The 10 Best Smoky Mountains Hotels to Visit in NC & TN

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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!

While many visitors enjoy the myriad Great Smoky Mountain Campgrounds and cabins, just as many come in search of Smoky Mountains resorts and Great Smokies lodging that keep things comfortable.

Fortunately, Smoky Mountain lodging options are so plentiful on both the North Carolina and Tennessee side, it can be difficult to decide where to stay when choosing hotels in the Smokies.

As ambassadors for the Southern Appalachian Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains, we’re here to help make the search for Great Smoky Mountains hotels easier for you.

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. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Best Smoky Mountains Hotels Guide

(Arranged Alphabetically by State)

  1. Cherokee Grand Hotel (Cherokee NC)
  2. Great Smoky Mountains Inn (Cherokee NC)
  3. Harrah’s Casino Resort (Cherokee NC)
  4. Quality Inn (Cherokee NC)
  5. Stonebrook Lodge (Bryson City NC)
  6. Black Fox Lodge (Pigeon Forge TN)
  7. Clarion Inn Willow River (Sevierville TN)
  8. Greystone Lodge on the River (Gatlinburg TN)
  9. Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center (Pigeon Forge TN)
  10. Twin Mountains Inn & Suites (Pigeon Forge TN)

READ MORE: 20 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in the Smoky Mountains (NC & TN)


Hotels in the Smoky Mountains of NC

Smoky mountain lodging in Cherokee NC - Cherokee Grand Hotel

1. Cherokee Grand Hotel

196 Painttown Rd, Cherokee NC (828) 497-0050

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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. 

In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the fields beside the Oconaluftee Visitor Center are great for spotting Elk, and Mingus Mill and the Mountain Farm Museum are easy to access.

Top hiking trails nearby include the Oconaluftee River Trail (3.1 miles, easy) and the Smokemont Loop Trail (6.5 miles, moderately difficult).

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Cherokee NC & the Qualla Boundary

hotels in the smokies - Great Smokies Inn

2. Great Smokies Inn

1636 Acquoni Rd, Cherokee NC (828) 497-2020

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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.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fall

Lobby of the Cherokee Tower at Harrah's Cherokee Casino in Cherokee NC
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

3. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort

777 Casino Dr, Cherokee NC (828) 497-7777

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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

While you could just enjoy the casino experience, Harrah’s offers Great Smoky Mountains lodging with easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as the half-million-acre National Park.

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. 

READ MORE: 10 Best Cherokee NC Restaurants for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

great smokies lodging - Quality Inn Cherokee NC

4. Quality Inn Cherokee

671 US 441 North Bypass, Cherokee NC (828) 497-4702

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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.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Waterfalls Near Cherokee NC to Visit

Places to stay in the Smoky Mountains - Stonebrook Lodge Bryson City

5. Stonebrook Lodge

270 Main St, Bryson City NC (828) 488-1616

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Located in Downtown Bryson City, Stonebrook Lodge is a few blocks from the Tuckasegee River and right around the corner from a great collection of restaurants, breweries, and shops on Everett Street.

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.

READ MORE: 20 Best Things to Do in Bryson City NC & Swain County


Hotels in the Smoky Mountains of TN 

Hotels near the Smoky Mountains - Black Fox Lodge Pigeon Forge TN

6. Black Fox Lodge

3171 Parkway, Pigeon Forge NC (865) 774-4000

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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.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Smoky Mountain Waterfalls to Visit

Where to stay in the Smoky Mountains - Clarion Inn Willow River TN

7. Clarion Inn Willow River

1990 Gov Winfield Dunn Pkwy, Sevierville TN (865) 429-7600

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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

Hotels in Smoky Mountains TN - Greystone Lodge on the River

8. Greystone Lodge on the River

559 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN (800) 451-9202

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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!

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the Smoky Mountains

Hotels in Smoky Mountains Tennessee - Holiday Inn

9. Holiday Inn & Suites Pigeon Forge Convention Center

2905 Parkway, Pigeon Forge TN (888) 465-4329

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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

Hotels in the Smoky Mountains TN - Twin Mountain Inn & Suites

10. Twin Mountain Inn & Suites

3929 S River Rd, Pigeon Forge TN (865) 453-4444

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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 unless otherwise noted;  featured image via Canva


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We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

After visiting North Carolina for the first time, Senior Writer Jonathon Engels and wife Emma spent 2 years exploring Western NC in search of a homestead property. They first lived in Brevard, where Jonathon taught writing at Blue Ridge Community College and extensively explored the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. For the last several years they have lived just off the BRP near Elkin, Southwest Virginia, and the NC High Country. The couple also volunteers with the Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, the Elkin Valley Trail Association, and Reeves Downtown School of Music.