Friday, May 30, 2008

Plan Your Affordable Vacation in the Smoky Moutains-Save Gas & Money!

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will always have free activities as well as very inexpensive, fun things to do. Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville and Townsend on the TN side of the Smokies and also Maggie Valley, Sylva, Bryson City, Cherokee and Franklin on the NC side of the Smokies are all less than a day's drive from half of the United States population - so, plan your vacation!

With the high gas prices, many of you are concerned about planning a vacation too far away from home.. The Smoky Mountains can offer you a vacation alternative without drving too far.. Plan ahead to save a few extra dollars here and there. If you rent a Smoky Mountain Cabin you can save money in the long run by cooking a few extra meals at the cabin.. Also, most cabins have a game room, hot tub and possibly access to a swimming pool - so those would be no additional expense for your vacation..

Outdoor activities in the Smokies range from hiking, tubing, rafting, and even rock climbing allowing you to enjoy God's wonderful creation. The breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains are just one of the many bonuses.

There are 800 miles of hiking trails to fit any level of experience. Laurel Falls trail is an easier hike that ends at a 75-foot cascading waterfall that you can swim in. A more strenuous hike is the Ramsey Cascade Trail, which opens to crystal clear cascades falling 90 feet into a pool where hikers can cool off. The Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlingburg has information on these and other hiking trails.

Also visit the Townsend Heritage Center and Visitor Center for more info about Cades Cove and the trails close by... There's a great biking trail through Townsend and you can have the Cades Cove 11 mile loop all to yourself if you are biking or hiking from sunrise until 10am on Wednesday and Saturday mornings during summer and fall... You can't get much closer to nature than biking or hiking in Cades Cove.. You can also horseback ride or take a hayride in Cades Cove.

The Little River, which runs through the Great Smoky Mountains, provides visitors a low cost way to have fun with guided or self-guided rafting tours, kayak and tubing day rentals. You will see lots of tubes in the summer floating down the river in Townsend, at the foot of the Smoky Mountains. There are many places to rent tubes or equipment at a great price.

You can even do a little geocaching in the Smokies. These outdoor activities are just a few ways you can have your summer vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains, while conserving money and fuel. Why not try some of the F R E E activities around the Smokies.

Check out the great Smoky Mountain Cabin rentals for just the right one for your family.. Many are even "Pet Friendly" so you can bring along the furry member of the family..

Photos by C. Gilliam Top- Cades Cove Field w/Deer, Cades Cove Barn