5 Things to Consider when Planning a Family Trip to Gatlinburg

There are certain things to consider when planning a family trip to Gatlinburg, this Spring, Gatlinburg should be your vacation destination of choice.

With stunning landscapes, exciting outdoor activities, and friendly, laid-back Southern hospitality, Gatlinburg has everything a family could want in an ideal vacation spot.

No wonder this picturesque town in the Smoky Mountains has been a family favorite for decades.


5 Things to Consider when Planning a Family Trip to Gatlinburg

However, with a plethora of options, it could be overwhelming to plan the perfect trip. This is where we can help! 

This blog will share top tips for planning a family trip to Gatlinburg that will leave you feeling refreshed, recharged, and closer than ever before.

Things To Consider When Planning A Family Trip To Gatlinburg


1. Start Packing In Advance

Think about it; you do not want to spend your precious vacation time worrying about whether you packed enough socks or if you brought your hiking boots.

That is why pre-packing is the way to go! By making a packing list and planning out what you need ahead of time, you can rest easy knowing you are prepared for whatever adventures come your way.

Plus, pre-packing can actually be pretty fun. It is a chance to get excited about your upcoming trip and start envisioning all the amazing activities and experiences you will have.

You can even get the whole family involved and make it a group activity. And who does not love trying on different outfits and imagining what they will look like in all the vacation photos? 

Moreover, pre-packing will also give you time to make last-minute adjustments and ensure you are not rushed on your departure day. 

If you’re planning to head up to the mountains, pack layers of clothing, hiking boots, a first kit, essential kitchen utensils, and a map of the area.

For those bringing their pets, there are pet-friendly cabins in Gatlinburg TN, that offer all the necessary amenities needed to keep pets safe and warm.

They’re also equipped with fully functional kitchens, saunas, and tubs. Rest assured, even if you’re traveling with pets, you’ll love the experience.


2. Pick The Right Time

Like most things in life, timing plays a key role in the vacation. It could make or break your entire trip. So, the burning question is, when is the best time to visit Gatlinburg? Well, it depends on what you are looking for. 

If you are a fan of fall foliage, October is the perfect time to see the leaves change colors. On the other hand, if you are a winter sports enthusiast, consider visiting during winter when the ski spots are open.

For those who love the sun and the great outdoors, summer is the perfect time to hike, raft, and swim. Remember that this is peak season, and accommodations may be more expensive than usual.


3. Create An Itinerary

Having a detailed itinerary will help you stay organized and on track during your trip. Without a plan, you might miss out on some must-see attractions or not allocate enough time for activities you want to do.

An itinerary will also enable you to lay down your budget, ensuring you experience all that Gatlinburg has to offer without overspending. 

Creating an itinerary for your Gatlinburg family vacation is easy! Start by discussing everyone’s interests and preferences, and then gather information about the city’s top attractions, such as amusement parks, museums, and nature trails.

Once you have a list of activities, map out your days accordingly. It is a good idea to give some wiggle room in your itinerary in case you stumble onto anything interesting or unexpected.


4. Decide On Your Mode Of Transportation

Choosing the best mode of transportation for your family is essential to ensure that you have a smooth and comfortable trip to Gatlinburg.

Driving may be the best option if you are traveling from a nearby city or state. This way, you will save on airfare and also have the flexibility to stop and explore destinations. Plus, it is an opportunity for some great family bonding time in the car. 

Flying is the best option if you are traveling from a distant location. Look for flights to Knoxville or Asheville, rent a car, or take a shuttle to Gatlinburg.

Ultimately, the best mode of transportation for your family will be the one catering to the specific needs of the family. Consider factors such as cost, time, convenience, and comfort when deciding.


5. Plan Your Meals

Trying delicious local cuisine is a highlight of any trip. Gatlinburg has a great selection of restaurants and dining options, from classic Southern to modern cuisine. But eating out for every meal could put a dent in your budget. Thus, planning your meals is important. 

Do some preliminary research into local dining options. To give you a better idea, we have put together some of the best dining options you should try during your visit to Gatlinburg:

  • The Peddler Steakhouse: This iconic restaurant has been a Gatlinburg favorite for over 40 years. The Peddler serves up delicious, hand-cut steaks, fresh seafood, and a variety of other Southern-inspired dishes. The restaurant is located right on the Little Pigeon River, offering a beautiful setting for a family meal.
  • The Cherokee Grill: The Cherokee Grill is a high-end steakhouse and seafood restaurant that provides an elegant dining experience. The menu features locally-sourced ingredients and a variety of delicious cocktails, making it the perfect spot for a special occasion.
  • Pancake Pantry: A Gatlinburg institution, the Pancake Pantry has been serving up fluffy, delicious pancakes since 1960. The menu includes a variety of sweet and savory pancakes and other breakfast favorites like waffles, crepes, and omelets.
  • Wild Plum Tea Room: Visit the Wild Plum Tea Room for a very quaint midday meal. This cozy tearoom serves various sandwiches, salads, and quiches.

Things To Consider When Planning A Family Trip To Gatlinburg

If you are staying in a cabin, consider preparing some meals yourself. Visit a local grocery store and stock up on essentials like bread, eggs, and snacks. This will save you money and allow you to cook and dine together as a family.



Gatlinburg is a popular family holiday destination that offers activities and attractions for people of all ages. Before beginning your trip, make sure you follow the tips provided in this article and plan everything out in advance.

It will help you avoid any last-minute surprises and ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip for everyone in the group.

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