Hotel at a Glance: Tuckaleechee Retreat Center
Tuckaleechee Retreat Center serves several purposes: it’s a missionary training facility for Children’s Bible Ministries as well as a back-to-nature vacation spot for families, churches, and schools set on 53 acres of land. Directly on the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Tuckaleechee Retreat Center provides rustic-looking-yet-modernized cabins for those looking to get away from it all.
- Rustic cabins feature quilts, knotted pine walls, country art, and other quaint touches, with modern amenities such as fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and outdoor hot tubs.
- Nearby attraction: The mountainside valley of Cades Cove, part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, is only 20 minutes from the property.
- Close to Knoxville: You’ll be 45 minutes south of the bright lights, plentiful restaurants, and shopping spots of Knoxville.
- Pigeon Forge, home to Dollywood, as well as Gatlinburg, are only 30-45 minutes from the property.
Townsend, Tennessee: Peaceful Entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains
Townsend’s nickname is “The Peaceful Side of the Smokies.” This tiny town (population 244!) in eastern Tennessee has the least-busy entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with its over 500,000 acres of protected forests, hiking trails, and picturesque streams. Here, you’ll find none of the kitsch and tourist-geared trappings of Gatlinburg, another main entrance to the park. Instead, you’ll find a few local restaurants and stunning mountain views at every turn.
Head to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend, a museum that documents the history of the area, to see permanent exhibits such as a hand-built log cabin and Native American artifacts, as well as shows at the outdoor theater. If you’re in the mood to get out of town, Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s country theme park, is less than an hour’s drive away in Pigeon Forge.