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5 Things You Have to Do to Have the Best Smoky Mountain Vacation

Are you ready to have the best Smoky Mountain vacation ever? We can help! We know the best tips and tricks when it comes to vacation planning to help you have the most memorable vacation in the Smokies. Ready to start planning? Here are 5 things you have to do to have the best Smoky Mountain vacation:

1. Stay in a Smoky Mountain Cabin

large gatlinburg cabin rentalThe first step when planning a vacation is finding a place to stay, and the secret to having the best Smoky Mountain vacation is to stay in a Smoky Mountain cabin! We list an incredible selection of cabins in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville that provide the perfect home away from home on vacation. You can experience all the comforts of home, from full kitchens to separate rooms for sleeping, along with all the benefits of being in the Smokies, like gorgeous mountain views! There are secluded cabins for those who want to escape from all the hustle and bustle and relax, and there are cabins close to all the action for those who want to be a short drive from attractions, restaurants and more. Smoky Mountain cabins range in size from 1 bedroom to large group cabins, so it’s easy to find one for any occasion!

Staying in a cabin rental can also help you save money on your vacation by offering money-saving perks like full kitchens and free attraction tickets. For more ways to save, take a look at our Smoky Mountain cabin specials!

2. Spend Time Exploring the National Park

Your vacation to the Smoky Mountains wouldn’t be complete without, well, exploring the Smoky Mountains! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free to enter, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t take some time to visit. There’s a reason it’s the most visited national park in the country — there are countless hiking trails, scenic drives, wildlife viewing opportunities and more for you to enjoy. Here are some of our favorite things to do in the Smoky Mountains:

  • Go for a scenic drive
  • Go for a hike with incredible views
  • See a waterfall
  • Spot wildlife

For more ideas, take a look at our list of can’t-miss things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains!

3. Visit the Can’t-Miss Attractions

Outside of the national park, there are plenty of exciting attractions we know you’ll want to visit. While it may be hard to narrow down your picks, there are a few can’t-miss attractions that will make your vacation even better:


dollywood signIf you visit while Dollywood is open (mid-March through early January) then you have to plan a trip to this world-class theme park. There are so many incredible rides for both kids and thrill-seekers, entertaining shows, delicious food, and various shops! There is also award-winning festivals held throughout the year that will make your experience better. See an impressive drone lights show during Sweet Summer Nights, hundreds of decorative pumpkins during the Harvest Festival, and millions of twinkling lights during Smoky Mountain Christmas!

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

The Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is a can’t-miss attraction that’s constantly growing and adding new experiences for guests. Ride the iconic Gatlinburg SkyLift to the top, where you can relax and take in the views on the SkyDeck, cross the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, or take a stroll along the SkyTrail! If you’re looking for breathtaking views of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains, this is the attraction for you.

The Apple Barn

The Apple Barn is one of the top spots for shopping and dining in the Smokies. Here, you can enjoy the best apple fritters and your favorite Southern meals at the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant or Applewood Farmhouse Grill. You can also sample delicious apple wine and the Apple Barn Winery, get ice cream at Apple Valley Creamery, get in the holiday spirit at the Christmas & Candle Shop, or, of course, sample cider at The Cider Mill!

Take a look at other can’t-miss attractions in the Smoky Mountains for more help deciding what to do!

4. Try the Best Local Restaurants

Some of the delicious meals you can have in the Smokies you just can’t have anywhere else. To guarantee you have the best Smoky Mountain vacation, you’re going to want to enjoy a meal at some of the local restaurants in town. From Southern cooking to burgers and wings, you can find anything here in the Smokies! Here are some of our favorites:

The Old Mill Restaurant

The Old Mill Restaurant is a favorite among both locals and visitors who want a delicious Southern meal. Breakfast is a popular time to visit, with stone-ground corn grits, homemade biscuits, omelets and more. For lunch and dinner, you have to try the fried chicken or Southern BBQ plate!

The Peddler

The Peddler Steakhouse in Gatlinburg For a custom-cut steak in the heart of the Smokies, visit The Peddler in Gatlinburg! The Peddler is built upon tradition and has become a restaurant families return to year after year. Guests rave about their fresh salad bar, extensive wine list and tender steaks that are cut tableside.

The Local Goat

When you drive past this restaurant, you’ll notice the parking lot is always full — and for good reason! This New American restaurant offers everything from jumbo wings to fall-off-the-bone ribs. Plus, everything is made from scratch in the kitchen daily, including the bread! The Local Goat also specializes in craft beer and other craft drinks! You can’t go wrong with this restaurant.

For more ideas on where to eat, check out these delicious restaurants.

5. Find the Perfect Souvenir

You’re going to want the perfect souvenir to take back home with you that will remind you of what a wonderful time you had in the Smoky Mountains! Luckily, there are plenty of shops throughout the area, where you can find apparel, stuffed animals, home decor and so much more. We recommend going to Three Bears General Store in Pigeon Forge, which is a 40,000 sq. ft. store with clothing, gifts, a sweet shop and more. Other places to browse are The Village Shops in Gatlinburg, Ogle Brothers General Store and Country Barn Gift Shop.

Plan Your Smoky Mountain Vacation

view from alum cave bluff to mount leconteNow that you know everything you need to do to have the best Smoky Mountain vacation, it’s time to start planning your visit! Take a look at more than 1,000 of the best Smoky Mountain cabins and choose the perfect one for your stay.