Last year, 11 million visitors took in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Smoky Mountains and surrounding gateway towns of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville.
Our family has enjoyed visiting the Smoky Mountains and surrounding communities for over 35 years. It comes as no surprise that the world seems to be discovering this beautiful region and flocking to it in droves.
In this Great Smoky Mountains Vacation Guide, you will find the collection of articles we have put together to help you learn more about visiting the Smoky Mountain region. Be sure to subscribe to our Smoky Mountain Vacation Newsletter so you never miss an update and receive tips and discounts on Smoky Mountain Cabins, news about discount tickets for attractions in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, and news on all that’s happening in this popular family vacation destination.
Smoky Mountains Vacation Guides
The Smoky Mountains are a sub range of the greater Appalachian Mountains and also form part of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The “Smokies” as they are sometimes called run along the Tennessee-North Carolina border and are home to the #1 Most visited national park: The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
We have lived the Appalachian Mountains our whole life and have been vacationing in the Smokies for more than 30 years. We hope you will be inspired to come visit us sometime after reading our stories.
The following articles will help you learn more about the Smoky Mountains and aid you in planning the perfect Smoky Mountains Family Vacation.
- Things To Do In the Smoky Mountains In Every Season
- Cheap Family Vacations in the US
- Best Places To Travel in US in October (you bet the Smokies are at the top of the list!)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Best Time to Visit
There is no bad time to visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, it depends upon what type of Smoky Mountains Vacation you desire.
Fall is the most popular time to visit the Smoky Mountains when the beautiful mountains begin to pop with color. It is also the most crowded time of the year to visit and will require you to arrive early to the most popular trails and sites in order to beat the crowds.
Winter in the Smoky Mountains is a great time to visit. While to does snow in the higher elevations in the Smokies, snow isn’t always on the ground so traveling through the Smokies is still possible throughout most of the winter months. Check the NPS site for road and trail closure. The best thing about the Smoky Mountains in the winter are the beautiful Christmas lights, holiday shows, and amazing food.
Spring in the Smoky Mountains is a great time for hiking because the waterfalls will be at their peak and the wild flowers will be in bloom.
Summer in the Smoky Mountains is also a very popular time for families to visit Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the surrounding communities. Outdoor activities, hiking, whitewater rafting, and Dollywood all make summer a great time to visit. S
Cheap Flights to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Mcghee-Tyson Airport: The McGhee Tyson Airport located in Knoxville, TN is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour south of Gatlinburg, TN and services most major airlines. Recently Allegiant airlines added cheap flights to the Great Smoky Mountains Airport with their service out Pittsburgh, PA.
Asheville Regional Airport: The Asheville Regional airport is also located within an hour’s drive of the Great Smoky Mountains. Allegiant Airlines also offers cheap flights into Asheville from major airports in Denver, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and Detroit.
We recommend using Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flight to the Great Smoky Mountains from your location.
Things To To In The Smoky Mountains With Kids
If you are planning a vacation to the Smoky Mountains with the kids, here are a few articles to help you make plan the best things to do with the kids.
As homeschoolers, we also love visiting the Smoky Mountains as part of our “school day”. There are multiple places to attend homeschool days in the Smokies including Dollywood and plenty of great attractions for field trips.
Great Smoky Mountains Attractions
Great Smoky Mountains Restaurants
There are so many great places to eat in the Smoky Mountains. Here’s a list of our favorite places to eat in Gatlinburg, TN.
Where to Stay In The Great Smoky Mountains
There are three major gateway towns to the Great Smoky Mountains national park and several other smaller communities which offer lodging, camping, and cabins.
Camping is also available within the national park, but requires that you make reservations well in advance. Here are a few resources to help you decide where to stay when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains.
There is one lodge in the Great Smoky Mountains, LeConte Lodge. The rustic lodge can only be reached via hiking on one of 5 trails within the park, reservations begin to be accepted on in August and bookings begin in October for the following calendar year and operate on first come first serve basis with a long waiting list. For more details on visiting Mt. Leconte Lodge visit this website.
Campgrounds Near Great Smoky Mountains
Camping within Great Smoky National park can be enjoyed in one of four ways.
- Backcountry Camping
- Frontcountry Camping
- Group Campgrounds
- Horse Camps
Traditional family camping in a tent is available at several campgrounds for those desiring to do frontcountry camping. Both tent camping and RV camping is available within the park. Reservations are required and book up early so plan accordingly. Visit the NPS website for more information and to schedule you reservation.
Smoky Mountains Cabins
If you are looking to book a Smoky Mountains Cabin, we recommend Turnkey as a great place to start. Check our dedicated Smoky Mountains Cabins page for more details.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hotels
There are hundreds of hotels in the surrounding communities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville for your family to choose from during your Smoky Mountains Vacation
We always enjoy hotels that offer family suites like the Pigeon Forge Home2Suites which is conveniently located near Dollywood and the Pigeon Forge Island.
What questions do you have about planning your Smoky Mountains Vacation?