12 Best Places to Live in Tennessee Mountains for the Highest Quality of Life

by Jem
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Tennessee Mountains are more than just a region; they’re a way of life. Encompassing the serene beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian’s rugged charm, this area offers a unique blend of lifestyles and landscapes. However, with its varied cities and towns, choosing the ideal place to settle can seem overwhelming. To aid in your decision, I’ve crafted this guide on the best places to live in the Tennessee Mountains.

My extensive travels through the Tennessee Mountains have allowed me to witness firsthand the region’s astounding diversity and allure. From the misty peaks of the Smokies to the rich cultural heritage of towns like Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the area’s variety is unparalleled. Whether you’re enamored by the tranquility of mountain life, the warmth of small-town communities, or the outdoor adventures awaiting at every turn, there’s a spot in the Tennessee Mountains that feels like it was tailored just for you.

But where to begin? The perfect location varies for everyone. Some may prioritize proximity to nature trails, others might seek a vibrant community, and for many, the affordability of living is a crucial consideration.

Join me as I delve into the best places to live, tailored to what matters most to you. As someone who has experienced Tennessee’s many facets, I’m here to guide you through the region’s top living spots. I’ve analyzed research, delved into data, and engaged with locals to compile a list that accommodates every preference and budget. Let’s embark on this journey!

The top places to live in Tennessee Mountains for all

The Best Places to Live in Tennessee Mountains  

Eager to explore the most picturesque places to live in the Tennessee Mountains? Located along the border of Tennessee, this area offers something for everyone. Dive in to uncover the top living spots in the Tennessee Mountains.

Searching for the ideal place to call home in the Tennessee Mountains? Whether it’s adventure, tranquility, or community you’re after, the Tennessee Mountains have you covered.

  • Best for outdoor activities: Hartford
  • Best for vibrant urban living: Johnson City
  • Best for small-town charm: Sevierville
  • Best for scenic beauty: Erwin
  • Best for entertainment: Pigeon Forge
  • Best for mountain views: Gatlinburg
  • Best for peaceful living: Wears Valley
  • Best for rural retreats: Walland
  • Best for nature lovers: Cosby
  • Best for community feel: Pittman Center
  • Best for city amenities: Maryville
  • Best for heritage and nature: Tellico Plains

Discover all the best places to live in the Tennessee Mountains that you need to know about.

1. Hartford

Discover a hidden gem in the Tennessee Mountains – Hartford. This quaint town, nestled beside the Pigeon River, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a serene lifestyle. Hartford, known for its vibrant rafting scene, offers an array of activities, from thrilling whitewater adventures to peaceful fishing spots.

This small community, one of the best places to live in Tennessee, thrives on its close-knit, welcoming atmosphere. Residents enjoy a blend of natural beauty and simple living. The local eateries and charming shops add to Hartford’s unique character, making it a best city to live in Tennessee Mountains for those seeking a blend of adventure and tranquility.

Life in Hartford is an endless exploration of the great outdoors. The changing seasons paint the landscape in stunning hues, creating a picturesque setting year-round. This town isn’t just a place to live; it’s a lifestyle choice for nature lovers and peace-seekers alike.

In Hartford, you’ll find a community where life moves at a gentler pace, surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Tennessee Mountains. It’s a place where each day brings a new opportunity to connect with nature and a friendly community that makes everyone feel at home.

Hartford's small-town charm makes it one of the greatest places to reside in the Tennessee Mountains.
Hartford’s small-town charm makes it one of the greatest places to reside in the Tennessee Mountains.

2. Johnson City

Envision living in a vibrant urban setting with the soul of a mountain town. That’s Johnson City for you. Here, modern amenities meet natural splendor, offering a lifestyle that’s both dynamic and relaxing. It’s among the coolest places to live in the East Tennessee, where city life and outdoor adventures merge seamlessly.

The heart of Johnson City beats with cultural festivities, unique shopping experiences, and diverse culinary delights. This city isn’t just a dot on the map; it’s a community pulsating with energy and warmth. Residents relish in the blend of urban sophistication and the welcoming spirit of a small town.

Outdoor enthusiasts revel in the nearby Appalachian Trail and abundant parks, making it a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Johnson City’s commitment to maintaining its green spaces adds to its charm, making it one of Tennessee Mountains’s best cities to live for those who crave a touch of nature in their urban lifestyle.

