Townsend Tennessee has the motto: “The Quiet Side of the Smokies” and it is. It is a cute, quaint little town that sits just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the closest town to Cades Cove and it is fun to take a day and explore. Townsend is the perfect place to spend some time if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. There is a grocery store, hardware store, post office, restaurants, shops, motels, cabins, and a bike trail, but none of the crowds. My family and I love to take a day every now and then and just run around Townsend. In the summer we take our bikes and ride along the trail and then get an ice cream treat. Even when it is raining you can find plenty to explore. Since we are blessed to live 30 minutes away, I thought I would share a few things to do in Townsend Tennessee.
One of our favorite spots to visit is the old swinging bridge. If you turn onto Depot Ave. off of Highway 321 (the main highway through Townsend) you will find this little gem. We love to visit it in all seasons to see the beauty of the river, for it is always changing. Plus, there is nothing like the feeling of walking on a swinging bridge. It is just pure fun.
The Townsend visitors center is another favorite spot. Inside you can find brochures for the National Park, books and souvenirs for sale, as well as a knowledgeable staff (and clean restrooms). They frequently host craftsmen who display their wares also. In the Spring and Summer they have some fun festivals and it is a great place to sit on the porch and enjoy a view of Townsend. There is also a covered pavilion in the back with several picnic tables if you are needing a place to enjoy a picnic. The pavilion has a great view of the fields and mountains also.
The Heritage Center is a great place to visit in Townsend as well. There is an indoor museum with historical artifacts plus outside they have many old buildings that have been moved to the site to explore. They host a Country Fair in September complete with baking contests and a rooster crowing contest! I have a post with more information here, there is lots to discover at the Heritage Center.
If you are wanting to do some shopping and grab a bite to eat, the Apple Valley Country Store is the place for you. They have wonderful shops to peruse and their cafe has amazing fried apple pies! Plus there is a porch with rocking chairs and tables to enjoy your meal outside. This stop is always a fun one. (make sure you try some fudge!)
I hope you get a chance to explore Townsend. It is one of our favorite places.