Going on a picnic is one of our favorite ways to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains. There is something about dining outside that just seems to make your food taste better!
Whether you take advantage of one of the parks in town or your visit one of the picnic areas in the national park, you will love eating a meal amongst the natural beauty of East Tennessee. To help you make the most of your next vacation, we has put together a guide to the top five picnic areas in Pigeon Forge TN, Gatlinburg TN, and the Smoky Mountains.
1. Mynatt Park
Located minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg off of Historic Nature Trail, Mynatt Park is a favorite picnic area for both vacationers and locals alike. This lovely park offers everything you need to have lunch, including a covered pavilion, picnic tables, and grills. All you need to do is bring the food! Visitors to Mynatt Park will also find plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, including a basketball court, playground area, baseball field, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and an idyllic stream.
If you choose to dine at Mynatt Park, consider picking up sandwiches from Parton’s Deli on the Parkway. This beloved restaurant in downtown Gatlinburg has been making delicious subs since 1974!
2. Patriot Park
Patriot Park is one of the most popular picnic areas in Pigeon Forge TN. Blessed with a central location next to The Old Mill Square and the Pigeon Forge Trolley Station, Patriot Park is perfect for anyone looking to have a picnic without leaving the city. Guests at Patriot Park will find a beautifully manicured field where they can put down a blanket and bask in the sun. The park is also home to a number of unique artifacts, including a missile that was used in the Gulf War, a replica of the Liberty Bell, and flags from all 50 states.
For your picnic at Patriot Park, we suggest placing a takeout order from The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille, which is a very short walk from the park. Anyone craving a sweet treat after their meal should swing by The Old Mill Creamery for a tasty ice cream cone.
3. Cades Cove Picnic Area
The Cades Cove Picnic Area/Campground is situated right before the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. Encircled by two scenic creeks, this wonderful year-round picnic area is home to 80 tables that each come with a charcoal grill. After your meal, you can enter the Loop Road and admire the stunning mountain views and incredible wildlife that make Cades Cove the most visited section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
If you didn’t bring your own food to Cades Cove, you can purchase lunch at the campground store. Popular items available include sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, and ice cream.
- Open Year Round
- 81 picnic sites available
- No pavilion
- Closes at 8 p.m. May 1 – August 1; sunset on other dates
4. Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area
Metcalf Bottoms is located close to the Wears Valley entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Little River is a great spot to go tubing, and Metcalf Bottoms is a short hike from the Little Greenbrier School and the Walker Sisters Cabin.
When you’re driving to Metcalf Bottoms on Wears Valley Road, you can stop at Clabough’s Market & Delito pick up some great sandwiches for your picnic.
- Open Year Round
- 122 picnic sites available
- Pavilion seats 70 and can be reserved in advance. Pavilion is open April 10 – October 31.
- North half of the picnic area is closed during the winter. Only “pack it out” picnicking from October 31 – April 1 due to dumpsters being removed during the winter months.
5. Greenbrier Picnic Area
Considered something of a hidden gem in the Smokies, the Greenbrier Picnic Area offers peace, tranquility, and a beautiful backdrop for lunch. In the spring, Greenbrier comes alive with thousands of colorful wildflowers. Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy the Little Pigeon River and a number of excellent hiking trails.
If you’re in the mood for pulled pork or ribs, you can take out from Hungry Bear BBQ #1, which is located near Greenbrier Road on the East Parkway.
We hope you enjoy your visit to these picnic areas in Pigeon Forge TN, Gatlinburg TN, and the Smoky Mountains! For a complete guide to all of the best activities in the area, check out our listing of Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains.
- Open Year Round
- 12 picnic sites available
- Pavilion seats 70 and can be reserved in advance