We’re excited to report that the Great Smoky Mountains are the recipient of a major honor. Lonely Planet, the popular travel guidebook publisher, recently released its list of Best Value destinations for 2019, and the Smokies made the grade! On their website, Lonely Planet touted the following ten travel spots as “places made for affordable adventures:”

1. Southern Nile Valley, Egypt
2. Łódź, Poland
3. Great Smoky Mountains
4. Maldives
5. Houston, Texas
6. Argentina
7. Bangladesh
8. Albania
9. Ecuador
10. Slovenia

As you can see, the Smoky Mountains more than held their own in a list featuring exotic destinations from all across the globe. Read on to learn what makes the Smokies such a budget-friendly vacation spot.

There is No Admission Fee to the National ParkThere is no Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance fee at Cades Cove.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is unique in being one of the few national parks in the United States that does not charge an admission fee. As Lonely Planet notes, the park “which straddles the North Carolina and Tennessee border, is free to enter, which means accessing the view from Clingmans Dome or exploring the atmospheric remains of Cades Cove won’t cost you anything more than getting there.”

Lonely Planet praised the Smokies for offering “some of the best hiking east of the Mississippi,” but you don’t need to hit the trail to enjoy the majestic natural beauty of the national park. Offering breathtaking scenic drives, lovely picnic areas, and unparalleled wildlife viewing, the Great Smoky Mountains truly have something for everyone.

Dollywood is America’s “Best Value Theme Park”

In addition to its world-famous national park, the Smoky Mountain area also boasts one of America’s favorite theme parks! Located in Pigeon Forge, TN, Dollywood was recently named the nation’s “Best Value Theme Park” by BudgetTravel.com. Featuring reasonable ticket prices, fast-moving lines, and all-inclusive entertainment, Dollywood can be a very affordable destination. For a truly great deal, you can buy a season pass to Dollywood and enjoy unlimited visits for less than the price of one day at Disney World.

Cars and vacationers in downtown Gatlinburg TN.Free Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains

It’s not hard to have fun in the Smokies without spending any money at all! The area is filled with wonderful activities that don’t cost a cent to enjoy, such as walking along the Little Pigeon River or just taking in the sights and sounds of downtown Gatlinburg. Check out our guide to the top 10 free things to do in the Smoky Mountains for some great ideas!

Cheap Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains

If you’re willing to spend a bit of money during your Smoky Mountain vacation, there are a number of affordable activities in town that your family is sure to love. From a $5 museum dedicated to salt and pepper shakers to a $6 movie theater, it’s easy to have a blast in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge without breaking the bank. Here are 8 of our favorite cheap things to do in the Smoky Mountains.

Get Coupons and Discounts for Your VacationRomantic couple on the deck of their cabin.

Want to save even more money on your getaway? Check out our Smoky Mountain Coupons and Discounts page to find incredible deals on the area’s very best shows, attractions, and restaurants. If you will be staying over in the Smokies, you’ll also want to browse our Cabin Specials page to see how you can save hundreds of dollars on your vacation rental!

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