Skip to main content

Our dogs are members of our family, and that doesn’t change just because we decide to go on a trip! It can be stressful for both you and your pets to leave them behind. There are lots of options out there to make sure your animals are cared for while you’re away. Each option has it’s pros and cons. Our family recently took a vacation to Gatlinburg to visit the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We hate boarding our dogs and they hate it as much as we do. So, we had a discussion in my house, and made a decision. Why not bring the dogs along on our Gatlinburg trip? To our surprise, we found out Gatlinburg has a large number of pet friendly rental cabins and hotels. Honestly, this vacation is one of the best we’ve ever had, and we are so glad we brought the dogs with us! It’s cheaper and more convenient than boarding. It’s simple, our dogs love coming with us, and we love knowing they’re safe and happy.

Boarding can be SO expensive!

The average cost to board one dog overnight is $50. When traveling for a week or more at a time, it can get costly real quick. If you have two or even three dogs like we do, you’re looking at $700 – $1050 to board them for a week long vacation. Vacations are expensive enough without the added expense of boarding your dogs.

Getting family to watch your dogs may be cheap, but it’s such a hassle.

We hate to burden our relatives with watching our pets. I always feel like we are inconveniencing them. Then there’s the added worry that our dogs may get stressed and chew up grandma’s furniture, or potty on her favorite rug. It is a distraction and a worry when we should be relaxing on our time off.

Leaving dogs behind is stressful on your pets.

Sometimes, on short trips, we’ve left the dogs home, and had family stop in to check on them daily. For our animals this has proven to be SO stressful. People say dogs have no concept of time, and it’s so true for ours! They go nuts, and behave like we’ve left them for weeks. We have found chewed chair legs and holes dug under the fence in the backyard. It’s chaos when we get back home and we always feel so guilty for leaving them alone.

Try a better option and take your dogs with you!

We love bringing our dogs with us on trips, and the dogs really love it too. Some of our favorite places to bring the animals to are Americas beautiful National Parks. The National Parks usually have pet friendly options, hiking trails, and dog parks. You can almost always find fun outdoor activities for dogs to do. We just got back from our most recent visit to Smoky Mountains National park, and the dogs had as much fun as we did!

Lots of stuff for dogs to do in Gatlinburg!

The park offers a few trails that are dog friendly. Our dogs had a blast with all the new sights and smells.  Gatlinburg Trail is a great dog friendly hiking trail. It’s a 2 mile hike from the Sugarland Visitor Center to the outskirts of Gatlinburg, TN. The Oconaluftee River Trail is a mile and a half hike from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to just outside of Cherokee, NC.

They even have stores set up especially for our four legged friends in Gatlinburg. Bonediggity Barkery is a great place to bring your pups! Make sure your dog is on a leash and well behaved and they’ll be able to enjoy all this dog-centric bakery has to offer. It’s full of delicious treats and eats for canine customers. They also sell toys, gifts, clothes, collars, leashes and more.

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is also pet-friendly. Leashed dogs are welcome as long as you don’t mind holding them in your lap on the SkyLift chairs. At the top, you can take your dogs across the bridge with you and enjoy the beautiful views of the Tennessee landscape that the bridge offers.

If you have a long drive to Gatlinburg like we do, you may be cooped up in the car for while. If your dog needs a place to run off some energy, there’s no better place than the dog park. Sevierville City park offers a huge off leash dog park with separate small and large dog play areas, agility equipment, and even a dog wash station.

Pet Friendly Lodging

After all the running in the dog park, we all need a good place to crash for the night. There are tons of places around Gatlinburg that offer pet friendly lodging. From pet friendly rental cabins with room for the whole family there are many to choose from. There are also many pet friendly hotel rooms in the area if an entire rental cabin is too much for you. There are lots of options for places to stay and keep your pets with you.

We tend to bring lots of family and friends with us on vacation, so we go for the larger cabins. We bring our pets and spend lots of time hanging out as a family in the cabin. It’s so refreshing to know our dogs are safe and happy with us. A family vacation just feels more complete when we have the dogs with us. Some cabins, such as Bella Vista Lodge in downtown Gatlinburg, even have large yards for your pup to run. It’s nice to have a bit of outdoor space for your dogs to have some outdoor fun.

Whatever lodging you choose, you’ll save money and have peace of mind knowing your dogs are exactly where they want to be, with you and your family. More and more, people are bringing pets on vacation because they understand that pets really are part of the family. Bringing them along on the trip will save you money on boarding, save your pets from being stressed, and save your own peace of mind. Everyone will have a more relaxing, less stressful vacation and in the end, your whole family will be together which is exactly how a vacation should be.