The essence of Johnson City lies in its ability to offer a balanced life. Here, every day is an invitation to explore, connect, and unwind. It’s a city that’s constantly evolving yet stays true to its roots, making it an ideal place for those who seek the best of both worlds.

One of the best areas to reside in the Tennessee Mountains is Johnson City, where urban living and recreation coexist perfectly.
One of the best areas to reside in the Tennessee Mountains is Johnson City, where urban living and recreation coexist perfectly.

3. Sevierville

Imagine a town where the charm of the Smokies and the warmth of a close-knit community blend perfectly. Welcome to Sevierville, a place where every corner tells a story. Known for its rich heritage and breathtaking scenery, it’s recognized as one of the best places in the Tennessee Mountains to live in.

Sevierville’s streets buzz with a unique blend of history and modernity. From historic landmarks to contemporary shopping centers, there’s always something new to discover. The Dolly Parton Statue and the Sevier County Courthouse stand as proud reminders of the town’s heritage, adding to its quaint allure.

Outdoor activities are plentiful, with hiking trails, fishing spots, and scenic drives just a stone’s throw away. The town’s proximity to the Smoky Mountains means adventure is never far off. It’s a nice city to live in the Tennessee Mountains, offering a peaceful retreat with all the conveniences of modern living.

Sevierville is more than a destination; it’s a lifestyle choice for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and community spirit. It’s a town that invites you to be part of its story, making every day an opportunity to create new memories in the heart of the Tennessee Mountains.

Among the best places to live in the Tennessee Mountains is Sevierville, a town where a tale is told around every corner.
Among the best places to live in the Tennessee Mountains is Sevierville, a town where a tale is told around every corner.

4. Erwin

Nestled in the heart of the Tennessee Mountains, Erwin is a hidden jewel. Its picturesque landscape, marked by the Nolichucky River, offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Known for its rich history and natural beauty, Erwin stands out as the best place to live in the Tennessee Mountains for those seeking peace and adventure.

The town’s vibrant community spirit is evident in its local festivals and events. These gatherings not only celebrate the town’s heritage but also bring residents together, creating a sense of belonging. Erwin’s small-town charm, coupled with its natural surroundings, makes it an enchanting place to call home.

Outdoor enthusiasts find Erwin a paradise. From rafting on the Nolichucky to exploring the Appalachian Trail, adventure is always at your doorstep. The town’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty adds to its allure, making it a preferred where to live in Tennessee Mountains.

This beautiful place in Tennessee offers a lifestyle where every day feels like a retreat. It’s a place that seamlessly blends outdoor excitement with a peaceful living environment, making it an ideal setting for those who cherish nature and community.

For those looking for adventure and peace, Erwin is the ideal spot to reside in the Tennessee Mountains.
For those looking for adventure and peace, Erwin is the ideal spot to reside in the Tennessee Mountains.

5. Pigeon Forge

Picture a place where Southern hospitality meets mountain majesty. Pigeon Forge, a town brimming with charm and vibrancy, offers just that. Famous for its lively entertainment and scenic beauty, it’s one of the good places to live in Tennessee Mountains for those who love a blend of excitement and nature.

The streets of Pigeon Forge are lined with attractions that cater to all ages, from thrilling theme parks to fascinating museums. The town is a hub of activity, yet it retains a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It’s a community where new faces are greeted with a smile and every day brings a new adventure.

Nature lovers will find plenty to adore. The surrounding Smoky Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for hiking, camping, and exploring. Pigeon Forge is a gateway to outdoor experiences, offering a perfect balance of urban and natural worlds.

In Pigeon Forge, every season offers a different charm, making it one of the best Tennessee Mountains cities. It’s a place where memories are made and traditions are born, a town that’s as lively as it is lovely, making it an ideal home for those drawn to vibrant living in a beautiful setting.

Pigeon Forge is a charming and lively town that is a great spot to live in the Tennessee Mountains.
Pigeon Forge is a charming and lively town that is a great spot to live in the Tennessee Mountains.

6. Gatlinburg

Step into Gatlinburg, where the essence of mountain living meets a vibrant cultural scene. This picturesque town, surrounded by the natural splendor of the Smoky Mountains, is one of the best areas to live in Tennessee Mountains, offering a perfect mix of nature, culture, and community.

