Tennessee is a popular destination for nature lovers who come to explore the untouched outdoors. Many of the best resorts in Tennessee are clustered in eastern Tennessee. With Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park bringing tourists in droves, it makes sense that some of the best resorts are in this highly-touristed area.
However, you will find some other quality resorts scattered throughout the state such as Nashville’s iconic Gaylord Opryland Resort, and unique experiences such as the French Broad River Dude Ranch. Many of these resorts offer access to a plethora of recreational activities. Most are family friendly with many featuring on-site water parks and more for kids and adults alike.
Let’s have a look at the best resorts in Tennessee:
1. Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
The massive Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is a tourist attraction all in itself. The hotel is one of the largest in the world with almost 3,000 guest rooms and suites as well as nearly 300,000 square feet of exhibition space.
Many visitors to Nashville come to tour the property even if they aren’t spending the night here. The resort has 17 restaurants and cafes, an 18-hole golf course, and an atrium that will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a jungle. The hotel has nine acres of indoor gardens and an impressive indoor river with flatboats to transport guests throughout.
2. Blackberry Farm
Blackberry Farm is a 4200-acre working farm and luxury resort that focuses on traditional Southern hospitality. The resort’s restaurant, The Barn, is one of the best in the state for fresh, farm-to-table dining. Guests rave about the friendliness of the staff and attention to detail in service.
The resort has a large range of activities including horseback riding, archery, cycling, paddle sports, cooking classes, farm field school, and a luxury spa. Accommodations at Blackberry Farm include everything from estate rooms to cottage suites. For the ultimate experience, book one of the farm’s Hill Cottages which are furnished with fireplaces inside and out as well as vaulted ceilings.
3. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is a newcomer to the Tennessee resort scene. The resort is located near popular Pigeon Forge amusement parks, Dollywood, and Splash Country making it one of the most popular resorts in the area for families. The resort is furnished with many of Parton’s personal artifacts and has many amenities and entertainment opportunities.
There are both indoor and outdoor pools, a seasonal splash pad, and entertainment for adults and kids alike. There are nine different room types, ranging from rooms with 1 king bed all the way up to the Dolly Parton Suite which is the most high-end experience at the resort. Dolly’s suite is a luxury penthouse apartment on the top floor offering impressive views and the most posh furnishings.
4. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa
Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa is perfect for travelers who wish to have a rustic, mountain experience without giving up luxury, comfort, and amenities. The resort features cabin accommodations decked out with spa bathtubs, stone fireplaces, and more.
There are suites with full kitchens and studios with kitchenettes. If you don’t wish to cook for yourself, there are on-site restaurants with kid-friendly options. One highlight of the resort is the Wild Bear Falls indoor water park. The water park has a heated zero-entry pool covered with a retractable roof and a treehouse.
The resort also has two arcades, stables for horseback riding, a fitness center, and a full-service luxury spa as well as trails that connect to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
5. Marriott MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center
The MeadowView Conference Resort is a sprawling property tucked in the rolling foothills of the Smokies in the town of Kingsport. MeadowView is the only full-service resort in Kingsport and offers a comfortable retreat when exploring the area’s attractions including Bristol Motor Speedway, East Tennessee State University, and Bays Mountain Park, that is, if you can bring yourself to leave the resort itself.
The resort is home to the Reedy Creek Winery which offers a tasting room. There are more than 300 rooms with luxury modern furnishings and stylish decor. The property has several options for dining, a golf course, an indoor swimming pool, and a gym.
6. River Terrace Resort & Convention Center
River Terrace Resort and Convention Center is one of three Westgate resorts in Tennessee. The property is conveniently located right in the center of downtown Gatlinburg. The location offers views of both the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the picturesque Little Pigeon River that runs directly below the hotel and can be enjoyed from a private balcony.
Straightforward accommodations include both queen and king beds and the option to have a river-view room. Guests can take advantage of the hotel’s location for easy access to shopping and Gatlinburg attractions. Resort guests can also take a short trolley ride to visit the state-of-the-art Wild Bear Falls water park at the company’s nearby property, Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort.
7. The Resort at Governor’s Crossing
Visitors to Sevierville have consistently found The Resort at Governor’s Crossing to be one of the best resorts in the area for families. The resort offers a range of family-friendly amenities as well as close proximity to Dollywood and Splash Country for even more fun.
The relaxed property has both indoor and outdoor waterslides with five pools, waterslides, and two whirlpools. There is also a 9-hole miniature golf course as well as a pirate-themed playground and game room to keep your kids happy and occupied. Rooms are all condo-style and range from studios to 3-bedroom units, all of which have kitchens and modern furnishings.
