Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Townsend is situated at an entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are other entrances to the park, including Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC, but the Townsend entrance is the closest to one of the park's most popular attractions -- Cades Cove. The Cove is a short distance from the Townsend Wye and is open from sunrise to sunset, daily.
Other areas of the park located close to Townsend include a wonderful picnic area at Metcalf Bottoms which has lots of picnic tables and BBQ grills. it is situated alongside a beautiful mountain river. The Sinks is a popular destination and is only a few miles from Townsend. Little River Road runs from Townsend to Gatlinburg, ending at Sugarlands Visitor Center. Along the way, you will drive along a river with many winding curves and several waterfalls. You might want to stop off at Elkmont which has a historic district consisting of cabins constructed in the early 1900s.
In the Springtime and early Summer, you will see large thickets of rhododenron and mountain laurel.