Couple Walking Near Cabin

It’s never too late to plan (or take) a trip to the Smokies! If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, we have tips and tricks to make the most out of your mini-vacation.

Don’t Overload Yourself

There are plenty of activities in the Smokies, and it’s easy to try and pack your day full of as many restaurants, shopping, and fun as possible. That can lead to getting worn out too fast. You don’t have to do everything in one visit. Plan for another! Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville will welcome you back with open arms.

We recommend you consider planning 2-3 things to do per day with travel and activity time in mind, then actually map out where they are. You don’t need to be up at the crack of dawn (unless you’re trying to beat the breakfast crowd at the Pancake Pantry or catching a stunning sunrise). Pace yourself so you can make the most out of your day while still having an enjoyable experience that you’ll remember.

Make Trip Goals

Is your primary goal to relax? If so, you might want to consider checking out spas like the RiverStone or Oak Haven. Instead of booking a hotel, consider something a bit more private like a secluded cabin or spacious condo. Consider more low-key activities like horseback riding, or watching a Tennessee Smokies baseball game (their season starts in April). If you’re into shopping, plan around the Mountain Mall or The Village in Gatlinburg, Tanger Outlets in Sevierville, or The Island in Pigeon Forge. Foodies have a great selection of cafes, bars, restaurants, and sweet shops so you can plan activities around the food!

Bring Only What You Need to Survive

Are you sure you need an industrial strength hair dryer or matched luggage? It’s only a weekend, so don’t feel like you need to pack your entire wardrobe. I like to plan for one or two outfits per day. One casual and one a little bit fancier, depending on what I have planned (like a dinner show). Mornings can get chilly even in summer, so having a sweater or jacket you can grab quickly is helpful. My packing list includes electronics, hygiene products, clothes, and snacks. I put the electronics in a bag along with a smaller ziplock bag with all of my charging cords. I pack shampoo/conditioner in travel containers. I have a dedicated “snack bag” that I use on all my trips, and all the munchies go in there. I also got a shoe box from Ikea that I use to put additional pairs of shoes in. At only $7.99 for a four-pack, it’s quite a deal. Plus, they stack nicely. You can use one to store kid’s toys, markers, and coloring books, too.

Extended Trip Back-Up Plan

As you near the end of your weekend, you may realize you just want one more day to spend to do something you weren’t able to do. Have a quick list of places you’ve already scoped out where you’d like to stay if you decide to stay for another day. If you’re in a cabin, there might be a chance it’s not booked the next day. You can also consider places a little farther out like Knoxville or Asheville, where the drive to the Smokies is an hour or less.

Be Spontaneous

Do something that you haven’t planned on your trip to mix things up a bit. It can be as simple as a walk to get ice cream or a drive through the Parkway. Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Pigeon Forge have plenty of things you can do in a shorter amount of time. You can add a round of mini-golf, a visit to a trampoline park, or a stop in a shop to your trip.

Check Prices in Advance

Make a list of restaurant, lodging, and attraction options in advance and price them out. This way, you won’t have any surprises, and you can come out of your getaway with a little more in your pocket (or less, if you want to!).

Keeping a list of activities is always going to help you make the most out of your trip. At MobileBrochure, it’s easy to make a suitcase to keep all your brochures together in one spot. Just create an account, log in, and start adding! You can access your suitcase from the My Account area (or go to if you’re logged in). You can manage your Suitcases to change privacy if you want to share your trip with anyone that is going to join you.

Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.

About April Sadowski

April Sadowski is a wife, mother of a toddler, and a travel junkie. She's a content author for the Smoky Mountain region and is always looking for the latest tip for making a vacation a memorable one.

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