8. Wilderness at the Smokies Resort
Wilderness at the Smokies Resort is a massive, fun-filled resort that is focused on families. The resort features a wide range of amenities and entertainment options for children and adults. The main attraction is the Wild WaterDome which is the largest indoor water park in Tennessee.
As if that wasn’t enough water park fun, there are two outdoor water parks as well. There is also an indoor adventure center that features a climbing wall and ropes course as well as an exercise room. There is a range of dining options at the resort and children 11 and under eat free with the purchase of an adult meal. The rooms are designed in a rustic but modern style and range from standard hotel rooms to suites and family rooms.
9. French Broad River Dude Ranch
French Broad River Dude Ranch is a great option for traveling families. This all-inclusive dude ranch is conveniently located just off the interstate, on 346 acres of woods in the Smoky Mountains. Guests stay in a replica 19th-century hotel framed with timbers. The rooms are rustically furnished and the decor is reminiscent of the Old West.
The rooms sleep up to four guests and some rooms are furnished with bunk beds which can be a great option for families. Each day, the ranch serves three family-style meals which are included in the room rate. Daily activities are also a part of the stay including cattle drives, horseback riding, and square dances. Other features of the beautiful property include a saloon, general store, individual riding lessons, and a swimming pool that is open seasonally.
10. Deer Ridge Mountain Resort
Deer Ridge Mountain Resort is a laid-back and homey resort that features a range of choices in accommodations from condos to chalets, and even cabins. The resort offers views of the Smoky Mountains as well as close proximity to entertainment, attractions, and the National Park.
The resort is very family-friendly and offers a wide range of activities right on the resort property including tennis courts, outdoor games, and playgrounds. While the kids are busy playing, adults can pamper themselves in the resort’s sauna, Jacuzzi, and steam room. For adventurous families, Deer Ridge has the perfect package deal that combines hotel accommodations, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting.
11. Riverstone Resort
Riverstone Resort is a luxurious resort with a rustic influence. The property is located on Pigeon Forge’s southeast side and offers convenient access to Gatlinburg Golf Course and Dollywood. The condominiums range from one to four bedrooms and are fitted with kitchens, washers and dryers, gas fireplaces, and other modern amenities.
The property has an outdoor lazy river with waterfalls as well as an indoor pool that is open year-round. The resort also has a luxurious spa offering a range of relaxing treatments. The property sits on the banks of the Little Pigeon River and guests can enjoy the riverview in the resort’s picnic and barbecue area.
12. The Preserve Resort
The Preserve Resort has some of the most stunning views of any cabin resort in the Pigeon Forge area owing to it being the highest elevation resort property in the area. The Preserve has a range of rentals available ranging from intimate 1-bedroom cabins to large cabins that are perfect accommodations for groups.
The resort borders Wears Valley on one side meaning that guests can enjoy the Valley’s waterfalls, hiking trails, and horseback riding. The property is also located nearby the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area where guests can easily access Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some cabins offer fitness facilities and hot tubs and all of them are nicely furnished.
13. Gatlinburg Falls Resort
Gatlinburg Falls Resort features all-inclusive packages to make your vacation worry-free. For couples, there is the Romantic Retreat which includes a three-night stay in a one-bedroom luxury cabin, candlelit dinner for both guests, a mountainside picnic, and tickets to popular attractions in Gatlinburg such as the Dixie Stampede or Dollywood theme park.
The resort also has a Spa Package that includes spa services in the cabin. For families, there is the 4 Family Fun Attraction Package which is a 4-night stay in a large, family cabin, and tickets to local, family-friendly attractions. The resort property itself has a heated outdoor pool complete with a waterfall, hot tub, and a shallow area for children as well as a playground.
14. Great Smokies Lodge
Great Smokies Lodge, a part of the Wyndham Vacation Resorts family is an upscale resort in the Smoky Mountains. The resort is conveniently located a few minutes’ drive from many of the area’s attractions. Resort amenities include two on-site restaurants serving New American cuisine as well as a bar.
The resort has both indoor and outdoor water parks as well as separate swimming pools, a hot tub, and an on-site golf course. The lodge’s condos are well-equipped with private balconies, separate living rooms, full kitchens, flat-screen TVs, and more. There is a shuttle to area attractions that guests can ride for an additional fee.
15. Elk Springs Resort
Elk Springs Resort offers luxury condominiums and cabin rentals in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. The private resort property features 68 acres of secluded cabins. Elk Springs is located in the historic Arts and Crafts Community near the national park and other Gatlinburg attractions. The company also offers cabin rentals in nearby Pigeon Forge.
Visitors come to Elk Springs Resort to experience the secluded environment and escape the daily grind. The resort does not feature the entertainment or recreational amenities that many properties do, however, the surrounding area offers many activities such as hiking, visiting a moonshine still, tubing, swimming, and touring Gatlinburg museums to ensure that you are not bored during your stay.