Let me just start by saying that people who travel to the Smoky Mountains every year have their own preference as to when they want to vacation here. There are those who are dead set on coming here during a particular event that is a favorite to them, and there are those who can only go when it is convenient to them. This post will favor the people in the latter of these two groups of travelers, as I believe it is this set of people who want the best possible experience without having to deal with large crowds.
This a good rule of thumb regardless of when you plan on arriving in Gatlinburg. The more popular the rental, the quicker it will be before it is completely booked. We always try to book AT LEAST SIX MONTHS in advance of our stay. We learned the hard way last year when our condo was already booked and had to find an alternative. Once again, our main reference point is Trip Advisor when determining which place is the most popular with visitors.
Arrive Early in the Day
It just doesn’t matter what time of year your planning on coming; you’re still going to encounter the worst of the traffic during the afternoon and evening hours. The earlier you arrive in the morning, the less traffic you will have to endure.
Plan To Arrive During the Weekdays
Many people that work want to plan a spontaneous weekend trip, and that is perfectly fine, but there are fewer people in town during the week. We came on a Saturday once, and by the time Monday rolled around, it was clearly noticeable to us how much the crowds dwindled. If this is an option for your schedule or vacation time, I would highly suggest exploring it.
Sometimes there are events that take place that aren’t listed in the Visitors Guide. It might be a good idea to call The Gatlinburg Visitors Center and find out if there is a car show or an event at the Convention Center that syncs up with your vacation, so plans can be made to change your accommodations at the last minute. Given how risky this can be, make sure it is justifiable to you to make this adjustment, depending how small or big the event.
In conclusion, I would like to add that the busiest time is in July, and the second busiest is the month of October when the leaves change color. Taking this into account, I feel that if you want to not deal with large crowds, I recommend you follow these tips to make your trip the best that it can be.