Winter is one of the very best times to visit Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains! With beautiful snowy scenery and plenty of seasonal events, the Smokies are ideal for anyone looking for a fun family getaway during the winter months. One of the most common questions we get during the winter is, “What do I need to bring on vacation?”. To help you prepare for your trip, we put together a convenient packing guide for anyone staying at our Great Smoky Mountain vacation rentals.
Prepare for Every Temperature with Layers
The winter weather in the Smoky Mountains can vary greatly day to day, and even during the same day. From December through February, the average highs are in the low 50s, while the lows are in the high 20s. However, the Smokies have been known to occasionally reach the 70s on a winter’s day! Alternatively, the temperature could get down to – 20°F in the highest elevations of the mountains.
Your best bet is to prepare for any temperature by dressing in layers. This way, you can take off or add clothes as needed throughout the day. For instance, you could start the day with an early morning hike in your heaviest jacket, but in the afternoon you could be enjoying a cup of coffee outside in downtown Gatlinburg with only a sweater. Some great items to pack for layering include:
- Winter coat
- Light jacket
- Thermal underwear
Bring Practical Shoes and Warm Socks
Most vacations in the Smokies feature a lot of walking, whether it’s strolling through downtown Gatlinburg or hiking one of the beautiful trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While it’s important to have a good pair of shoes throughout the year, it is vital during the winter because ice or snow can make the ground slippery. Be sure to bring a comfortable pair of shoes or hiking boots that are sturdy, water-resistant, and have good arch support.
While we’re on the subject of footwear, don’t forget to bring plenty of warm socks. Try to avoid socks made from wool or cotton, since these take ages to dry when they get wet. Instead, pack socks made from Dri-FIT material, because they are resistant to water. Trust us, your feet will thank you later!
Remember to Pack These Commonly Forgotten Items
There are a few things that lots of people seem to forget when they stay at our Great Smoky Mountain vacation rentals. Be sure to make an extra effort to remember these items!
Bathing suit: Why would you need a bathing suit during a winter vacation in the Smokies? For the hot tub of course! Our cabins come with luxurious outdoor hot tubs, and if you want to take a nice warm soak, you’re going to need a suit. You’ll also definitely want to bring some swimwear if you stay at one of our Smoky Mountain cabins with indoor pools.
Sunscreen: While this also seems like a strange item to bring on a winter getaway, sunscreen is a must if you’re going to be spending time outdoors. Even though it may not be warm outside, the UV rays can still give you a sunburn, so put some sunscreen on your face before you head out on a hike.
Chapstick: The cold winter wind can leave your lips feeling chapped and dry. Pack a few tubes of chapstick to stay moisturized.
To start planning your winter vacation, check out our selection of Great Smoky Mountain vacation rentals!