Memorial Day (May 29, 2017) is a time to remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and our lives. It’s an opportunity to say thank you to our nation’s heroes, and it is a holiday that should not be overlooked. Many Americans have a day off work, so it’s also a great opportunity to spend some quality time with family and friends. In the Smokies, there are plenty of fun things to do with the ones you love, including an abundance of outdoor activities! And if you have military members in your family or group, be sure to spend the weekend celebrating them!
Outdoor Fun for the Weekend
With the most visited national park in the U.S. National Park Service, Gatlinburg offers lots of ways to spend time in the great outdoors. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park brings in millions of visitors each year, and it’s no wonder why. The list of outdoor activities is seemingly endless, with something for seasoned hikers, nature lovers, kids, history buffs, birdwatchers, and newcomers who just want to dip their toes in a bit.
Hiking – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts 800+ miles of trails to explore, from flat, easy paths to steep, challenging climbs. Whether you just want an easy walk or love a more strenuous hike, you can find it here. Some favorites include Alum Cave Bluffs, Chimney Tops, Andrews Bald, and Laurel Falls.
Biking – Biking is another great way to explore outside, and while there are no mountain biking trails in the national park, bicycles are allowed on The Gatlinburg Trail, the Oconaluftee River Trail, and the lower Deep Creek Trail. You can also bike Cades Cove Loop Road, which is open to bicycles anytime. From May to September on Wednesday and Saturday mornings (until 10 a.m.), the loop is only open to bicyclists and pedestrians, which is a great time to take kids for a ride.
Horseback riding – Several stables in and around Gatlinburg offer horseback rides through the Smokies, taking you through some of the most scenic places in the area. Call Cades Cove (865.448.9009), Smokemont (828.497.2373), or Sugarlands Riding Stables (865.436.3535) to plan a day on the trails!
Fishing – With almost 3,000 miles of streams within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the beautiful scenery of the mountains all around, the Smokies is a fisherman’s paradise. You can fish year-round here, from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Picnicking – Whether they’re tucked among the trees, next to a field of wildflowers, or by a quiet mountain stream, the picnic areas in the Smoky Mountains are perfect for some nice outdoor time. Order our Smoky Mountain picnic and enjoy a lovely Memorial Day picnic!
More Memorial Day Fun
Even if you’re not up for outdoor activities, there are tons of attractions in downtown Gatlinburg (and neighboring Pigeon Forge) for a fun Memorial Day weekend getaway. You can ride the Aerial Tramway up to Ober Gatlinburg, get 360-degree views of the city at the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle, drive go karts and play laser tag, spend the day at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, sip on moonshine in the Ole Smoky Moonshine distillery, grab some gifts at The Village Shops, or get some holiday-weekend deals at the Tanger Outlets in Pigeon Forge.
In Pigeon Forge, you’ll find arcades, go karts and laser tag, WonderWorks, the Titanic Museum Attraction, and The Island. You could spend the whole day at The Island, eating at celebrity-owned restaurants, shopping, getting sweets, riding the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, playing The Escape Game, sipping moonshine while listening to live music, and watching the show fountain dance and light up!
Pigeon Forge is also home to Dollywood, where you can ride roller coasters, play carnival games for prizes, let the little ones play in misters and on playgrounds, grab a bite to eat, watch live shows, and do some shopping. This year, Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass festival will be going on during Memorial Day weekend (May 26 – June 4), which is just another reason to be in Gatlinburg for the holiday.
Just want to stay in? Our cabins boast amenities to keep you entertained, from game tables and big screen TVs to hot tubs and grills. You can stay in for a movie night, bring board games to play with the kids, Plan to get away with the family and have some fun just hanging out, tossing some burgers on the grill, and remembering the reason for the weekend!