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Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains Traveling Tips

Travel Tips for Visitors

Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains have a lot to offer our visitor’s, which by the way 10 million people visit the park every year!  Forbes magazine has listed Gatlinburg as “one of the prettiest towns in America”.

Entrance to Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Entrance to Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The Smoky Mountains are a driving destination.  Its 500 miles from as far north as Toledo, OH,  as far South as the Florida Georgia line and all of the coast through South and North Carolina.  With that said, GPS is almost a necessity today along with park maps when you arrive, however; depending on which GPS you use it may not be beneficial, sometimes it does not work.  Depending on the good old paper map may work best when getting off the beaten path in the mountains.  These can be found almost everywhere you go; visitor centers, lodging check-in or restaurants.

Lodging is usually the first thing travelers think of.  For travelers visiting the Smokies this might come as one of the most impressive experiences of their lives!  Gatlinburg’s primary source of lodging is the Cabin Rental industry.  Many of the cabins have spectacular views of these magnificent mountains.  The process of getting one of those amazing views could be driving up extremely winding roads and/or narrow passages.  Traveling up these mountains when you’re not use to it, may cause nausea and lightheadedness, but for most, this is not the case. 

Once you’re settled in the prettiest little town in America nestled at the foothills of the NP you can begin to explore the main street of shops, shopping, eateries, games, play time, sweets and sounds.  This is the best place to find just about anything you are looking for.   Bringing a good pair of walking shoes is necessary for this family vacation.  They will be used walking downtown or on a hike to Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls

The weather in Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains are considered a temperate rain forest.  Bringing warm clothes even though it may be July or August when you  visit is good practice.  At the top of the mountains it could be raining or significantly colder than when you are in the village. 

Downtown Gatlinburg is a small quaint town but parking can be scarce.  There are parking garages and parking lots for your conveniences.  The best tip for parking and enjoying the downtown life, is to plan a day around it, that way you can find parking, stay, eat and play all day.  If you’re traveling companions have difficulty walking a lot or small children are with you, Gatlinburg offers a free Trolley service going up and down the strip all day and late into the evening.

Gatlinburg Free Parkway Trolly

Gatlinburg Free Parkway Trolly

Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are extremely family friendly and consistent with helping out with coupons and free gifts for the budget conscience travelers.  Most business and all visitors’ centers have free books with coupons in them.  Just to name a few, Navigator Coupon Book, Best Read Guide and Monster Coupon Book.  These books will have savings on just about every category: Dining, shows, shopping and most importantly activities such as, White Water Rafting, Zip Lining and Horseback Riding, Mini Golf, and Go Carting.  The Tennessee Smokies Visitor’s Guide is a great little book that gives families ideas of things to do, shows to see and some of the most popular hiking trails.   

Taking into consideration these few tips about Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain NP will make your trip much more enjoyable and the preparedness will, without a doubt, cause you to have a great time and get the most out of this one of a kind driving destination!

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