NC destination named best tourist attraction in the United States by vacation site

NC destination named best tourist attraction in the United States by vacation site

A vacation site named The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located both in North Carolina and Tennessee, as the tourist attraction with the highest percentage of five-star reviews in the United States.

Vacation site Family Destinations Guide took the 50 most popular tourist destinations in the United States (determined by the number of visitors) and calculated how many Tripadvisor reviews awarded the highest score.

Nearly 90% of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Tripadvisor reviews were five stars, or “excellent,” according to Family Destinations Guide. The park receives 12.1 million visitors per year.

Tied with The Grand Canyon, the North Carolina spot was named the best tourist attraction in the United States. Both received 89% five-star reviews.

Learn more about Family Destinations Guide at familydestinationsguide.com.

The North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is roughly a five-hour drive from Raleigh.

Here’s how you can spend time on the North Carolina side of the national park, according to the park’s website:

  • Take scenic drives

  • See historic structures

  • View wildlife

  • Go hiking

  • Camp overnight

For details, visit nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit.

NC destination named best tourist attraction in the United States by vacation site

Tourists ride the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad during a steam engine excursion in the Nantahala Gorge.

See the fireflies at The Great Smoky Mountains

Each year, thousands of tourists rush to The Great Smoky Mountains in early summer to see the dance of the fireflies. Synchronous fireflies flash bright patterns against the park’s dark sky as part of a mating display.

The mating season lasts for two to three weeks per year, and tourists can enter a lottery to visit the park and see the flashes for themselves. The peak date usually occurs sometime between the third week of May and the third week of June, the park’s website says.

This year, the firefly viewing dates will be announced April 25. The lottery for vehicle passes will begin on April 28 and end May 1. Lottery applicants will be notified by May 11.

For more information about seeing the fireflies at The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit nps.gov/grsm and search “Synchronous fireflies.”

Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to the park’s website. They are one of only a couple species in North America whose individuals are known to synchronize their flashing light patterns.

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