A vacation to the Smoky Mountains is filled with natural beauty, fresh mountain air, and a host of activities and attractions for people of all ages.
On a Smoky Mountain vacation, travelers can experience hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, frolicking on the fun water slides of Dollywood, viewing the unique aquatic exhibits of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and experiencing the mysterious stalactites and stalagmites and an underground waterfall at Tuckaleechee Caverns.
And this is just a small sampling of what you will discover on your smoky mountain vacation.
Don’t forget the many choices delicious cuisine to savor from casual to fine dining fare!
However, no matter what activities and diversions you decide to enjoy on your Smoky Mountain vacation, you’ll need to pack the right items in your suitcase and in your backpack.
Not sure exactly what you need to bring?
We’ve got it covered. Here’s a checklist of how to pack on your Smoky Mountain vacation.
1. Find Out the Weather for Your Smoky Mountain Vacation
The first thing you need to do before you open your suitcase is to look up the weather. The Smoky Mountains are home to a temperate climate, but remember, the higher the elevation, the colder it gets. For every 1500 feet in elevation, you’ll need to adjust your temperature down 3 degrees. This means Clingman’s Dome can be 10-15 degrees cooler than Gatlinburg!
The high elevations typically get snow in December through March, so you’ll have to pack appropriately if you visit during this time of year. During the snowy season, you’ll need to pack snow boots, a warm jacket and warmer clothing. If you’re driving in, a set of snow chains is a great addition to your winter road kit.
Planning to visit the National Park during those winter months? Be sure to check Smokies Roads on Twitter for the latest in closures. This is the most up-to-date way to know road conditions in the National Park! Make sure you read up on our tips for winter hiking, too!
2. What Clothes to Pack
Even if you’re not going to high elevations and you’re visiting during the warmer months, it’s a good idea to bring t-shirts and a light jacket and layer up. This way you can take off your jacket or sweater if it gets too hot.
This is the preferred way to dress for hikers because a light jacket or long-sleeved shirt can easily be tossed into a backpack.
Weather off the mountain generally is from 50 to 88 degrees, depending on the time of year of your Smoky Mountain vacation.
3. What Shoes to Bring
The types of shoes vary depending on the activity. A casual hot afternoon can call for sneakers and flip flops or sandals. Bring a pair of dress shoes for an evening on the town if you plan to get dressed up.
Don’t forget a good pair of hiking boots if you’re trekking on the mountain. You’ll need a pair of boots with good traction, especially if you are climbing a mountain that requires an intermediate or advanced hiking skill level.
4. Must-Haves for Your Smoky Mountain Vacation
On your vacation, you should have some to essentials in your wallet.
Make sure you have your plane tickets and cabin reservation documents unless you’ve booked everything electronically and don’t need to print anything.
Some financial and legal items you’ll need in your wallet include your credit card, debit card, drivers license, and some cash.
5. Toiletries to Consider
Some toiletries are essential, but there are others that aren’t necessary to bring along.
Sunscreen is an option. You’ll need it for sure, but it’s an item that you can purchase on your vacation. The same goes for shampoo and conditioner.
Here are some important toiletries to bring on your Smoky Mountain vacation:
- Hair Brushes and combs
- Razors or electric shavers
- Shaving cream
- Insect repellent (A must for hiking and spending time outdoors)
- Dental floss
- Contacts and glasses
- Prescription drugs and vitamins
Again, some of these things can be bought when you arrive, it depends on your budget and how light you want to travel.
6. Items to Help You Navigate Your Journey
Part of planning a comfortable trip is knowing where you’re going. Be sure to bring these navigational aids: a travel map, a map of the area, and a compass, especially if you’re planning a hiking trip. Make sure you’re never relying solely on an electronic GPS device. GPS is notoriously wrong in the Mountains. Knowing your way around without electronic navigation is very important!
7. Stay Connected on Your Smoky Mountains Vacation
Make sure to bring a camera to take all those pictures you’re going to post online for all the friends and family who couldn’t join you on your Smoky Mountain vacation.
If you prefer taking selfies and have a good quality camera on your smartphone – that can also work well.
Don’t forget to bring your charger an adapter for your car!
8. Hiking Gear Essentials
Are there any panoramic views more breathtaking than hiking the Smoky Mountains? I think not!
But when you’re trekking in the great blue yonder, you’ll need to have some items in your backpack:
First Aid Kit
First aid kits protect you from minor accidents like bug bites or getting snagged by tree branches on your hike. Be sure to have antiseptic wipes, anti-bacterial ointment, Band-Aids, bandages, an antiseptic and tweezers in your kit.
Drink lots of water
You’ll need to stay hydrated on your climb. You can bring bottled water to put in your backpack, but if you want your hands free, buy a hydration reservoir to quench your thirst more easily.
Protection from the Elements and Critters
The hot sun, blowing winds and insects can take a toll on your skin. A must-have for any hiking trip is bug spray, bear spray (if bears are in the area), sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50.
Keep Your Blood Flowing with Snacks
Load yourself up with nutrients and high protein for your climb. Some of these snacks that are good for you include cashews, almonds, seeds, and raisins.
You’re Ready for an Adventure!
Now you have the ultimate checklist to begin planning your Smoky Mountain Vacation! So get ready for an adventure-filled vacation in one of the most exciting destinations in America.
American Patriot Getaways offers everything for a Smoky Mountain Vacation, including access to local deals and detailed information and things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Visit our website today to discover a host of rustic cabin options!