the whole family, the Cades Cove park is the ideal place for you. From exploring historical landmarks and beautiful trails to enjoying an ice cream cone or souvenir shopping at the visitor’s center, we have 4 fun ways to spend a whole day at Cades Cove!

1. Participate in Seasonal Activities

Horses grazing in a meadow in Cades Cove.While the Cades Cove park is beautiful and fun during every time of year, you’ll want to pick out what activities to enjoy based on the weather in the mountains during your trip. If you’re traveling during the warm months, you’ll enjoy outdoor activities like horseback riding and spending the night in the campground area. The cooler fall months are perfect for hiking the trails or taking a bike ride through the park. And the 11 mile driving loop is great in any temperature! Whether it’s hot outside and you need a break in the AC or it’s a chilly day and you’re more comfortable in a heated vehicle, you’ll love sitting back and enjoying a couple hours taking in the gorgeous Smoky Mountain views.

2. Stroll Through the Visitor’s Center

The visitor’s center in the Cades Cove park is a great place to pick up free brochures about the area, shop for fun souvenirs to remember your Smoky Mountain adventure or to simply grab a snack and a drink. There’s also a public restroom available for your convenience. The visitor’s center is at the beginning of the 11 mile loop, so be sure to make a stop in before you begin the drive!

3. Plan to Stay All Day

The historic John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove.

One thing that you don’t want to feel during your trip to the Cades Cove park is rushed, so come prepared to spend a whole day exploring and enjoying your surroundings. Because the weather changes throughout the day in the mountains, be sure to wear several layers of clothing to keep comfortable all day, and wear shoes that are comfortable for walking and hiking so that your day doesn’t have to be cut short due to sore feet. Also, since you’ll be spending the day in the Cove, pack a lunch and a blanket and enjoy a picnic in the park with your family!

4. Dive Into Cades Cove History

To truly get the full Cades Cove park experience, we recommend picking up some brochures at the visitor’s center and really diving into the rich history of the Cove. From primitive churches and cabins to an original grist mill, there are dozens of old buildings and structures to explore and learn about. The earliest settlers of the area arrived in the mid 1800s, and some of their homes and churches are still standing today! To learn about the places you need to visit during your trip, read our blog 5 Stops on the Cades Cove Tour You Have to See!

Now that you know the best ways to enjoy a day or weekend exploring the Cades Cove park, start planning your trip to the Smokies today!

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