The Smoky Mountains, with their breathtaking beauty, attract over 10 million visitors each year. Whether you’re planning a family vacation or a weekend getaway, transportation to and from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is crucial for a convenient and enjoyable trip. In this article, we will explore the two closest airports to these tourist destinations and provide you with all the information you need to plan your travel.
McGhee Tyson Airport: The Gateway to the Smoky Mountains
- Address: 2055 Alcoa Hwy Alcoa, TN 37701
- Website: McGhee Tyson
- Telephone Number: 865-342-3000
McGhee Tyson Airport, located in Knoxville, is the closest airport to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. It is approximately a 1 hour and 10 minutes drive from Gatlinburg and 33.9 miles from Pigeon Forge, taking about 53 minutes to reach. Being the premier air facility in East Tennessee, the airport serves over 2 million passengers annually and employs more than 2,700 people.
Several major airlines, including Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, and Frontier Airlines, operate at McGhee Tyson Airport. They offer nonstop flights to popular destinations such as Boston, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Newark, Orlando, Phoenix, and Philadelphia. For more flight options, check their nonstop air flights page on the airport’s website.
Upon arrival, you will find all the necessary facilities and services at McGhee Tyson Airport. The top level houses gates, shops, restaurants, ticket counters, and security, while the bottom level accommodates car rentals, offices, and baggage claims. We recommend renting a car to explore the Smoky Mountains, as ride-sharing services are less reliable in this area. Avis, Alamo, Hertz, National, Payless, Dollar, and Budget are among the rental companies available.
When it comes to dining options, the airport offers a variety of choices. Visit Quiznos Subs and Starbucks for a quick bite or a cup of coffee before or after your flight. With a Smoky Mountain-themed decor, McGhee Tyson Airport sets the stage for a memorable journey to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
Asheville Regional Airport: Gateway to North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains
- Address: 61 Terminal Drive, Suite 1, Fletcher, NC 28732
- Website: Asheville Airport
- Telephone Number: 828-684-2226
Asheville Regional Airport is another excellent option for travelers heading to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Although it is slightly farther away than McGhee Tyson Airport, it serves over 1.6 million passengers annually and offers a range of flight options to explore the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains.
To reach Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge from Asheville Regional Airport, you can expect a two-hour drive. This airport provides nonstop flights to destinations such as Atlanta, Dallas, Florida, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Denver, and more. For full details on flights, visit the airport’s website.
Renting a car is a convenient option for transportation, and agencies like Budget, Dollar Rent a Car, Hertz, National Car Rental, Enterprise, and AVIS are available at the airport exit. If you prefer public transportation, the Asheville Public Transit system offers transportation through the South 3 route, providing affordable access to downtown Asheville.
Asheville Regional Airport also provides various dining options. Take a break at the Blue Ridge Trading + Tavern and savor locally brewed beer or try out other restaurants and bars within the airport. Your journey to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge will be filled with comfort and convenience from start to finish.
Other Airports to Consider
In addition to the two primary airports mentioned above, there are a few other airports that you can consider for your travel to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge:
Tri-Cities Regional Airport: Located a two-hour drive away from Gatlinburg, this airport primarily serves Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City. It covers an area of 1250 acres and offers commercial services from airlines such as Allegiant Air, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, and Delta Connection.
Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Airport: This smaller municipal airport is situated in Sevier County, Tennessee, north of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. It caters to small airplanes and smaller groups of passengers, providing a personalized travel experience. Rental cars, including options from Enterprise Rentals, are available at this airport.
Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport: Approximately a two and a half-hour drive from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, this airport offers airline services from Allegiant Air, American, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, and United Express. By using I-40 W and I-75, you can easily reach your desired destinations.
Consider these airports based on your travel plans and preferences to make the most of your trip to the Smoky Mountains.
Choosing the right airport for your trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. McGhee Tyson Airport, with its close proximity to the Smoky Mountains, offers a wide range of flight options and convenient services. Asheville Regional Airport provides an alternative gateway to the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains. Whether you prefer to explore Tennessee or North Carolina, these airports will ensure you reach your destination with ease. Consider the additional airports mentioned above for a more tailored travel experience. Start planning your trip today and enjoy the beauty of the Smoky Mountains!