Let’s face it we all need a break. Days where work & responsibility take a back seat to family & fun. If you’re like me you want these breaks often and the only way to do that is to learn how to travel on a budget. Whether it’s a family vacation or a couple’s getaway it’s a lot more enjoyable if you aren’t worried about the amount of money you’re spending.
Finding things that are free or are a low-cost option is very important to me. Don’t get me wrong I love to have great experiences, share a great meal with the people I love, or even shop until I drop but that doesn’t mean I have to throw money around like I’m printing it in the back room.
Gatlinburg is one of those places where you can definitely spend a fortune, but if you don’t have that fortune you can still have an amazing time and make beautiful memories. We love to spend as much time as we can outdoors and the Smoky Mountains is a great place to do that.
According to the Smoky Mtns website:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. The sprawling landscape encompasses lush forests and an abundance of wildflowers that bloom year-round. Streams, rivers and waterfalls appear along hiking routes that include a segment of the Appalachian Trail. An observation tower tops Clingmans Dome, the highest peak, offering scenic views of the mist-covered mountains.
Unlike many other national parks, Smoky Mountain National Park offers free admission. There are countless hiking trails, historic sites, and amazing views in this, one of the country’s most favorite National Parks. From picnicking and hiking to bicycling and auto tours there’s plenty to do that won’t cost you anything but the gas to get there.
One of our favorite places to visit when we’re at the Smokies is Cades Cove. CC is an 11-mile loop that you can drive, bike, or even hike where you will find historic farms, mills, and churches. Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures. Pick up a self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the loop road for information about the buildings you’ll see in the cove and the people who lived here.
Another must visit place in the Smokies is the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Its name derived from a “roaring” mountain stream, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail twists and turns for six-miles, forming a one-way looping scenic drive through the Great Smoky Mountains. The narrow roadway only allows cars—trucks, trailers, and RVs cannot fit on this road.
The drive along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail begins at the Noah “Bud” Ogle farmstead, where you can take a walking tour of the historic buildings and pick up a tour map of the roadway sights. The trailhead for Rainbow Falls can be found just beyond the farmstead, a moderate hike to a stunning waterfall. It’s a 5.4-mile roundtrip hike to Rainbow Falls (it’s less than 3 miles one way!) and your reward is the 80-foot high waterfall, the tallest single-drop waterfall in the national park.
You should also visit Clingman’s Dome the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. This is a hard straight up mile trail that is so worth the arduous hike. You can see as many as seven states on a clear day and the round platform gives you a 360° view of the whole area.
If you’re looking for a little more excitement then you can’t go wrong visiting Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee, North Carolina. They boast 150,000 feet of gaming, 12 restaurants serving everything from burgers to filets, a 21 story hotel with a whopping 1108 rooms. There’s something here for everyone!
Don’t forget to check out the shops in Cherokee while you’re there. Anything from snacks to souvenirs can be found along the streets of Cherokee. Located on the Cherokee Native American Reservation you will find museums, shops, and parks that will teach you about the Native Americans in this part of the world. My mother’s side of the family are a part of the Cherokee Native Americans.
According to VacationIdeals.com
Gatlinburg is a thriving town set in a valley of the Great Smoky Mountains. Picturesque and historic, it is a common stopping point for travelers in the Eastern United States and is an ideal base for exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Gatlinburg, Tennessee has a wealth of hotels, motels, cabins, restaurants, shopping, and tourist attractions, with an emphasis on family fun and outdoor activities in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Romantic Asheville says:
More than 850 miles of hiking trails traverse the Great Smoky Mountains. They range from easy to difficult and provide half-hour walks to week-long backpacking trips. Below are our favorites. Also, the Appalachian Trail runs for a very challenging 70 miles along the Park’s top ridges.
Our favorite place to stay is an RV park called Stay River Edge. Here we rent what’s called a camping cabin. This is usually about $60 a night and offers beds for four, a TV, microwave and refrigerator. Offseason is even better. Just bring your own towels and covers and you’re all set. These beautiful cabins also boast a picnic table, a grill, and a firepit. My grandkids love it!
Are you looking for something a little less camp & a lot more cabin? I get it! All you have to do is hit Google and it will show you thousands of hotel rooms in either Gatlinburg (the closest town to the Smoky’s) or Pigeonville (1 town over). Looking for something more private there are just as many log cabins, chalets or a luxurious condo.
If you’re looking for a place to take your family, take your hubby/best friend, or maybe lock yourself away to finally write that book you simply can’t go wrong surrounded by the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Amazing inspiration for artists, writers, or musicians all year long!
Have you ever been to the Great Smoky Mountains? What’s your favorite thing to do?
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