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Closest Airport To Gatlinburg TN & Best Way To Get There

Are you looking for the closest airport to Gatlinburg TN? There are a few choices, ranging from small regional airports to major international hubs.

The closest airport is McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville is the closest major airport at around an hour away. We’ll provide all the other available aviation options for visitors to Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Key Takeaways

The closest Airport to Gatlinburg TN

McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) near Knoxville (1 hour)

Mcghee Tyson Airport (Tys): Closest Airport To Gatlinburg Tn And Pigeon Forge

McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) is only an hour’s drive from the beautiful city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority owns TYS, which is also the closest airport to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cades Cove. Knoxville offers nonstop flights via most major airlines, plus Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines.

The distance between McGhee-Tyson Airport and Gatlinburg is approximately 40 miles, with a travel time of one hour.

Note: The Knoxville airport is about 20 minutes south of Downtown Knoxville.

Its convenient location and nearby public transportation make McGhee Tyson Airport an ideal option for family vacationers seeking hassle-free traveling experiences when exploring the Gatlinburg area.

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), 2 hours

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is the next closest airport to Gatlinburg, TN. It’s 85 miles away and about a 1 hour 40 minute drive from Gatlinburg.

With hundreds of connections to cities all across the US, Asheville Regional Airport offers convenient access to family vacationers looking to visit Gatlinburg and Cades Cove or The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee & North Carolina.

Its location makes it an ideal choice for visitors due to its proximity and ease of travel, making it possible for families to take advantage of their time spent on vacation more efficiently.

AVL offers numerous nonstop flights offered daily via American Airlines, Delta, Allegiant Air.

Tri-Cities Airport (TRI), 3 hours

Tri-Cities Airport (TRI) is located in Blountville, Tennessee, about 100 miles or two hours from Gatlinburg. Though not as large of an airport as Knoxville or Asheville, it’s convenient location provides travelers another option for those looking to fly into Gatlinburg.

Consider the estimated time it will take based on your travel date and times available if you choose Tri-Cities Regional Airport as an option when flying into Gatlinburg, TN.

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport

Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and approximately 107 miles from Gatlinburg, TN, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport is one of the closest airports to Gatlinburg.

CHA is a medium-sized airport that provides commercial flights from various airlines, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines to most major hub airports. As a smaller airport though it doesn’t offer as many non-stop options as Knoxville or Asheville.

With its proximity to Downtown Gatlinburg and other attractions such as Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this airport makes it easy and convenient for family vacationers who are looking for an affordable option when flying to east Tennessee.

Finally, getting around can be achieved by several transportation services like car rental companies (from major ones like Enterprise Rent-A-Car) that can offer somewhat lower fares than what they do at larger airports such as Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), 4 hours

Located just four hours from Gatlinburg, TN, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is one of the closest major airports to this popular mountain destination.

This large hub airport for American Airlines also offers an extensive range of flights with other major domestic and international airlines, including Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines.

With direct flights from many large cities in the US like Los Angeles, CA, Chicago, IL, and Miami, FL, arriving at CLT means you can get to Gatlinburg without making connections from almost anywhere.

Atlanta Hartsfield International (ATL), 4 hours

The Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport (ATL) is a major gateway and the world’s busiest airport for passenger traffic, located 4 hours from Gatlinburg, TN. This makes ATL an ideal option for families who want to spend time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park area and not make any flight connections.

At just 200 miles away, Gatlinburg can be reached by car in approximately four to five hours, depending upon road conditions such as Atlanta traffic.

As one of the most accessible airports within driving distance, Atlanta offers convenience and plenty of flight options compared to many smaller regional airports scattered throughout East Tennessee, like McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville or Tri Cities Regional Airport near Bristol.

Transportation Options from the Airport to Gatlinburg

You have various options to reach Gatlinburg from nearby airports; find out which fits best for you!

Renting a Car

A Diverse Family Poses Next To A Rental Car At The Airport, Ready For Their Trip With Luggage In Hand.McGhee-Tyson Airport in Knoxville, TN, is the closest major airport to Gatlinburg, only an hour from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This makes renting a car from this airport an ideal transportation option for family vacationers looking to get to Gatlinburg as quickly as possible.

The airport’s eight car rental options from reputable companies such as Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Dollar, and Payless make it easy and convenient to rent a suitable vehicle for your journey to Gatlinburg.

With the cost of other transportation options, you can almost cover the cost of renting a car from TYS.

Finding the best deal on rental cars

Here are some of the best places to book rental cars. We usually check several sources, including directly with rental car companies. Costco requires a membership and doesn’t offer all the companies. Autoslash is a great option that finds you the best deals by applying coupons for you.

Uber, Lyft, and Taxis

Car hire services can be options for ease and convenience when traveling to Gatlinburg from the airport, but we don’t usually recommend them for this type of vacation.

The Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area’s attractions are spread out, and getting around without a rental car is difficult. One exception would be if you’re planning on staying in the downtown Gatlinburg area, which is easily walkable and has a trolley system that runs throughout town.

Keep in mind that Gatlinburg is a small area, and finding an Uber/Lyft back to the airport at certain times of day may be difficult.

The pickup areas for both services are located outside the airport, making it easy and accessible for anyone arriving on flights into McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS).

For those who prefer taxis, there are licensed taxicab companies available at the airport, typically waiting outside near baggage claim, though availability isn’t guaranteed.

