Posted by Darryl Payne in Smoky Mountains
If you've booked a Pigeon Forge cabin for an upcoming trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, you can count on some great times ahead. Whether you're planning to visit late this summer or some time this fall/winter, the area's natural beauty and abundant recreation, amusement, shopping and dining opportunities will add up to big fun for all.
Even if you don't currently have a reservation, we'd like to pass along a few strategies for ways to make the most of your trip to the Smokies, especially if you're staying in a cabin. These tips will save you some time and money and ensure that everyone has a blast.
The more the merrier, right? Sharing a property with multiple people is just a lot of fun, and it also saves money, because generally, economies of scale help you get lower rates per person that way. In the Smokies, we have everything from one-bedroom cabins to 20-bedroom lodges that can accommodate as many as 40 guests or so. So larger groups can easily feel comfortable, with plenty of amenities to suit everyone's needs. And of course, you can almost always book a cabin for a large party much less expensively than you can hotel rooms for the same number of guests.
If it's possible, arriving during the day will help you get your bearings, particularly in some of the more remote mountain roads. Plus you'll still have some day left to enjoy attractions and restaurants in town or to simply settle into your lodgings and unwind from your journey.
When practical, plan your cook-in meals ahead of time and buy as many supplies as you can before you head to the Smokies. This may not work if you're driving a long way and can't keep perishables cold or frozen. But for non-perishables and sundry items, this strategy can save you a lot of money. Not to mention the fact that the grocery stores can get very busy on peak days, so pre-shopping will free up more of your time for fun stuff.
Our kitchens come with most of the appliances, cookware, utensils and dishware you'll need to prepare and serve a wide variety of meals, so take advantage of that for a meal or two each day. It will save you money, as opposed to dining out every meal, and it's a convenient way for everyone to enjoy meals together. Most cabins have grills too, so you can even fire up some steaks or burgers out on the deck. Of course, there are lots of great restaurants to choose from in the Smokies, so don't forget to take advantage of that selection as well.
Cabins typically come with starter supplies of toilet paper, paper towels and the like, as well as towels and linens. But you may want to pack other items that you're more particular about, such as a favorite brand of coffee filter or your own pillow or DVDs from your video collection. If you're not sure exactly what each cabin does and doesn't offer, just check with the management company for full details.
We strongly recommend visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park if you're staying anywhere in the area. But if you do, remember that there are few food vendors (Cades Cove picnic area is an exception). One popular activity is to pack a picnic lunch and take it into the park with you. There are several picnic and campground areas for you to take advantage of, or you might find an off-the-beaten-path alternative. Just be sure to clean up all your garbage and don't leave food for the bears.
One of the great advantages of staying in a cabin is the presence of a washer and dryer. So instead of packing a different outfit for every day of the week and maxing out your luggage and storage space, go easier on the clothing and do a load or two of laundry. Be sure to bring your own laundry soap, however.
This can come in handy any time of year. In summer, you may swim in a creek or river, visit a water park or swim in a community pool. But even in winter, you'll need something to wear if you plan to take advantage of your cabin's hot tub.
Cabins are conducive to large groups like corporate retreats or family reunions. But if you're heading out for the day, consider splitting up into smaller groups. Trying to move a large herd of folks can be time-consuming, not to mention the fact that most people probably won't share the same tastes in activities. Maybe one group wants to go hiking, while another wants to go shopping, while another wants to go to Dollywood for the day. Stay flexible.
Let's face it; even vacations can be hard work or stressful at times, especially if you have younger children in tow. They tend to get a little cranky as the day wears on. Not to mention that a long day on your feet in the national park or at Dollywood or in the outlet malls can wear down even the hardiest of souls. So make the most out of your mountain cabin and plan for some do-nothing time. Sit out on the deck and take in the views from your rocking chair or swing, de-stress in the hot tub, kick back and watch a movie, curl up in the loft with a good book or just stretch out on your bed and do some power napping.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you plan and execute a Smoky Mountains vacation that you'll never forget.
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