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We all love to talk about how much we need a vacation. But the truth is, Americans are terrible at taking the vacation time they’ve earned. The majority of us let at least some portion of our vacation days go unused.

This year, take advantage of that hard earned time off by booking the ultimate adventure.

A Smoky Mountain cabins vacation is a great opportunity for you and your family or a group of friends to escape your busy, everyday lives.

Instead, you’ll have a chance to balance total relaxation with hiking, exploring nature, and other outdoor activities of your choosing.

Of course, as with any vacation, it’s important to know what to pack for a trip to Smoky Mountain cabins. You want to get the most out of the experience, and having the right clothing and gear is an important part of that.

Read on for our top 10 must-haves.

1. A Warm Outer Layer

Even if your trip to the Smoky Mountain cabins is planned for the summer, it’s always a good idea to pack a warm jacket.

Weather can be unpredictable in any season, and even if it is warm during the day, it can get cold once the sun goes down. Having a jacket on hand could be an unexpected lifesaver if a cold snap comes.

If you travel to the high elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll lose 3 degrees in temperature for every 1500 feet you travel.  This means that Clingman’s Dome can be be 10 to 15 degrees cooler than your cabin in Gatlinburg!

A lightweight fleece is a good option because it is warm without being bulky. It won’t take up a lot of room in your bag, and you can easily slip it in a backpack if you’re planning to go out for most of the day.

Is it possible that you’ll have warm weather all throughout your trip? Yes. But it’s always better to bring a layer that you don’t wear than to want a layer that you didn’t bring.

2. Hiking Footwear

One of the main reasons to book a cabin for a Smoky Mountain vacation is to, of course, enjoy the mountain! Throughout your stay, there will likely be a number of different hiking trails that you’ll want to spend time exploring.

Hiking boots or trail shoes may seem like specialty footwear, but if you bring them on a Smoky Mountain vacation, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. They are the best way to stay comfortable, whether you’re hiking two miles or twenty.  With more than 800 miles of trail to hike in the park, there’s a hike for everyone!

3. Sunscreen

Sunscreen might seem like a summer-only necessity, but it’s actually an important item to pack no matter what the time of year.

We often associate sunscreen with the hot weather, but even when it’s cold outside, the sun’s rays can still be brutal.

If you plan to be outdoors at all during your stay at the Smoky Mountain cabins, you want to wear sunscreen regularly to properly protect your skin.

4. Maps of the Area

Even if you usually rely on your smartphone to tell you where you are and where you need to go, you’ll want to be sure to purchase or print out physical maps before your vacation.

Cell phone service can be unreliable when you’re on a hike, and you may prefer to leave your phone behind all together while you explore the mountain.

Having a physical map on hand is the most reliable way to ensure that you don’t get lost as you explore. Be sure to stop at the Sugarland’s Visitor Center in the Smokies to pick up your trail map for only $1!

When driving to your cabin, be sure to follow the written directions your rental company provides.  GPS can often be unreliable on mountain roads and the last thing you want to do is struggle to find your cabin at the end of a long day of travel.

5. A Backpack

In addition to your regular luggage, it’s a good idea to pack a small backpack that you can carry with you during your daily excursions.

If you plan to hike or engage in other outdoor activities, a backpack is a great way to make sure you have everything you need with you at all times.

Each morning before you leave your cabin for the day, you can fill your backpack with snacks, a water bottle, your sunscreen and any other small items you might need or want.

That way, you’ll be prepared for whatever the day brings and won’t have to lug a large bag around with you.

6. Kitchen Items

Before you leave for your Smoky Mountain cabins, you should take stock of all of the kitchen equipment that is included in your rental.

That way, you’ll be able to prepare by packing any additional items you might want. Each rental’s kitchen will be different, but you may want your specific coffee maker or want to be sure to have enough trash bags on hand.

Those are things you should remember to pack yourself.

If you want to know which amenities come with a specific rental, you can always call our friendly Reservations Department with your questions!

7. Toiletries

Depending on its exact location, your Smoky Mountain cabin rental may not be that close to a convenience store or drug store. The last thing you want after a long day hiking is to have to drive far away just to get shampoo!

Be sure to pack all of the essential toiletries that you’ll need to be comfortable during your stay. It could save you a lot of time, and will help make sure your relaxing vacation is, in fact, relaxing.

8. Games and Activities

If you’re traveling with family or friends, the last thing you want is for boredom to set in. Especially at night, ideas for things to do may not seem very obvious.

Card games, board games, and other simple activities are great ways to pass the time and bring everyone together. Try to think of things that kids of all ages and adults will enjoy equally, so everyone is encouraged to participate in the fun!

9. Camera

A Smoky Mountains vacation is guaranteed to be an experience that you’ll want to remember. Having a camera on hand is the best way to capture the moments that your friends and family will be sharing.

From shots of the beautiful landscape to candids of your loved ones hanging out, a high-quality camera will ensure that no one forgets the amazing trip!

10. Chargers

Even during the most relaxing vacations, it’s impossible to leave technology behind altogether.

Make sure you have all the chargers you need for your cell phone, camera, tablet, and any other electronics you’re bringing along.

There will be plenty of beautiful nature to enjoy during your stay, but there’s no shame in bringing along some modern conveniences as well!  If you’re just not ready to unplug completely, make sure you book one of our cabins offering high-speed internet.

Ready to Book Your Smoky Mountain Cabins Vacation?

This year, make a commitment to book a vacation you’ll actually look forward to taking.

Our smart packing tips will help you get the most out of the Smoky Mountains, and be prepared for whatever your vacation brings.

For more information on Smoky Mountain cabin rentals, check out our blog!

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