Eight Travel Tips for a Pet-Friendly Smokies Vacation


Do you long for your animal companions to accompany you on vacations and other outings? You are not alone in this, so don’t worry. As per various research, more than 53% of pet owners travel with their animals. And in a way, they have the right to it because your pets are also an integral part of your family and should be taken care of accordingly. 

The Great Smoky Mountains, located adjacent to the Tennessee and North Carolina border, are, without a doubt, the best family vacation spot available, and the good news is that they are also very pet friendly. You get to have a fantastic time with your family and pet friends in a peaceful setting, in addition to taking in the majesty of the Smokies. However, before you travel with your pets, remember a few rules. Continue reading to learn about pet-friendly travel recommendations that guarantees a safe and happy trip to the Smokies.

  • Research Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Not all hotels, cabins, and vacation rentals around the Smokies are pet-friendly, and those may have specific restrictions or fees. Be sure to ask about any weight limits, breed restrictions, or additional charges for pets. Some accommodations may require proof of vaccinations, so bring your pet’s records. Before you hit the road, it’s important to ensure you have researched pet friendly cabins in the Smokies and have an adequate place to stay. You’re sure to find a place right for you and your pet, from campgrounds to cabins to hotels. Just make sure to do your research ahead of time and call to confirm their pet policy.

  • Choose Pet-Friendly Activities

While pets are not permitted on many hiking routes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there are numerous pet-friendly activities available. If you have a dog, you can visit the dog-friendly portion of the park, such as the Gatlinburg Trail or the Oconaluftee River Trail. You may also take your dog on a lovely drive through the park or explore surrounding towns like Pigeon Forge.

  • Pack Plenty of Supplies

Remember to bring enough food, water, bowls, medicine, toys, and a leash for your pet. If your pet is accustomed to being in a crate or carrier, you should also bring one. Ensure your pet is securely confined in a seat belt, harness, or crate while driving. 

It is essential to check the forecast before you depart because the weather in the Smokies can be erratic. Depending on the time of year you travel, ensure you have the proper clothing for your pet, such as a jumper or raincoat.

  • Be Respectful of Others

While you may love your pet, not everyone does. Be respectful of other travelers and keep your pet under control at all times. Please keep your dog on a leash in public areas, and always clean up after them. If you have a dog and barks excessively or becomes aggressive, remove him from the situation and find a quieter place to relax.

  • Plan for Pet Care

It’s important to remember that even though your pet is a part of your family, there may be some activities or places where they can’t tag along. It would be best to have a plan in place for your pet’s care in case something happens, like your pet being too tired for a walk or a restaurant not allowing pets inside, hiring a pet sitter to visit your vacation home and look after your animal while you’re away is one alternative. 

Consider bringing your pet to a nearby boarding facility, where they can stay for the day or the night. Ensure the facility is a trusted source by researching before bringing your pet there. A backup strategy to handle any emergency situation, such as keeping a directory of nearby veterinary hospitals or clinics, is also a good idea.

  • Take Breaks

Traveling with pets may be stressful, so taking breaks and allowing them to recover is important. Make frequent stops for toilet breaks and exercise, and make sure your pet is always hydrated. Bring them lots of water and ensure they can access it all day. Bring a collapsible water bowl for them to sip from. If you’re driving, take lengthier breaks every few hours to allow your pet to stretch their legs and get some fresh air.

  • Be Prepared for Emergencies

It’s important to be prepared to handle emergencies. Ensure you have a list of local veterinary clinics and animal hospitals, as well as any necessary medications or medical records for your pet. Consider purchasing pet insurance before your trip, which can help cover unexpected veterinary costs.

Accidents can happen, so bringing a first-aid kit for your pet is always a good idea. It should include items like bandages, antiseptic, and any medications your pet might need in an emergency. Keeping a record of your pet’s medicines history and veterinary bills would also be wise.

  • Respect the Environment

Respecting the environment is essential when traveling with your furry companion in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Please keep your pet on paths that have been marked, and don’t let them disrupt the vegetation or the wildlife. Numerous species of wildlife, like bears, deer, and other creatures, can be found in the Smokies, and to prevent any unwelcome interactions, it’s crucial to keep your pet in check and on a leash at all times. Always pick up after your pet and dispose of the trash correctly. Remember that the park is home to many native creatures. Therefore, minimizing your pet’s influence on their habitat is important.

Final Thoughts

Traveling with your pet to the Smokies can be a great experience, but it’s important to plan to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for you and your furry friend. With these eight travel tips for a pet-friendly vacation, you can have peace of mind while exploring the beautiful scenery of the Smokies with your pet. Above all, research for pet-friendly accommodations before booking your stay to avoid last-minute inconvenience.