Plan Your SMOKY MOUNTAIN VACATION

We here at My Smoky Mountain Travel are here to help you get the most out of your vacation.  When visiting an area like the Smoky Mountains, you want to ensure that you are fully prepared for your trip.  Below you will find a growing list of questions we will be continually answering to help you better plan your vacation. Click on the question you want to know more about or read through our entire travel guide to fully prepare yourself for your Smoky Mountain Vacation.  Is something is missing from our list?  Message us here and let us know!

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit The Smoky Mountains?

Between the four seasons, there are plenty of ways to have an amazing vacation no matter when you decide to visit. Keep reading to see the the pros and cons of what each season has to offer.

Winter – Winter in the Smoky Mountains offers visitors the chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery of the year. Fall is another popular season due to the rich fall colors (more on that later), but being able to see a fresh blanket of snow cover the rolling landscape can leave you in awe.  Winter is also a very popular Holiday Season with Christmas & New Years meaning the area is presented in a way you typically wouldn’t see it.  Some call it a Winter Wonderland which is very fitting considering the many seasonal light shows, parades, decorations, and overall Holiday cheer that you’d expect from the wonderful folks in Tennessee!  

The temperatures are usually very mild and most activities, even outdoor activities, can still be enjoyed. Winter also offers activities that are only reserved for the cold such as hitting the slopes for some skiing. Rates for accommodations oftentimes run a bit cheaper in the wintertime as well so if you’re looking for a vacation on a budget, consider packing your bags in December – February!

Spring – Springtime is a busy travel season in the Smoky Mountains. The weather is getting warmer, the trees, flowers, and vegetation are blooming and turning green, and spring break for the those in school allows for that much needed time off. Wildflowers are something you don’t want to miss and every April offers a sight to see.  Bears are also beginning to stir about the area! See all of this with a day trip into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Take a hike or go for a scenic drive…both are great ways to take in the beauty of the mountains.  

The temperatures also make spring is a great time of year to partake in many of the attractions, especially those involving the outdoors. Don’t forget to checkout some of the seasonal springtime events as well!

Summer – Summer is considered by many to be THE peak season (some would argue that the fall colors is peak season but that is a much shorter timeframe).  School’s out and vacations are in full swing for most families. Summertime has more crowds and more traffic but with good reason.  Every activity in the area is great during the summer which makes it the optimal time of year.  

It’s a prime season for enjoying all activities the National Park has to offer including fishing, camping, hiking, scenic drives, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and much more. Fresh locally grown fruit and veggies can be bought by the bag full at many local farmer’s markets. Beat the heat by enjoying the many wonderful and entertaining indoor attractions. Grab some BBQ and enjoy devouring it outside with a stunning mountain backdrop! No matter your liking, you can’t go wrong with a summer vacation to the Smoky Mountains.

Fall – Fall is the season of beauty in the Smoky Mountains. It’s a sight that should be seen by all at least once in a lifetime. The rustic colors combine to make a scenic landscape pictures can’t quite do justice to. Sitting on the deck of your own Smoky Mountain cabin rental or the balcony of your hotel or condo, enjoying a cup of hot coffee while overlooking a beautiful sunrise coming over the mountain tops is something everyone dreams of.

Make those dreams come true this fall!  The activities, wildlife, and fun are still in full swing.  Stop by a winery, brewery, or distillery for a tasting of the local brews, or even partake in one of the many tours which spans from Sevierville to Gatlinburg.  Make this fall a memorable one by taking a trip to the Smoky Mountains!

How Many Days Do You Need In The Smoky Mountains?

This is a question often asked by travelers coming to enjoy the Smoky Mountains and it doesn’t have a straight forward answer.  The real answer you ask?  Well, it depends!  If you’re visiting to enjoy the National Park and enjoy a few hikes while taking in a couple of attractions, 3 days would likely make for a great trip.  However, if you plan to enjoy the full extent of what Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Wears Valley, and Sevierville have to offer, you’d better plan for 6 or 7 days.  This should allow enough time for you to spend 1 day relaxing in your Smoky Mountain cabin rental, which is an absolute must!  We recommend using our research and planning tools to build an itinerary for your trip. Planning makes perfect so be sure to add activities you’re interested in to “My Trip”.

How Much Does It Cost To Go To The Smoky Mountains?

The Smoky Mountains and it’s surrounding areas (Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Wears Valley, and Sevierville) offers some of the most affordable accommodations in the U.S.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free to enter and enjoy (that’s right, $0 entry fee!) which is one of the only parks offering free entry. A place to stay can be had with any budget including cabin rentals, hotels, condos, and RV Parks. The hundreds of activities, attractions, shows, and dining are all very affordable as well making for the perfect package deal ensuring an amazing getaway on a budget!  Be sure to check our Smoky Mountains Coupons for even more savings for you’re upcoming vacation.

