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15 Tips For Camping In The Smokies

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The Great Smoky Mountains are a great place to camp. The gorgeous scenery and climate make camping here a treat. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a week-long adventure, the Smoky Mountains are waiting for you. 

There are a ton of things to do on your camping trip. You can hike, swim, fish, and even kayak in the area. Plus, you can explore the national park. When you go camping in the Smokies, you’ll have access to over 800 miles of trails. These trails lead to waterfalls, mountain peaks, and other scenic areas. Not only that, but you’ll be able to see bears, bald eagles, and other animals in the wild. However, before you head out into the Smokies, you should familiarize yourself with basic information. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of your trip!

If you’re looking to make your camping trip easier, check out our guides to camping beds, camping kettles, camping stoves and camping essentials.

1. Visit the park

To fully appreciate the beauty of the Smokies, you should visit the national park. There are many hiking trails in the area, and you can take advantage of them. If you want to learn about nature and wildlife, this is a great place to do it. You can also explore the national park, which houses some of the tallest mountains east of the Mississippi River.

2. Prepare your gear

It’s essential to pack properly before you hit the trail. It will help if you start by considering your gear. If you want to stay safe and comfortable, you’ll need to bring certain items. To make your Smoky Mountains camping experience hassle-free, you should consider bringing these essentials:

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Tent
  • Extra Blankets
  • Firewood
  • Pocket Knife
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit

You can also rent a place to stay if you’re not keen on camping in the wilderness.

3. Avoid wild animals

Wild animals in the Smokies are dangerous. Be sure to stay away from bears, wolves, and poisonous snakes. You must also avoid panthers, bobcats, and coyotes. They’re typically wary of people, but you should never approach them. If you come across any wild animals, leave the area immediately. You should also remain quiet, so they won’t hear you coming.

4. Travel during the day

You should travel during the day if you want to avoid getting lost. You should also drive slowly to minimize your risk of crashing. When you’re driving, you should keep an eye out for wildlife. Animals often cross roads during the night, so you should watch for them. Keep your distance and follow all laws to ensure your safety.

5. Be prepared for rain

As beautiful as the Smokies are, they’re also known for their unpredictable weather patterns. You should always prepare for rain. Even if you don’t expect to encounter wet conditions, you should keep your rain gear packed. It would be best to carry waterproof boots and pants with you. It is important to dress appropriately during your travels. Don’t wear cotton or other materials that absorb moisture. Choose fabrics that repel water instead.

6. Stay hydrated

There are many water sources in the Smokies. You can fill up your canteen with streams, rivers, and lakes. In addition to drinking water, you should also eat fruits and vegetables high in water content. Cucumbers and melons are good choices because they’ll hydrate you quickly. To prevent dehydration, you should drink plenty of fluids. If you consume too much caffeine or alcohol, you can become dehydrated faster.

7. Start early   

You should set out early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Also, the earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to explore. You shouldn’t rush through the trip, though. Instead, slow down and enjoy every moment. Planning is key to having a successful camping trip. You should map out your route and set aside plenty of time for each stop.

8. Carry a map

If you forget to bring a map, you’ll have trouble finding your way around. Luckily, you can find free maps online. You’ll be able to print them out before you set off on your adventure. Camping in the Smokies is an unforgettable experience, but you don’t want to get lost. You should use a map or GPS device to help you navigate the area.

9. Pack lightly

To make the most of your trip, you should pack lightly. You should avoid carrying heavy bags. Instead, try to fit everything into your backpack. You should also pack light clothing made from breathable fabric. This will help you stay cool and comfortable in the heat. Avoid packing bulky sweaters and coats. Just bring a lightweight jacket and a few layers.

10. Take safety precautions

Ensure you stay on the trails when you’re exploring the area. You should also wear sturdy shoes and walk carefully. Wear sunscreen if you’ll be spending time outside. Always carry a flashlight at night, especially near water. If you plan to camp along the river, carry a life vest. Finally, you should keep your food locked in your car to avoid attracting bears and other animals.

11. Follow the rules

You should abide by the rules of the national park. The park prohibits camping or fires within 150 feet of water or trails. You should also refrain from climbing trees and removing plants. If you want to camp, you should follow all the rules. Fines for breaking park regulations can reach $500. These rules help preserve the natural environment, so you should respect them.

12. Prepare your meals

Your meals will greatly affect your overall experience. You should try to cook outdoors whenever possible. However, you can also prepare some of your meals beforehand. For example, you could pack sandwiches or pasta for lunch. You could also buy fresh produce and meat. Bring enough ingredients for every meal.

13. Bring snacks and drinks

If you don’t want to cook, snacks and drinks will suffice. You should pack healthy foods like nuts, fruits, and vegetables. You should also bring some sweets and snacks for energy. Some examples include trail mix, pretzels, cookies, and candy bars. You can also get creative with these items. Light snacks such as fruit slices or granola can also satisfy your hunger.

14. Take precautions for your allergies

Some people experience allergies while camping. If you’re allergic to pollen or mold spores, you should take precautions. You should also bring medication with you if you run into any allergens. Since you’re going to be outdoors, you should consider wearing sunglasses, hats, and insect repellents. They’ll protect you from dust, pollen, and insects. 

15. Have fun

Most importantly, you should enjoy yourself. Remember to relax and unwind. There’s no better place than the Smoky Mountains for a relaxing vacation. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the idea, you’ll love this experience.


Whether you’re planning an overnight trip or a week-long excursion, you should know how to camp in the Smokies. As long as you stay safe and prepared, you’ll have a great time. Before you leave, check local weather reports and bring the essentials. After all, it’s best to pack light and travel lightly. If you follow these tips, you’ll have the perfect camping trip.