Top 5 Reasons the Mountains Beat the Beach This Summer

Sayonara, beaches! Summertime is sunburn time, sand-in-every-nook-and-cranny time, and endless waves of people time…at the beach. On the flip side, the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, offers tons of shade, serene nature, and places where you can enjoy privacy on vacation. If you’re asking yourself which is better — beach or mountains — you’ve come to the right place. We’re laying the time-old beach or mountains debate to rest with our top 5 reasons the mountains beat the beach this summer!  

1. Cooler Weather

With all due respect to beach lovers, we’d choose the Great Smoky Mountains of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN, over any beach in summer simply for the cooler weather — hovering in the mid to high 80s during the day and low 60s at night. Humidity? No thanks. Fresh mountain air? Yes, please!

Along with cooler temperatures than the beach, there’s tons more shade in the Smoky Mountains to keep it even cooler. Hikes through the national park offer lush trees and passing streams that help keep the area cool. And more shade means less chance of the ever-dreaded sunburn!

2. Private Pools!

Kiss over-crowded beaches goodbye! We all know real estate on the beach is hard to come by, let alone keep. If you’re someone who likes to have total control over your surroundings when on vacation, you’ll love having your very own private pool at your cabin in the Smokies!

Look forward to shark-free splashes, kids not swimming out of sight, and listening to your own music…and not everyone else’s at once. Plus, you won’t have to deal with random balls flying around and knocking over your things, floaties swimming out to sea, or people stealing your spot on the sand. 

If you opt for our many cabins with private indoor pools with air conditioning, you won’t have to worry about sunburn wreaking havoc on you, your family, or friends. And you can swim any time of year, so if you need to push plans around, you can still play in the pool — rain, shine, or snow!

Still not convinced? Go for a luxury pool with waterfalls, log bridges, color-changing lights, spa areas, kiddy pools, swim-in grottos, fountains, big screen TVs, and mountain views. Prefer splashing in the summer sun? Choose a cabin with community pool access or visit one of the cool waterparks in town, like Dollywood’s Splash Country and Soaky Mountain Waterpark

3. Pet-Friendly 

While pets can go on the beach in some places, the Great Smoky Mountains welcomes your fur babies with open arms. On top of providing pet-friendly restaurants, shops, and hiking trails to check out, there are plenty of pet-friendly cabins in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area. What’s more, it’s natural for dogs to be out in the mountains, smelling all the new smells, splashing in a creek, and wandering about the hills with their human companion. 

Plus, bringing your pooch to the beach requires a lot more planning. It’s important not to go during the heat of the day. You need to make sure there is shade for your doggie to avoid heatstroke. Dog sunscreen is needed to prevent sunburn, and drinking salt water is a big no-no! And don’t forget to check the tide charts and bring your furry family member’s lifejacket.

In the Smoky Mountains, all you need to do is bring along fresh water, a few treats, and an appetite for fun! Any time of day is okay to head out on a trail, play at a dog park, or stroll The Island (a local shopping and entertainment complex) because there is always plenty of shade to keep away from the sun. Of course, you can always hang out at your pet-friendly cabin with loads of amenities to keep everyone entertained.

4. More Affordable

Still debating mountains vs beaches? Maybe talking pricetags will be more convincing. Is it more expensive to travel to the beach or the mountains in summer? The beach, no doubt. Yes, the mountains have higher prices than their off-season as well, like any other summer hotspot. BUT the beach takes first prize in overcharging and jacking up prices for summer…because they know people will inevitably come. For you, that means raised accommodation rates and fewer sales (if any) in stores and restaurants. 

Just because the summer is booming, doesn’t mean you need to pay out the wazoo to enjoy a memorable summer vacation. Choosing the Smoky Mountains over the beach means affordability for YOU. Not to mention, there are freebies and discounts — even in summer — in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN!

  • FREE Gatlinburg trolley rides (only in summer!)
  • FREE entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • FREE wine samples and gifts on the Rocky Top Wine Trail
  • $5 moonshine samples at Ole Smoky locations
  • Discounted attractions tickets with Pigeon Forge TN Cabins
  • Cruise and peruse the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community for FREE

5. Better Views (Hear us out.)

Don’t get us wrong; the ocean is gorgeous. It’s just the Smoky Mountains offer panoramic views filled with much more to see. Mountain peaks, many kinds of trees and flowering plants, and wildlife galore — including black bears, white-tailed deer, and river otters. 

Yes, you could go scuba diving or snorkeling for more interesting scenery beneath the water. But it’s much easier and cheaper to head into the national park…or even look out your cabin window in your PJs to check out the breathtaking views in the Smokies.

Not to mention, there are fewer people to fight for the best selfie spot and more places to spread out and find fantastic views in the Smoky Mountains. You’ll also have peaceful sounds to go with your awesome panoramic view, instead of blaring music or screaming kids. 

Visiting the mountains gives you a chance to connect with nature. But hey, if you’d rather shoo pesky seagulls from snatching your food or leave with sand in all the nooks and crannies…still finding it months down the road somehow, that’s okay as long as you’re happy. 

Mountains or beach? We’ve made our stance clear. But if you still can’t decide, our best advice is to not overthink it. Go with your gut! It’s YOUR vacation — so enjoy it.