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Smoky Mountains Vacation Guide

WELCOME to the Smoky Mountains Vacation Guide! In this comprehensive vacation guide, you will find a huge collection of articles and resources we’ve gathered to help you plan the perfect Smoky Mountains Vacation with your family.

At VeraVise Outdoor Living, we cover everything from the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains, our favorite hotels in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and most importantly where to eat in the Smoky Mountains.

So, what are ya waitin’ for? Come on, let’s get started!!

smoky mountains vacation guide
10 things not to be missed in the smoky mountains
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Smoky Mountains Family Vacation Favorites

Let’s cut right to the chase.

Here’s the list of my absolute FAVORITE things to do in the Smoky Mountains.

This list is subject to change because I’m always discovering new and exciting things to do in the Smokies, new delicious restaurants to try, and new fun family things to explore.

So you’ll just have to join my community and subscribe to my Smoky Mountains Vacation Newsletter if you want to know when that happens.

Ok, here are my faves for now!

  • Favorite Breakfast spot: Tennessee Jed’s (don’t wast time standing pin line at the Pancake Pantry…go across the street and have a truly homey experience at Tennessee Jed’s. Love atmosphere, family owned, amazing food experience. Their little girl is the cutest!!)
  • Favorite Hotel: Margaritaville GATLINBURG
  • Favorite Experience: Driving through Catalooche to see Elk
  • Favorite Hike: Elkmont Camp
  • Favorite Dinner: Preachers Smokehouse. Sooo good. Great friendly atmosphere as well.

Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains

Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains With 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. 

“If you drive to, say, Shenandoah National Park, or the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll get some appreciation for the scale and beauty of the outdoors. When you walk into it, then you see it in a completely different way. You discover it in a much slower, more majestic sort of way.”

– Bill Bynum

ATV Trail Tours In The Smoky Mountains

Best Time To Visit The Smoky Mountains

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 at the most popular trails and sites in order to beat the crowds. 

Get your Fall Packing List for the Smoky Mountains

Winter in the Smoky Mountains

Winter is a great time to visit the Smokies!!

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.

Spring in the Smoky Mountains 

is a great time for hiking because the waterfalls will be at their peak and the wildflowers will be in bloom. 

Summer in the Smoky Mountains 

Summer is a very popular time for families to visit Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the surrounding communities. 

Smoky Mountains Packing Checklist

Smoky Mountains Attractions

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.

In addition to these three major towns, there are several other small communities that offer lodging, camping, and cabins.

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.

Pigeon Forge Hotels With Family Suites

Smoky Mountains Campgrounds

Smoky Mountains Cabins

Glamping in the Great Smoky Mountains

Camping In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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 in August and bookings begin in October for the following calendar year and operate on a first come first serve basis with a long waiting list.  For more details on visiting Mt. Leconte Lodge visit this website.

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 front-country 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.

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. 

Great Smoky Mountains Family Vacations

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More Vacation Guides For the Smoky Mountains

What questions do you have about planning your Smoky Mountains Vacation?