Barbecue cooking in the back yard, cool summer breezes passing by, refreshing iced tea in hand…the 4th of July is a classic American holiday typically spent at home with family and friends. But what if you took things up a notch? What if you brought your loved ones and Independence Day traditions to the Great Smoky Mountains? Attend the 1st Independence Day parade in the nation, witness the Gatlinburg fireworks finale, check out local attractions, shop for souvenirs in town, and grill holiday dishes at your private cabin with a stunning mountain view! Start planning today and make this 4th of July one to remember — in the Smokies.
Independence Day Events!
So, what makes celebrating the birth of our country so special in Tennessee? Playing on the 4th of July, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge will host — count them — 4 exciting Independence Day events. From a magical midnight parade and a competitive river race to an exciting firework display and a lively patriotic festival, American fun will be around every corner!
Gatlinburg 4th of July Midnight Parade
At midnight on July 4, the first Independence Day parade in the nation will begin in downtown Gatlinburg! Successfully held for the last 43 years, this event has not only been named a “Top Ten Parade to See in the U.S.” by National Geographic Traveler Magazine but has also received the Grand Pinnacle — the highest award from the International Festivals and Events Association — on multiple occasions. Watch patriotic floats, horses, and balloons glide past, curb your midnight munchies with savory or sweet snacks, cheer for our nation’s heroes, and see your child’s face light up against night sky. At just over a mile, the parade will start on East Parkway at traffic light #1A (by Roaring Fork Road) and continue south onto Parkway all the way to traffic light #10 (by Ski Mountain Road). Be sure to arrive early on July 3 to claim the best viewing spot as more than 80,000 viewers may show!
Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta
At noon on July 4, the River Raft Regatta will take place on the Little Pigeon River in Gatlinburg. Unmanned, floatable objects (namely toy boats and rafts) will race from Christ in the Smokies Bridge to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies on River Road. With prizes on the line, make sure to register your voyager at 10:00 a.m. at the bridge into one of 2 categories: Trash (bought) or Treasure (handmade). In addition to the 6 awards for the top 3 in each category, a judge’s choice award will be given to the “raft” exemplifying the most creativity as well as trophies for the youngest and oldest participant. Whether you win the race by a landslide (or should that be “waterslide”?) or come in the very last place, precious memories are sure to be made!
28th Annual Patriot Festival
Celebrate the birth of American independence on the evening of July 4 at the Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge. With 27 years under its belt, this event will surely impress with games for all ages, food galore, and live entertainment — so be sure to come decked out in red, white, and blue! Best of all, admission and activities are FREE! Looking to stay a while? Bring a few blankets and lawn chairs (umbrellas and coolers are not permitted) and make yourself comfortable.
Gatlinburg Fireworks Finale
Starting at 10:00 p.m., end the day with the Fireworks Finale in Downtown Gatlinburg. Deemed a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society, this show is sure to be the highlight of your trip — featuring a fantastic 20-minute display that will light up the night sky in celebration of our nation! For the best seats in the house, grab a spot around traffic light #3 (where Parkway and East Parkway meet) or #5 (by Greystone Heights Road).
The Local Scene
While attending our nation’s birthday events will be quite fun indeed, don’t forget to check out local attractions and outdoor activities. Putt-putt with your pals on the roof at Crave Golf Club, keep cool in the wave pool at Dollywood’s Splash Country, shop until you drop at The Village, take a scenic helicopter ride over the city, whitewater raft down the Pigeon River, hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, duel zipline at Anakeesta — the list goes on and on! You’ll also have the pleasure of witnessing Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales, an event featuring local performers along the streets of Gatlinburg every night June 22 – August 11. Plus, Gatlinburg trolley rides are FREE 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. June 16 – August 15, so transportation won’t be a hassle.
Exchange backyard barbecue for a grilled feast on the back deck of your vacation cabin overlooking the Smoky Mountains! When the food settles, enjoy a relaxing soak in the outdoor hot tub or a night swim in the private indoor pool. Wake up to breakfast from the fully equipped kitchen with a show on the big screen TV or morning breeze on the front porch swing. After everyone’s fed, put on your swimsuits and head to the community pool for a refreshing dip or friendly splash.
Ready for more? Host a game tournament in the rec room with game tables, arcade units, and more! When evening sets, pile everyone in the private home theater for a movie marathon and a few cold ones from the wet bar. While the little ones head to dream land, unwind with a lavender bubble bath in the indoor jetted tub before hopping into the king-size bed. No matter your desire, we have the perfect cabin for YOU! We even offer cabin rentals decorated top to bottom with American pride! Want to carry the patriotism back to your cabin? Check out…
What are you waiting for?! Plan an incredible 4th of July getaway in the Great Smoky Mountains today!