By Leif Palmer
Posted on March 24, 2020
If you're like most of us right now, you've been spending a lot of time at home. We know lots of folks have been taking advantage of all that inside time to do some productive things, like cleaning, organizing and taking on long-neglected household tasks and projects. Here's another suggestion for a way to pass the time that's not only productive but also fun: You can start making plans for a summer vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains. With the Internet and a phone at your fingertips, you can not only dream about all the fun things you'll be able to do in just a few months, but you can also take actual steps toward making it all happen.
With everyone's busy summer schedules, carving out a few days or even a week for a full getaway in the Smokies can be challenging. There are vacation days to request off at work and kids' activities to steer around, and often your travel plans may hinge on a particular event on a specific date. Check your calendar and commit to the dates that look like they'll work best for you and your family.
Once you know your time frame, you should consider locking into your choice of lodging. Some properties stay booked years in advance, so the earlier you can make your reservations the better. You may have a favorite place that you always stay in the Smokies, or maybe you'd like to try something new. There are lots of lodging choices in the area, from hotels and motels to overnight rentals, bed and breakfast inns and even campgrounds. When narrowing down your choice, consider factors like proximity to your planned activities, how much money you're willing to spend, whether you want to be close to the action or away from the hustle and bustle, and what types of amenities you'd like to have access to.
There are tons of places to go and things to do in the Smokies - attractions, restaurants, shops, special events and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Start going online and poking around and see what looks like fun or of interest. There are only so many hours in a day, so at some point, you'll have to make some decisions about what to add to the itinerary and what to leave off.
This is also a great time to look for deals on individual business websites and local travel-guide websites. Whether it's a coupon for merchandise, a meal or admission to a theater or attraction, you can usually save money by planning ahead. And don't forget about logistical considerations. You may want to do some research when it comes to the best travel routes, best modes of local transportation and best places to park, including our parking in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
In many cases, you don't need to do this too far out. At most places, including Dollywood, you can just show up, buy your tickets and go in. But there are some advantages to purchasing in advance. Some attractions might offer discounts associated with buying tickets online, plus getting tickets ahead of time saves you from waiting in a ticket line on the day of your visit. You can just walk right in and start having fun.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.