Renting a Smoky Mountain cabin. The choices can be overwhelming. There are the obvious things to consider — location, curb appeal, number of bedrooms. But here are five things you may not think about when choosing a cabin. But you should!
1. Eating Facilities.
One reason people choose to rent a cabin, rather than staying in a hotel, is to save money by preparing their own food. Or maybe they have picky kids and know they can please them easier themselves. Or they are worried about the healthiness of eating out.
Whatever the reason, make sure that the dining facilities in your cabin will work for what you have in mind. For example, if you have a big group and are planning a special birthday dinner, make sure the table is large enough for everyone to sit around. Some small cabins only have a table for two. If you’re planning to eat with your family of four, that may not meet your needs.
Is the kitchen large enough to have several people bustling around and helping make meals? Is that important to you?
Take the kitchen into account when deciding which cabin to rent.
You may think you’ll have so many things to do while in the Smokies that you won’t have time for swimming pools or video games. But you never know what your kids will enjoy doing. And everyone needs downtime sometimes. Plus, you can save some valuable vacation dollars by spending the afternoon swimming in the resort pool instead of heading to Dollywood.
So how do you start? Most cabins have an outdoor hot tub (my favorite!!!). But cabins offer a wide range of other amenities, too. Various cabins will have Foosball tables, air hockey tables, pool tables, arcade games, indoor Jacuzzi tubs, saunas, theater rooms, gaming systems, and more. Cabins that are in resorts sometimes have other things to offer — indoor/outdoor pools, gyms, playgrounds, or mini golf. These are all included in the price of the cabin.
Here’s an idea — decide on your top two amenities, then try for cabins with those.
3. What to bring.
Most cabins come pretty well stocked in the kitchen, but there are things you should bring, just in case. Some cabin companies have lists of what’s included at their cabins on their websites.
The basics should be there, but if you need something specific, like a cupcake tin, for example, you may want to stick it in. I usually bring along a can opener. There should be one there, but there isn’t always. And it seems like we are always eating canned food in cabins.
My sister and brother-in-law always bring candles and warm blankets. They like to have cozy blankets from home to snuggle with by the fire. They also sometimes stick in junk mail (how weird is that?!?!) to use as a fire starter.
If you need more help figuring out what to bring on your cabin getaway, download our free Cabin Vacation Packing List.
4. Media/TV options.
My husband and I aren’t big TV watchers, so this isn’t usually on our radar. But last fall, we rented a cabin on a fall weekend, planning to watch the all-important Notre Dame game in the evening, after a full day of hiking.
Horrors! The only TV was small, and definitely not high-def. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it ruined the night. But it was close.
If this is important to you, check it out. Not all cabins are stocked with up-to-date technology. Is there wi-fi? How about a CD player — is that important? Are you hoping to stick on a movie for the kids in the afternoon while you soak in the hot tub? If so, is there a DVD player?
These are all questions to consider when renting a cabin.
5. Hot tub location.
Okay, I admit, this is knit-picky. But it’s really important to me, so I’m passing it onto you.
As I said before, most cabins have outdoor hot tubs now. This is really, really important to me. Nothing says “cabin getaway” like soaking in a hot tub, steam rising all around you, on a chilly fall night. I love it!
The best part? These hot tubs can be used all winter! Here’s where the location comes in. We once rented a cabin (in winter, of course) that had a hot tub that was about 25 feet out on a large deck. Brrrr! It kind-of ruined the warm, relaxed feeling when you had to jump out into the snow (barefoot!) and run that far to get into the cabin.
No, give me a cabin with a hot tub just steps from a door. Even though I love the views afforded by deck hot tubs, it’s sometimes worth it to have a hot tub in a screened-in porch. That way, you don’t have to worry about the snow!
One other tip — my brother-in-law always grabs everyone’s towels as we head out to the hot tub and sticks them in the dryer. When we are ready to come in, someone runs for the towels, and we all have a nice, warm way to transition from the water to the frigid air.
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