advice for Smoky Mountain NP please

Old Aug 4th, 2021, 11:34 AM
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advice for Smoky Mountain NP please

I am trying to plan a trip to SMNP and the area for myself and my husband for about a week in October '21 . It seems different from the other parks we have visited, because there seem to be various ways to access and enter. Is it a park that one gets to visit entirely or are there entirely separate access points that don't really connect? Is coming into the park on the TN preferable to the NC side or vice versa? How many days would you all reccomend for the park? I know the Blue Ridge Parkway is also supposed to be beautiful and wondered how that works as a tie-in to this trip? I have wanted to visit Asheville NC for awhile, so that seems like a possible tie-in. How many days for the park visit ? We went to the Grand Canyon and were able to stay in the park this past spring, and 3 days in the park seemed like a lot at first, but because of the crazy weather ( snow, sun, hail, cold, heat!) it worked perfectly. We are flying there form Boston and will rent car/van(?) in our early 70's, fit, enjoy easy to moderate hikes, nothing crazy. We will need lodging, but I prefer us to be as close as possible to the park and avoid traffic if possible. I have read the trip report from CLBTravel, which helped me a little, but didn't directly answer my questions. I am still considering whether we want to rent a camper van for our visit to the area. So my questions are: which entry point? where to stay? does renting a camper make sense? How many days to plan for the park? Is including the Blue Ridge possible/sensible? Where do we fly in and out from- different locations?
You fellow Fodorites have been so helpful in directing me on my basic first steps, thank you!!
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Old Aug 4th, 2021, 12:38 PM
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You will enjoy doing the Blue Ridge Parkway with SMNP--and Asheville. Gatlinburg is "IN" the park but is a tourist conglomerate. Traffic in October will be complicated by the leaf peepers also so a place to stay will be a good thing to nail down now. Others have more up to date ideas about where and what to do. IMO the Park is all "connected" in some way or other.
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