Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg TN, and Pigeon Forge TN are huge vacation destinations complete with theme parks, ski resorts, and other fun attractions.
Smoky Mountains Hotels provide a comfortable place to recharge for the next day’s adventures.
The southern boundary of GSMNP in North Carolina is the town of Cherokee in the Qualla Boundary (home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Bryson City is also in the NC Smokies, and home to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.
This vast wilderness is teeming with animals, including beautiful birds, herds of Elk, and a dense population of Black Bears. Historic buildings and sites from colonial settlers can be found throughout the park.
Even so, the biggest tourism draw to the Great Smoky Mountains is the area’s natural beauty.
The park constitutes over 800 square miles, with geological formations, creeks and streams, and forests galore. There are towering mountains like Clingmans Dome, and stunning North Carolina waterfalls such as Grotto Falls.
It’s no wonder that the region attracts some 15-20 million visitors a year!
Read on for our in-depth guide to the 10 best places to stay in the Smoky Mountains, including great hotel options in Bryson City, Cherokee, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville.
Best Smoky Mountains Hotels Guide
(Arranged Alphabetically by State)
- Cherokee Grand Hotel (Cherokee NC)
- Great Smoky Mountains Inn (Cherokee NC)
- Harrah’s Casino Resort (Cherokee NC)
- Quality Inn (Cherokee NC)
- Stonebrook Lodge (Bryson City NC)
- Black Fox Lodge (Pigeon Forge TN)
- Clarion Inn Willow River (Sevierville TN)
- Greystone Lodge on the River (Gatlinburg TN)
- Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center (Pigeon Forge TN)
- Twin Mountains Inn & Suites (Pigeon Forge TN)
Hotels in the Smoky Mountains of NC
1. Cherokee Grand Hotel
196 Painttown Rd, Cherokee NC • (828) 497-0050
Located next to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, the Cherokee Grand Hotel is in a perfect place for shopping and eating in Cherokee NC. It’s a quick 5-mile drive to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Cherokee hotel is a few miles from the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Oconaluftee Indian Village, and the Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama. Other close attractions include Oconaluftee Island Park, Mingo Falls, and Soco Falls.
This hotel has a free shuttle service to/from the casino on Friday and Saturday nights, plus free Wi-Fi, in-room and in-lobby coffee 24 hours a day, and awesome views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Room options include two Queen beds or one King bed, and both options come in “Superior” or “Deluxe” models. Deluxe rooms have a 50-inch TV, mini fridge, and microwave for guests to use.
Top hiking trails nearby include the Oconaluftee River Trail (3.1 miles, easy) and the Smokemont Loop Trail (6.5 miles, moderately difficult).
2. Great Smokies Inn
1636 Acquoni Rd, Cherokee NC • (828) 497-2020
Just outside the park on the north end of Cherokee, the Great Smokies Inn is an older lodge-like hotel just a mile from the main drag in town (Tsali Blvd) and its premier shopping and tourist draws.
The location makes this place tops in the search for hotels near Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
Like other Cherokee NC hotels, the inn provides convenient access to The Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Saunooke Village, and the Smoky Mountain Ruby Mine.
Oconaluftee Visitors Center and the Mountain Farm Museum are less than two miles away, and the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway is nearby as well.
Amenities at this Cherokee Smoky Mountains hotel include a microwave and mini fridge in every room, a seasonal outdoor pool, and guest laundry facilities. There’s also a really nice picnic shelter with several grills available.
Rooms here include Standard King, Double Queen, and King Whirlpool options. There are also ADA-accessible rooms with amenities such as a grab bar in the bathroom and lower luggage racks.
3. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
777 Casino Dr, Cherokee NC • (828) 497-7777
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is a large attraction on its own, and thus a hub for the mountain town of Cherokee NC. But it’s just about 2 miles from the tourist center on Tsali Boulevard.
Of all the places to stay in the Smoky Mountains of NC, Harrah’s is the most all-encompassing. It has tons of restaurants to choose from, live entertainment, swimming pools, a spa, and other amenities of a mountain resort.
All rooms at the casino hotel are non-smoking and have either a single King-sized bed or two Queens. There’s a choice between Deluxe, Premium, and Luxury packages, each of which offers differing perks.
Room amenities include 300-thread-count linens, 50-inch TVs, coffee makers, Wolfgang Puck coffee pods, and more.
If you’re seeking luxury in the Cherokee Smoky Mountains, Harrah’s is really your best bet.
4. Quality Inn Cherokee
671 US 441 North Bypass, Cherokee NC • (828) 497-4702
Quality Inn is considered more of a budget-friendly brand, but it delivers the goods for those seeking a reliably consistent Cherokee NC hotel experience.
This hotel is in Downtown Cherokee, walking distance from the Museum, Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, and the main shopping area in the NC mountain town. The Cherokee Welcome Center is less than a quarter-mile away.
Stays at Quality Inn include the use of a seasonal outdoor pool, full breakfast, in-room fridge, and an area shuttle service. There are complimentary newspapers in the lobby every day, and a fireplace by which to read them.
Rooms at the Quality Inn have either a patio or balcony, LED televisions, free Wifi, and cable TV. Many rooms also offer river views from the balcony.
All Quality Inn rooms have one King bed or two Queen beds, and business suites are also available.
5. Stonebrook Lodge
270 Main St, Bryson City NC • (828) 488-1616
Bryson City is near Deep Creek, one of my favorite areas in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It has great hiking, a campground, fantastic river tubing, and one of my favorite waterfalls in NC (Tom Branch Falls).
