If there’s ever a getaway that will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated, it’s surely among verdant mountains like the Great Smoky Mountains.
The Great Smoky Mountains are positioned along the North Carolina-Tennessee border and are one of the most renowned destinations in the United States. The national park encompasses more than half a million acres of lush forests, rolling mountains, and numerous waterfalls, making it one of the most beautiful places you will ever see.
It’s also the most visited national park and gets more than 11 million visitors annually. Due to its popularity, the national park can become immensely crowded at certain times. So, choose your travel dates carefully if you want to avoid crowds and have a peaceful vacation.
Let’s go over a few more things you must consider before you visit the Smoky Mountains.
Make Time To Visit The Nearby Mountain Towns
Most travelers head to the Smoky Mountains to witness their natural beauty and unwind in nature. The breathtaking landscapes and abundant wild animals and plant life are more than enough for you to have an exceptionally enjoyable trip.
But most importantly, nearby mountain towns like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville are worth exploring. Given their jaw-dropping grandeur and vast availability of fun activities, you’ll be extending your trip more than planned. You’ll surely make unforgettable memories here, so why not take some memorabilia with you, like a souvenir? You can purchase Smoky Mountain souvenirs such as accessories, apparel, or even candles for yourself or friends back home.
You’ll also get to try authentic southern food while enjoying the most scenic views of the mountains.
Make An Itinerary
Planning is an essential and unavoidable part of any trip. And this is especially true for a trip to the Smoky Mountains because of the sheer number of activities available to you.
It’s best to research the area thoroughly to determine which places you want to visit and which activities you want to try. Make a schedule detailing how each day of your trip will be spent, but leave some room for flexibility in case you find something new you want to try.
Find The Perfect Lodging
Choosing the right accommodations for your trip is crucial because a bad experience with a hotel has the potential to ruin your whole vacation. Luckily, the area around the Smoky Mountains is teeming with several hotels and cabin rentals offering various accommodation options.
Choose an establishment in proximity to all the spots you plan to visit. Always read the reviews of previous guests before making your choice. Moreover, compare the amenities provided and choose the option that promises maximum comfort but still falls within your budget.
Prepare For Camping
Camping is an incredible way to escape your hectic routine and experience what it’s like to live in nature. It helps you relax, unwind, and leave the stresses of your daily life behind. And there’s no better place to go camping than the Smoky Mountains. But ensure to be fully prepared for camping before your visit; pack all the essential supplies and items.
Next, find a proper place. Frontcountry campgrounds are fully developed with restrooms, fire grates, and picnic tables, while backcountry campgrounds require hours of hiking to reach them. There are also horse camps where people with horses can camp with only some primitive camping facilities.
Prepare For Unpredictable Weather
Different areas in the Smoky Mountains have different elevations, ranging from just 875 feet to over 6,000 feet above sea level. Plus, it gets colder as you get higher and higher in the atmosphere. That’s why the weather conditions vary greatly in mountainous regions, especially during springtime. So, you need to be prepared.
Check the weather before packing and consult the staff at the visitor center before venturing into the mountains. More importantly, dress in layers to stay comfortable no matter how cold or hot it gets.
Pack Hiking Gear
With around 850 miles of hiking trails, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is heaven for people who love to hike. You can choose your hiking trail according to the views you want to see, like mountains, waterfalls, streams, or old forests.
The trails range in skill level, from easier ones for beginners and families to more advanced ones requiring a certain fitness level and experience. If you plan on venturing on one of the more advanced trails, ensure you have the appropriate hiking gear.
Visit The Many Theme Parks
Dollywood is a popular theme park in this area, with several fun rides appropriate for people of all ages. Anakeesta is another theme park located at the top of a small mountain with many places to shop and eat, and several special events are hosted there from time to time. The best part of this theme park is the Treetop Skywalk, which has over 800 feet of sky bridges.
Next up, Ober Gatlinburg offers you a chance to ski and snowboard during winter. Zorbing is another fun activity you can participate in at the Outdoor Gravity Park. So, set aside time to visit these theme parks and have the adventure of a lifetime.
Don’t Miss The Scenic Drives
The Great Smoky Mountains have several scenic drives attracting long-drive lovers to enjoy the tranquility of driving across beautiful landscapes. The most renowned is the Cades Cove Loop Road, an 11-mile road that loops around the valley of Cades Cove with the Smoky Mountains sprawling all around.
You can also head to Laurel Falls, which is said to be the best waterfall in these mountains. If you didn’t bring your car along, don’t worry. There are car rental services in the area and around the airports, so you can easily get a car for this part of your trip.
A trip to the Smoky Mountains will effortlessly turn out peaceful and rejuvenating. But you should consider a few essential things while planning your trip. Make a detailed itinerary, and don’t forget to visit the nearby mountain towns and the many theme parks in the area.
Do thorough research to find the best place to stay, or try camping if you want to be close to nature. Since there are abundant hiking trails in the national park, don’t forget to bring appropriate hiking gear. Most importantly, the weather in the mountains is highly unpredictable and will require you to bring some warm clothes, even if you’re traveling in the summer. Following these tips will ensure that your trip goes smoothly and you enjoy it to your heart’s content.