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When to go to the Smokies?

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Clarksville...
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When to go to the Smokies?

I am planning on travelling to the smokies next year and Gatlinburg is a 500 mile drive from my house in Maryland. When is the best time of the year to visit the smokies? What is it like in the summer? I actually kind of got to go in the summer when I have the most time off. I have been to the Smokies before a very long time ago and I forget what time of year it was, but no clear days for the whole week, it was foggy and depressing, but the mountain were still pretty. I am guessing I went in the spring. But, is the summer a bad time to go? Would it make a difference between early summer (middle of June) or late summer (early August)? Also, we have dogs that we would be takeing with us which pets are not allowed in the National Park, does anybody know of good pet-friendly lodging, preferbly cabin rentals.

Thanks for any help-

Indiana
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1. Re: When to go to the Smokies?

We have visited at all times of the year and have had a few surprises where the weather is concerned. We have been there in July for the Craftsman's Fair for years and usually have very hot weather until this year, when it was actually very pleasant. It does rain a lot, but never lasts long and doesn't affect our plans at all. I guess I am trying to say that you just never know how the weather will be like. We always have a great time in Gatlinburg regardless of the weather, so make your plans have a great time.

Under your bed
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2. Re: When to go to the Smokies?

In my opinion, the best time of year to visit the Smokies is mid to late October. The leaves have changed and it's really pretty, plus the weather is usually nice. They put pretty decorations all over the city and it's just wonderful.

As for summer... the only real difference between going in early and late summer is that you'd probably avoid most of the crowd by going in early August instead of the middle of June. I've been to Gatlinburg a few times in mid to late June... weather was nice, but it was really crowded because all the kids were out of school. It gets even worse in the middle of summer (July), and it tends to be rainy in July, too (or it was when we visited).

I've also been in early, EARLY summer (May) and not only was the weather nice, but Gatlinburg had so few people on the Parkway that it looked like a ghost town. This would be a good time to see things like Cades Cove and Clingman's Dome without having to deal with a lot of people.

Plan your visit according to the types of activities you'd like to do in the Smokies and what the weather is usually like for that time of year. Their weather can take crazy turns, though, so you've been warned :P

3. Re: When to go to the Smokies?

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Clarksville...
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4. Re: When to go to the Smokies?

I know in the summer there can be afternoon thunderstorms. But, is it the spring when it is cold and rainy and foggy? What is the humidity like in the summer? Is it as bad as Maryland or points farther east or it usally dry air in the summer? Are the days clear in the summer and not foggy? If it is just afternoon thunderstorms, that is fine. I remember one day it being very foggy and driving was difficult though the mountains last time I was there. I guessing it was the spring but I am not sure. But, it just about rained all day for every day that week when I was there. As far as fall, I really don't have the time off to go to the smokies, so it has to be summer. I also understand that the crowds are worse in the fall than in the summer.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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5. Re: When to go to the Smokies?

Gatlinburg Falls and Jackson Mountain Homes have several pet-friendly rentals. I just stayed in one at Gatlinburg Falls - it was Fixin' To.

6. Re: When to go to the Smokies?

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Columbia, South...
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7. Re: When to go to the Smokies?

About the best time of year to go... it depends on what you want to be doing! If you only want to shop, you can't beat January through March. However, if you're interested in actually visiting the mountains (you'd be surprised at how many people come who never venture into the park!), you'd probably want to come late in the summer. Crowds are horrible in the summer (but subside some once it gets close to back-to-school time), and tend to be bad also in mid-October when the leaves are changing, and again during the Christmas season because of the lights and sales at the malls... I'm talking bumper-to-bumper traffic for miles. September usually has terrific weather, still pretty warm too and not much rain.

As far as fog, the Smokies are nicknamed appropriately. It may be sunny out but the haze can be pretty thick, so it's hard to predict how much you'd really be able to see. That's why September gets my vote... usually the humidity is lower but the weather's still beautiful, warm enough for swimming and such. But if you can't come then, come as late in the summer as you can.

Clarksville...
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8. Re: When to go to the Smokies?

Thanks for the Advice-

Is Gatlinburg Falls Resort in Gatlinburg? Any suggestions of any pet-friendly lodging in Cherokee,NC, that is also close to the park? I have been to Gatlinburg, but not to Cherokee. What is Cherokee like? But, basically I would like a good pet-friendly lodging close to the park. But, Gatlinburg is a cool place. But, I am going to visit the mountains, not to shop. Is cool in the summer up in the mountains? Is it foggy or hazy in the summer? I am planning on also seeing sights on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC. Is the haze only at the smokeys? I am a big photographer, not professional, but like to get good pictures on my vacations with my digital camera.