Yes, Gatlinburg is the cheesiest town in the South—home to fudge sellers galore, a Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, and an oddly out-of-place 400-foot Space Needle replica. But the reason so many camera toters descend upon this notch in the Appalachians beneath the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the breathtaking natural beauty of the surrounding forests. Drive a few minutes from Gatlinburg, and you’re in the middle of nowhere. Cabins in the area are as inexpensive as they are plentiful.
Taste of civilization: Try the cornmeal pancakes at the Log Cabin Pancake House.