Traveling is the perfect way to spend quality time with family. It can help create unforgettable memories and foster a closer bond by exploring new places, cultures, and experiences together. Planning your trip is especially important when traveling with families to ensure you make the most of your time.

According to statistics, approximately 12 million people visit Gatlinburg with their families annually. And if you’re considering joining their ranks, we have put together this guide to help first-time travelers make the most of their family vacation. 

1. Choose the Perfect Destination

The perfect destination should offer a mix of sights, activities, and attractions for everyone in the family. Consider age groups when selecting activities: younger kids may enjoy water parks and playgrounds, while older children might seek more adrenaline-filled activities such as ziplining or bungee jumping. In addition, think about the geographical location of the destination and its proximity to other attractions.

Besides, we always suggest booking your accommodations in advance to avoid any surprise costs. We recommend exploring Vacation Rentals in Gatlinburg for your one-stop shop. You can book a condo that suits your family from the Oak Square and Laurel Inn Condos. And the location offers a great balance of mountain views and convenient access to various amenities such as attractions, restaurants, shops, and more.

Are you in the mood for a beach vacation, a mountain getaway, or an urban escape? There are plenty of unique things to do in Gatlinburg, and its natural beauty makes it the perfect vacation spot for families of all ages. 

2. Research Transportation Options

Once you’ve chosen your destination, it’s time to think about how to get there. Choosing from various transportation options can be confusing, so it’s important to do some research. 

Many families opt for a road trip as it is relatively inexpensive and allows you to stop wherever and whenever you please. If you’re looking for something more convenient, several airlines offer flights to nearby areas if you want to reach Gatlinburg from anywhere in the country. 

If you plan on staying in Gatlinburg, several transportation options can help get you around while you’re there. You can choose from rental cars, taxis, shuttles, or even public transportation to get around the area. And suppose you’re staying at one of the many resorts or hotels. In that case, they may offer complimentary shuttle services to some attractions. 

3. Take the necessary precautions

When traveling with family, safety is a top priority. Before the trip, ensure everyone in the family has their documents, such as passports, IDs, and driver’s licenses, in order. Ensure you have the proper travel insurance coverage for your family before leaving home. 

In addition, it is important to find out the local laws and customs in the destination. Make sure that your family follows all safety regulations while you’re there. However, staying alert and aware of your surroundings while exploring is also important. 

Create unforgettable family memories in Gatlinburg with our first time traveler guide Discover the perfect destination activities for all ages and tips on budgeting and packing smart

4. Make a budget

Creating a budget is essential when planning any family trip. You’ll want to ensure you have enough money for activities, food, accommodations, and souvenirs. 

You can start by writing down estimated costs for each category, including airfare, lodging, meals, and activities. Be realistic when estimating costs, as unexpected expenses can quickly add up. It is also helpful to create a list of must-do activities so you can prioritize and budget accordingly. 

Once your budget is finalized, make sure to stick to it! It’s easy to let costs spiral out of control when you’re on vacation, so be mindful and curb impulse spending. Most importantly, don’t forget to include some room in your budget for souvenirs and splurges! 

5. Get Packing

Once you have your trip’s details sorted out, it’s time to start packing. To avoid over-packing and paying extra baggage fees, make sure to pack smart! 

Start by making a list of what each family member needs. Include clothing, toiletries, medical supplies, and any other important items. To minimize stress while packing, lay out all the necessary items on your bed first before neatly folding them into your suitcase. Another great tip is to roll your clothes instead of folding them, which can help maximize space. 

Be sure also to pack a few items that will keep your family entertained during the trip, such as books, games, or travel activities. Once you’re all packed and ready to go, it’s time to embark on your family vacation! 

6. Try a Group Activity

Gatlinburg is a great place to explore with the family. However, finding activities that everyone in the family can enjoy together can be challenging. 

One way to unite your family is to try a group activity such as white water rafting, kayaking, or horseback riding. Plenty of companies offer guided tours and activities in the area, and many are suitable for people of all ages. 

Another great way to experience Gatlinburg is to take a hike together. There are trails for all levels, from beginner to expert. Regardless of your experience level, the views along the way make it worth the trip. 

7. Enjoy!

The most important tip for any family vacation is to enjoy it! With the proper planning and research, you can ensure your family will have a trip of a lifetime. So don’t forget to appreciate each moment, take lots of photos and make memories that will last a lifetime. The core of any family vacation is to spend quality time together, which makes it so special. 

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of Gatlinburg’s amazing amenities. From theme parks and attractions to great restaurants and excellent shopping opportunities, Gatlinburg will surely give your family an unforgettable experience! 


The key to a successful family vacation is in the planning. Creating an itinerary can help you to maximize your time and ensure that everyone in your family enjoys the trip. Make sure to do research ahead of time and budget accordingly. Once you have everything sorted out, pack your bags and get ready for a great Gatlinburg family adventure! Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy every moment and make memories that will last a lifetime. Remember to take advantage of all the great amenities Gatlinburg offers, and your family will surely have an unforgettable experience!

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