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What to Pack for Your Trip to the Smoky Mountains

Wanted: outdoorsy types who like long scenic drives, majestic mountain vistas, belly laughs and delicious down-home cooking. Sound like you? Then we think you and the Smoky Mountains are a perfect match. And to make your meant-to-be travels even easier, we’ve compiled a guide to packing that’ll come in handy once you’ve scheduled your vacay.

Read on for our advice on what to pack for your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Gather the essentials

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This is the stuff you’d pack for any trip: camera, phone, charger, medication, wallet, insurance card, credit cards and cash.

When you pack your toiletries, consider including extras of things that you might want to include in a daypack that you can bring on hikes and other activities: sunglasses, lip balm, insect repellant, travel packs of ibuprofen and on-the-go snacks like fruit or individually packaged nuts – they’ll come in handy when you find yourself wanting to soak in the view a little longer on that Cades Cove Scenic Loop drive.

Prepare a written itinerary

What are you planning to do on your trip to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park?

Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts will want to bring hiking boots, rain gear, and anoraks – as well as a fully stocked hiking pack with plenty of water and food. Protein bars and trail mix are good compact, high-energy snacks. Planning to spend more time tooling around town? Bring casual, comfortable clothes and good walking shoes. We repeat: Wear comfy shoes. You’ll thank us later.

Plan to dress in layers

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The Smoky Mountains’ climate is moderate, but it can get chilly – especially in fall. Especially if you plan on doing a seasonal hay ride or other outdoor activities, you’ll want a windproof outer layer. Otherwise, do a little research to determine the forecast, and bring versatile pieces that you can re-wear if needed.

(Hint: Many of our rentals come equipped with washers and dryers – which means you don’t have to pack your entire wardrobe.)

Don’t forget your folder of documents

You’ll want printed copies of confirmation numbers for your cabin rental and any other activities you’ve booked in advance – plus a place to store the cache of pamphlets you’ll collect along the way.

Get digital

Pack your smartphone with music and podcasts for the drive, and make sure you’ve got plenty of gigabytes available to store those pics of the stunning autumn sunset (trust us: You’ll want to show them off on Facebook).

Before you leave, visit the National Park Service’s site to download maps of the areas you’ll be visiting. Also consider using your smartphone to download a packing list app (try PackingPro or TripList) to stay uber-organized. Traveling with little ones? Pack books and travel activities for the car (download our free fall foliage coloring sheets!) and make sure your iPad’s hooked up with the latest Pixar.

Leave your pearls and ties at home

This is not the place for fur stoles and cufflinks. The atmosphere in and around the park is relaxed and casual – and who wants to bother with a garment bag, anyway?

What are you waiting for? Book your trip to the Smoky Mountains today; start packing tomorrow!