The Great Smoky Mountains offers cascading waterfalls, roaming wildlife and endless views of the mountains. It's no wonder the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited parks in the United States. Whether you are planning a first time visit or are a return visitor to the "Land of Blue Smoke" looking for the perfect accommodation to suit your vacation can be difficult. But have you ever thought about glamping? Glamping is when traditional camping meets luxury and I have the perfect way for you to explore the Smoky Mountains by day and relax in an upscale outdoor resort by night. Let's talk about why I think you should consider glamping the next time you head to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Glamping in the Great Smoky Mountains
Located just minutes from the entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 10 minutes from Gatlinburg is Under Canvas Smoky Mountains. Under Canvas is an upscale outdoor resort that has perfected the glamping experience. Staying at Under Canvas allows you to immerse yourself in the heart of the Smoky Mountains while staying in a luxurious safari-inspired tent. This once in a lifetime glamping experience at Under Canvas has also been awarded as the best resort in the US and the world from Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.
So why do I think you need to choose Under Canvas as your accommodation for your trip to the Smoky Mountains? Under Canvas provides you the perfect upscale glamping experience. Their main mission is dedicated to connecting guests with the outdoors without compromising on comfort and luxury. The safari-inspired tents are furnished by West Elm and have amenities that include ensuite bathrooms with hot, running water, plush king-size beds, luxe linens, and even a wood burning stove for chilly nights.
The comfort and luxury does not stop with the safari-inspired tents. The main lobby tent is a communal space that allows you to enjoy meals, reading, connecting with friends and family, and for learning about local adventures.
Under Canvas has a mission "to inspire connections with extraordinary places, people and the planet by enhancing access to the outdoors." In fact they use the hashtag #OutsideTogether to foster this mission. This mission is included in everything that they do in and around their Under Canvas properties. Yes, I said properties. They have several properties throughout the US which I will touch base on in just a bit. But in order to get their guests #OutsideTogether, they offer fun complimentary activities that both kids and adults alike will enjoy. Some of their activities includes morning yoga, trivia night, outdoor games, live music and nightly campfires with complimentary s'mores for all. These activities are meant to ensure the fun doesn't stop after you leave the park and allows you to share stories about your day's adventures.
These complimentary activities are not the only offered amenities that Under Canvas provides to bring comfort to the outdoors. Under Canvas provides an on-site dining option that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options. They also provide picnic tables and grills if you decide to cook your own food. Under Canvas also has an opportunity for you to purchase exclusive retail items and small snacks to enhance your stay.
Under Canvas Smoky Mountains
Would it be shocking to you if I told you I have stayed at Under Canvas before? I am a firm believer in being a repeat customer if you truly enjoyed the experience. I clearly enjoyed my experience with Under Canvas so much so that I decided to book another stay.
Remember when I said that Under Canvas has different locations throughout the US? They have 10 locations to be exact. Each location allows you to wake up to the sounds of nature and are all perfectly positioned to explore America's most iconic national parks. I stayed at the Under Canvas Mount Rushmore location in September 2021. I have a full blog post that breaks down who Under Canvas is, the different styles of tents and a full review of the resort here if you would like to learn more about Under Canvas.
I loved my stay at Under Canvas so much that when I saw the Smoky Mountains location I knew I had to book a stay. So why do I love Under Canvas so much and why do I think YOU need to book a stay?
That is a very simple question to answer. It comes down to their mission and the hospitality of the company. Under Canvas is environmentally conscious, believes in land conservation and creates a memorable experience for their guests while you are able to unplug and recharge.
My Experience at Under Canvas Smoky Mountains
Now that you know a little more about Under Canvas and why I think you should choose them for you accommodation when you visit the Smoky Mountains, I want to share with you my experience and personal thoughts on the property.
Under Canvas Smoky Mountains is located just minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance in Pigeon Forge. Upon arrival to Under Canvas, we were warmly greeted by Blake, one of the Under Canvas employees. He checked us in, walked through the set up of the property and all of the amenities that Under Canvas Smoky Mountains offers.
After check in we made our way to the tent. We booked the Suite Tent which has an ensuite bathroom. Our tent had a nice deck platform with two chairs facing a little creek. Inside the tent, as a returning guest, the staff at Under Canvas left a nice little welcome back note with a complimentary hat which was so gracious of them. The note thanked me for returning to an Under Canvas property and they even thanked me for my work as a nurse. I was blown away that they even remembered such a detail! This is just one of the many thoughtful things that I truly admire in a company. How many of you have seen such hospitality from a resort?
The inside of an Under Canvas tent is spacious. The suite tent offers several areas for seating with two chairs and a sleeper sofa. Each tent has a king size bed with plush mattresses and luxe bedding to ensure a restful sleep. The tent also provides fans and several lanterns as a source of lighting.
The ensuite bathroom feels as if you have the comforts of the indoors. The bathroom offers a fully functioning toilet, a sink with mirror and a shower with warm running water. Under Canvas also provides eco friendly shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
Each Under Canvas property provides some of the same amenities but each location also provides amenities that are local to the area. Like the other locations, Under Canvas Smoky Mountains has an onsite restaurant called Embers, picnic tables, grills and fire pits. The Embers restaurant is located in the main lobby tent and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner where they offer dishes with local ingredients. In addition to food, they also serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase. In the main lobby, they also offer ice, water, tea and coffee throughout the day free of charge.
The main lobby tent at Under Canvas Smoky Mountains includes the check in desk and an area to buy small provisions and souvenirs. This tent also offers several areas to sit down and relax. From communal desks to small bistro tables to enjoy a cup of coffee, there is enough space for all guests.
Under Canvas provides both complimentary and paid activities for their guests. If you are looking for a fun activity in the area, located in the main lobby is an adventure desk. The adventure desk allows you to see all of the activities that are available in the Smoky Mountains. Some of these activities are free such as information on local hiking trails and other activities are paid tours such as white water rafting and guided hiking tours.
After a long day exploring in the national park, Under Canvas makes sure the fun does not stop. Every night, Under Canvas lights the bonfire pits that are located around the property and provides complimentary s'mores. This is honestly one of my favorite included activities. In additional to s'mores and nightly fires, Under Canvas also provides daily free activities. The Under Canvas Smoky Mountains has fun games such as cornhole or as some call it bean bag toss. Inside the main lobby tent you can also find a guitar and board games for some relaxing fun after a day of exploration. If you enjoy group activities, you can choose from morning yoga, trivia night and live music just to name a few of the activities that are offered.
During our stay at Under Canvas, we made s'mores and sat around the campfire to participate in trivia night. Our host for trivia night was Blake, the employee who checked us in. His personality is infectious. He made trivia night fun and engaging. Not only were we having fun but so was the staff which only adds to the atmosphere of Under Canvas.
I know that choosing a place to stay can be hard. There are so many mixed reviews. But I hope that you consider Under Canvas Smoky Mountains as a place to stay during your next visit to the Great Smoky Mountains. As a repeat guest to Under Canvas, I can tell you without a doubt you will love your stay in the safari-inspired luxurious tents. You will come as a guest but leave as an Under Canvas family member wanting to return.
I hope you enjoy your stay at Under Canvas Smoky Mountains as much as I did!
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