Some people enjoy beach vacations, some like visiting the countryside, while others yearn for the excitement of big cities. But a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains is necessary if you count yourself among those who love mountains.
Before planning a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, decide how long you’ll stay and which attractions are most important to you. If you prefer being outdoors, there are plenty of options for hiking and exploring the waterfalls and scenic drives throughout the mountains. Or, if you would rather learn about the area’s history, many museums and tours are available that detail the region’s past.
The Smokys are the best destination for a family vacation with many outdoor activities. Here are some of the tips to make your trip stand out!
Book an accommodation
From hotels to cabins, various lodging options are available in the nearby mountain towns of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. When choosing the accommodation, keep the size of your family and your requirements from your accommodation in mind. A cabin may be the way to go if you value your solitude and some home comforts while away from home.
After exploring the Smoky Mountains, you’ll want a comfortable place to relax, and Sevierville sits just in the foothills of the Smokys. You can stay in one of the Sevierville Tennessee cabins with all the facilities you need to feel right at home, including a fully-equipped kitchen, private bedrooms, and a cozy living room.
Look for cabins that offer child-friendly activities, such as a playground, a game room, and a swimming pool if you are with kids.
Plan Your Day
While it’s nice to have some flexibility while on vacation, knowing what you want to do each day is helpful. An example of a day out in the Smokys could look like this.
Start your day early by going on a hike is one of the many trails throughout the park. Make sure to keep plenty of water, snacks, and a map of the area. Or, if you’re staying in one of the towns near the park, take a stroll through the historic downtown area.
In the afternoon, cool off with a swim in one of the many rivers or lakes in the park. Or, take a scenic drive down one road that winds through the mountains.
Enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the area’s restaurants as night falls. Then, spend some time in hotels and cabins to enjoy the view.
Enjoy the Free Things to Do
As you begin making your plans for the trip, be sure to take advantage of all the free things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains! One of the most popular free activities is hiking. With over 800 miles of trails, there’s sure to be a perfect hike for your group.
If you’re looking for a more leisurely activity, drive down the 11-mile Newfound Gap Road. This road offers stunning views of the mountains and is a great way to see the park without having to hike.
Stop by one of the many visitor centers for a closer look at the park’s wildlife. Here, you can learn about the animals that call the Smokys home and even see some of them up close!
Enjoy Food at Local Restaurants
No trip to the Smoky Mountains would be complete without enjoying some of the area’s delicious food. So whether you’re seeking a quick bite to eat or a sit-down meal, there are plenty of great options.
Try one of the area’s famous BBQ joints if you’re in the mood for comfort food. For a more upscale meal, enjoy some fresh seafood or steak at one of the restaurants in the area.
Alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the park, but you can find plenty of places to enjoy a drink just outside the park boundaries. A few local distilleries offer tastings, or you can enjoy a drink at one of the local bars.
Go For Camping
One of the good ways to experience the Smokys is by camping in the park. Whether you’re staying in a tent or an RV, plenty of options are available to make your camping trip comfortable. Be sure to bring along all of the essentials, such as a tent, sleeping bags, food, and water. And don’t forget to purchase a camping permit before setting up camp!
If you are inexperienced with camping or don’t want to go too deep into the wilderness, developed campgrounds throughout the Smokys are a great option! These campgrounds offer considerate amenities like flush toilets and running water, making your experience much more pleasant. Some even have showers and laundry facilities so that you can feel right at home.
One of the best things about the Smokys is that they offer some of the best stargazing opportunities in the country. The stars seem brighter and more numerous than ever with no light pollution.
If you want to enjoy the most out of your stargazing experience, consider taking a guided night hike or attending one of the many ranger-led programs offered in the park. These programs are a great way to learn about the stars and how to find them in the sky. And don’t forget to bring along a blanket so that you can sit back and enjoy the show!
While the Smoky Mountains are a beautiful place to visit, it is essential to remember that it is also a wilderness. Many dangers come with hiking and camping in the wilderness, so it is important to be prepared before heading out. If you spot an animal, don’t approach it; instead, back away slowly while remaining calm.
Be sure to bring along a map and compass, and know how to use them. It is also good to tell someone where you are moving to and when you plan to return. Finally, remember to wear long boots to protect your feet from rocks and sticks and carry a first-aid kit in an emergency.
The Great Smoky National Park is the perfect place to go if you need a break from your normal routine. With tons of different things to do, you can find something for everybody in the family. Kids will never forget the experience of seeing a natural waterfall for the first time, and adults can appreciate the beauty of nature. Take many pictures while visiting and make memories that will last forever.