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1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

6 posts
1 review
1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

My 14 yr old son and I are visiting the last weekend in October and this is our first time here. We will arrive on Thursday night and head for home on Monday morning. We rented an AirBNB in Louisville, Tn - mainly because it was less expensive then the the other areas I looked at, but it was still only about 45 miles from Gatlinburg so I didn't think it would be too bad distance wise.....but now that I'm looking into things we are wanting to do (Cades Cove, Clingman's Dome, ziplining in Gatlinburg, Laurel Falls .... just to name a few) I'm wondering if I need to reconsider where we stay? We obviously plan on full days in whatever we choose to do, but I just don't want to end up regretting where we stay, so I'd like others opinions. Also, any suggestions on must see sights is appreciated as well!

10 replies to this topic
Centerville, Ohio
Level Contributor
14,725 posts
3,451 reviews
1. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's


Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service)


We recommend staying in Sevier County

Any Beach
Destination Expert
for Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, West Virginia
Level Contributor
11,906 posts
156 reviews
2. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

Hi Krissi D, I highly recommend you post this question in the Gatlinburg forum for much better answers. The DE's and others on that forum can tell you what is best. It is a very active and friendly forum and they can give you advice not only about Gatlinburg, but surrounding areas like the ones you are interested in.....


Edited: 17 September 2018, 20:19
Level Contributor
474 posts
1 review
3. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

Louisville, TN, would be too far for me. Years ago we would stay in north Sevierville even though our primary destination was Gatlinburg. Now I look back and realize how much driving was involved that could have been spent sightseeing, etc.

It’s your choice, but my opinion would be to stay closer to the sites you want to visit.

Grove City, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,694 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

Based on the things that you listed, staying closer to the Smokies would be good. There are so many types of accommodations. October is a very busy time. Make your reservations very soon. We stay in Pigeon Forge, because it fits what we like. Many posters prefer Gatlinburg. Check www.mypigeonforge.com or www.gatlinburg.com . October in the Smokies is great.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,206 posts
24 reviews
5. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

You need to get a whole lot closer if you want to enjoy your visit. As Savant said - Sevier County. Think Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville.

Sugar Land, Texas
Level Contributor
2,491 posts
17 reviews
6. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

A weekend in October is very busy. You will want to stay as close as possible to avoid traffic backups.

I suggest Gatlinburg. It is located next to the park. The places in the park you mentioned are very popular so getting to them by 8 AM is very important to minimize crowds if that is even possible on a weekend in October.

Cades Cove is an hour from Gatlinburg

Laurel Falls is about 15-20 minutes from Gatlinburg

Clingmans Dome is 45 minutes and

Newfound Gap Overlook is 30 minutes from Gatlinburg

Newest hotels in Gatlinburg

Hampton Inn Historic Nature Trail

Courtyard Gatlinburg

Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg

Fairfield Inn on Historic Nature Trail

Margaritaville Resort

Recently renovated...

Greystone Lodge in the River

Older hotels...

Jack Huff's

Riverhouse at the Park

LeConte View Motor Lodge

All the above hotels are easily walkable to all places on the downtown Gatlinburg parkway.


6 posts
1 review
7. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

Thank you all for your responses, thoughts and suggestions - I'm glad I asked and will start looking for accommodations much closer.

Centerville, Ohio
Level Contributor
14,725 posts
3,451 reviews
8. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

Krissi D,

Great post, and lots of helpful advice in this thread

Sugar Land, Texas
Level Contributor
2,491 posts
17 reviews
9. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

Let us know how you did on your trip!

Florence, South...
Level Contributor
2 posts
202 reviews
10. Re: 1st Time Visit to the Smoky's

I just did 4 days of hiking with 2 teenagers. We stayed in Pigeon Forge. A little cheaper than Gatlinburg but only a short drive to the park (Sugarland Visitor Center) however on the weekend even the short drive took a while because of the number of visitors. Try the Econolodge. We were happy with it.

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