Located near the Great Smoky Mountains, there’s no vacation destination more memorable or enjoyable than Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Many adventurous Americans come from different corners of the country to spend a fun-filled vacation with their families. With 14 million tourists traveling to the region each year, a Gatlinburg vacation offers plenty of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages.
However, planning a summer vacation can sometimes be a major hassle, especially when traveling with your family. But fret not; here are some tips to make it easier:
Travel during the off-season
As one of Tennessee’s most iconic travel destinations, Gatlinburg hosts thousands of visitors throughout the year. However, summers are busier than normal seasons, and the town gets crowded. If you want to enjoy a relaxing getaway in Gatlinburg with your family, travel during the off-season.
So, while June, July, and August are the busiest months, January, February, and March are the least. Winter’s a great time to travel, too. In the off-season, hotel bookings are slower, and you can also get lodgings at cheaper rates than usual.
Choose comfortable family lodgings
Gatlinburg has a variety of accommodations to choose from, but if you’re going with your family, renting a condo would be a good idea. You can find plenty of 2 bedroom condos in Gatlinburg that are big enough to sleep 4 to 6 people.
You can also find some options near Downtown Gatlinburg or Roaring Fork Creek, which will ensure you’re conveniently located to all the town’s major attractions. Book online to save yourself a spot.
Start saving in advance
Vacations can be expensive, so you must save for a relaxing week-long vacation. Calculate the cost of accommodation, attraction tickets, and transport to get an idea of how much money you’ll need. It’s estimated that a week-long solo trip to Gatlinburg costs over $1,600, but the cost can exceed $5,500 for a family of 4.
However, you can bring the cost down by traveling during the off-season. Also, try to find family discount options and other coupons to make the vacation less expensive.
Pack weather-appropriate clothes
Make sure you have packed the right clothes for your vacation. The weather in Gatlinburg can vary throughout the day and from season to season, so you must be prepared for this constantly-changing weather to make your vacation memorable.
Whether it’s hot or cold, rainy or sunny, packing the right clothes will help you stay comfortable during the vacation. It’s better to pack light and versatile clothing so you can mix and match to create different looks without carrying too much.
Get ready to walk a lot
There’s no need to rent a car; you can explore this small town easily on your two feet. All major attractions are huddled together, and people wander the city all day long. It’d be a different experience from Pigeon Forge, where the traffic can drive you nuts.
However, your feet may hurt while walking for an extended period of time, so you should bring some comfortable walking shoes along. There are plenty of beautiful hiking trails in Gatlinburg to explore and make the experience even more worthwhile.
Visit all major local attractions
Gatlinburg has plenty of attractions for people of different ages and varying interests. Get a map and find the names of all local attractions and add them to your itinerary. You can also visit local tourist centers to gather more information about the seasonal festivals and celebrations. Some major must-see attractions in Gatlinburg include the following places:
- Ober Gatlinburg
- Dollywood (If you plan on heading to Pigeon Forge as well)
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
- The Smoky Mountains National Park
Moreover, Pigeon Forge is just 6 miles away from Gatlinburg. It’s also a famous tourist town on the outskirts of the Great Smoky Mountains with much to offer.
Attend live dinner shows
If you want to enjoy a family night in town, attend a local dinner show. These shows have everything from live music to comedy performances that will have your belly hurt with laughter and delicious Tennessee-style food to tantalize your senses.
These dinner shows are a perfect opportunity for tourists to experience the local culture, such as bluegrass music and Appalachian storytelling. Be sure to reserve your seats online since these shows are popular among locals and tourists and fill up quickly.
Take some scenic drives
Tourists can drive along some of Gatlinburg’s scenic trails and appreciate the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. These scenic trails, such as the drive to Cades Cove, will make your trip memorable. You can visit many gorgeous landmarks, see the old homesteads, and observe the wildlife in its natural habitats.
But before you head out, ensure these trails are open to visitors, and bring some snacks and water to keep yourself energized and hydrated along the way. Avoid approaching the wildlife and going into areas cordoned off for the public.
Try some southern-style food and drinks
There’s no lack of southern-style food to enjoy in Gatlinburg. Some popular things to enjoy include grits, BBQ ribs, fried chicken, pimento cheese, and biscuits & gravy. Local restaurants serve these foods and dishes.
You can search Google Maps to find where these mouthwatering dishes are served. There are many restaurants serving pancakes for breakfast as well, and the town is known for serving some of the best ones in the entire country.
Also, try drinking craft beer, Tennessee whiskey, and – the belle of the ball – Gatlinburg’s moonshine. Adults flock to Lynchburg for Jack Daniel’s just as they head to Gatlinburg for a sip of this famous drink.
Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Gatlinburg seems like an ideal vacation destination for your family. Use the suggestions mentioned and make your Gatlinburg vacation more enjoyable and stress-free. Rent cozy cabins, pack weather-appropriate clothes, and avoid traveling during the off-season. That’s how you can create memories for years to come.