Posted by Darryl Payne in Places to Stay
Even before you make that first phone call or mouse click, it's a good idea to put a little thought into where you're going to stay. After all, it's where you'll be spending a good deal of your time for several nights or more, so it can pay to make smart decisions on the front end. There's a wide range of accommodations available, not to mention other factors to consider, like price, location and amenities, all of which can vary with each type of property. If you've never spent any time in the Smokies before, this can be especially useful information, but even if you're a seasoned Smokies traveler and already have a favorite spot where you've stayed in the past, this post may lead you somewhere that you like even more, or maybe you're ready to just mix things up a little bit for a change of pace. So read on, and hopefully, our tips can help you make the lodging decision that works best for you.
This may seem like an obvious consideration, but depending on what you have planned for your trip, it can have a huge impact on the quality of your time in the mountains. First, think about your priorities for your trip. Will you be spending most of your time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park? If so, it would make more sense to choose accommodations in the Gatlinburg area. Is this more of a Dollywood-focused trip, or will you be planning to check out some music theaters? Then Pigeon Forge would probably make for a more logistical home base. If you're more into outlet mall shopping, or if one of your priorities is a location that's easily accessible, with relatively less traffic, Sevierville might be a wise choice. If you're thinking about taking on a little bit of everything during your visit, finding a geographically central place to stay makes sense, and in that case, Pigeon Forge best fits that description. The bottom line is that the closer you are to the places you want to visit, the less time you'll spend driving in your vehicle and the more time you'll have to do the things you want to do most.
The good news here is that no matter what your price range is, you can find a lodging provider in the Smokies that will accommodate your pocketbook. From upscale resorts to budget-friendly motels to thrifty-minded campgrounds, the spectrum of price points is wide enough to welcome just about any traveler. If you prefer a place with luxury rooms, generous amenities and spa packages, there's a lot to choose from. If all you really need is a no-frills place to park your vehicle and lay your head down at the end of the day, you'll find that too. And of course, there's a ton of options that lie in between those extremes.
What your lodging provider has to offer is often a big consideration when deciding on a place to stay. And here, the number of options to choose from is staggering. For example, if you want to be able to swim, it's not just a matter of whether your destination has a pool. Do you prefer an indoor pool or outdoor pool? Do you want to stay in a place that is near a water park or even has its own water park on the property? And then there are all those other amenities that vary from location to location, including whirlpool tubs, hot tubs, fireplaces, laundry facilities, game rooms, proximity to trolley transportation, spa facilities, exercise facilities and the list goes on and on.
For a lot of folks, it comes down to the kind of accommodations they think will best suit their needs. Overnight rentals like cabins, chalets and cottages are more like residential properties, complete with multiple bedrooms, full kitchens and laundry rooms as well as amenities like hot tubs, fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, game rooms and more. Advantages here are a more comfortable, home-like atmosphere and, in most cases, privacy and seclusion. Many individual overnight rentals offer fantastic views of the mountains. One-bedroom cabins are ideal for honeymoons and romantic getaways, while larger properties with four or even five bedrooms are perfect for family reunions or business retreats. You'll find cabins and condos throughout the area, but chalets are most common in the mountains overlooking Gatlinburg and can make a fun base for a ski trip.
Then there's the trusty old hotel or motel. In the Smokies, you'll find everything from up-to-date national chains with tons of amenities to locally owned, mom-and-pop hotels that have been around for decades and offer a folksier, more traditional approach to vacationing in the mountains. And don't forget to think outside the box when it comes to places to stay. You could book a quaint, romantic bed and breakfast in a rural setting, far from the hustle and bustle, or if you enjoy living the RV lifestyle, there are lots of campgrounds in the area that come complete with onsite amenities to accommodate your ride. If you're into more primitive types of shelter, you could reserve a campground in the national park and pitch a tent or spend the night in your pop-up camper.
It's a lot to consider, but with just a little bit of thought and some online digging, you should be able to book a place to stay in the Smokies that checks off all your boxes.
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