Tips For People Traveling To The Smokies For The First Time

Tips For People Traveling To The Smokies For The First Time

Tips For People Traveling To The Smokies For The First Time


The Smoky Mountains are a breathtaking marvel of nature. Trust us; they never fail to amaze anyone who visits them. The mountains are often shrouded in a hazy mist, giving them a mystical appearance. The peaks are covered with dense forests of oak, hickory, and maple trees that flash vibrant colors in the fall. The landscape features cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear streams, and blooming wildflowers. It truly is a nature lover's paradise.

So, if you're planning a trip to the Smokies for the first time, rest assured your senses will be delighted. But before you go, here are a few tips to make your trip even better:

Make an itinerary before you go

Get ready for some good old-fashioned southern charm and adventure in the Smokies! From enjoying mountaintop views to dipping your feet in the Little Pigeon River, there's no shortage of fun in this stunning region. But before you go, it's important to plan.

What kind of experiences are you looking for? Are you more of a hiker, or would you prefer to take in the views from a scenic drive? Do you want to explore a tourist-friendly mountain town like Sevierville? This town is known for its fun activities, like amusement parks, shopping, and dining. Don't miss the Wild Stallion at the SkyLand Ranch – a one-of-a-kind attraction in Sevierville set on a 100-acre farm. The Wild Stallion is the longest Smoky Mountain coaster that'll take you on your life's most scenic 8+ minute ride.

So, allocate enough time. Typically, people spend anywhere from 3 to 7 days in the Smokies, but with so much to do and see, you might want to stay even longer or return for a second trip.

Check the weather before heading out

The Smokies can be unpredictable when it comes to weather. Surprise showers and thunderstorms can appear out of nowhere. And then comes out the sun, blinking warmly. So, you can experience a lot here in one day.

The higher altitudes are comparatively colder, so pack appropriate clothes if you intend to spend more time closer to the sky. Make it a point to check the weather forecast before you head out of your accommodation.

The best time to be in Smokies is spring and fall, when the foliage is most attractive. If you're traveling to experience activities like ziplining, white water rafting, and kayaking, come here during the summer.

Decide where to stay

Whether you're looking for a luxury stay or a camping enthusiast, there are plenty of accommodations to suit how you like to enjoy a vacation. You can cozy up in a cabin in the woods or book something closer to the center of neighboring towns.

But regardless of where you stay, make sure to check out the amenities the property offers. Who wouldn't want to soak in a hot tub surrounded by twinkling stars and swaying trees? And if you're staying in town, why not book a hotel with an indoor pool or spa to treat yourself?

If you're having trouble deciding, peek at previous guest reviews - they'll give you the inside scoop on where to stay and what to expect.

Don't miss out on the free activities

Who says you need to burn a hole in your pocket to have a good time? There are plenty of free activities to explore in this beautiful region. Take a stroll along the many trails and breathe in the fresh mountain air, or immerse yourself in history by checking out sites like Cades Cove and Clingmans Dome. Want to get up close and personal with nature? Visit the Appalachian Trail for a tranquil walk. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, though.

If you're looking for the most scenic trails, check out Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls, and Rainbow Falls. For a refreshing dip, head to Abrams Falls or drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. And don't forget to chat with the friendly locals for insider tips on their favorite spots to explore. Nonetheless, bring your sense of adventure for an unforgettable and wallet-friendly stay in the Smokies.

Learn about the history and traditions of the region

The Smokies is a cultural mecca with a rich history and mix of traditions. From Native American stories to unique country music and craft stores, there's something here for everyone. If you're searching for a unique and rustic experience, look no further than the Mountain Farm Museum in Cherokee. Here, you can explore an exclusive collection of farm buildings sourced from across the park. Or explore the preserved buildings at Oconaluftee Visitor Center and relive the past.

For more interactive experiences, join the locals on a guided tour of Cataloochee Valley or take an art class at the Smoky Mountain Arts & Crafts Community.

Immerse in the local culture

Get ready to put on your dancing boots and jam out to some unique tunes because the music scene in this part of the country is one-of-a-kind! From the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival in Townsend to the World of Bluegrass in Gatlinburg, there are festivals all year round that will get your toes tapping. You can attend a traditional mountain music event or participate in the Qualla Arts and Crafts Showcase.

And if you're into art, you're in luck too! Sevierville and Pigeon Forge are bursting with galleries and craft shops where you can snag some souvenirs and support local artists.

Don't miss the food

Down here in the Smokies, breakfast is a big deal, and BBQ is king. You won't want to miss the classics like pinto beans and cornbread, pulled pork sandwiches, and biscuits with gravy. And don't forget to try the legendary apple fritters and moonshine (if you're 21+).

Mornings are all about pancakes and waffles, so check out popular local places like The Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg and the Log Cabin Pancake House in Pigeon Forge. For dinner, explore the wide range of local restaurants offering everything from southern-style cooking to Italian and Mexican fare. For a true mountain experience, stop by the Barn at Chestnut Springs for an unforgettable meal with a stunning view.


The Smoky Mountains are an adventure-packed destination that's sure to surprise you at every turn. Imagine locking your eyes with an elk as it grazes in the grass or pushing yourself to the limit while trekking to the summit of Clingmans Dome. 

But before you start your adventure, it's important to plan ahead. So follow the tips mentioned above and prepare for an experience you'll never forget!