Are you planning a trip to the oh-so-famous Smoky Mountains and finding it difficult to organize the perfect travel itinerary? Fret not! We are here to make sure you make the most of your trip.
If this is your first-ever trip to one of America’s most-visited national parks, your excitement is justified. The unparalleled beauty of the Great Smokies, scenic views and drives, spectacular hikes, amazing diversity of wildlife, and the Southern charm are sure to take your breath away. And with so much to explore and do, you will also likely get confused.
While planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to this four-seasoned wonderland, you may become overwhelmed in no time. Whether it’s looking for a place to stay or planning what to do there, it is crucial to do everything beforehand. This way, you will have enough time to enjoy the famous gem of nature. Go through the following must-know tips before you hit the road.
Look for a place to stay
Whether you are visiting the Smokies to see the colorful wildflowers in spring, the spectacular hues of autumn, or the lush green landscapes in summer, find a place to stay ahead of time. With 11 million visitors each year, this place gets crowded during the peak seasons. Moreover, a place to stay can make or break your long-cherished vacation, especially in terms of comfort.
With timely planning, you can choose a cabin or a camping ground wherever you want to stay. If you are someone, who enjoys the comfort and coziness of a home, consider staying in a cabin. Scour Google to find some affordable and comfy Smoky Mountain cabin rentals online and book one you like at the spot. Whether you are going for a romantic honeymoon, family vacation, wedding anniversary, or company vacation, you can always find a cabin or chalet to your liking.
Make a to-do list
It is always better to plan for trips beforehand to ensure you return with no regrets. Planning is simple; all you need to do is list down what you want to do and what you want to see. Do you like hiking, or do you prefer enjoying the views from a chairlift? Would you prefer a car trip through the park or a zip-line across the mountains?
See, planning is all about your likes and preferences. So, open a map and locate where your favorites are located and connected. Not only can you save time by planning, but also base your days around the plan. Most importantly, make a back plan for your trip in case the original one fails because of unexpected situations like bad weather. This way, you will have alternate activities lined up to do in the national park to make your trip worth it.
Try to avoid traffic and crowds
It is no surprise that the Great Smokies and its neighboring towns get busy during peak seasons. You may spend hours of your precious time stuck in a slow-moving train of cars. The good news is you can avoid such instances by adhering to the following tips:
- The roads are busiest in the afternoon. So, try to travel early or late at night to save time. You can also walk to some attractions instead of driving to avoid traffic.
- You can visit some quieter areas like Goats on the roof, Forbidden Caverns, etc., rather than the busy ones.
- One way to avoid traffic is to stay in cabins near downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
Spend time in the outdoors
Staying in bed all day long may be tempting when you are on a vacation, but you can’t do that when you are in the Smokies. Why? Because it’s the Great Smoky Mountains. This national park is home to incredible landscapes, stunning waterfalls, hidden caves, about 850 miles of hiking trails, scenic drives, and breathtaking views. You can drive along the Cades Cove, take scenic hikes on the Blue Ridge Mountains, enjoy incredible weather displays at the Clingmans Dome, or visit magnificent waterfalls.
Moreover, if you are more into mystery and discovery, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Tuckaleechee caverns and the Forbidden caverns. Thus, instead of wasting time in your cabin, get outside and make your vacation worthwhile by exploring the great outdoors.
Look for ways to save
Trips are mostly costly. If you spend carelessly on every little thing, the trip may cost you a fortune. We can suggest a few ways like getting coupons and deals to help you plan the trip in a budget-friendly way.
Firstly, look for any discounts like off-season discounts to save on your place to stay. Next comes looking for deals and discounts on attraction tickets. You can easily find deals offered by restaurants and attractions online.
Another practical way to save food costs is to cook inside the cabin. Another tip is looking for ways to have fare-free places like Island in Pigeon Forge to have fun without spending a dime.
Take the essentials with you
The best way to enjoy a trip is by carrying all the essentials you will need on the trip. It is fun to bask in the outdoors, but getting sick will ruin all the fun of your trip, so it’s better to be careful and go prepared.
Also, while deciding what to pack, look up the weather forecast to know what to expect. It helps you figure out what you want to do on your trip. For example, if you are up for an adventure, it is better to pack comfortable clothes, trekking shoes, sticks, a raincoat, etc. If you plan to dine out a lot, pack a lot of nice clothes. Moreover, if you plan on doing a travel shoot, pack clothes accordingly. The supplementary things you must take are sunscreen, a camera, a first-aid kit, and toiletries.
The Smoky Mountains have a lot to offer for every kind of visitor. Whether you want to enjoy the peaceful nature, do some fun-filled activities like riding a chairlift or zip-line, hiking, seeing waterfalls, or trying different foods. The Smokies have it all. Thus, it is crucial to plan ahead of time to have the best experience. A to-do list can help you narrow down the activities you can do in your time. It is important to avoid traffic, spend more time outdoors, and take travel essentials. Sticking to these tips will help you enjoy your trip to the fullest.