Home » Blog » Travel Information » 6 Tips for First-Time Visitors to the Smoky Mountains
fall at Clingmans Dome in the great smoky mountains

6 Tips for First-Time Visitors to the Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountain area is one of the most popular vacation destinations, and for good reason! With so much to see and do in the area, we know it can be overwhelming to plan your first trip here. That’s where we come in. We’ve created a helpful guide for first-time visitors to guarantee you have the best time and want to return year after year. Here are 6 tips for first-time visitors to the Smoky Mountains:

1. Stay in a Smoky Mountain cabin.

big sky viewOne of the most important parts of this guide is helping you decide where to stay. A place to stay can make or break your vacation. That’s why you have to stay in a Smoky Mountain cabin! Cabins come with everything you need and more for a memorable stay and provide you with a true Smoky Mountain experience. You’ll have privacy and be able to enjoy the peacefulness of the Smokies, while still being just a short drive from all the action in town. We list over 1,000 beautiful cabins that come with a variety of amenities, from mountain views and hot tubs to game rooms and indoor pools. They come in all sizes, so you can find one that’s perfect for any occasion! Be sure to check out the latest Smoky Mountain cabin deals to see how you can save on your stay!

2. Have an idea of what you want to do.

There are so many great attractions, restaurants and more things to do in the Smoky Mountains. It can be overwhelming for first-time visitors to try to fit so many things into one vacation. That’s why we recommend having an idea of what you want to do before you visit. Spend some time researching the different parks, shows, restaurants and more, and decide what you’d like to try the most when you come! Visitors fall in love with attractions like Dollywood, the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and The Island, and restaurants like the Apple Barn, The Old Mill and the Local Goat. For help deciding what to do, check out our blog, “Top 10 Things to Do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg for First-Time Visitors.”

3. Spend time enjoying the outdoors.

fallOne of the best parts about being in the Smoky Mountains, is being in the Smoky Mountains. No matter what time of year you visit, try to spend some quality time enjoying the great outdoors. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 850 miles of hiking trails, incredible scenic drives, and more than 100 gorgeous waterfalls. Popular hikes and drives include Laurel Falls, Cades Cove, Alum Cave and Roaring Fork. There are also outdoor attractions you can enjoy too, like Ober Gatlinburg, Anakeesta and Rowdy Bear!

4. Don’t get overwhelmed by the crowds.

One of our most important tips is this: Don’t get overwhelmed by the crowds. The Smoky Mountain area is one of the most visited areas. There is going to be traffic; there are going to be crowds. Don’t let it overshadow the most important factor — you’re in the Smoky Mountains! Take a moment to breathe and enjoy the simple fact that you’re surrounded by the beauty of the Smokies, and opportunities for fun and adventure are endless. For tips on avoiding crowds in the Smokies, read our blog, “5 Ways to Avoid Crowds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

5. Enjoy breakfast at a local restaurant.

outside of the old mill restaurant in pigeon forgeOne of the things visitors love most about this area is the delicious breakfast! While you can cut costs by enjoying breakfast in your cabin, we recommend splurging on breakfast out at least one day of your vacation. From pancakes, to giant cinnamon rolls, to apple fritters and julep — you can’t miss breakfast in the Smoky Mountains. It’s the most important meal of the day, and choosing a place to enjoy it is one of the most important decisions you’ll make! Of course, you can’t go wrong with any place you choose. Popular choices among visitors are The Old Mill Restaurant, Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, Pancake Pantry and Crockett’s Breakfast Camp. For more details, read our blog, “Where to Find the Best Breakfast in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.”

6. Take it all in.

The best advice we can give first-time visitors to the Smoky Mountains is just to take it all in. There is so much to see and do in the area, but we want to make sure you slow down and enjoy it! Spend time breathing in the fresh mountain air and visiting the top attractions and restaurants on your list, then plan your next vacation to come back and try even more! Whether you’re relaxing in your cabin’s hot tub, exploring the national park, or racing across the tracks on a coaster, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable experience in the Smokies.

Plan Your Smoky Mountain Vacation

If you follow these 6 helpful tips, you’re going to have an amazing first trip to the Smoky Mountains! Are you ready to start planning? Browse the best Smoky Mountain cabins to find the perfect one for your trip!