smokies in May?

Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 10:01 AM
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smokies in May?

Does it rain a lot in the Smokies
in May?

What the closest city with an
airport that I should fly to?
(Out of Florida)

Any must sees and any good hotels
near the park for a family of 4 that
are near groceries? I don't like cabins.

Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 10:15 AM
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As a former Tennessean I hope I can answer a few questions. First off the weather in May is not always predictable. Usually april is fairly rainy with it tailing of at the beginning of May and becoming hot but that is not always the case. Expect weather to be 75+ and less chance of rain later in month. Though unfortunately it has rained almost every single memorial weekend the past few years! going to the smokies, your best bet for being near restaurants, shopping, groceries etc. is to stay in Gatlinburg. there are definitely no shortage of hotels there (probably at least 40!) I remember a very nice Days In at the top of a hill there, but htere is proabaly more than one. everyone walks or takes the trolley in Gatlinburg and then you would drive into the smokey mountain park. coming from florida you would fly into the airport at Knoxville, TN and rent a car, Gatlinburg is less than one hour away and a great trip. Don't let the posts of cheesiness scare you. Depending on what you do, the trip will be great. However, October is my favorite time of year to go, almost no rain and the leaves changing colors are beautiful.
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 11:06 AM
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I love that area in May. Early in the month the Dogwoods are still in bloom--spring in the Smokies is wonderful.

I lived in Knoxville for several years and always loved visiting the Smokies. However, with all due respect to the previous poster, I would not stay in the Gatlinburg. It is very crowded and extrememly touristy. When we visit that area, we much prefer Townsend. It's very small and much less traveled; plus you have better access to Cades Cove, river tubing etc. There are several nice motels and cabins available, as well as several restaurants.

IMHO, I like the North Carolina side of the Smokies much better. There are several quaint towns to choose from and it is almost always cooler. Ashville has a convenient airport if you choose the Carolinas.
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 12:28 PM
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Hi, Pati - May I suggest an outing while in the Smokies .. a short hike along the Appalachian Trail that bisects the pask from east to west. Drive the main road up to Newfound Gap, park and hike the AT east for 3 miles to the top, to Ice Water Springs trail shelter. Great views, and a gentle climb. It will be beautiful, but cool, so pack a sweater. Very easy trail to follow, so have no concerns. Wonderful spring just below the shelter by the trail. Ciao
Old Apr 3rd, 2001, 12:56 PM
Bob Brown
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There are no accommodations within the National Park itself, but Gatlinburg (UGH!) and Cherokee (on the NC) side have many motels. I agree; Gatlinburg is a tourist mecca, with all of the trappings. Some people love it; I avoid it. You have two airport choices: Knoxville and Asheville.
There is one great walk inthe Smokies:
take the trail to Alum Cave Bluffs. The trail is on the Tenn. side of the park, and it leads along a scenic creek, under natural arch, and up the mountain side to the bluffs. If you have the legs for it, you can go all the way to the top of Mount LeConte.
If you fly to Asheville, the Blue Ridge Parkway extends all the way to the Smokies and is a beautiful drive.
In late May, the rhododendron at the upper levels will not have come out yet.
At the lower altitudes you will see flame azalea and mountain laurel.
It is a pretty time of the year, but in the Smokies, always be prepared for rain.
That lush growth of vegetation on the mountain sides does not happen because the area is a desert!!!

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