LeConte Lodge

Top choice cabin in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The only non-camping accommodation in the park is LeConte Lodge. Though the only way to get to the lodge's rustic, electricity-free cabins is on five uphill hiking trails varying in length from 5.5 miles (Alum Cave Trail) to 8.9 miles (Trillium Gap Trail), it's so popular you need to reserve many months in advance.

Reservations for the lodge open on October 1 for the following season, and are booked solid within two days (the most desirable dates fill up within a few hours). However, it's well worth putting your name on a wait list, as openings often become available.

If you score a spot, set out early to make the most of the experience. You can check out photos of past lodge life in the office and lounge, and climb to the very top of the mountain (a further 400yd beyond the cabins). After a hearty meal in the evening, you can sit in rocking chairs and watch the stars come out, or adjourn to the lounge for board games, guitar strumming and browsing old National Geographic magazines by lamplight.