Where Should I Stay When Visiting The Smoky Mountains?

Accommodation options include cabin rentals, hotels, condos, and RV parks.  Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and to make the decision even more difficult, you’ll need to decide where you want to stay.  Options for location include Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Wears Valley, and Sevierville. On top of accommodation offerings, each area offers unique benefits you will want to pay particular attention to.  

Let’s say you want to stay in Gatlinburg but want to be close to all of the attractions which are mostly located right on the Parkway in downtown. While some cabins are close to downtown, your best bet may be to stay in a hotel as most are located in the same area as the attractions (this goes for condos as well as they are also mostly located on the parkway). Cabins in general are located a bit further from the attractions no matter the city you choose to stay, but this isn’t an all inclusive statement as some, especially in Pigeon Forge can be quite close to the Parkway.

We here at My Smoky Mountain Travel offer a location filtering system to help you find the best option for your stay.  To help further choose where to stay you need to keep in mind a few basic questions to narrow your options down to the perfect fit.  First, how big is your group?  For larger groups who want to stay together we recommend a larger cabin.  Use our filtering tools to find the cabin that fits your needs.  Second, how close do you want to be from the attractions?  If you want to be a short drive (we don’t blame you as traffic can be a bear), then you should consider a hotel or condo on or near the parkway.  Third, how important is privacy?  If privacy is important, a secluded cabin is a must! Lastly, what type of amenities do you desire?  This just takes careful planning as most accommodations offer similar amenities.  Again, use our filters to find the needed amenities for your stay!

Does Cades Cove Cost Money?

No! The amazing thing about not only Cade’s Cove, but the entire Great Smoky Mountains National Park is it has no entry fee.  So feel free to enjoy it until your heart is content, and after that, make sure you visit again!

What Are The Smoky Mountains Known For?

As found in the name, the Smoky Mountains are famous for the bluish mist that appears between the peaks and in the valleys throughout the National Park. This gives a smoky appearance, hence the name, Smoky Mountains.  What causes this blu mist you may wonder? The mist comes from moisture releasing into the atmosphere from the vegetation found throughout the dense forest.  When the sunlight hits this mist, it reflects a slightly blue hue.  

Beyond the name, the Smoky Mountains are also known for their abundant wildlife, including the black bear. They’re also known for a stunning display of wildflowers along with abundant hiking, and other outdoor activities such as camping and fly fishing.  Beyond the natural wonders, there are plenty of other things the Smokies are known for, such as Dolly Parton and all of her lovely attractions and fun she’s brought the Smoky Mountains.

Where Should I Visit In The Smoky Mountains?

When visiting the Smoky Mountains, planning is a very important aspect you as a traveler must do. There is so much to see and do in the area as a whole that it can be very overwhelming planning wise.  For purposes of this response, we will break down these must-visit locations into two categories, within the National Park and the cities and towns around the National Park.  Because the list could easily become too much for this page, we’ll include helpful links directing you to the planning and research tools you need.  Must see and do locations and activities within the Smoky Mountain  National Park include Cade’s Cove, scenic drives, and hiking trails.  

Must see and do locations and activities around the National Park include Pigeon Forge attractions, Gatlinburg attractions, Pigeon Forge wineries and distilleries, Gatlinburg wineries and distilleries, shopping, dining, and shows.  Follow these links for easy planning and don’t forget to add these to your itinerary and view it under My Trip!

What To Pack For Your Smoky Mountain Vacation?

Prior to every vacation, one will ask or consider what items to pack to ensure full preparedness. When traveling to the Smoky Mountains there are general necessities everyone should consider. These necessities include bug spray (except for winter travel), camera, sturdy hiking boots, epi pen in case of bee allergies, rain jacket, flashlight, and a smile.  Other items to consider will depend on the lodging type you book for your stay.  Most cabin rentals and condo rentals supply a “starter amount” of the essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels, linens, hand soap, and trash bags.  

There are other items that may be provided but certainly shouldn’t be expected such as coffee, firewood, charcoal, and bath soaps. Be sure to thoroughly research and filter using our “what’s provided” filters while searching for cabins and condos. Still have questions? Feel free to reach out to the owner so you know exactly what to expect!  This also goes for RV parks and what amenities to expect from both the site and the park as a whole. When staying at a hotel, all basics will be provided, but other items like WiFi, pools, and breakfast should be researched.  You’re in luck, we have filters for that too!