Father’s Day in the Smokies

Remember all those times playing catch in the backyard, dancing on his toes, giggling at his snore, being tickled without mercy, and eating dessert before dinner without telling Mom? Dads are extra special — they make us laugh without reason, hold us on sad days, give words of wisdom, and love us unconditionally. 

And what better way to say, “Happy Father’s Day” to the man who has done so much for you than with a Father’s Day getaway to the Smoky Mountains?! Treat Dad to an amazing experience with just you – or the whole family – full of unique museums, hearty grub, breathtaking mountain views, live music, moonshine, outdoor adventures, and more in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

 NEW for Dad in the Smokies

Is your dad a Smoky Mountain pro? Has he seen all the sights, done all the things, and eaten all the foods? Well, you’re in luck! The Great Smoky Mountains is always growing, so there are some awesome new attractions for you to check out! Here are just a few of the newer options (2021) for YOU to check out with dad! 

  • Guy Fieri’s Downtown Flavortown (coming soon)
  • SkyFly at The Island
  • Toy Box Mini Golf
  • Parkway Playhouse (shows and escape rooms)
  • AquaFlight (water flyboard rentals)
  • Gatlinburg Axe House 
  • Anakeesta – always NEW attractions and restaurants being added! 

The Great Outdoors

Filled to the brim with outdoor activities, the Smokies means adventure time for Dad! Start with a thrilling helicopter ride for an eagle-eye view of the beautiful cities and sky-high mountains through Scenic Helicopter Tours, sure to put a big grin on his face! Next, take a chondola (chairlift + gondola) to Anakeesta, an aerial adventure park where you can race through the trees on the Dueling Zipline Adventure, walk 40-60 feet above the forest floor along the Tree Canopy Walk, and grab crispy onion rings, hickory-smoked wings, a tender pulled pork BBQ, sandwich, and a fully loaded sundae at Firefly Village restaurants.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also nearby, making a drive through Cades Cove a great option for Dad. Witness historical sites, wildlife galore, and stunning valley views — all from an air-conditioned vehicle! Is golf more his thing? No problem! Check out the picturesque Gatlinburg Golf Course, featuring 18 holes to conquer and epic mountain views with every swing.

Scenic Helicopter Tours — Take your dad or hubby on a dream tour across the Great Smoky Mountain landscape as you soar through the skies with an eagle’s eye view of rivers, peaks, valleys, forests, and cities. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park — Conquer a few hiking trails, horseback ride through the woodlands, take a scenic drive through Cades Cove, fly fish for native Appalachian brook trout, and picnic by a rushing river at the most visited national park in the country. He’ll love stretching his legs, getting some fresh air, enjoying the views, and spending quality time with his family! 

Gatlinburg Sportsman’s Club — The Gatlinburg Sportsman’s Club is an ideal spot for a dad who enjoys shooting skeet, target practice, or fishing! After a morning of casting a line in the serene fishing hole and practicing his shot on the ranges, unpack a picnic lunch under the pavilion to enjoy while overlooking the pond.

Bluff Mountain Adventures — Not exactly your run-of-the-mill outdoor adventure, rent a couple of ATVs and take a ride up Bluff Mountain! The user-friendly all-terrain vehicles will take you up one of the area’s highest mountains for the ride of your life. Enjoy the sights and scenery without the strenuous hike!

More Outdoor Activities for Dad!

  • Take an off-road excursion through the Smokies via an original military hummer!
  • Take a leisurely tube down the Little Pigeon River. 
  • Get your spook on and delve into the haunted history of Gatlinburg with a ghost tour.
  • Fish together, shoot a few rounds, and picnic by the water at the Gatlinburg Sportsman’s Club!
  • Free fall at 120 miles per hour before parachuting to the ground with Skydive East Tennessee.
  • Take a backcountry hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Fun-for-Dad Attractions

  • Dollywood — Ride thrilling roller coasters, try Southern food, listen to live music, and check out seasonal events at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge. You can also pop over to Dollywood’s Splash Country to cool off in the wave pool, zoom down water slides, and eat ice cream!
  • Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud — Welcome Dad to this epic show where word-class lumberjacks compete in axe throwing, log rolling and climbing, sawing, chopping, and more. Then, you give lumberjacking a try in the accompanying adventure park!
  • Flyaway Indoor Skydiving — Let your dad or husband’s daredevil tendencies loose (safely) in this indoor wind tunnel where he can feel what it’s like to skydive in Pigeon Forge without the fear of jumping out of a plane 1,000s of feet in the air…
  • Bent Creek Golf Course — Professionally designed, manicured, and managed, Pops will appreciate the love and attention put into this one-of-a-kind 18-hole golf course in Gatlinburg with stunning mountain and valley vistas all around. 
  • Ripley’s Haunted Adventure — Offering haunts year-round, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is for the dad with guts. Live actors in Hollywood-grade costumes and makeup are hiding among the state-of-the-art scenes. He’ll love getting spooked around every corner and seeing you get freaked out as well!

