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Camping is one of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors in the Smoky Mountains! If you love nature and want to spend your nights underneath the stars, plan a Smoky Mountain camping trip! There are many campgrounds near Gatlinburg that provide a great place to stay. To help guarantee you have a great time, check out these 8 helpful tips for camping in Gatlinburg:
1. Choose the Camping Style That’s Right for You
The first step when planning a camping trip is to choose the campsite that best fits your camping style. There’s something for every type of camper, from those who like to “rough it” to those who prefer more luxuries than your typical campsite. There are plenty of options for traditional tent camping, and many tent sites still have amenities like bath houses, outdoor grills and fire pits, and more. There are also numerous RV parks in Gatlinburg with water and sewer hookups so you can enjoy the outdoors but also have the comfort of sleeping indoors. Some campsites even have camping cabins that take your camping trip to the next level with real beds and air conditioning/heat.
If you want to spend a night surrounded by the beauty of the Smoky Mountains but aren’t big on the idea of not having the same amenities you’d have at a resort, go glamping! Under Canvas offers glamping near Gatlinburg that combines tent camping with resort amenities. This campground has a collection of safari-inspired canvas tents that include amenities like a private bathroom, a wood stove, a private deck, King-size beds and more.
2. Don’t Overpack
One important tip to keep in mind when preparing for your camping trip is not to overpack. You won’t want to have to carry around heavy luggage your whole trip, so prevent this by only packing the essentials! Start by making a packing list that includes everything you’ll need throughout the trip, then stick to the list when packing your bags. It’s always a good idea to pack layers because temperatures can change throughout the day. Before you start packing, check out the weather forecast for the Smokies so you have a better idea of what to wear!
Other important items to bring are a first-aid kit, personal care items like toiletries, sunscreen, bug spray and hand sanitizer, and anything you need for tent setup, including sleeping bags and travel pillows.
3. Bring Snacks
Of course we can’t let you forget the most important thing while camping: snacks! Your camping trip wouldn’t be complete without making s’mores. Pack all the ingredients you’ll need, along with some of your other favorite snacks, like trail mix and granola bars.
4. Plan Your Meals
It’s best to plan your meals in advance when you go camping in Gatlinburg. Most campsites have outdoor grills you can use to make hamburgers, chicken, and even steaks, or you can cook hot dogs over the fire! You can also make foil packets or bring pre-cooked meals from home. If you don’t feel like cooking, you can drive to some of the popular restaurants in Gatlinburg to enjoy delicious meals!
5. Camp with the Whole Family
Every experience is more special when you get to share it with the ones you love. That’s why camping in the Smoky Mountains is the perfect activity for the whole family to do together! Take a break from the stresses of everyday life and escape to the great outdoors. Kids love getting to sleep outside and play games around the campground. At the end of each night, gather around the campfire to make s’mores and tell stories!
6. Put the Phones Away
While many campgrounds now provide wireless internet access somewhere on the property, we recommend putting the phones away and spending some quality time with the ones you love. Camping provides a great opportunity for you to unwind and focus on having a fun time away from the hustle and bustle. However, we do give you permission to pull your phones out to take pictures of the beautiful Smoky Mountain area!
7. Explore the Great Outdoors
Don’t just spend the night in the great outdoors — take some time to explore! Whether you want to just go for a stroll around the campground or go for a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll love being able to take in the gorgeous sights with your own eyes. Popular hikes include Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls, and the Gatlinburg Trail. You can also go white water rafting, kayaking, river tubing, fishing and so much more! There is no shortage of fun things to do outdoors in the Smoky Mountains.
8. Visit Nearby Gatlinburg Attractions
While you’re in the area, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit some of the nearby Gatlinburg attractions. Go shopping at The Village Shops in downtown Gatlinburg, interact with aquatic animals at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or step into a world of weird at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!. When you’re looking for more opportunities to view the sights, head to the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, the Gatlinburg Space Needle or Anakeesta! When you work up an appetite, visit one of the popular Gatlinburg restaurants, like The Peddler, Cherokee Grill or Loco Burro.
Choose Your Gatlinburg Campground Today
Now that you have the most helpful tips for camping in Gatlinburg, you’re ready to start planning your trip! Take a look at all the campgrounds and RV Parks in the area, then choose the one that’s best for your camping style.