Okay, I’ll admit it. I started shopping for my daughter’s school supplies today. I know, I know. It’s only July. But, hey, August 15 is just around the corner!
Maybe you’re like me, and you’ve already started the process of rounding up binders, pencils, and a fancy new calculator for the start of the new school year. Or maybe you’re even more ahead of the game, and you’re thinking way past the first day of school to the first day of fall break. If so, this blog is for you!
When it comes to vacations, you really can’t start planning too soon—especially if you’re thinking about bringing the family to Gatlinburg in the fall. Why? Because the fall, especially the last three weeks of October, is one of the most popular times of the year to visit the Smoky Mountains.
Below, we’ve listed the 4 top reasons the Smoky Mountains attract so many guests during the autumn months. Check them out, but don’t let another minute pass before starting the process of planning your family’s fall getaway this year!
And don’t worry. Though people may call us pre-planning fanatics or hyper-organized-to-the-point-of-crazy, we’ll have the last laugh when we’re sipping our pumpkin lattes on our rocking chair porches in the beautiful Smoky Mountains this fall!
The Colorful Leaves
The biggest reason to visit the Smokies in the fall—and the first thing you’ll notice when you arrive—is the changing of the leaves! The Smoky Mountains are home to some 100 different species of trees, all of which present a unique array of colors you won’t find anywhere else in the nation! To take advantage of this gorgeous fall scenery, be sure to check out our Gatlinburg cabins with wooded and mountain views, where you’ll be able to soak it all in from your rocking chair porch or outdoor hot tub. Other ways to experience the beauty of fall include a ride on the Sky Lift, one of Gatlinburg’s oldest and best-loved attractions, or a ride on one of America’s largest aerial tramways, the Aerial Tramway to Ober Gatlinburg! This 120-passenger tram car is safe for the whole family and a perfect way to see the full grandeur of the mountains while you’re in Gatlinburg this fall. Or you can take a scenic drive, hike, take a bike ride, or enjoy a relaxing horseback ride through the trees.
The Awesome Weather
Not only is there beautiful outdoor scenery in the Smokies, but there is also perfect outdoor weather—we’re talking daytime highs in the 70s and 80s (in September) with the first frosts waiting to occur until late September or early October. This is also the driest part of the year in the Smoky Mountains, with only an occasional rainfall. So you’re all but guaranteed to have a week or weekend full of outdoor time during your fall visit! Use that time to visit one of the main attractions in the area, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Plan to take the kids on an easy, 3-mile hike in the park to Baskins Creek Falls. You’ll find this hike along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and it’s one of the best for viewing fall foliage—not to mention the impressive 40-foot waterfall you’ll view at the end!
The Festivals & Fairs
You can’t get through the fall without visiting a fair or two, right? The same is true when you visit the Smokies. The fall is one of the best times of year to enjoy autumn-themed Smoky Mountain festivities, like the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. This free, season-long event can be enjoyed throughout the streets of downtown Gatlinburg during your visit. The city will be decked out with lavish fall decorations, and you’ll be able to catch craft shows, special events, and fun activities that come around only this time of year. Other fall events to look forward to include Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg and the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.
We saved the best for last, right? What’s not to love about fall when it comes to food?! From pumpkin-flavored anything to hot apple cider and fritters, the variety of food offered in the Smoky Mountains is second to none! One of my favorite spots to visit in Sevier County is The Apple Barn. True to its name, this delicious restaurant can be found in a renovated cattle barn that was first built more than a century ago. If you’re looking for something quick, visit The Cider Bar, where you can choose hot or cold fresh-made cider as well as apple dumplings, apple doughnuts, and fried apple pies. And you’ll know their menu is fresh because you’ll be surrounded by an orchard of more than 4,000 apple trees! Also at The Apple Barn are the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, the Applewood Farmhouse Grill, and the Apple Barn Winery. Be sure to plan for an afternoon of sipping, sampling, and shopping at this unique attraction. Closer to home (or, at least, closer to your Gatlinburg cabin) are The Village Shops, where you’ll find even more unique eateries with their own fall specialties. Stop at Coffee & Company for an autumn-inspired brew or The Donut Friar for a warm slice of cinnamon bread during your fall getaway this year!