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The Smoky Mountains are calling and when it comes to where one should stay, Maggie Valley is the answer. While Pigeon Forge-Gatlinburg receives most of the attention, Maggie Valley is home to Waynesville - a scenic town nestled deep in the foothills. This town sits just 31 miles west of Asheville, making it an easy day trip for some and a hidden gem for others.

Maggie Valley is breathtaking with views of the Cataloochee Valley that remind travelers of why a trip to the Smokies is so worth it. Additionally, Waynesville is home to plenty of accommodations, restaurants, and sightseeing adventures to keep visitors busy for an entire weekend (or more!). Often referred to as the gateway to the Smokies, Waynesville is the closest city to the Smoky Mountains and is also one of the most scenic destinations one can book in western North Carolina.

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What To Know About Waynesville & Maggie Valley

Visiting the Smokies is a scenic vacation no matter which way one slices it. Whether the goal is hiking, sightseeing, or even enjoying the luxe amenities at a nearby resort, it's the scenery that keeps people coming back year after year. While the most popular time to visit is during the peak of fall foliage season in the Smokies, it's a destination that's popular year-round. The summer boasts warm weather and temperate heat, perfect for enjoying the swimming holes in the Smokies or seeking out its waterfalls. During the winter, snow-covered mountain summits conjure up cozy vistas that are worth renting a cabin for. In the spring, the woodlands are abloom with new buds and a colorful array of flora.

While Maggie Valley is the closest town to the base of the Smokies, Waynesville is part of this small subset tucked in between its ridgelines. Those visiting Waynesville can take the short trip to Maggie Valley to see incredible views of the mountains, while also enjoying the creature comforts that downtown Waynesville has to offer.

What To Do In Waynesville

There's plenty to do and learn about in Waynesville, from exploring a wide range of outdoor landscapes to learning about its indigenous people.

The Great Smoky Outdoors Of Waynesville

The scenic tour of the Smokies sometimes starts off with the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad train ride through the mountains before travelers get off at their final stop. After this, the sky is the limit! From hiking trails to biking, these mountains have trails for beginners as well as expert hikers ready to test their mettle. The Blue Ridge Parkway is another excellent way to see the sights, with plenty of overlooks and pull-off spots for an afternoon picnic. Additionally, thrill seekers might find themselves drawn to ziplining or white-water rafting through the Smokies' most dramatic scenery.

Shopping In Waynesville

One of the best parts of visiting the small town of Waynesville is its southern charm, of course - but also its small-business shopping! From family farms to boutique downtown shops, there's plenty to peruse while searching for the perfect souvenir. Local art can be found by following the Blue Ridge Craft Trails, while small family farms include Appalachian Growers, Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm, Buffalo Creek Vacations, J.W. Mitchell Farms, Skyvue Ranch Alpacas, and Wehrloom Honey.

Learn About The Indigenous Cherokee People

Those interested in the history and culture in Waynesville and the surrounding area can learn about the Cherokee during their visit, as well. With the Smokies being the long-time home of the Cherokee, visiting the Museum of the Cherokee Indian is an absolute must. Through various exhibits and fascinating history, guests of the museum will leave with an appreciation and understanding of what early life was like in the Smoky Mountains. Afterward, visitors should be sure to stop by the Oconaluftee Village for shopping and more. Related: Hiking Guide: Best Trails In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Where To Stay In Waynesville

For such a small town, the options are seemingly endless when it comes to accommodations in Waynesville. From well-known hotel chains to privately-owned B&Bs and historic inns, there's an experience for everyone. For those interested in a truly hyper-local experience, these B&Bs and inns are ready to offer an authentic taste of Waynesville:

For those who prefer a smaller, cozy feel, these cottages are worth a look:

Of course, those who prefer a rugged experience will be happy to know that they can choose from more than 20 campgrounds. For a full list of hotels and resorts, visitsmokies.org has the details. A visit to the Smokies isn't complete without a great town to spend it in, and Maggie Valley delivers on all accounts!