Gatlinburg’s streets are a mosaic of unique shops, art galleries, and eateries, each adding its flavor to the town’s character. It’s a place where every stroll is an invitation to experience something new and exciting, from local crafts to gourmet delights. Gatlinburg’s community is as colorful and welcoming as the town itself.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a stone’s throw away, is an adventurer’s paradise. Hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and diverse wildlife make Gatlinburg a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s a town that invites exploration and adventure at every turn.

Gatlinburg embodies the nice parts of Tennessee Mountains, a blend of serene mountain life and cultural richness. It’s a town that engages the senses and nurtures the soul, making it an ideal place for those who seek to live in the mountains with a touch of artistic charm.

Gatlinburg is the epitome of mountain living combined with a thriving arts and culture scene.
Gatlinburg is the epitome of mountain living combined with a thriving arts and culture scene.

7. Wears Valley

Tucked away in a serene valley lies a community that epitomizes mountain living at its finest – Wears Valley. This peaceful enclave, with its stunning views and tranquil ambiance, is a great place to live in Tennessee Mountains. It’s a locale that offers an escape into nature’s embrace, yet close enough to modern conveniences.

The beauty of Wears Valley is evident in its rolling hills, lush forests, and the captivating presence of the Smokies. It’s a place where the air is fresher, the stars are brighter, and life moves at a more relaxed pace. The community here is tight-knit, welcoming newcomers with open arms and warm smiles.

For those who dream of a home where the beauty of nature and a sense of community intertwine, look no further. Wears Valley offers an array of outdoor activities, from hiking to horseback riding, ensuring that residents never run out of ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

In Wears Valley, you’ll find that delicate balance of seclusion and accessibility, making it where is the best place to live in Tennessee Mountains. It’s a haven for those seeking peace, natural beauty, and a strong sense of community.

Wears Valley is a neighborhood that perfectly embodies mountain living, tucked away in a tranquil valley.
Wears Valley is a neighborhood that perfectly embodies mountain living, tucked away in a tranquil valley.

8. Walland

In the embrace of the Tennessee Mountains, Walland is a treasure waiting to be discovered. This tranquil town, with its lush landscapes and serene atmosphere, is celebrated as one of Tennessee Mountains’s best places to live. Walland is a sanctuary for those seeking a peaceful life, surrounded by nature’s grandeur.

Walland’s charm is in its simplicity and untouched natural beauty. The town offers a rare opportunity to live in harmony with nature, where the mornings are greeted with the melodious songs of birds and evenings are spent under starlit skies. It’s a place where each season brings its own unique beauty, enchanting residents and visitors alike.

For those who appreciate outdoor activities, Walland is a haven. The nearby trails and streams provide endless opportunities for hiking, fishing, and exploring. The town’s proximity to national parks and natural reserves makes it a perfect base for nature enthusiasts.

As one of the most livable cities in the Tennessee Mountains, Walland is more than a place to reside; it’s a lifestyle choice. It offers a retreat from the fast-paced world, a community where life is savored, and nature is revered. Walland is a haven for peace, beauty, and a deep connection with the natural world.

Walland lies in the Tennessee Mountains' embrace, a gem awaiting exploration.
Walland lies in the Tennessee Mountains’ embrace, a gem awaiting exploration.

9. Cosby

Welcome to a place where the air is fresher, the grass greener, and life a bit slower – Cosby. This charming town, nestled in the Tennessee Mountains, is often asked in hushed tones by those in the know: what are the best places to live in the Tennessee Mountains? Cosby is a whispered answer, a hidden gem for serene living.

Cosby’s allure lies in its unspoiled natural beauty. Surrounded by dense forests and clear streams, it offers an idyllic setting for nature lovers. The community here is close-knit, with neighbors quickly becoming friends, making it not just a place to live, but a home to cherish.

The town invites an active lifestyle with its numerous hiking trails and parks. Yet, it also offers moments of tranquility, where one can bask in the quietude of nature. It’s a perfect blend of adventure and peace, a balance that is cherished by its residents.

For those wondering about places to move in Tennessee Mountains, Cosby stands out. It’s a town where the beauty of the mountains is a backdrop to daily life, and the community’s warmth makes every day special. Cosby isn’t just a place on the map; it’s a lifestyle, a community, and a dream come true.

Cosby sticks out for anyone looking for areas to move in the Tennessee Mountains.
Cosby sticks out for anyone looking for areas to move in the Tennessee Mountains.

