The not so fun part of vacation, planning! I know we all want to skip this part, but It’s important to plan before your visit if you want a smooth-ish vacation. That’s where we come in! We came up with this guide to hopefully help you out with your planning.

You might have to tweak it a little to fit your needs, but here it is!


Choosing the Right Season to Visit Dollywood

Each season in the Smoky Mountains brings its own charm to Dollywood, it doesn’t matter when you chose to go, It will still be an amazing experience. But There are some things to consider when choosing dates to visit.

For Example; when is the best weather for your family, the lowest crowds or if you just want to enjoy one of the many festivals that happen at Dollywood. We have a full blog post devoted to helping you decide the best time to visit, and another one to help you avoid crowds, but here is the Quick Version;


How Many Days Should You Plan To Visit Dollywood

“How many days should I spend at Dollywood?”, This is a question everyone asks when they are planning their trip. The answer really depends on your vacation style and budget, but I would recommend at least 2 days for an ultimate Dollywood experience and 3 days if you are also thinking on visiting Dollywood’s water park, splash country.


Setting a Budget for Your Dollywood Adventure

If you’re the budget type (like me) We’ll go over what you can expect to spend on your Dollywood adventure. But hey, if numbers give you nightmares and budgets are your arch-nemesis, no worries! Here is a skip bottom to the next section.

No one likes to have a budget and it can be stressful to figure out, but its always a good idea to have a plan for your hard earned money. In this section we go over some things to take into account when traveling;

Park Admission

Start by researching the current ticket prices for Dollywood. Consider how many days you plan on visiting. To save money, explore the option of purchasing multi-day passes or annual passes which normally have significant discounts if you plan on being a regular visitor. Be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Dollywood Tickets for the most up-to-date ticket prices and information.


Estimate the cost of getting to and from Dollywood. If you’re driving, take in consideration expenses like gasoline, tolls, and public parking/Dollywood parking. The cost will vary depending on your location and the distance to the park. TIP: Use an app like google maps to plan your route and estimate fuel costs.

Food Expenses

Food expenses can add up, especially if you plan to eat inside the park. Research the food options available in Dollywood and their prices.( You can normally find pictures of the menus and prices on Tripadvisor ). To save money,  you could plan on having some meals outside the park where you can find cheaper choices.


When you are budgeting for a place to stay during your vacation , take into account how long your stay is and the type of lodging you prefer. Prices can change based on the time of year or locations. Be sure to compare prices and read reviews from other guests that have already stayed there to find the best deal that suits your needs and budget.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Don’t forget to budget for extra costs like parking fees at Dollywood, souvenirs, and snacks/drinks inside the park. You can always bring your own water bottles and snacks to save a little. If you plan on staying in the area for a few days, remember to budget for activities outside of Dollywood, like nearby attractions.

Promotions and Discounts

Keep an eye out for special promotions or discounts that may be available for park admission, hotels, or dining. Many websites, including the official Dollywood site, offer seasonal deals that can help you save money.

For a more detailed guide on budgeting for your Dollywood trip, including tips and tricks to maximize your savings, check out our Ultimate Dollywood Budget Guide.


Booking Accommodations in the Area

Before We give you a list of handpicked hotels in the area, here are some tips that you can use whenever you are researching for hotels.

Plan Ahead for High Seasons

If it’s possible, You should try to plan your trip well in advance, especially if you plan on visiting during peak seasons. Summer and holidays are normally really busy, so booking early gives you more options and better prices!. Many hotels have early booking discounts, so keep an eye out for those special deals.

Proximity to Dollywood

If you can, try to get hotels that are close to Dollywood to minimize travel time and maximize your fun!. Sevierville and Pigeon Forge have many options – from cozy cabins to family friendly hotels.

Explore Vacation Rentals

If you’re traveling with a larger family or want a more home-like atmosphere, you should check out vacation rentals in the area. Cabins, cottages, and condos can give you the space and amenities you need. Websites like Airbnb and Vrbo have so many options for every budget.

Read Reviews

The best way to not end up in a terrible hotel or vacation home is by reading reviews from guests that have stayed before. Look for hotels and resorts that have mostly positive feedback, and pay attention to comments / guest pics about cleanliness and customer service. I personally always go to TripAdvisor for my research.

As promised Here is the list of hotels to help make your researching a little easier! Each Hotel and Resort on This List was researched and handpicked by us with something for everyone and every budget – Specifically with these categories in mind:


No one likes to stay in a dirty place. We chose these hotels and resorts making sure they maintain high standards of cleanliness, So you can enjoy your stay.

