There’s nothing quite like the thrill of exploring a new place, but what if you’re short on cash? There’s no need to give up on travel altogether, but you may need to pare back your spending by eating out less often. Yes, dining can be a wonderful part of the vacation experience, but it isn’t 100 percent necessary.
The good news? A fun vacation isn’t limited by the number of dining options available at your destination or even your budget for eating out. If your lodging has kitchen amenities such as a stove, oven, or even just a microwave, then it’s possible to whip up some tasty meals that won’t eat into your travel budget.
This is especially true when you travel to the Smoky Mountains. With a great selection of grocery stores and markets to choose from throughout the area, it’s easy to stop in before, or after a long day of adventures and find some food to fuel your next outing. Below, we’ve compiled some of the best places to shop for grub in the Smoky Mountains. These range from high-end grocers to budget-friendly supermarkets. Get shopping — you’ll be amazed by how many mouthwatering meals can be enjoyed even without visiting local restaurants.
Publix Supermarket at Valley Forge
A beloved grocery store chain native to the Southeast, Publix carries just about everything you’ll need to stock the pantry during your trip. A visit isn’t complete without stopping at the deli, where cold sandwiches are prepared using only the best ingredients. You’ll also find delicious hot items such as the beloved Chicken Tenders sub.
All Sauced Up
Looking for something folksy? All Sauced Up makes a fun first impression as its moonshine-loving mascot welcoming customers through the front doors. Specializing in gourmet barbecue sauces, jams, jellies and other delectable local treats, All Sauced Up is where the locals go to get a taste of the Smokies. With copious amounts of free samples, it wouldn’t be difficult to spoil your appetite — but that’s perfectly okay!
Taste of Europe
Who says you need to stay local when exploring the Smokies? Taste of Europe boasts impressive-looking shelves stocked with imported candy, bakery items, and meats. You’ll also discover a vast selection of drinks that are almost impossible to find on this side of the Atlantic.
Satterfield’s Old Fashioned Grocery
Throw the shopping list out the window and visit Satterfield’s for a truly incredible food experience. While this location offers a decent selection of standard grocery items, the prepared food is definitely the star of the show. After a long day exploring the Smokies, you can grab a rack of ribs, a brisket sandwich, or a made-to-order pizza. Yes, it’ll cost more than cooking meals from scratch, but you can still save quite a bit compared to eating in restaurants.
When preparing a meal is on the agenda, Food City has you covered. Make sure you sign up for the free ValuCard, which will allow you to utilize special offers in-store and online. Open until midnight, this is an excellent stop if you’re craving a late-night treat or need a last-second item for the next day.
Whole Earth Grocery and Cafe
Vegans and vegetarians will find a lot to love about Whole Earth Grocery and Cafe, where healthy eating is always a priority. The grocery portion of the store features seasonal organic produce, vitamins, and supplements. The cafe serves a nice selection of salads and wraps. If you need a boost, you can try a variety of different wellness shots.
Amish Creations & Country Market
If your grocery list calls for a Hillbilly Shot Glass or locally jarred preserves, then your best option is Amish Creations & Country Market. Sure, you may not be able to do all of your vacation grocery shopping here, but it’s the perfect spot to pick up some tasty local treats as well as a souvenir of your trip to the Smokies.
Spend any time traveling America, and you’re bound to find a Kroger. As one of the nation’s largest grocery store chains, it’s got everything you need at a price that’s hard to beat. Order your items online while out and about; Kroger will have them ready at the store when you arrive. This strategic approach saves you time that can be better spent exploring the Smoky Mountains scenery.
Lila’s Market Grocery Store and Carniceria
Craving an authentic, home-cooked Mexican dinner after a long day on the go? Stock up on everything you need at Lila’s Market — a beloved destination among locals. There, you’ll find fantastic produce and a vast selection of authentic Mexican ingredients.
When visiting a small community such as Townsend, it’s essential to find a trusted local market where you can stock up on the basics. That’s exactly what Townsend IGA provides, complete with everyday great prices and exceptional sales. Whether you’re passing through town or staying the night, you’ll find that the IGA’s location right off Highway 321 makes it easy to access.
Townsend Shopping Center
There’s something truly charming about the quintessential small-town general store experience. This can be enjoyed at the Townsend Shopping Center, which is not (as you might assume based on the name) a major strip mall. Carrying everything from local jams and jellies to home decor to fishing supplies, this is a fun place to stop if you’re hankering for a snack while on the road.
Delicious meals are never difficult to find when you spend time in the Smoky Mountains. Don’t worry if you’re unable to eat out every day — if you hit up the grocery stores listed above, you’ll be well on your way to a memorable culinary experience.