Smoky Mountains Money-Saving Tips and Tricks
A vacation to Gatlinburg, the gateway to the Smoky Mountains, is not just a visit to a well-known tourist town. It’s a stay in the ancient Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, a place where Appalachian culture was born and still thrives. In this lush forest region—a hiking, fishing, and outdoor paradise—you’ll find a natural wonderland rising to over 6,000 feet.
To vacation in this area, you’ll need some tricks and tips to make the most of your visit. Prepare for an amazing vacation adventure in the area home to America’s best-loved National Park.
- Because you’ll be spending time at various elevations, you’ll want to pack for different weather conditions. Think “layers,” and check the weather forecast just before you go to get the most accurate reading. The temperatures can vary 10 to 20 degrees as you go up the mountains.
- Bring your hiking gear! Even if you have no plans to hit the parks, you can still use backpacks and a good pair of shoes. And be sure to break in your shoes before you start.
- Chose low-maintenance pieces that can be worn several ways, including dressing up or down. While lots of dinner shows and events are casual, you’ll want to stay versatile just in case you find a nice restaurant or show you’d like to look especially good for.
- Download as many relevant apps as possible. Instead of lugging around paper guides and maps, you’ll have everything in the palm of your hands.
- Limit electronic devices. Do you really need a laptop or tablet and that camera? Or can you get away with just a phone?
- There are plenty of scenic drives through the mountains, but if you decide to take one, watch for curves, inclines, and drop-offs as you travel those roads.
- Take it slow and watch for wet or icy weather. As elevations change, you can find that a 10- or 20-degree difference means an icy road rather than a wet one.
- Thinking of driving the Blue Ride Parkway? You can download free planner apps to plan your route. The Blue Ridge Parkway Travel Planner will give you suggested itineraries, historic sites, trails, and overlooks so you can be sure to catch some great photos.
- In Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, you’ll find that most people drive their own cars to get around. This can often mean heavier traffic, especially in the summer months.
- A little-known but helpful tip is that Gatlinburg street lights are numbered 1 through 10. This makes it much easier to find your way around.
Ways to Save
- Prepare your own meals and on-the-go snacks. Since a Bluegreen resort stay means you’ll have access to a kitchen and everything you need to prepare delicious fare, you’ll be able to save quite a bit by doing a little shopping ahead of time and preparing hearty breakfasts to start your day.
- Spend lots of time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll experience jaw-dropping views in one of the best-loved parks in the nation, and it will only cost the gas you use to drive there. The park hosts free programs and activities, so stop by the visitor’s centers for a schedule and take advantage of these services.
- Clipping coupons is always a great way to save. Look for Groupons, but also be sure to pick up the area guides because they’re sure to have coupons throughout.
- Look for deals on gas cards at your local grocer or pharmacy, and purchase them ahead of time to use while on your trip.
- Visiting Dollywood®? Get two days for the price of one by entering the park after 3 p.m. You can come back the next day at no additional charge.
- To get around town and save on gas, take the Gatlinburg Trolley. You can enjoy free rides in the summer, and the regular fare is just 50 cents. You can even take the trolley to get to Pigeon Forge!
You can also save on your stay in Bluegreen’s comfortable accommodations that fit the whole family, provide kitchens with all appliances, and are conveniently located near the most visited national park in the country.