Your Guide to the Perfect Weekend Vacation in the Smoky Mountains

Time Magazine Features the Smoky Mountains to Celebrate 100 Years of the National Park Service
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Sometimes all you need is a peaceful getaway to the beautiful mountains to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you don’t have a lot of free time to spare for a vacation, a short trip to the Smoky Mountains is perfect for you! Take a weekend off to relax and enjoy all that the mountains have to offer. To make sure you make the most of your short time in the area, we’ve come up with a guide to the perfect weekend vacation in the Smoky Mountains.

1. What to Pack

Woman packing for vacation to the Smoky MountainsDeciding what to pack for vacation can always be challenging, but when you’re just visiting for the weekend, you won’t have to bring too much! We recommend checking the weather to make sure you pack appropriate clothing for the temperatures. You can keep up to date with the weather in the Smoky Mountains with our weather forecast videos from meteorologist Paul Poteet. Don’t overthink what to bring, either! One of the best parts about a weekend getaway is that you don’t have to worry about packing a ton of clothes and toiletries! You’re only going to need enough for two days, so don’t weigh down your suitcase with unnecessary items.

2. Where to Stay

You’ll be able to find great deals on Gatlinburg TN cabins when you book your weekend trip. A cabin is the perfect place to stay because you will have all the comforts of home with the benefits of being in the Smoky Mountains. Location is important when deciding where you want to stay. When you stay in a Gatlinburg cabin, you’ll have the convenience of being a short drive away from all the incredible things to do in the area, but also the benefit of being far enough away that you’ll be able to enjoy the serenity the mountains have to offer. You can spend your days at popular attractions downtown and your evenings relaxing in the outdoor hot tub while you watch the sunset!

3. What to Do

Since you’ll only be in town for the weekend, you might worry that you won’t have enough time to explore all the sights and attractions that you want. To help you out, we’ve come up with some of the top things to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg that you can squeeze into your weekend itinerary:

A train pulling into the station at the Dollywood theme park.Dollywood

Dollywood is one of the most popular attractions in the Smoky Mountains, so you’ll definitely want to try to fit some time at the theme park in your schedule if you can! Whether you want to ride thrilling roller coasters, go shopping or see a show, you’ll be able to do so at Dollywood. We recommend purchasing a TimeSaver Pass so you can spend less time waiting in line and more time having fun! You can ride the Dollywood Express for a breathtaking 5-mile journey through the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, or try the Wild Eagle to feel like you’re soaring like a bird above the mountains. You’ll make memories that will last forever when you explore the theme park.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

If the weather isn’t going your way on the weekend you visit, you can still have fun indoors! Swap out a fun adventure at Dollywood for an exciting day at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. This aquarium is unlike one you’ve ever seen before! Not only will you be able to see all your favorite types of sea life, but you can interact with them too! You can swim with rays, touch jellyfish and even come face to face with penguins. You’ll be able to spend hours experiencing all the amazing exhibits at the aquarium.

Go for a Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There’s no better way to spend a few hours of your weekend vacation than by going for a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When you go hiking, you’ll be able to see the true beauty of the mountains. During the colder months, you have the chance to see frozen waterfalls and snow-covered mountaintops, while during the warmer months you’ll be able to see wildflowers and cascading waterfalls. Make sure you bring a camera to capture the breathtaking scenery you’ll see on your adventure! Pack some food before you go so you can stop at one of the designated picnic areas and enjoy a delicious meal surrounded by the gorgeous mountains.

Ride the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel

The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at The Island in Pigeon Forge at night.After a full weekend filled with theme parks, hiking and an aquarium, make a plan to head to The Island in Pigeon Forge to ride the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is a must-do on your short visit to the mountains. You’ll get the chance to see Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains from as high as 200 feet above the ground from the safety of a glass gondola. While you’re there, you might as well explore all the other wonderful things The Island has to offer. Dine at one of the delicious restaurants like Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen or Timberwood Grill to feed your appetite before your trip back home, and browse some of the many shops to find the perfect souvenir to remind you of your vacation!

There are so many incredible memories to be made during your weekend getaway! Check out all the Gatlinburg TN cabin rentals and start planning the perfect weekend vacation in the Smoky Mountains.

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