Best Reviews

This method always worked out for me when I’m researching hotels or resorts. Other guest’s reviews + pictures = best way to figure out if the hotel is any good or not.


Location matters when you are on vacation time. The selected hotels and resorts are all near the main attractions around the area so you can spend less time driving and more time enjoying.


Traveling with kids means you need more than just a bed. We try to chose hotels and resorts that are not just clean and comfortable, but convenient with things like free breakfast, indoor and outdoor pools, microwave, etc. Those little things that can make a big difference to a parent.


Packing Essentials For a Dollywood Trip

Unlike some theme parks that get summer weather all year long, Dollywood experiences the full spectrum of seasons. Depending on when you are visiting, you need to pack and be ready for the weather. (Always check the weather before your visit to help you pack)

Spring Season Packing

The park comes alive with colorful flowers and mild temperatures. You should pack for summer and fall, because the weather changes throughout the day. Layers are your best friends, In the mornings you might be wearing pants and a jacket, but in the afternoon you change into shorts, and back to pants and a sweater at night. Anything goes with this weather!.

Summer Season Packing

Summer days at Dollywood can be hot and sunny. Pack light clothing, comfortable shoes for walking, and sunscreen. Hit the water rides if it gets too hot, stay hydrated and remember to pack extra clothes and shoes!. If you need a break from the heat, Come back after the sun goes down for evening entertainment and cooler weather.

Fall Season Packing

Autumn normally brings cooler temperatures especially at night and mornings but just like spring, Pack layers! An extra layer or two will keep everyone cozy during cooler evenings. For a more detailed guide on what to expect during this season check out this post about Visiting Dollywood and The Surrounding Area In The Fall Season!

Winter Season Packing

If you’re planning a winter visit, pack heavy winter Coats, tech friendly gloves, and hats because it can get really cold! Especially if there is freezing wind. Again, Layers are your best friend and will keep your family comfortable as you enjoy Dollywood’s winter wonderland. If you have kiddos in strollers, take their warm blankets.

Check the weather before your trip to make sure you’re prepared for any unexpected cold snaps. For more details and tips on what to expect during the winter season, we have a post about Visiting Dollywood and The Surrounding Areas in The Winter Season! 

If you are traveling with little explorers, make sure to check out our detailed post, 21 Must Pack Items For a Day at Dollywood With Kids. This list covers everything from snacks and entertainment to essential supplies like wipes, extra clothing and all Those little things you might need with your Kiddos.


What to Know Before You Arrive

If its your first time visiting Dollywood, this list has some important information you might want to know before you arrive!

There are different ticket options you can chose from and we have you covered with this Dollywood Ticket Complete Guide It has everything you need to know about Dollywood tickets, including how much they cost, military discounts, Time-Saver passes, parking fees, and more.


Navigating Dollywood Like a Pro

Tips For An Unforgettable Vacation

Weekdays are normally quieter, allowing you to enjoy every attraction without the weekend rush. If you can’t make it during the week and there are long lines, you can always get the TimeSaver Pass and skip the long wait lines on select rides.

If you want to make your stay even better, look into staying in one of Dollywood’s enchanting resorts, which give you exclusive benefits like early park access, free TimeSaver passes, so many activities and is right next door to the park’s magic. This is just a sneak peek; read our “20 Tips to Make the Most of Your Dollywood Vacation!” for a detailed guide!

Tips For Preparing Your Visit with Kids

Getting ready for a day of fun with little explorers is no joke! Even though Dollywood is super family friendly, it can still be a challenge tackling the park with your kiddos, that’s why We have made a post to help you!

Check out our 10 Tips To Prepare For Your Visit To Dollywood With Kids. We go over things like planning your visit in advanced, checking height restrictions, packing all the essentials like snacks and water bottles, and so much more. If you are a parent, don’t skip this information!

Toddler-Friendly Dollywood Adventures

Dollywood is an amazing place for families with kids of different ages. It has plenty of rides, live music, shows, and fun activities to keep them happy and entertained!. It also has a number of fun attractions for the littlest explorers in the family, from kiddie rides to gentle junior roller coasters. In our post What Can You Do at Dollywood With a Toddler? we’ll cover the best Toddler-Friendly attractions and Dollywood’s Playgrounds!


Dollywood’s Surrounding Area

The fun doesn’t have to end at the park gates. Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have so many attractions and things to do. If you are in the area, you should pass by!

Pigeon Forge: A Hub of Family Entertainment

Wondering what makes this town a must-visit? Here are some highlights:

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