All-seasons resort with outdoor and indoor pools within walking distance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hotel at a Glance: Sidney James Mountain Lodge
The Sidney James Mountain Lodge has something for every season. When it’s chilly, a trolley takes guests to local ski resorts. Warm-weather days can be spent at the two seasonal outdoor pools—and their poolside cafe—or within the adjacent Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- Creekside double rooms are the property’s newest units; suites have jetted tubs.
- Take a dip in the heated indoor pool.
- Break a sweat in the lodge’s exercise room or sauna.
- Mountaintop activities such as wildlife encounters and aerial tram rides await at the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area.
- Touch a stingray at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, which also has a shark lagoon and penguin playhouse. The aquarium is less than a mile away from the resort.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Charming Artists’ Village amid Great Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg rests near Tennessee’s eastern border, less than 3 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here, you can hike more than 100 trails that wind past waterfalls and pioneer-era log cabins tucked deep within densely forested mountains. Or, take a bicycle ride on the 11-mile loop through Cades Cove, a broad valley of open meadows where you can see deer, black bears, and wild turkeys. Clingmans Dome, the park’s highest point of elevation at 6,643 feet, is a great place to catch the sunset.
Gatlinburg’s main attraction is probably the artists’ loop. It comprises more than 100 craft shops, studios, and cafés, and you can watch artisans as they hand weave baskets and whittle wooden figurines. Downtown Gatlinburg itself is a mountain village filled with old-fashioned ice-cream shops and boutiques selling housemade jams and decorative gewgaws.