3-Day Smoky Mountain Wellness Itinerary : Things to Do in Townsend

great smoky mountain

The Smoky Mountains are within driving distance of 60% of the U.S. population. Let that sink in. However, when most travelers think of visiting this part of Tennessee, their mind instantly goes to kitschy towns like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Of course, both of those towns have a time and place. 

What you likely haven’t considered is a relaxing, quiet getaway to the self-proclaimed “Peaceful Side of the Smokies” in Townsend, Tennessee. This guide will show you how to enjoy a unique wellness getaway in and around Smoky National Park without the loud hustle and bustle of nearby Dollywood visitors. 

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What is a Wellness Getaway?

When one thinks of a wellness experience, images of elaborate spas and massages probably come to mind. In this case, Townsend offers visitors a chance to lose their phone signal and reconnect with nature. 

Luxury resorts are now synonymous with wellness holidays, and getting outside and exploring are considered untraditional. Townsend offers weary travelers a chance to move their bodies, explore, and reconnect with the great outdoors. Throw away any images of poolside lounging with a cocktail!

Day 1

Breakfast at Dancing Bean

Fuel for your day with a delicious coffee and pastry from Dancing Bean. Owned and operated by Oldham Hospitality, this family has created a dynasty of incredible eateries throughout Townsend. This hole-in-the-wall coffee shop packs a big punch with its full espresso menu and giant cinnamon rolls. 

Visit Cades Cove

Pack some sandwiches from Little River Pub and Deli (the turkey sandwich is a standout) and head to Cades Cove in Smoky Mountain National Park. Cades Cove is the most visited part of the national park, so be prepared for some traffic if you’re visiting during peak season.

Cades Cove is a stunning valley that has preserved over 90 structures, including homes, barns, and churches, from the original European settlers. Visitors have the option to drive the historic loop, enjoy bike trails, or hike. 

This area is one of the most popular spots for black bear sightings, so don’t be surprised if you end up in traffic known locally as a “bear jam.” If you finish early at Cades Cove, make your way to other iconic Smoky Mountain sights like Clingmans Dome or the Foothills Parkway. 

cades cove

Enjoy a Casual Dinner at Peaceful Side Social

After a long day exploring, nothing fills the soul better than some casual brews and pizza. Head over to Peaceful Side Social, also owned by the Oldhams, for a relaxed dinner. 

Operated by the Oldham’s son, Houston, he created a space specifically welcoming to families. The brewery has a great outdoor patio and plenty of room for kids to run around. The family’s ice cream shop, Peaceful Side Creamery, is even attached. 

Day 2

Grab a Cup of Joe from Towns End Coffee

Start your second day with a coffee and breakfast sandwich from Towns End Coffee. The small shop offers a respectable breakfast menu and an extensive coffee list. Plus, they sell adorable Smoky Mountain-themed merchandise that is perfect for souvenirs.  

towns end coffee house

Go Mountain Biking at Ride Vee Hollow

When you think about wellness, mountain biking might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, Ride Vee Hollow has perfected the art of mountain biking for those looking to get lost in the woods at any skill level. 

If you’ve brought your own bike, stop by the main office to sign a waiver and get a helmet. The 14 miles of trails are free to use! Or, chat with the staff to rent your own e-mountain bike.

Vee Hollow offers a wide array of mountain biking trails for all skill levels. Whether you want to ride on flat ground or take on daring 25-foot jumps, there’s something for all abilities. 

There’s even a miniature skills park where riders can try their hand at different obstacles without being too far off the ground. Vee Hollow gives riders the chance to get lost in the woods and enjoy some adrenaline in a safe and controlled environment. 

mountain biking

Explore Smoky Mountain National Park by UTV

For those looking for all the adrenaline without the work of mountain biking, renting a UTV from Townsend UTV Rentals is a great alternative (or doing both in one day!)  to explore the Smoky Mountains. 

Guests can take the UTV through Cades Cove, Foothills Parkway, or the Tremont Region. Hook up your phone to Bluetooth, and enjoy the ride!

utv rental

End Your Day at Company Distilling

Conclude your adventurous day with a well-deserved treat from Company Distilling. Company is owned and operated by Jeff Arnett, who was the master distiller for Jack Daniels until he decided to forge his own path.

Today, Company Distilling offers thirsty visitors award-winning spirits as well as their own line of craft beers. The distillery has guided tastings as well as a kitchen open six days a week. Nothing says wellness like a good glass of whiskey after a long day in the sun!

company distilling

Day 3

Book a Full-Day Fly Fishing Tour

For your final day in Townsend, book a full-day fly-fishing tour with Smoky Mountain Guides. Absolutely no experience is necessary to partake in this incredibly relaxing and therapeutic activity. 

Your guide will provide you with all the gear you need and lead you through Smoky Mountain National Park to the best spots for your chance at taking home a trout. You’ll spend the day on the water, learning or improving upon your skills, in one of the most beautiful places in the world to fly fish. 

Lunch is provided, and your experienced guide will ensure your comfort. A day spent fly fishing is guaranteed to clear your mind and help you reconnect with Mother Earth.  

fly fishing spot

Enjoy Dinner at Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro

Saving the best meal for last, make a reservation at Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro (owned, of course, by the Oldhams). The team at Dancing Bear has worked tirelessly to create an Appalachian-inspired menu. Nearly all of their ingredients are sourced from a 90-mile radius. 

The bistro has quickly become a staple for the community and with good reason. Their filet is an absolute must-try, as are their trout cakes. Additionally, the bistro boasts an impressive wine list featuring grapes from the southeastern United States.

dancing bear bistro menu

Where to Stay: Little Arrow Outdoor Resort

The Little Arrow Outdoor Resort offers a wide variety of accommodations for varying tastes. The lodging options include luxury tiny homes, glamping sites, premiere cabins, airstreams, and RV sites with hookups.

This women-owned and operated establishment offers a beautiful pool and hot tub, hiking trails, fishing spots, massage opportunities, and comfortable gathering spaces. Plus, it’s located just minutes outside Smoky Mountain National Park and downtown Townsend. 

little arrow resort

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Townsend, Tennessee

While your holiday may not be filled with butler service and poolside margaritas, a wellness getaway to Townsend, Tennessee, provides visitors the chance to feel the dirt under their feet and the sun on their faces. Whether riding a mountain bike, wading in the water, or enjoying a good glass of whiskey, visitors will leave refreshed, inspired, and craving more time outside.

smoky mountain waterfall


  • Cait Kontalis

    Cait, a Chicago-based Greek-American, globe-trots with degrees in Communications and Nonprofit Management. Her expertise spans ski trips, Greece travel, Central Europe exploration, and outdoor adventures.

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