Most people miss out on some of the most amazing views in the Smokies, but that doesn’t have to be you! Check out this itinerary before you go.
STEP TWO: Pick Your Dates
>> How long should I stay?<<
This task should only take a few minutes. Based on the decision you made in Step One, now it’s time to look at the calendar and pick your dates!
The reality of your trip will begin to set in as soon as you specifically decide when you are going to go.
As you look at the calendar to pick your dates, you’ll want to keep these things in mind:
- How much time you’ll be able to get off of work
- The amount of time it will take to travel to and from the Great Smoky Mountains (not including your sightseeing days)
- How many days you can afford for lodging and dining
- If there are any major holidays/fee-free days/festivals you’d like to be in the park for or avoid
In addition to picking a specific time to visit, you’ll also need to think about how many days you want to be in the Smokies. Let me provide some guidance!
To fully experience the park and its many regions, I strongly suggest giving yourself at least 4 FULL sightseeing days. In that amount of time, you can see the best points of interest and give yourself time to get off-the-beaten-path as well.
A 4-day visit will allow you to avoid the crowds like a champ, which will be especially beneficial if you plan on being in the park during the summer or fall! If you have time to stay longer, you’ll open up more options for longer hikes and extra activities such as horseback riding or river-tubing.
Spending 3 full days in the Great Smoky Mountains will still allow you to see all of the park’s main attractions, but you’ll likely have to cut out a few of the smaller and off-the-beaten-path stops.
If you have 2 full days in the Smokies, you’ll really only have time to see a few sections of the park. If you’ve never been before, this amount of time will provide a good overview of the park but you won’t have much time to really explore.
Organizing your sight-seeing options to avoid crowds and have a more enjoyable time becomes more difficult with only 2 days. You probably won’t have time to fit in everything you’d like to do!
The Great Smokies can be done in a day, but I definitely don’t recommend it! It is possible to see Cades Cove and the Newfound Gap Road in that amount of time….but it’s a ton of driving and it will be impossible to avoid the crowds.
You’ll also be traveling to the most popular areas of the park during the some of the busiest times of the day, so you won’t be able to cover as much ground — you’ll likely find lots of people and completely full parking lots at some of the points of interest.
Alright, are you ready to complete Step Two? Let’s lock in some dates! Don’t forget to choose your dates based on how many sightseeing days you have PLUS the number of travel days you’ll need to get to and from the park.
It’s time to take a look at the calendar and pick some specific dates for your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains!
Congrats! It’s so exciting to have the actual dates picked out.
Ready for Step Three? Let’s go!