Go-karts + Games

Take this Father’s Day up a notch with Dubby’s Xtreme Racing, starring European karts — the fastest in Pigeon Forge! Choose from 3 courses (one is elevated) ranging from 1,500 – 3,500 linear feet, then zip around the track together (or cheer him on from the sidelines). Whether he’s a kiddo at heart…or a proper big kid, he’ll be grinning from ear to ear as he zooms past contenders and across the finish line as grand champion!

Watch out! The Island may be more fun than you can handle…nah, just kidding. This entertainment and shopping complex in Pigeon Forge boasts more than just delicious dishes. In addition to hearty restaurants (ahem, Timberwood Grill) and quaint boutiques with candies, trinkets, and toys, The Island boasts games and activities galore! Treat your husband to a full day of fun, from escaping prison and beating all the highest arcade scores to defeating the Sky Trail Explorer ropes course and winning top prize at the shooting gallery.

Museums + Aquariums to Explore

After exploring outdoors, head inside local museums for a calmer change of pace. Hit up the Tennessee Museum of Aviation to learn more about vintage aircraft, including jets, fighters, helicopters, amphibians, and more. Who knows? You may even encounter an unscheduled Warbird flight demonstration!

If cars are more his speed, take Dad to the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, where you can see 2 Batmobiles up close and personal! Plus, you’ll find feature-film favorites, like Eleanor from Gone in 60 Seconds, and Back to the Future’s time machine.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies — Embark on an ocean journey with a glass-bottom boat, splash with stingrays, take the travelator beneath Shark Lagoon, pet moon jellies, and watch penguins paint with Dad (precious).

Alcatraz East Crime Museum — Learn all about American crime and the justice system at this intriguing and interactive museum in Pigeon Forge that features notorious crime artifacts, criminal profiles, forensic science, and more…

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium — If your Dad loves the unusual, take him to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium in downtown Gatlinburg that features interactive exhibits, a shrunken head, a 12-foot-tall Transformer, a spinning vortex tunnel, and more. 

Dad’s Favorite Foods 

The Pancake Pantry — Before a day of fun in town, let Dad fill up with a stack of fluffy pancakes and a plate of crispy bacon and scrambled eggs at The Pancake Pantry, one of the area’s most popular breakfast spots.

Timberwood Grill — Taste the mountains at Timberwood Grill on The Island in Pigeon Forge, featuring finger-licking menu items from appetizers to main courses to cocktails — even their names are appealing! Try Wild Bill’s jumbo buffalo wings, salmon and avocado salad (must try!), Lumberjack bison chili, Trapper Jack’s handcut sirloin, Gunpowder ribeye, Twin forks kickin’ chicken, Bourbon baked beans, Badlands Margarita, and Hair of the Bear Bloody Mary! 

Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que — Hickory smoked and flavor packed, the BBQ at Bennett’s is hard to beat. Smothered in sauce or juicy on its own, the food at this Pigeon Forge restaurant is worth every penny for Pops. 

Old Dad’s Gatlinburg — Everything from burgers and wings to hand dipped ice cream and beer can be found at Old Dad’s Gatlinburg. This general store features a deli, grill, and grocery store, great for dads who love to eat and shop for outdoor goods.

Candy Shops — Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg candy shops are famous for their creamy and smooth fudge; however, there are candy delights to suit every taste bud! Chocolate-covered cherries, taffy, caramel apples and peanut brittle can all be found along the Parkway.

Alamo Steakhouse – Claimed as “the most awesome food from here to Texas,” the Alamo Steakhouse is a staple in Gatlinburg that boasts succulent starters, scrumptious soups and salads, tasty sides, mouthwatering entrees, and divine desserts. Begin with fried calamari and flame-grilled oysters, then move to the French onion soup with black-n-bleu filet salad. Next, cut into your filet mignon or oak-grilled salmon with a rice pilaf side and end the meal with blackberry cobbler or sea salt caramel cheesecake…or both!

