Townsend is known as “The Peaceful Side of the Smokies” and this name fits like a glove. You will not find the glitz, glamour, hustle, and bustle of towns like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge here. Instead, the big chain restaurants are replaced mostly with small diners and the main attractions all have to do with the surrounding natural environment. Though the town itself sits on a 4-lane highway, it blends into scenery around it well and and peace and quiet is just around the bend.
Lodging Though Townsend may not have as many options as its larger city counterparts, there are still many places to stay here. You have several motels, cabins, bed & breakfasts, and a campground to choose from. Prices in this area tend to not be as subject to the massive ups and downs that places like Gatlinburg experience on weekends and peak times. You can often find a deal here even in the middle of October.
Restuarants You won’t find Hard Rock Cafe or dinner theater here. You will however, still find plenty of places to suit your palette. There are a couple of standard fast food options including Subway and Pizza Hutt. There are several cafes and diners like Miss Lily’s that offer great home cooking fare. Just remember that the hours at these establishments will not be as extended as they will in other places.
Entertainment The options for entertainment here are great. There are a ton of places to go tubing, horseback riding, exploring caverns, and golf. They may not have ten go-cart tracks, but what they do have is exciting and fun.
Shopping Believe it or not, there are not a ton of little souvenir shops everywhere in this town. There are certainly places go get little trinkets, but more of the shopping has to do with antiques, woodworking, and has a distinct “local” feel. There are places to go here for grocery resupply, so you will not have to worry about driving into Maryville or Pigeon Forge to get groceries.
Proximity to National Park Townsend is very close to the national park. In fact, the town is known as the “Back Door to Cades Cove.” The highway going through town ends at Little River Road and you are in the national park. Cades Cove is just 7 miles after you take a right onto Little River Road. You also have fairly easy access to Newfound Gap Road by taking a left onto Little River Road.
Traffic This is one area that truly separates Townsend from all of the towns around it. The main “strip” of Townsend sits on a 4-lane highway. However, that highway is almost never overrun with vehicular traffic. Getting around town is fast and easy. You will have none of the stress that you will see in the other cities mentioned. Luckily, this place has not been overrun with too much “stuff” and it keeps traffic down. The only places that you will see any traffic is where people get backed up during the summer waiting to go tubing.
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