If you’ve done any research or had friends or family who’ve visited the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ve probably heard about the changing of the leaves in fall or the sparkling holiday lights in winter. But did you know that the two mountain towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer fun all throughout the year? While fall and the holidays are popular times for visitors, so are spring and summer.
There truly is something happening any time of year in the Smokies, from exciting Gatlinburg events to fun Pigeon Forge attractions. We know it can be difficult to find a time to get away, and that’s why the Great Smoky Mountains are so perfect for vacations. You’re not limited to summers at the beach or winters skiing in the mountains. You can vacation to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge any time of the year and know that you’ll have no shortage of things to do.
Sweet, Sweet Summertime
Summer is probably the easiest and most popular time to get away, with kids out of school and warm weather calling. Summer in the Smokies is like everywhere else, all about fun on the water (but so much more). When the weather gets warm, splash around in your cabin’s private indoor pool, head to the community pool, spend the afternoon fishing and finding swimming holes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or play the day away at Dollywood’s Splash Country. You can even ride in a ZORB (giant inflated ball) with water down a hill!
And summer fun goes beyond the water. Play some putt putt at Ripley’s Davy Crockett mini golf, race go karts, cool down with ice cream at Mad Dog’s Ice Cream & Donuts, stop in at an arcade for laser tag and games, or plan your trip during one of the many events held throughout the summer. There are races, 4th of July celebrations, kids’ activities, and more – and you can find it all on our blog.
Crisp, Cool Fall
The Great Smoky Mountains completely transform in fall, with the lush green trees morphing into autumnal beauties. The mountainsides seem to be brushed with color, boasting varying hues of red, yellow, gold, orange, and purple. It is a truly remarkable sight, and it’s worth a trip all its own. But if you’re looking for more than just changing leaves on your fall vacation to Gatlinburg, there’s plenty more in store for you.
Fall in the Smokies brings the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival, the celebration of all things fall, as well as craft shows hosted by the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, festivals devoted to your favorite foods, live music along the streets, delicious seasonal foods (apple everything, anyone?), and festive décor around each turn.
And with cooler weather, it’s also a great time to get outside. Throw on some hiking shoes and hit the trails (800+ miles of them in the national park), go horseback riding, have a pumpkin spice latte (you know you want to) while rocking on your cabin’s relaxing deck, or climb into a bubbling hot tub at the end of the day and let the hot water wash over you.
A Winter Wonderland
You might think that a snowy mountain town with lots of skiing is the only place that’s worth a winter vacation somewhere cold, but Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge prove that’s not true. Winter is a fantastic time to be in the Smokies, not only for the sparkling ice and gently falling snow, but also for the exciting events happening.
You can taste dozens of different local chilis at the Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff downtown, browse the uniquely decorated Christmas trees in the Gatlinburg Convention Center, take the Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights to see millions of LED lights in holiday themes, pick up seasonal treats at The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, or see the Titanic Museum Attraction decked out with Christmas trimmings for the holidays. And that’s just a small sampling of the winter fun.Check our blog for events throughout the year, and be sure to plan a trip to Ober Gatlinburg for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing in winter!
Spring is in the Air
When the snow and ice melt away, spring brings newness of life. Listen to birds sing and watch wildlife stir on a drive through Cades Cove, see the amazing diversity of plant life on the Wilderness Wildflower Pilgrimage, take a hike or go fishing on beautiful spring days, spend the day playing at Douglas Lake, or take advantage of the grill at your cabin and toss on some burgers to enjoy on your deck.
Springtime also means waterfalls are rushing once again, so take the time to hike to a few of the great spots like Abrams Falls and Laurel Falls. You can take a guided tour with Smoky Mountain Guides, or you can go indoor skydiving! And don’t forget about the car shows, spring trout tournament, and arts & crafts shows!