When are the best times of the year to visit the Smokies? As a rental cabin owner I get asked that questions a lot. Normally, it’s followed by “what are your rates?” You would think those two questions go hand in hand but that’s not necessarily true. The real question should be what’s your family situation and what do you want to see?
The most crowded months of the year are as follows; July, October, August and June. July, August and June are obviously driven by the school calendars and October is driven by Fall colors. Next are the holidays; the weeks of Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break and Valentines Day. Why Valentines Day you ask? The Smokies are a popular destination for engagements and weddings.
So when is the best time of the year to visit the Smokies? As I mentioned it first depends on your family situation. If you have school-aged children then you are tied mostly to the summer months, spring break or the holidays. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in the country with 9-mllion visitors annually. July the area is packed. Traffic crawls through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The Cades Cove Loop is backed up for miles. The trails are full and parking can be difficult. Plus, you are now paying peak rates for a cabin or hotel room. If you have the ability to visit as early in June as possible or as late in August as possible you’ll miss some of the crowds and the room rates are lower.
Now if your family situation is without children either a young couple or empty-nesters, time to smile as the park is yours and it’s at a greatly reduced rate. My wife and I come to the Smokies every year the day after Labor Day. The crowds are gone, the weather is fantastic, all the attractions are still open and room rates are 50% of what they were the day before. If you want to see the blooming of the wildflowers just pick a month March though early June. If you’re looking for fall colors early November still has some great colors – last year the colors peaked on the weekend of November 8th.
Christmas time in the Smokies can be magical. Snow on the mountain tops, the cities all decked out in decorations and lights. Keep in mind Winterfest (Pigeon Forge) Winter Magic (Gatlinburg) run from November 6th through February 28th. If you have the ability to travel you can see all of this at a greatly reduced rate just by avoiding the week of Christmas and Thanksgiving.
So in a nutshell, when is the best time of the year to visit the Smokies? If you have a family try to visit during the early or late parts of the summer, try to avoid July. If you’re not tied to the school calendar just pick a month and the park is yours.
Looking for more ideas about where to stay, what to do and places to dine? Check out our full website www.dancingbearfoot.com
Thank you for reading! See you soon!