50 Fun Fall Activities for a Smoky Mountain Vacation

If you’ve ever been to the Smoky Mountains in fall, you know why it’s one of the most popular times to visit. Warm days with cool mountain breezes and nights that are crisp and cool. Gorgeous fall colors on the leaves. Delicious seasonal foods and drinks. Inviting fires in cozy cabins. Fun fall events. Beautiful days for hikes in the national park. If you haven’t been to the Smokies in fall, you don’t want to miss this time of year.

Between a busy community calendar, stunning fall scenery, and seasonal activities, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are perfect for fun fall getaways. Honeymoon, romantic weekend, getaway with friends, reunion, retreat, mother-daughter trip, or fun family vacation, these 50 fun events and activities will get you pumped for fall in the Smoky Mountains.

  1. Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  2. Making popcorn for movie night in your cabin’s private theater.
  3. Getting a candy-covered caramel apple at Kilwin’s.
  4. Watching ball games on the big screen TV in your cabin.
  5. Whipping up a warm, homemade meal in your cabin’s fully equipped kitchen.
  6. Looking for black bears on a drive through Cades Cove.
  7. Spending a cool day playing inside at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
  8. Tossing around a football at Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge.
  9. Getting gear for hikes at the Nantahala Outdoor Center or The Day Hiker.
  10. Riding the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at The Island in an enclosed gondola.
  11. Enjoying the best foods of the city during the 20th Annual Taste of Autumn in Gatlinburg.
  12. Exploring historic buildings along the Cades Cove loop road.
  13. Baking cookies in the cabin before cuddling up on the couch.
  14. Vying for prizes at the Fall Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament (October 7-8).
  15. Sipping hot chocolate in the rocking chairs on your cabin’s deck—overlooking the trees.
  16. Dressing up and taking the kids for candy during Ripley’s Trick or Treat Carnival (October 31).
  17. Getting a stack of seasonal pancakes at the Pancake Pantry.
  18. Tossing burgers on the grill for a fall cookout at the cabin.
  19. Having a hearty meal at Applewood Farmhouse, complete with their famous apple julep and fritters.
  20. Watching the Thanksgiving Bowl at Rocky Top Sports Bowl (November 23-26).
  21. Sipping on German bier during OktOBERfest at Ober Gatlinburg (September 23 – October 30).
  22. Eating creamy fudge from downtown Gatlinburg.
  23. Warming up watching a live show at Dollywood.
  24. Enjoying a slower pace of life in the mountains.
  25. Warming up with barbecue at Calhoun’s or Bennett’s BBQ.
  26. Celebrating our nation’s heroes at the Veteran’s Day Celebration (November 11).
  27. Sampling the mild to spicy at the Chili Cookoff & Winter Magic Kickoff on the streets of downtown Gatlinburg (November 8).
  28. Checking out fall colors on a scenic drive.
  29. Putting on your favorite scarf and going ice skating (indoors) at Ober Gatlinburg.
  30. Curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace in your cabin.
  31. Riding a mountain coaster in the Smokies for up-close views of the changing leaves.
  32. Filling up on a hearty breakfast from Crockett’s Breakfast Camp.
  33. Window shopping along the Parkway and seeing the signs of the season: haybales, scarecrows, pumpkins, and mums lined up for the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival.
  34. Starting your day with a cup of coffee and great views from deck.
  35. Watching the magic at Shocktober (Gatlinburg Space Needle).
  36. Having a 4-course dinner and watching the talented performers at Dixie Stampede.
  37. Watching the craftsmen at work in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community.
  38. Feeling the cool air as you fly through the trees with Smoky Mountain Ziplines.
  39. Roasting marshmallows for s’mores by the fire pit at your cabin.
  40. Riding the Aerial Tramway at Ober Gatlinburg for beautiful fall color views.
  41. Ending nights with soothing soaks in your cabin’s hot tub.
  42. Having a family game night with cards and board games at the cabin.
  43. Finding the perfect gifts at the Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show (November 21-26).
  44. Browsing the shops in The Village.
  45. Getting a foot-long Ogle dog or sizzling cheesesteak at Fannie Farkle’s.
  46. Laughing the night away at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre.
  47. Taking a horseback ride through the Smokies with Sugarlands Riding Stables.
  48. Scouting out the perfect family photo spots (with fall colors in the background).
  49. Seeing the Smokies from up high on a Scenic Helicopter Tour.
  50. Getting married in a charming, romantic wedding chapel with fall colors all around.

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