You’re excited to explore the Smoky Mountains but worried about your budget. Thankfully, there are plenty of great strategies for keeping costs to a minimum.
One of the best solutions? Replacing a few restaurant visits with home-cooked meals. Why not take advantage of local grocery stores? They make it easy to save money without sacrificing on the quality of your meals.
A few chains dominate the Smoky Mountain grocery scene, including Food City, Kroger, and Publix. Familiar names such as Aldi and Walmart are also available.
These stores differ from one location to the next, so it’s worth your while to do a little research. To help, we’ve highlighted several of the area’s most important grocery stores, along with top features you can expect at these locations.
Food City is a dream come true for Sevierville shoppers. This location provides everything you need to create the meals you crave — and then some.
The quality is exceptional, with produce, in particular, standing out as compared to other local stores. Take advantage of the ValuCard, which will score impressive discounts on a variety of products.
There are two main Food City locations in the area: Sevierville and Kodak. The Kodak store is conveniently located at Bryan Crossing, so you can stop by after checking out the Sevierville Visitor Center just down the road. There is also a location on the Dolly Parton Parkway — right in the heart of Sevierville. Both stores have pharmacies and gas stations.
Kroger should easily live up to all your preconceived notions of the ‘typical’ supermarket. Its prices aren’t the highest in the Smoky Mountains, but nor are they the lowest. The selection is decent, with the fresh produce always encouraging healthy eating. While the selection can be limited for certain types of snacks, there’s no denying that this store is amazing when you want to shop the perimeter and cook from scratch.
Unfortunately, service at this store can be hit or miss. Most staff members are friendly, but some customers have reported long waits, rude service, or a combination of the two. Opt for the self-checkout area when you only have a few items and are in a hurry. This will get you out of the store and on your way in a brief minute or two.
Publix at Smoky Mountain Gateway
People who live near Publix tend to take it for granted, but this chain is the stuff of legends outside of the southern states in which its stores are primarily located.
Prices tend to be high at this particular Publix, but there’s still a lot to appreciate about the store. Many vacationers enjoy shopping here simply because it’s so well-stocked with regional items that are difficult to find back home. Opened in 2020, this is one of the more recent additions to the Smoky Mountain grocery scene.
A variety of excellent ingredients are available if you want to cook in your cabin or condo, but the store’s real strength lies in its prepared foods. The subs at this location are especially tasty, easily living up to all the hype about these made-to-order sandwiches.
Looking to cut down your travel costs a bit? You’ll get a lot more bang for the buck at Aldi, where you can score amazing deals on produce, frozen treats, and more. This location is bright, clean, and easy to navigate. Of course, it comes with all the usual Aldi caveats: you’ll need to bring your own bags, plus a quarter if you want a cart.
From toys to clothing and even major recreational equipment, you’ll find everything you need at the Sevierville Walmart. It’s definitely not as clean or as well-stocked as higher-end stores such as Publix or Kroger, but it can deliver savings when you want to travel on the cheap.
Another Kroger worth exploring, the Pigeon Forge location resembles its Sevierville counterpart in most respects. Again, it’s an amazing place for stocking up on produce.
With so many indulgent restaurants located in Pigeon Forge, you will be eager to browse this store’s healthier items and give yourself a much-needed break from junk food. If you want treats, however, plenty can be found at the bakery.
If you stop by the Valley Forge Shopping Center, you’ll almost certainly spend the bulk of your visit at the mall’s Publix location. As with the Sevierville Publix, you can expect to find an excellent selection of both ingredients and pre-prepared foods — including, of course, the legendary subs that we mentioned previously.
This location is sizable and tends to get busy. Thankfully, the checkout lines move quickly. The prices give some customers pause, but many people are willing to put up with this if it means enjoying access to an amazing deli and bakery.
Just a few minutes from The Island and Dollywood, the Pigeon Forge Food City places you near all the action on the Parkway. It’s also right by the local greenway, so you’re welcome to stop in for a snack after a leisurely stroll or bike ride. Feel free to grab a coffee from the Starbucks located within the store. The customer service at this location is excellent and the aisles are always immaculate.
On the other side of the West Prong Little Pigeon River, you’ll find an Express location that works wonders when you want to expedite your shopping and only need a few items.
While Kroger and Publix largely dominate the grocery scene in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg tends to feature smaller specialty stores. Food City is the clear exception, providing wonderfully fresh produce, a vast deli selection, and tasty baked goods. Perfectly situated on the way to the national park, this is a go-to store for hikers and campers.
Whole Earth Grocery
If you want a shopping experience that feels more like a vacation outing and less like a chore, stick with Whole Earth Grocery. There, you’ll find a variety of vegetarian and vegan offerings, along with the region’s best organic produce. There’s no better place to visit when you want to eat healthy on vacation.
Whether your goal is to cut your calories or your food bill, you’ll have no trouble leveling up your vacation meals when you shop at Smoky Mountain grocery stores. Live like a local and discover just how enjoyable a simple grocery visit can be.