5 Tips to Plan a Hassle-free Gatlinburg Vacation

5 Tips to Plan a Hassle-free Gatlinburg Vacation

Last Updated on June 12, 2023

If you are searching for a new vacation spot to explore, why not add Gatlinburg to your bucket list? We will share with you some great tips to plan a hassle-free Gatlinburg vacation. Around 11.5 million tourists visit Gatlinburg annually for its shows and museums, mouthwatering pancakes, scenic beauty, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Since this town is charming during every season, you can plan your vacation anytime. For instance, you can enjoy the snow during winter and the Christmas festivities in a serene atmosphere since there are fewer crowds during the chilly weather. Autumn is another delightful time, with the trees displaying gorgeous hues! 

The sunny weather from June to August is perfect for hiking and enjoying summer activities, so these months are typically the busiest. 

To access Gatlinburg, you can fly into McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville: the nearest airport. You can also drive to Gatlinburg, but we recommend renting a car rather than relying on a taxi. With a rental, you won’t have to agonize over modes of transportation every day. Read ahead for other constructive tips to make your Gatlinburg trip trouble-free and memorable!

Book appropriate accommodation

Gatlinburg can get quite busy during the peak season, and it might be hard to find accommodation without pre-booking. Thus, make lodging arrangements at least two months in advance. If traveling with friends and family, you should search for suitable condos in Gatlinburg TN to stay. Such properties offer luxurious amenities like indoor pools, Wi-Fi, parking, hot tubs, and home theatres. You can also find a pet-friendly property if your furry companions are with you.

If you’re traveling on a budget, you can search for a condo with a private kitchen. Gatlinburg has delicious cuisine, but you can opt to cook some meals instead of eating out to avoid breaking the bank. Also, you and your traveling companions can enjoy complete privacy in your rental. You can indulge in a relaxing day indoors with your loved ones during unfavorable weather conditions without interruptions from strangers! 

Condos in Gatlinburg offer breathtaking views of the mountains. Imagine sitting on your balcony with a cup of coffee, watching the sun rise over the hills. Sounds dreamy, right?

What to pack

When packing for your trip, search for the weather conditions you might experience when you’re there. Summers in Gatlinburg are sunny and warm, but temperatures often drop in the mountains. Keep some warm clothing with you, especially if you plan on hiking. Also, pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, and some comfortable shoes. If you’re traveling during the colder months, remember to bring plenty of sweaters and jackets. Do carry an umbrella too to avoid being caught in the rain, as the clouds can give you a damp surprise at any moment! 

Secondly, pack your hiking boots and gear if you plan to hike in the Smokies. Keep a smaller backpack in your suitcase to carry your snacks, sunscreen, cell phone, and water bottle while trekking in the mountains. And don’t forget your camera to capture all those memories.

Furthermore, we suggest you pack some food and games for the road if you want to drive to Gatlinburg. Young kids can get cranky during road trips, so avoid potential tantrums by carrying some entertainment for the excursion.

Prepare an itinerary

You might feel overwhelmed by the number of attractions Gatlinburg has to offer. You can narrow down the places you want to visit by composing an itinerary. We recommend you keep a whole day aside for the Smoky Mountains National Park. There is so much to explore in the park; you can spend the day hiking, camping, and picnicking. If hiking doesn’t appeal to you, you can explore these majestic mountains on horseback or enjoy a scenic auto tour instead. 

Ober Gatlinburg is another enjoyable destination. Here, you can enjoy activities like the Mountain Coaster, Ice-Skating, Ice-bumper cars, chairlifts, and snowless tubing during the hotter months. During winter, you can hit the ski slopes and partake in other snow games and activities. Don’t forget to experience white water rafting and zip-lining while you’re there!

Finally, Gatlinburg is rich in art and culture, and you can visit the countless museums, theatres, and festivals there. Before your visit, book a dinner show or two to enjoy a stimulating night out. Lastly, Dollywood is always worth a visit; you can revel in a day full of rides and entertainment at this theme park.

Learn how to travel around the town

Before visiting Gatlinburg, make sure you know how to go about the town. If you plan to drive down in your car or a rental, you can explore Gatlinburg and easily access the nearby locations. However, the roads can get crowded during the busy season, and you might get stuck in traffic jams. Secondly, bringing your vehicle would mean paying for parking at many spots in the town. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a good parking spot whenever you’re exploring, you can opt for the Gatlinburg Trolley.

It has many stops where you can skip onto the vehicle. You can also travel to distant locations for a small fee. These are usually on time, and you can sit back and enjoy the scenic drive en route to your destination. Obtain information about its routes online or pick up a map from the Gatlinburg visitor center.

Ask for advice

If someone you know has been to Gatlinburg before, ask them to guide you before your visit. You can learn about the best places to visit, which restaurants offer the most delectable cuisine, and which tours to book for maximum entertainment. You can also ask locals about interesting things to see and do around town. 


Gatlinburg is a magical place to visit for a vacation. The quaint charm of the town, modern entertainment, shopping experiences, and the wild beauty of the Smoky Mountains make this an ideal vacation spot. Before visiting this destination, check for weather updates, possible road closures, and diversions. Since the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, being aware of the conditions will help you devise an appropriate itinerary. If you’re traveling with companions, discuss your plans with them so you’re all on the same page. Also, remember to factor in some resting time while planning your trip. You’ll enjoy your vacation more if you allow yourself to unwind with your loved ones at the end of the day. 

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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