Bryson City was once Cherokee land, and later became a rail hub for the Smokies and North Carolina. In fact, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad—now running passenger train rides—still has its 1885 depot here.
Come Christmas time, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers a special Polar Express Christmas train ride that is one of the most popular NC Christmas Events.
There are also museums such as the Heritage Museum, cute shops like Loose Moose and McClanahan’s Collectibles, and cool eateries like the Nantahala Brewing Company.
Stonebrook Lodge has three locations in North Carolina. The Bryson City hotel has complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi, in-room coffee, and rooms with jacuzzies.
Hotels in the Smoky Mountains of TN
6. Black Fox Lodge
3171 Parkway, Pigeon Forge NC • (865) 774-4000
Part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Pigeon Forge’s Black Fox Lodge is right in town, about 3 miles from Dollywood, with US-441 offering a direct route to Gatlinburg.
Sugarlands Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is only about 20 minutes south. This northern section of the park has great attractions like Cataract Falls, Grotto Falls, and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
The lodge has stupendous views of the Smoky Mountains and Little Pigeon River, a seasonal outdoor pool, a patio with a fire pit, and a full-service restaurant. It’s also right across from the LeConte Center in Downtown Pigeon Forge.
All rooms are non-smoking and have free WiFi. Options include 2 Queen beds, with amenities like a river view and balcony, mobility/hearing accessibility, additional sofa beds, and more.
The list of extras makes the Black Fox Lodge one of the top hotels in the Smoky Mountains of TN. It’s an awesome option for maximum comfort and getting into the thick of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
7. Clarion Inn Willow River
1990 Gov Winfield Dunn Pkwy, Sevierville TN • (865) 429-7600
Located about 20 minutes north of Pigeon Forge, the Clarion Inn Willow River is nearly a Smoky Mountain lakeside resort. It’s less than a 10-minute drive from The Dam Store at Douglas Lake.
The Clarion Inn has large columns with a grand porch and balcony that give it the look of a stately home. It also has an indoor and outdoor pool, a lazy river, free continental breakfast, and a fitness center.
This is one of the best hotels in the Smoky Mountains around Sevierville. In addition to the amenities, all rooms have balconies and/or river views, coffee makers, and some suites have fireplaces.
Gatlinburg and the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is about 20 miles south, so there are lots of family attractions nearby that make for fantastic day trips.
In the immediate area, there’s loads of golfing and fishing, not to mention the Soaky Mountain Waterpark, Wilderness at the Smokies, and the Scenic Social Food Truck Park. And Scenic Helicopter Tours depart from right across the street!
READ MORE: The 10 Best Lakes in Tennessee to Visit
8. Greystone Lodge on the River
559 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN • (800) 451-9202
Greystone Lodge on the River in Gatlinburg is about as close as it gets to a Great Smoky Mountains National Park hotel. Park boundaries are just a short walk away, and the heart of Downtown Gatlinburg is basically at its doorstep.
If you’re wondering where to stay in the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, this place has to make the shortlist. It’s family-owned and family-oriented, but offers luxuries like balconies, river views, and heated outdoor swimming.
Other amenities include complimentary self-parking (a real asset in Gatlinburg), self-service laundry facilities, a fitness room, and a deluxe continental breakfast.
Hotel rooms here vary from “King Executive” and romantic “Soaking Tub Suites” with fireplaces to 2-room “Family Suites” that have living room areas.
Gatlinburg SkyPark, Clifftop Restaurant at Anakeesta, and Fannie Farkie’s Amusement are all easy to access. The drive to Sugarlands Visitors Center is just a couple of miles, and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is super close as well!
9. Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center
2905 Parkway, Pigeon Forge TN • (888) 465-4329
One of the best places to stay in the Smoky Mountains of Pigeon Forge, the Holiday Inn & Suites is surrounded by shopping, restaurants, entertainment, and waterparks.
The hotel itself has The Casual Pint, a neighborhood eatery offering pub fare and craft beers. It has an awesome patio balcony, a fitness center, an indoor pool, self-service laundry, and a public business center.
Rooms here are fairly basic with two Queen beds, or they can be upgraded to include a fireplace, balcony, and/or ADA-approved accessibility. But all guests can expect 50-inch TVs, free Wi-Fi, free parking, and plush bedding.
Dollywood, the Ripkin Experience, and LeConte Center are all just a short walk away. Gatlinburg is a 10-mile drive, and the Sugarlands Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just a couple of miles further.
Mountain Valley Vineyards (one of the best wineries in Tennessee) is a couple miles away, and NASCAR Speedpark Smoky Mountains is not far from that. Continuing 10 miles further north, Douglas Lake offers serious water recreation.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Places to See Fall in Tennessee
10. Twin Mountain Inn & Suites
3929 S River Rd, Pigeon Forge TN • (865) 453-4444
Located near Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Theater and Toy Box Mini Golf, the Twin Mountain Inn & Suites is also just a 5-minute drive away from Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country.
The close proximity to these and other Pigeon Forge attractions make Twin Mountain a great choice for family stays, with amenities including a seasonal outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and guest laundry.
It’s also a good choice for romantic getaways, because all rooms have fireplaces and balconies overlooking the Pigeon River. There’s also a riverside patio with a fire pit for quiet nights under the stars.
Room options include a King with a soaking tub and sofa bed, rooms with two Queens, and Studio Suites. They all come with cable TV, coffee maker, iron/board, sitting area, a mini fridge, and complimentary breakfast.
As with the other Pigeon Forge accommodations, Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are only about 10 miles south, while Douglas Lake is about equidistant to the north. –by Jonathon Engels; photos via Booking.com unless otherwise noted; featured image via Canva