This may not be your first rodeo when it comes to summer vacation planning, or it may be your very first time making the trip to the pristine forests of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but we are all guilty of forgetting something or thinking of an item that would have made vacation even more fun. The Smoky Mountains are our expertise, so let us help you make this the Pigeon Forge Cabin vacation one for the books! From random forgotten clothing to the games you wish you would have packed to items you are forced to buy in overpriced tourist shops: it’s time to leave all that in the past and use these 10 Smoky Mountain summer vacation travel tips!
- Go Ahead and Plan Your Excursions
Before you ever begin packing or getting on the road to your perfect Pigeon Forge Cabin with incredible mountain views awaiting your arrival, you will definitely want to figure out what you are doing during your visit to Smokies. Your different excursions can affect what you should be packing in your suitcase. Plus, there are so many alluring signs and shops luring you in every which direction, you don’t want to miss out on something cool like back-packing llamas with Smoky Mountain Llama Trek or the huge underground cave tours in the Forbidden Caverns.
- Make It a Family Affair
If this is a family vacation we are planning, then getting the kids involved in choosing excursions and making their own packing list is a way to get them more excited for their vacation in the Smoky Mountains. Exciting excursions are also a great incentive for chores and extra-good helpers around the house!
- Make a Packing List
Now that you know what you are doing while in Pigeon Forge, make a packing list! Bring light layers for those crisp nights in the mountains and swimsuits for those warm, sunny afternoons around the cabin community pool or barreling down Big Bear Plunge in Dollywood’s Splash Country. You will also want to pack your favorite board games and outdoor activity supplies to make the most out of your cabin stay. While the awesome amenities such as outdoor hot tubs, air hockey tables, and big flatscreen TVs are great, some of the best time you’ll spend on your vacation in the Smoky Mountains could be around the dining room table, laughing and playing games with your most loved people. Be sure to bring things like hammocks, camelbacks, and other great hiking supplementary items with hundreds of miles of scenic hikes open around the park!
- Quality Over Quantity
Over-packing can put unnecessary strain on your vehicle, especially when your ride has to put in that extra work getting up and down the mountains. With so many cool shopping stops like The Old Mill, The Old Smoky Arts and Crafts Community, and The Island in Pigeon Forge, leave a little space in those suitcases for souvenirs and gifts.
- Check Your Ride
From tires to the oil, if your car hasn’t had its regular tune-up in a while, give yourself some peace of mind and have a good work-up done on your wheels. Most auto shops offer a 21-point check with your oil change, so just ask! Nothing can put a damper on the excitement like a flat tire or another avoidable auto issue and being stuck on the side of the road for a while.
- Map Your Ride
Getting lost is also another totally-avoidable bummer. Don’t drive all the way to the top of that mountain ridge only to find that you’ve scaled the wrong one! Cell service can get very spotty to completely nothing in certain areas, so it’s best not to overly rely on your phone to get you where you need to go. Print out or write down your directions before leaving the house, so, when all those bars disappear, your directions don’t disappear, too. We also highly suggest using the directions we provide to our Pigeon Forge, TN Cabins. Even the GPS doesn’t always lead to the exact address.
- No Need to Wait to Get On the Roads
Traffic can get a little heavy during the summer months. Getting on the road earlier in the day can really help. Morning drives mean sleepy little ones who are nice and quiet, less blasting the air conditioner, and less-crowded highways. Though your check-in is in the afternoon, you can get a little exploring and grocery shopping done before heading to the cabin. Plus, if your drive takes you along Newfound Gap Road cutting through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bears and other awesome wildlife tend to be more visible as they forage for their breakfast in the cool of the day!
- Keep Water Nearby
While the higher elevations tend to stay milder, the foothills and valleys can get a little toasty at times, with temperatures averaging in the 80s during the summer. Keeping water in the car and on your person keeps everyone safe and healthy. Picking up a pack of waters at the grocery store before heading to the cabin is a great way to save money when you are out shopping and exploring downtown Pigeon Forge where bottles of water will be more expensive. Or, pack everyone’s favorite water bottles to refill and save on plastic!
- Lather on the Sunscreen
The sun is out and so should be the sunscreen! Bring yours from home or pick some up at the grocery store because buying sunscreen inside any of the theme parks or tourist stops usually means a more expensive bottle of SPF.
- No Worries!
So, you have planned, listed, packed, and mapped out your ride, but there’s still a hiccup… that’s life! Relax and know that you have made all the right steps leading up to the steps of your gorgeous, peaceful Pigeon Forge cabin, and sometimes the speedbumps of life still happen along the way. Take solace in knowing that any stress you may have getting to the Smoky Mountains was out of your hands, and now you are able to unwind and let that stress float away, far beyond your gaze over miles of majestic mountain peaks.