You are on a relaxing vacation in the Smokies in a beautiful cabin nestled in the serenity of the mountain forests, and the phrase everyone hates to utter comes up. “I wish we had thought to bring…” You will be everyone’s favorite person and hailed as the smartest traveler when you bring along the smallest and simplest items that are often forgotten until it’s too late. Avoid trekking back and forth to the store in Pigeon Forge with our 20 travel essentials that are sure to make your fall getaway to the Smokies easier, more comfortable, and more fun!
If you are from or reside in the South, you know this to be true: the weather is all over the place. “Has anyone ever been personally victimized by inconsistent temperatures when it was SUPPOSED to be FALL?” *hands firmly shoot up around the room* Light sweaters and jackets are perfect for the cooler evenings following warm afternoon outings.
2. Active Wear
The Smoky Mountains are absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful in the fall when all the leaves turn arrays of warm reds, yellows, and oranges. Get out and explore! Pack walking shoes, shorts, leggings, and loose clothing to comfortably adventure through Cades Cove, hike to Clingmans Dome, and sight-see in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
3. Portable Charger/ Car Charger
With so many soul-stirring views, you are sure to be loading up your phone with tons of pictures and videos. Don’t miss out on capturing miles of rolling mountains as the sun sets beyond the horizon because your low battery signal is popping up.
You might want a laptop for several reasons. I constantly run out of storage, even on my 128 GB iPhone, so I always unload all of my pictures from the day onto my laptop to clear up space in my phone’s memory. I also do some of my best work and research on the back porch with inspiring mountain views and calming skies.
5. Board Games and Cards
My family LOVES board games and card games. After playing in downtown Pigeon Forge, we can spend hours together yelling, laughing, and strategizing under the lights of the dining room table. I try to bring my current new favorite, like Exploding Kittens (it sounds weird but look it up!) and Ticket to Ride. I tend to keep a deck of classic playing cards in my suitcase because Spoons will forever be our favorite.
Get into a new podcast or listen to an audiobook on the road trip to the cabin or while you relax outside on the patio.
7. New Recipes
Hit up a grocery store on the way to the cabin and pick up all the ingredients for a new meal to try. Fall is my favorite time to eat because, first of all – pumpkin everything, then creative Halloween treats, and to end the season, savory Thanksgiving cuisines. Plus, cooking in a different kitchen from your own is new and exciting!
8. Hot Chocolate
Kick back and relax with the kids in front of the fire while they sip on their hot chocolate, which may or may not be mostly marshmallows. Evenings in the cool mountain air are especially nice with this warm, sweet drink.
Plan an afternoon picnic in Cades Cove or wrap up during Dollywood’s Parade of Many Colors (November 4 – January 1, 2017) in Pigeon Forge! Keeping an extra blanket in the car is great for road trips, too! If your cabin has a fire pit, grab your blanket and snuggle up with a loved one while making s’mores.
Take a pair of binoculars to use at Clingmans Dome or for the kids look out for wildlife during your drive along Newfound Gap Road. There are plenty of scenic spots in the Smokies for spotting black bears and more!
11. Food for Grilling Out
Make a day of the big football game playing on the big flatscreen TV in your cabin, and spend the pre-game debating stats over burgers on the grill!
12. Halloween Supplies
There are lots of events in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area where you can trick-or-treat with the kids, including the Halloween Carnival at The Island, so be sure to bring the family’s costumes and buckets to participate in all the Halloween fun!
13. Holiday-Themed Cookie Cutters
Let the kids help prepare desserts in the cabin with some handcrafted holiday cookies! Bring some icing and sprinkles to decorate ghosts and black cats for Halloween or turkeys for Thanksgiving.
In the midst of all the excitement and physical activities, relax and enjoy some alone time to get into a good book in the hot tub or on the living room couch in the afternoon sun.
15. ENO/Portable Hammock
With so many trees, you would think this would be an obvious item to pack, but alas, I have definitely forgotten my favorite hiking accessory before.
What big game day is complete without throwing around the pigskin while grilling out and enjoying some cold beverages before the main event?
17. DVDs & Blu-rays
Snuggle up on the couch and watch your favorite movie on the cabin’s flatscreen TV or get into the holiday spirit with your favorite Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas film; some cabins even have their own movie rooms with theater-style seating, surround sound, and huge screens!
18. Spa-Day Supplies
Bond with your sisters and friends during a family gathering or bachelorette weekend with an in-cabin, budget-friendly spa day, complete with face masks, hair treatments, and nail polish!
You don’t want to leave the cabin every time someone’s tummy gurgles. Bring popcorn, energy bars, and fruit to nibble on before big meals in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
20. Fit-for-the-Cabin Travel Essentials
Do you need a swimsuit in the fall? Well, some cabins have indoor pools! Do you need charcoal or is the grill gas? Need firewood for an outdoor fire pit or a wood-burning fireplace? Is the cabin stocked with games and movies, or should you bring your favorites? All of these questions can be answered and prepared for ahead of time by simply checking out your cabin’s page or calling one of our vacation planners!