Pack Like a Pro for your Smoky Mountain Getaway

After helping thousands of guests book and plan their Smoky Mountain dream vacations, we at Cabins for YOU know a little about cabin getaways. In addition to helping you find the right cabin with the Options For YOU online tool, we can also help you pack! Read on for our top tips on how to decide what you need, what to pack, and how to maximize your suitcase space for more Gatlinburg goodies! Grab a pencil and paper and get ready to plan your most exciting (and well prepared) Smoky Mountain visit, yet!

What season are you visiting the Smoky Mountains?

The weather in the Smoky Mountains can vary from hot Tennessee summers to chilly, snowy winters! Spring and fall can have unexpectedly warm and cold days, so it is smart to pack clothing you can layer. It is always smart to check the weather a few days in advance, as well.

What brings you to the Smokies and what is on the itinerary?

Is one of your friends hosting a destination wedding in the mountains or are you escaping for a 3-day weekend with the kids? Will you be taking advantage of the acres of sublimely gorgeous nature and hiking along the miles of trails that wander through the Smoky Mountains or skiing the snowy slopes of Ober Gatlinburg? Not sure what you may want to do once you get to the Smokies? Peruse our extensive list of helpful pages for Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to explore the best of the Great Smoky Mountains before heading back to relax in your cabin.

Pack to maximize space in your suitcase. Roll your clothes up and choose shoes that go with all your outfits (or most). Create space for awesome souvenirs, because Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville are home to some of the best shopping in all varieties! Find all your favorite brands at the Tanger Outlets of Sevierville, including Nike, Express, Coach, Banana Republic, and more. Impress your friends and family with one-of-a-kind handmade gifts from the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community, the nation’s largest organization of independent artisans.

Packing aids come in pretty handy, because our suitcases take a little bit of a beating in the commute to the cabin, whether it’s thrown onto the roof of the car, squished under other suitcases in the back of the bus, or rolling down the luggage rack at the airport. Ziploc bags are an easy way to avoid getting toothpaste or shampoo all over your clothes in your suitcase.

Make a list! While we would love to say we are going to remember everything, it is better to be safe than sorry. Start your checklist ahead of time, too, because you may be inspired by one of our blogs about seasonal events and surprisingly fun activities and want to add or adjust your packing list! By packing before the morning-of you are also less likely to forget something or feel stressed as you go to leave the house and make your way to your cabin.  

Pack for play! You are in for a fun time in the Smokies! While you may not really “need” all these, they’ll definitely add to your playtime! Here are some of our favorites…

Swimwear - Summertime is not the only time for swimming when your cabin has an indoor pool. Be sure to pack your swimsuits, even in the wintertime!

Hammock - ENO, Grand Trunk, Hummingbird, whatever parachute hammock you own, bring it! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is filled with prime hammock spots. Find a good spot by a stream or slip out to your cabin’s back yard and enjoy a good book in the tranquility of your hammock.

Drawstring bag or small backpack - Not only great for hiking, drawstring bags are an easy way to carry everything you need while touring The Village in downtown Gatlinburg or the Old Mill District in Pigeon Forge.

Cornhole boards, horseshoes, croquet, football, frisbee - Outdoor games make hanging out at the cabin even more fun while also saving some money! Bring the football to throw around while picnicking on Andrews Bald or beside the Pigeon River after your whitewater rafting trip. Take a frisbee to Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge to enjoy a sunny day.

Board games/ deck of cards - While many of our Cabins for YOU lodges include gaming systems and board games, it is always good to pack your favorites to play with family or teach to your friends! Some of the cheapest, most valued memories are made while playing games around the dining room table with friends and family.

Golf clubs - Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are home to a few of the South’s most beautiful courses. The Gatlinburg Golf Course and Bent Creek Golf Course are perfect places to tee-up with picturesque greens, peaceful winding streams, and the Smoky Mountains as the backdrop.

Active footwear - Pack your active shoes, because after you drive past the incredible views of rolling mountain peaks, babbling rivers, and lush forests, you will be lured into doing some exploring- even if you did not plan on it! The last thing you want in the middle of your day in Dollywood or touring the shops of downtown Gatlinburg is sore feet.

Go-Pro camera - Log your adventures down the Pigeon River while rafting the Class III and IV rapids or your flight down the miles of ziplines as you swing through the trees like Tarzan. Keep an exciting video record of all the beautiful terrain you see along your hike to Alum Cave.

Don’t forget these often-forgotten items…

  • Printed cabin/check-in Information
  • Phone charger
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellant
  • First-aid kit
  • Headphones
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Extra socks

Toiletries get their own list, because something from this group always finds a way to be left behind:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hair brush
  • Hair dryer (just in case your cabin does not include one)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Razor/Shaving cream
  • Body wash
  • Curling Iron/ Straightener
  • Deodorant

Be prepared for the trip to your cabin. Unless you are riding a bus with your church organization or business group to your large lodge, you will need to coordinate the commute to your cabin ahead of time. While the GPS on your smartphone is convenient and easy to use, cell phone service may get spotty in certain areas in the mountains. Keep a screenshot or picture of the directions to your cabin to avoid getting lost! If you are flying into Knoxville, keep all forms of ID and tickets in one place in a travel wallet and coordinate a rental car.

Now you are all packed and ready to go to your relaxing Cabins for YOU cabin in the Smoky Mountains! No trips to the nearby grocery stores because you forgot deodorant! Once you have unpacked your suitcases in your bedrooms, it is time to kick back in the outdoor hot tub or settle into a rocking chair on the deck and begin enjoying the Smoky Mountain dream vacation you have been anxiously preparing for…