Other Feasible Options

Traveling to Gatlinburg doesn’t have to be a hassle. There are alternate transportation options available that offer visitors convenience and safety. Shuttle services like Ultimate Transport, GSMRide, and Smokies Express provide guests with door-to-door service from the airport or their home directly to their destination in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg without having to worry about parking fees, or road conditions.

For private car arrangements, companies such as VIP Limo of Tennessee specialize in luxury limousine travel, connecting most major airports with your desired destination throughout East Tennessee, including entrance locations at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Considerations for Choosing the Best Airport

When selecting the closest and most convenient airport to Gatlinburg, TN, consider factors like proximity, flight availability, cost of flights, transportation options, and associated costs.

Proximity to Gatlinburg

A Scenic View Of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Featuring Diverse People And Landscapes.

Choosing the closest airport to Gatlinburg is essential for a family vacation, as it helps minimize travel time and maximizes more moments to enjoy with loved ones.

The airports nearest Gatlinburg are McGhee Tyson Airport in KnoxvilleAsheville Regional Airport in North CarolinaTri-Cities Airport in Tennessee, and Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

These locations are approximately 1, 2, 3, and 3 hours from downtown Gatlinburg. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (4 hours) and Atlanta Hartsfield International (4 hours) offer larger airport options but require additional travel time.

Availability of Flights

McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, TN, is the closest airport to Gatlinburg and offers numerous flight options from domestic airlines such as Frontier and Allegiant. The convenience of booking a flight to this major international airport saves time and stress since it is just an hour away from Gatlinburg.

Additionally, choosing McGhee Tyson Airport allows for more flight options that can be cheaper than flights offered by smaller airports. If travelers prefer additional options, they can refer to a curated list of the seven closest airports, including Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), Tri-Cities (TRI), Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA), Charlotte Douglas International Airport(CLT), and Atlanta Hartsfield International (ATL).

Cost of Flights

Whether planning a family vacation or just trying to beat the winter blues, traveling to Gatlinburg in Tennessee can be an affordable and enjoyable experience. When looking at flights to Gatlinburg, potential travelers should know that cost varies greatly depending on when they book and what airline they use.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer on which airline offers the best prices as this changes from time to time; however, we always use Google Flights to find the best deals on flights.

Additional Transportation Costs

When planning a trip to Gatlinburg, TN, factor in all additional transportation costs that can add up throughout their stay.

The cost of renting a car will depend on the length of your rental period and pickup location but anticipate around $50 – 80 per day. If you’d prefer not to rent a vehicle, Uber/Lyft can offer competitive rates compared with taxi services starting at around $70 one way from TYS into downtown Gatlinburg.

However, for larger groups traveling together, other feasible transport options may include buses or private charter planes, providing an economical option if the distance is too far for comfortable driving time.


A Traveler Arriving At Mcghee Tyson Airport In Knoxville, With A Scenic Mountain Backdrop, Surrounded By Diverse People.

When considering the best airport for Gatlinburg, TN, consider proximity to Gatlinburgavailability and cost of flights, and additional transportation costs.

McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville is the closest major airport at approximately 41 miles away from the center of Gatlinburg. It offers a range of amenities and services for travelers heading to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just south.

With its convenient location and several name-brand car rental options, it remains one of the most popular choices for those traveling toward East Tennessee’s majestic mountainside city.


1. Where is the Closest Airport to Gatlinburg, TN?

If you’re jetting into the United States for a visit to Gatlinburg, TN, the nearest airport is Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS). Located around 40 miles away, it’s the closest commercial airport offering various domestic flights.

2. Which Airlines Can Take Me There?

Travelers have choices when flying into Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport. Major airlines like American, Delta, and United operate here, along with smaller airlines such as Allegiant and ViaAir. International airlines of Air Canada and Volaris Mexico also provide services for those from Canada or Mexico.

3. Are There Scenic Road Trips to Gatlinburg?

Definitely! Alcoa Hwy and the Foothills Parkway are great ways to reach Gatlinburg by car. These routes offer scenic options through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, featuring awe-inspiring views over Lake Fontana and the French Broad River. If you’re a day’s drive away, such routes offer a significant time to enjoy nature.

4. Can I Travel Privately to Gatlinburg?

If privacy is your priority, private charter planes are available but come at a higher price point. Especially when compared to cheaper flight options on commercial airlines, the privacy policy for these jets guarantees exclusivity for small groups.

5. What Are the Car Rental Options?

Car rentals are abundant near Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport. From compact cars to SUVs, there’s a range of vehicles to suit your needs, making the hour drive to Gatlinburg comfortable and convenient.

6. What are the Other Closest Airports to Consider?

The Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina and the Nashville International Airport in Tennessee are alternative options, but their drive times to Gatlinburg are considerably longer.

7. How’s the Gatlinburg Sky Lift?

Don’t miss the Gatlinburg Sky Lift if you stay in Gatlinburg hotels. It offers a bird’s eye view of the town and is a fun way to get a different perspective of your surroundings.

8. What’s the Best Time to Visit?

The best time to visit Gatlinburg varies according to personal preference. The closest towns, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, offer seasonal attractions that might influence your travel plans.

9. Are Direct Flights Available?

Direct flights to Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport are possible from several major cities, making it a relatively small airport but a convenient choice for those looking to minimize travel time.

10. What if I’m Coming from Blue Ridge Parkway?

Traveling from Blue Ridge Parkway offers another scenic route into Gatlinburg, but be prepared for a longer journey compared to other closest international or commercial airports.

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