10. Pittman Center

Discover the charm of small-town living in Pittman Center, where community and nature blend beautifully. This town, a hidden jewel in the Tennessee Mountains, is often hailed as one of the best towns to live in Tennessee Mountains. It’s a place where tradition and natural beauty create a perfect harmony.

In Pittman Center, every day is an opportunity to connect with nature. The town is surrounded by lush forests, inviting residents to explore and embrace the outdoors. It’s a community that values its natural surroundings, fostering a deep appreciation for the environment among its residents.

The heart of Pittman Center is its people. Here, neighbors know each other by name, and a sense of community pervades every street. This town isn’t just a place to reside; it’s a community that nurtures and supports, making it a truly best city to live in Tennessee Mountains.

Pittman Center offers an escape from the hustle and bustle, a place where one can find peace in the lap of nature. It’s a town that represents the best of small-town living, where life is a little slower, and the joys of community and nature are at your doorstep.

Pittman Center is a location where history and scenic beauty coexist in perfect harmony.
Pittman Center is a location where history and scenic beauty coexist in perfect harmony. | Image Credit: Zillow

11. Maryville

Embrace a lifestyle where city conveniences meet mountain serenity in Maryville. This vibrant town, set against the stunning backdrop of the Tennessee Mountains, is widely recognized as one of the best cities to live in. Maryville combines the best of both worlds, offering a rich cultural life along with breathtaking natural scenery.

The streets of Maryville are alive with a mix of historical charm and modern amenities. From quaint cafes to bustling markets, the town offers a diverse range of experiences. Its cultural scene, marked by local festivals and events, adds vibrancy to everyday life, making it a delightful place to call home.

Outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to Maryville for its proximity to hiking trails, lakes, and parks. The town is a gateway to the great outdoors, providing endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation amidst nature. It’s a place where every season brings a new reason to explore and enjoy.

As one of the most livable cities in Tennessee Mountains, Maryville strikes a perfect balance. It offers a community-focused lifestyle, where the beauty of nature and the warmth of neighbors create a welcoming and fulfilling living experience. Maryville is not just a place to live; it’s a place to thrive.

In Maryville, embrace a way of life where modern comforts meet tranquility of the mountains.
In Maryville, embrace a way of life where modern comforts meet tranquility of the mountains.

12. Tellico Plains

Discover the allure of living where the mountains meet history in Tellico Plains. This quaint town, cradled in the Tennessee Mountains, offers an enchanting blend of natural beauty and a rich historical tapestry. It’s recognized as one of the top cities in Tennessee Mountains to live, where the past and present dance in harmony.

The streets of Tellico Plains whisper tales of yesteryear, while inviting exploration with its antique shops and local artisan displays. The town’s commitment to preserving its heritage, combined with a welcoming community spirit, makes it a truly special place to establish roots.

Adventure beckons in the surrounding landscapes, with the Cherokee National Forest offering endless possibilities for outdoor pursuits. From hiking to fishing, nature’s playground is at your doorstep. Tellico Plains is a haven for those who cherish the great outdoors and a slower pace of life.

As one of the best Tennessee Mountains cities, Tellico Plains captures the essence of mountain living. It’s a community where neighbors become friends, and the rhythm of life is dictated by the beauty of nature. Tellico Plains isn’t just a place to live; it’s a place to belong.

Experience the charm of residing in Tellico Plains, where history and mountains converge.
Experience the charm of residing in Tellico Plains, where history and mountains converge.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Tennessee Mountains                   

Want to delve deeper into understanding the top living destinations in the Tennessee Mountains? Let’s explore some frequently asked questions about the finest places to reside in the Tennessee Mountains.

Where is the best place to live in the Tennessee mountains?

Selecting the best place to live in the Tennessee mountains depends on your preferences. For a vibrant, activity-filled lifestyle, consider Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, known for their lively attractions and proximity to the Smoky Mountains. If you prefer a peaceful, small-town ambiance, Townsend or Cosby could be perfect, offering serene mountain living and a strong sense of community.

For those seeking a balance between city amenities and mountain beauty, Maryville and Johnson City are excellent choices, blending urban conveniences with stunning natural surroundings. Ultimately, the best place is where your lifestyle and the community’s offerings align harmoniously.

Which city in Tennessee has the best mountain views?