Beer + Brews

Smoky Mountain Brewery — Generous portions and crisp, cold beer make Smoky Mountain Brewery a definite stop for the ultimate Father’s Day weekend. The menu features mouthwatering burgers, ribs, pizza, and wings to pair with award-winning micro-brewed beers.

Ole Smoky Moonshine — Top off his meals with a sampling of moonshine at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler (aka The Holler) in Gatlinburg. Better yet, take a few jars back to the cabin! As the most visited distillery in these United States, The Holler has a proud reputation to protect, so you can expect the best of the best moonshine here. Possible brews include butterscotch, peppermint, mountain java cream, apple pie, and blue flame. Plus, you’ll get to check out the entire distilling process and chat with the distillers about the traditions of TN moonshining. For a taste of the mountains, sample Ole Smoky Moonshine at locations in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. 

Sugarlands Distilling Company — Take a seat around the Sippin’ Posts for samples of long-standing moonshine and whiskey recipes with modern, flavorful twists. And show the dad in your life a great time with a free tour of the Sugarlands Distillery in Gatlinburg.

Old Forge Distillery — Using water from the Little Pigeon River and freshly ground grains from The Old Mill, Old Forge Distillery is home to award-winning Single-Barrel Aged Bourbon, Rum, Moonshine, and Vodka. It’s the perfect place to treat Dad or your husband to a Father’s Day toast!

Make Him Laugh!

If there’s one thing true in this world, it’s that dads love to laugh…and eat. So, why not combine the two and pair food with comedy at a dinner show? Open a barrel of laughter at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, a country comedy show with an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord! Cheer for your favorite family as the two battle it out mountain-style with bursts of song, dance numbers, and incredible stunts — all while digging into fried chicken, mashed taters, pork barbecue, corn on the cob, homemade rolls, cool coleslaw, creamy soup, and Granny’s dessert!

Sure to be a side-splitting success with Dad, the Comedy Barn Theater presents a rib-tickling, award-winning show with clean comedy for all. Watch talented animals perform extraordinary tricks, magicians execute beyond-belief stunts, jugglers juggle like there’s no tomorrow, bands belt out a gospel tune, cloggers dance to the lively beat, ventriloquists use live performers, and comedians bring a double dose of belly laughs to the audience. What a fun way to top off the night on your Father’s Day weekend!

More Great Smoky Mountain Shows

Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show — Pairing mouthwatering food with seafaring fun, this dinner show is sure to impress Pops, with high-flying acrobatics, water tricks, beautiful mermaids, full-sized pirate ships, and a 4-course feast!

Dolly Parton’s Stampede — Chow down on a whole hen with Southern sides while the arena showcases horseback riding stunts, musical numbers, special effects, comedic clowns, and a healthy dose of competition between the North and South!

Log Cabin Retreat

Exploring the national park, skydiving indoors, strolling through the aquarium, and enjoying a dinner show can really take it out of Dad. Our recommendation: let him rest, relax, and recharge at a log cabin with Cabins for YOU

Coffee every morning in a rocking chair overlooking majestic mountain peaks + gameplay and beer in the rec room + cooking out on the grill + hot tub soaks for tired muscles every evening + his favorite film in the home theater with booming surround sound + sweet rest in a plush king-size bed the perfect start to his cabin dream in the Smokies. 

After spending all day exploring town and tackling local attractions, venture to your own log cabin for a snooze in the master suite’s king-size bed or a recliner in front of a big screen TV. Better yet, relax those tired muscles in the outdoor hot tub with an impressive star-gazing view. Too excited to sleep? Bust out the spiked sweet tea from the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler and play a couple of rounds of pool, air hockey, and shuffleboard. Or take on the shooting and racing arcade games and put Pop’s name on the leaderboard!

In the morning, whip up a bountiful breakfast in the fully equipped kitchen, ready for buttered toast, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, fluffy pancakes, and endless pots of coffee! Enjoyed with an awe-inspiring mountain view…what could be better? Perhaps an afternoon barbecue on deck — the Smoky flavors can’t be beaten! Once the food settles, lounge by the private indoor pool or take a well-deserved nap on the plump living room sofa. When evening sets, pass around buckets of popcorn (biggest goes to Dad) and settle in for an action flick on the projector screen with surround sound in the home theater!

In-Cabin Bonuses!

  • Fill up on coffee goodness with Java Time, a gift basket loaded with a variety of gourmet coffee, tasty treats, and 2 Gatlinburg history mugs.
  • Make breakfast a breeze with Mountain Breakfast, a gift basket jam-packed with fresh ingredients, pancake mix, condiments, banana muffins, assorted fruits, orange juice, and coffee.

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