The Great Smoky Mountains of southern Tennessee are a great vacation destination for young couples, retirees, and families of all ages and sizes. Not only is there tons to do in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area, it is also a very economical vacation choice. Check out these tips for making your vacation memorable, and affordable!
Visit the park. Remarkably, many people venture to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area and never set foot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is such a shame considering the park offers more than 800 miles of hiking trails. The trails range from simple, paved walks to challenging mountainous climbs. You can view nature at its finest including rushing streams, breathtaking waterfalls, and amazing mountain views. Cades Cove, a valley within the mountains, features historical buildings and wildlife sightings. The best part about visiting the park? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the only national parks in America that offers free admission.
Visit in the off season. The area is busiest in the summer and fall seasons. If you visit during the winter (Jan-Feb) or spring (Mar-May) you can avoid the crowds and save some cash. Many well-maintained motels in the area charge as little as $24.95 per night during these months. The motels are mostly family owned and operated, clean, and offer quite sufficient accommodations. Just drive the main strip in Pigeon Forge and check for advertised rates. Area attractions also often have cheaper rates in the off season, just keep in mind that some entertainment may be closed in the winter.
Consider a cabin. If you are traveling as a family or with friends, consider renting a cabin or chalet. Thousands of rental accommodations pepper the mountainsides. During the winter and spring months you can take advantage of special deals on nightly prices. Cabins typically feature a full kitchen where you can prepare some cost effective meals, particularly breakfast. Many cabins also have entertainment options such as pool tables, hot tubs, and DVD players. Taking advantage of these options will certainly save money in your entertainment budget. If you are traveling with friends, there are many large cabins that can accommodate 10 or more people. Splitting the cost of your nightly stay really makes a difference in your overall spending.
Take the trolley. Take the Pigeon Forge Fun Time Trolley to get around Pigeon Forge. The trolley makes over 100 stops in the area and just costs $.50-$.75 per ride. You can even take the trolley all the way to the Gatlinburg Welcome Center where Gatlinburg City Trolleys can take you on into town for an additional $.50. Not only does this save money on gas costs and parking fees, it also keeps traffic headaches at bay!
Shop the Craft Loop. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, the arts and crafts loop outside of Gatlinburg is worth seeing. You will find beautiful, unique items in varied and interesting stores. Many craft shops feature working craftsmen and artists so you can see the artwork being created first-hand.
Skip the chain restaurants. Upon visiting the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area you will find an array of typical sit-down and fast food restaurants. Skip the typical and head for the unique! There are so many mom-and-pop restaurants around that offer delicious food and a unique atmosphere. You may also end up spending a lot less cash! For instance, the Donut Friar, located in downtown Gatlinburg, has the freshest, most delectable donuts and pastries ever created all for less than the average chain restaurant breakfast.
Do your research. The Great Smoky Mountains area is a very popular vacation destination so there are literally hundreds of websites devoted to it. Use these sites to your advantage and do your research before you go. Is there a particular attraction you don’t want to miss? Look it up online and see if there are any printable coupons available. Do you want to find a cabin that offers in-house activities? Search rental agencies online for the best deal. Taking a little bit of time to do some searching before you leave for your trip will keep your budget nice and small.
Don’t allow a tight budget to keep you from having a great family vacation. Consider The Smokies for great family fun at a budget-friendly price.