Ready to get started making plans for a Great Smoky Mountain getaway? Read on for advice on planning a vacation to Gatlinburg, whether it’s a family getaway, a romantic weekend, a reunion, a retreat, a week with friends, or a honeymoon!
Gatlinburg is a year-round destination, with dozens of attractions, cozy cabins, and events celebrating everything from barbeque and the music of the mountains to quilting and the holidays. There’s no problem finding things to do, but it may be tough decide just what to fit in during your stay! And of course, as with any vacation, there are a lot of details to consider, from how you are going to get around to where you’ll stay.
We want your vacation planning to be just as easy (well, almost!) as your actual vacation, so we’ve done the research for you. Below you’ll find some general tips for planning a Gatlinburg (or Pigeon Forge) vacation. Then, keep reading to find helpful info and tips for whatever type of vacation you’re planning – honeymoon, family vacation, and beyond.
Tips for Vacation
- Decide what kind of cabin location you’d like: in the mountains, among the trees, or near downtown.
- Consider getting travel insurance that keeps you covered in case of an emergency that changes your plans.
- Pick a city – Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge – and then start your cabin search.
- Check out our vacation packages to add a little something special to your stay.
- Plan some excursions ahead of time, but be flexible!
- If you’re traveling with kids, let them help plan; more input from them means more enthusiasm about the trip.
- Have reasonable time expectations; there’s a lot to see and you only have a certain amount of time.
- Take time to learn about the history of Gatlinburg, TN. It’s an important part of the area.
- Always pack snacks and water for car rides and hikes.
- Don’t pack the night before. That’s an easy way to rush and forget essentials.
- Hop aboard the trolley. It takes out the hassle of driving and is a great way to see the city.
- Don’t forget your camera and extra batteries and cards!
- Build room in your budget for a nice meal out, some local souvenirs, and a few attractions downtown.
Gatlinburg through the Seasons
No matter what time of year you’re planning to visit Gatlinburg, you’ll find plenty to do. Fun events fill the calendar during all 4 seasons, including visits from Santa Claus during Christmas, dinners of your favorite comfort foods during Thanksgiving, and patriotic celebrations on the 4th of July.
For Spring Break, get away to the mountains instead of the beach. You can check out classes and guided hikes during the spring Wildflower Pilgrimage or enjoy beautiful days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park hiking, biking, fishing, picnicking, and exploring. If you’re here during winter, bundle up for hikes, check out the indoor attractions, or stay cozied up in front of the fire in your cabin. Summer is the perfect time to get outside or splash around in your private indoor pool, and fall is the time to come for the incredible changing of the leaves.
You can always browse our blog to see what’s happening during each time of year, so you can get an idea of when you want to plan your vacation. We also have a great list of Gatlinburg events and Pigeon Forge events, letting you know what events are going on each month.
Honeymoons & Romantic Escapes
The amazing scenery and charming wedding chapels in the Smokies make it the perfect place for that special day. You can get married on top of a mountain, in a little wooden chapel, or even in front of a waterfall! And the best part of having your wedding in the Smokies is that you can have your honeymoon in the same place. You won’t have to hop on a plane – you can get your honeymoon started right away!
Browse our 1-2 bedroom cabins that are perfect for couples, check out the attractions that are great for couples, and add on a couple’s massage you can have in the cabin! We have lots of great tips for honeymooners, and we’re always posting tasty recipes if you love cooking in the cabin. And if you thought Gatlinburg was just for families, be sure to read about Gatlinburg’s nightlife.
Planning for Family Fun in the Smokies
It’s no secret that Gatlinburg is a go-to vacation destination for families. You have 800+ miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hands-on attractions like WonderWorks and Ripley’s Guinness World of Records Museum, tons of arcades and go kart tracks, laser tag arenas, the famous Hollywood Wax Museum, the top-rated Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, and the list goes on and on.
Go online before your trip to see what you might want to do, and always check our blog to get more ideas. We’re always posting family travel tips, information about area attractions, and ideas on what to do in the cabin with kids. One of our top tips is to get kids involved in the planning. Let them choose a few of the outings so they’ll feel invested in the vacation. Plus, if you do some planning ahead of time, it will give them something to look forward to!
If you want to spend more time at the cabin, book a cabin with a rec room loaded with games (like pool, foosball, shuffleboard, arcade games, darts, and air hockey), get a cabin with a private movie theater or indoor pool, or bring along your favorite board games and movies to play in the cabin. And be sure to bring snacks and drinks you can load up in your fully equipped kitchen.
Retreats, Reunions & Large Group Getaways
Planning for a church retreat, family reunion, or large group getaway can be challenging enough. Between finding a place to stay, figuring out how to feed 20+ people, and entertaining kids and adults all at the same time, there is a lot to think about. We’re here to make it easier!
At Cabins for YOU, we have large group cabins that can sleep almost 50 guests, boasting amenities like kitchens with double appliances, huge dining rooms, bunk beds, multiple living rooms with big screen TVs, outdoor seating and dining spaces, private indoor pools, impressive rec rooms, and even movie theaters!
Many attractions in Gatlinburg can also cater to groups, offering plenty of space for lots of people. There are tons of great group activities that appeal to kids and adults, and of course the national park is a wonderful place get outside with a group. Plan a horseback riding tour, go on a guided ranger hike, or take a group bike ride through Cades Cove.