Filled with energetic life, lush trees, stirring wildlife, wildflowers in full bloom, and clear blue skies, summertime in the Smokies is truly beautiful. As you explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you'll drive along tree-arched roads, wind past rushing waterfalls, and maybe even spot a black bear! In town, the summer calendar is packed with events — from thrilling races and fishing tournaments to barbecue festivals and lively parades! Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or enjoy the excitement of a bustling city, you'll love spending summertime in the Smokies!
Outdoor Summer Fun
If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, burn some calories, or just stretch your legs in the great outdoors, you'll love the huge variety of outdoor activities at your fingertips. In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited in the national park system, you'll find more than 800 miles of trails. Whether you want to explore on your own or take a guided tour, you can go hiking, biking, or horseback riding in the park.
For a quieter and more peaceful summer afternoon in the Smokies, you can enjoy a round of golf or spend the day casting your line in one of the many cool mountain streams in the Smokies. Not an avid golfer? Think outside the box! The Smokies are also home to many miniature golf courses! Putt around or test your skills at 18 holes. And don’t forget to beat the summer heat with local whitewater rafting, kayaking, tubing, and canoeing. This is your summer vacation — choose one outdoor activity or feel free to tackle them all!
Hiking, Biking & Horseback Riding
You don't have to be a seasoned pro to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With trails from easy, wide, and flat to challenging, narrow, and steep, people of all ages and skill levels can find a beautiful trail to stroll or climb. There are lots of great trails that lead to cascading waterfalls and past colorful wildflowers — try Gatlinburg Trail, Alum Cave Trail, and Rainbow Falls Trails, among many.
Or hop on a bike and hit the trails at a faster pace. You can ride the Cades Cove loop or check out some of the backcountry trails — if you're up for the challenge! Another great way to explore the many trails and historic buildings in the park is by a peaceful horseback ride. Several stables in and around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer rides for many ages. Some guided horseback rides even include a lunch, snacks, drinks, and (our personal fav) s'mores!
Golfing & Fishing
Featuring some of the most pristine courses in the country, the Smokies is a great place to golf. Several courses were designed by world renowned golfers, offering a challenge for beginners and pros. The gorgeous trees, mountain streams, vivid wildflowers, and rolling hills set the perfect backdrop for a peaceful and relaxing day on the course.
If you prefer to get your waders wet, head to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a day of fishing. There are lots of beautiful, clear streams running over smooth river rocks, stocked with plenty of fish for a fun time! On a hot summer day, enjoy staying cool by the water as you fish. Have a peaceful afternoon to yourself or bring along the kids for some quality time in the great outdoors. And don't forget to pack a lunch and enjoy a picturesque picnic by the water! We even have several cabins with easy access to fishing, so you can sit back and soak in river or lake views before heading down to the water to reel in the catch of the day.
Annual Summer Events
As you plan your summer vacation to the Smokies, be sure to check in advance for the upcoming events. There may be an exciting race, float-packed parade, or family-friendly event that you'd like to plan your trip around. Check out these fun summer events held annually in the Smokies!
Gatlinburg Farmers Market | May – October
Pick up fresh produce, local jams and jellies, and homemade treats every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until noon at 849 Glades Road.
Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales | June – August
Enjoy costumed musicians, imaginative storytellers, and skilled artisans performing along the Parkway during this summer-long event.
FREE Parkway Trolley | June – August
Explore downtown Gatlinburg and the Parkway on a comfortable and fun trolley — FREE during summer months!
Fourth of July Parade | July 3-4
Celebrate our military men and women at the “first July fourth parade in the nation” — beginning at the stroke of midnight on July 4!
Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta | July 4
Test your boat making skills at this fun race for all. Kids and adults can place their unmanned floatable devices along the Little Pigeon River to compete for the fastest and most creative raft!
Gatlinburg Summer Craftsmen's Fair | July
Check out more than 150 booths featuring one-of-a-kind works by local artisans and craftspeople. Artisans will demonstrate, showcase, and sell their work, as well as answer any questions you may have!
Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival | August
Celebrate Gatlinburg's rich musical roots in Appalachian history as you listen to the toe-tapping sounds of local musicians and songwriters!
Summertime Activities in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge
Home to dozens of fun summer activities — you'll never be bored on your summer vacation in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge! From zip line tours and go karts to waterparks and epic arcades, there’s truly something for everyone.
A great way to cool off, zip line through the lush, green trees of summer. Get a rush as you race go karts on one of the many tracks along the Parkway or stay cool inside as you play laser tag and arcade games. Some area attractions even have bumper boats — perfect for cooling off on hot Tennessee afternoons. Of course, one of the best and most popular summer attractions is Dollywood's Splash Country in Pigeon Forge. The attraction features rides, slides, and water features for people ages 1 to 100! You can tube down lazy rivers, swirl down towering water slides, or let the youngsters splash around in the kids' area. There are even retreat and canopy rentals where families can relax, eat, and stay in the shade when they need a break. Whether you’re tasting unique cuisine at The Island, soaring at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving, belly laughing at a comedy show, or touring Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, unforgettable summertime memories are sure to be made!
The Perfect Summer Rental for YOU
While there's plenty to do in the national park and downtown, you'll want a cool place to stay and play when you vacation to the Smokies in summer. With many Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg cabins to choose from — all featuring comfortable spaces and great amenities — it may be difficult to decide. We even have a number of cabins with community pool access outdoors, private indoor pools, theater rooms, and game rooms. All are perfect for staying cool on hot summer days in the Great Smoky Mountains!
Wake up to sunrise hues pouring over the mountainside with tuneful melodies by local songbirds and enjoy a fresh fruit smoothie from the fully equipped kitchen before heading out on a whitewater rafting adventure. After returning to the cabin, fire up the gas grill for a barbecue party on the back deck while the kiddos splash around in the private indoor pool. As evening cools, slip into your swimsuit for a muscle-relaxing soak in the outdoor hot tub or sit around the firepit for roasted marshmallows and guitar strums. When everyone is in their jammies, settle in for movie night on the big screen TV in the home theater or host a game tournament in the rec room before tucking the kids into the twin bunks and dozing off in the master suite’s king-size bed.
For more information about our superb-for-summer cabins in the Smokies, from 1-bedroom homes to large-group lodges, call 1.800.684.7865 or fill out the Options for YOU form online. Our reservation specialists are ready and willing to help find the perfect cabin with summer-friendly amenities for YOU!