Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center

East Tennessee

On the outskirts of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this small museum spotlights Native American peoples of East Tennessee as well as the region's mountain culture. The exhibits aren't super in-depth or wide-ranging, but if this is your first visit to the area they provide a nice introduction to East Tennessee. In the Historic Village out back you can explore 13 furnished buildings showcasing various eras.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby East Tennessee attractions

1. The Sinks

3.42 MILES

A requisite stop when driving Little River Rd is this series of cascades just off the road. Here, the Little River makes a sharp hairpin turn, with water…

2. Metcalf Bottoms

4.22 MILES

A lovely spot for a picnic, with tables set up along the Little River. Afterwards you can dip your feet in the cool, rushing waters.

3. Cades Cove Picnic Area

5.62 MILES

Children enjoy splashing in the shallows of Abrams Creek at this woodsy picnic spot, where a number of tables are perched by the water. You'll find grills…

4. Cades Cove

5.63 MILES

In Appalachian parlance, a cove means a valley, but Cades Cove is far more than that. One of the most popular destinations in the Tennessee section of…

5. John Oliver Place

6.14 MILES

Built in the early 1820s, this rustic log cabin is the oldest in Cades Cove. Check out the stone chimney, made with mud mortar. The home was built by one…

6. Methodist Church

7.15 MILES

Cades Cove's 1902 Methodist Church has a small but picturesque white steeple and includes gravestones on its lawn. It was built by blacksmith and…

7. Primitive Baptist Church

7.25 MILES

One of three rural churches that remain standing in Cades Cove, the 1887 Primitive Baptist Church is flanked by an atmospheric cemetery. Look out for the…

8. Carter Shields Cabin

7.36 MILES

The last cabin on the loop road is arguably the most photogenic, tucked in a small grassy glade surrounded by the woods. Carter Shields, a Civil War…