For breathtaking mountain views, Gatlinburg stands out. Located at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, it offers stunning vistas from almost every corner. The city’s unique position provides panoramic views of the mountain range, making it a top choice for those seeking scenic beauty.

Another noteworthy mention is Wears Valley, known for its picturesque landscapes and unobstructed views of the Smokies. These cities are not just admired for their views but are also among the best cities to live in Tennessee Mountains, combining natural beauty with a vibrant community life.

What city in Tennessee is near mountains?

Several cities in Tennessee are nestled near mountains, offering easy access to breathtaking landscapes. Knoxville, for instance, is close to the Great Smoky Mountains, allowing residents to enjoy mountain views and outdoor activities. Chattanooga, known as the ‘Scenic City,’ lies near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and offers a unique blend of urban living and natural beauty. These cities are not just close to the mountains but also rank as some of the most livable cities in Tennessee Mountains, providing a perfect mix of natural splendor and city conveniences.

Like California, Tennessee offers a wide range of opportunities and distinct charms.
Like California, Tennessee offers a wide range of opportunities and distinct charms.

Where is the most desirable place to live in Tennessee?

The most desirable place to live in Tennessee can vary based on individual preferences. For those seeking a combination of city life and mountain scenery, Chattanooga and Knoxville are top picks. Chattanooga, by the Tennessee River and surrounded by mountains, offers both natural beauty and a thriving urban environment. Knoxville, near the Smoky Mountains, is ideal for those who enjoy a larger city with easy access to outdoor activities.

For a more serene mountain lifestyle, towns like Gatlinburg and Wears Valley are highly desirable, known for their stunning views and peaceful living. Each of these locations is often considered among the best Tennessee Mountains cities due to their unique blend of amenities, natural beauty, and community atmosphere.

What is the best part of living in Tennessee?

Living in Tennessee offers a blend of benefits that cater to a diverse range of preferences. One of the standout aspects is the scenic beauty, especially in the mountainous regions. The presence of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian range provides stunning vistas and a multitude of outdoor recreational activities. Additionally, Tennessee is known for its rich cultural heritage, especially in music, with cities like Nashville and Memphis being pivotal in the development of various music genres.

The state also boasts a lower cost of living compared to many other parts of the country, making it an economically attractive place to reside. Moreover, the friendly community atmosphere prevalent in both its urban and rural areas makes it a welcoming place for newcomers. Each of these elements contributes to Tennessee being one of the nice parts of Tennessee Mountains to live in.

Is it a good idea to move to Tennessee?

Moving to Tennessee can be a great decision, depending on your lifestyle and preferences. The state is renowned for its affordable cost of living, including reasonable housing prices, which is a significant draw. Tennessee’s diverse geography, from the rolling hills and scenic beauty of the mountain areas to the vibrant river cities, offers a variety of living environments. The state is also known for its mild climate, with distinct but generally moderate seasons.

Culturally, Tennessee is rich in history, music, and arts, offering a dynamic community life. Moreover, Tennessee’s no state income tax policy can be financially beneficial. For outdoor enthusiasts, the proximity to natural landscapes like the Great Smoky Mountains and numerous lakes and parks makes it an ideal location. These factors make Tennessee one of the good places to live in Tennessee Mountains and beyond.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Tennessee Mountains

Tennessee, much like California, is a state of diverse charms and myriad opportunities. It offers a range of lifestyles that cater to various preferences, from the vibrant city life in Nashville and Memphis to the serene and scenic living in the Tennessee Mountains. Whether it’s the bustling streets of Knoxville or the peaceful trails of Gatlinburg, Tennessee has something special for everyone.

For those looking for affordability without sacrificing quality, places like Maryville and Johnson City provide a cost-effective living while still offering plenty of amenities. These areas underscore that Tennessee is not just affordable but also rich in lifestyle choices. For the urban dwellers, cities like Chattanooga present a perfect mix of career opportunities and cultural experiences.

Happiness and quality of life are paramount in Tennessee. Towns like Wears Valley are often highlighted as some of the best towns to live in Tennessee Mountains, offering a harmonious balance of outdoor recreation and community warmth.

So, when considering the best places to move in Tennessee, the decision is as varied as the state’s landscape. It depends on what you value most – be it job prospects, natural beauty, or a sense of community. Tennessee, in its essence, is more than a state; it’s a place where every lifestyle, preference, and dream finds a home.

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