Your Ultimate Smoky Mountain Travel Guide: Tips, Tricks and More

spring view of the smoky mountains
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Are you visiting the Smoky Mountains soon? We want to help guarantee you have the best trip possible! That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate Smoky Mountain travel guide. Our guide includes travel tips for where to stay and what to pack, tricks for saving money and avoiding traffic, and more. Here is everything you need to know for your Smoky Mountain vacation:

Where to Stay

deck of a cabin in Gatlinburg TN with mountain viewsThe first step when planning a vacation in the Smoky Mountains is to find the perfect place to stay. There are so many options for you, from campgrounds to cabins. When you want a place to stay that feels just like home, choose a cabin. Cabins come with all the comforts of home, along with all the benefits of being in the Smokies. Choose from cabins with a variety of amenities, like hot tubs, fire pits, game rooms, home theaters, swimming pools and more! No matter the occasion, whether it’s a romantic getaway or a family vacation, you can find a cabin that’s perfect for you. Cabins are also in a great location, far enough away from all the action to give you privacy, but close enough so that you can still enjoy all the fun in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

What to Pack

When you’re trying to decide what to pack for vacation, one of the best things to do is take a look at what the weather will be like. Keep up to date with the weather with our weekly Smoky Mountain weather forecast videos! That way you can pack the right clothes for the right temperatures. It also helps to think about what you want to do during your vacation. If you plan on doing a lot of exploring, comfortable clothes and shoes are the way to go. It never hurts to pack a couple nicer outfits too in case you want to dine out at nice restaurants!

Woman packing for vacation to the Smoky MountainsHere are some other items you can add to your packing list:

  • Camera
  • Phone charger
  • Sun screen
  • First-aid kit
  • Toiletries

Ways to Save

Everyone is looking for ways to save on vacation! Our Smoky Mountain travel guide wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t offer ways for you to have a budget-friendly trip. From coupons and discounts to tricks for saving a little extra on expenses, we’re here to help. The first step is finding out how you can save on a place to stay! We’ve gathered a list of the best lodging deals and discounts in the area so you can get the best price on your cabin. The next step is finding deals on attraction tickets! Take a look at our Smoky Mountain coupons to see what attraction and restaurant discounts you can take advantage of during your trip. Here are some additional ways you can save money:

kitchen inside of a cabinGet groceries and prepare meals in your cabin. While there are so many delicious restaurants you’ll want to try in the Smokies, you’ll be surprised at how quickly restaurant bills can add up. We recommend substituting 1 or 2 meals out a day for meals in your cabin. Stop by a nearby grocery store and pick up everything you need to prepare a home-cooked meal for everyone to share! Cabins come with fully equipped kitchens that have all the same modern appliances as your kitchen at home. You’ll end up saving a good amount by dining in more and dining out less.

Enjoy free things to do. The cost of attraction tickets can quickly add up as well! But don’t worry — there is plenty of free fun you can have in the Smoky Mountains. A visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must on your vacation. You can explore the park’s beauty on hiking trails and scenic drives without spending a dime. Other free things to do include The Island in Pigeon Forge, walking around Patriot Park, or simply enjoying the fun your cabin rental has to offer!

How to Avoid Traffic

It’s no secret that traffic gets heavy in the Smoky Mountain area, especially if you visit during peak travel times. While it’s difficult to avoid traffic altogether, we do have some tips to get around the heavy congestion.

A winding road in the Smoky Mountains.Travel in the early morning or late at night. The Smoky Mountain area tends to be the busiest in the afternoons. The trick is to travel in the early morning or late at night. Leaving early in the morning and returning late at night will help you avoid some of the heavy congestion along the parkways.

Walk to attractions. If you leave early in the morning and park your car in downtown Gatlinburg, you can walk to the attractions, shops and restaurants along the Parkway! There are also cabins that put you within walking distance of downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge so you can leave your car at the cabin and avoid traffic altogether.

Visit quieter areas. Although the Smoky Mountains are a popular destination, there are some quieter areas you can escape to. You can try the secret entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or visit some attractions off the beaten path, like Goats on the Roof or Forbidden Caverns.

Places to Visit to Avoid Crowds

House of the Fairies in the SMoky MountiainsWhen you want to enjoy the beauty of the Smokies but don’t want to be around big crowds of people, there are less crowded places you can visit. Go for a scenic drive that’s less popular than others, like Rich Mountain Road or Greenbrier Road, or go for a hike to a hidden gem, like the House of the Fairies off Twin Creeks Trail! Another great way to social distance is to take advantage of all the amenities your cabin has to offer. If you choose a cabin with bonus amenities like pool tables, theater rooms and indoor pools, you won’t even have to leave the cabin to have fun! Relax on your cabin’s deck and take in the gorgeous views of the mountains, or soak in the hot tub as you watch the sunset. Whether you’re outside or inside, you’ll love the comfort and entertainment your cabin rental provides.

Plan Your Smoky Mountain Vacation Today

Now that you have our Smoky Mountain travel guide to help you plan your vacation, you’re ready to get started! Take a look at all the gorgeous cabins in the Smoky Mountains and find the perfect one for your stay.

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