Whether you prefer to sleep in a tent under the stars, snuggled up in a cozy cabin, or tucked in at a luxurious resort, the Great Smoky Mountains have plenty of lodging options to suit every taste. Deluxe resorts tempt visitors with personalized service, indoor-outdoor pools, and gourmet restaurants, while remote campsites offer a peaceful way to disappear from the grid for a few days. Looking for something in the middle? Smoky Mountain cabin rentals have all the solitude you need with the modern amenities and comforts you want.
Camping in the Smoky Mountains
If your idea of relaxation is star-lit nights, sunrise hikes, and campfire coffee, roughing it in the Great Smoky Mountains will be your idea of heaven. Several camping options in the Smokies include group campgrounds, developed frontcountry campsites with parking, primitive backcountry campsites, and horse camps.
Group campgrounds are large sites that can accommodate groups of seven people or more. These are tent-only sites without showers or electric hookups, which means quiet camping without RVs or pop-up trailers nearby. If you have a smaller group or want to camp in your RV or pop-up trailer, reserve a frontcountry campsite. Frontcountry sites have fire grates and picnic tables with restrooms nearby. For both frontcountry and group sites, shower facilities and electric hookups are available in communities outside the park - just ask for the nearest facility when you check in.
If you're ready to explore the 800 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in depth, backcountry hiking is the way to do it. Backcountry campsites are accessible only on foot, and you'll need a permit and a reservation for the site or shelter in which you wish to stay. Backcountry hikers and campers should be prepared for the elements and self-sufficiency - which is all part of the fun, after all!
Bringing your horse to the Smokies? Five drive-in horse camps offer easy access to backcountry trails. These sites have picnic tables, fire rings, gravel parking spaces, horse hitch racks, and tent pads. Toilet facilities and drinking water are available for horses (but not humans).
Rent a cabin in the Smokies and you'll be close to all of the exciting things to do, but you'll still have the comfort and quiet of sleeping in the mountains. Rental companies such as Cabins USA offer a wide variety of cabins in Pigeon Forge. You can rent a cozy cabin for two, a family-sized cabin, or a chalet-sized cabin that can accommodate your entire extended family or group of friends.
Cabins allow you to play all day in Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains, and then retreat to your very own mountain home when you're ready to relax. Many cabins provide amenities such as fireplaces, game rooms, hot tubs, pool tables, and theater rooms, and incredible views of the mountains. Some even have indoor swimming pools - perfect for chilly or rainy days.
Renting a cabin in the Smokies lets you set your own schedule and make your own meals if you choose. When you're ready to go exploring, you'll be just a few minutes from popular attractions such as The Island, ziplines, arcades, dinner theaters, Dollywood, the Titanic Museum, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Smoky Mountain Resorts
If your idea of camping involves mini-fridges and maid service, the Smokies have luxurious resorts ready to welcome you. Comfort Inn & Suites at Dollywood Lane is an award-winning Pigeon Forge hotel that has all the amenities you're looking for on vacation. With an outdoor and indoor swimming pool, kids' splash pool. and large hot tub, you can while away a lazy afternoon or take a refreshing dip after a day of exploring.
Smoky Mountain resorts also offer other tempting amenities such as gas fireplaces, in-room Jacuzzis, game rooms, private balconies, and trolley service to attractions. They also provide practical amenities such as free Wi-Fi, refrigerator, microwave, and coffee makers in the rooms, plus hot breakfast and laundry facilities.
For a fun hybrid of camping, renting a cabin, and staying at a resort, book a unit at LeConte Lodge. This one-of-a-kind lodge sits at 6,300 feet on Mount LeConte and is accessible only by hiking trails. Seven single-room cabins and three multi-room cabins are available through a lottery-style reservation system. Meals are served family-style twice a day, and the staff is happy to pack you a sack lunch. Llamas carry in supplies three times a week, and sightings of the friendly, fuzzy pack are a highlight of a stay at LeConte Lodge.
Smoky Mountain lodging options range from primitive backcountry campsites to snug cabin rentals and luxurious resorts. Whether your idea of paradise is high-thread-count sheets or an unobstructed view of the Milky Way, Smoky Mountain camping, cabins, and hotels have exactly what you need to round out your perfect mountain vacation.
About Darryl Payne
Darryl Payne is a native of East Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. He is a web developer with a passion for building great websites. As a local, he can offer a unique perspective on where to stay and things to do while on vacation in the Smokies. To read his latest recommendations, please click the Google+ follow button.