As the sun sets on another summer, we’re rounding up all the can’t-be-missed ways to live up your last hooray in Gatlinburg. From outdoor excursions to the best local delicacies to beat the heat, there are plenty of ways to make your Labor Day weekend one for the memory books. Here’s a roundup of the five things to do in Gatlinburg before the summer ends.

Go Camping

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Safari Tent at Camp LeConte

Slow down and recharge the best way we know how – outdoors. With acres of space to call your own for a weekend, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has plenty of sites perfect for parking an RV or pitching a tent. If you’re looking for a campsite close to nature but not far from comfort, snag a spot at one of Gatlinburg’s great RV and campground resorts. With easy access to amenities like full RV hook-ups, satellite, laundry facilities and even some poolside fun, these campgrounds make it easy to set up and get straight to the relaxing part of your weekend. If you’re looking for both an escape into nature and a once-in-a-lifetime lodging experience, head over to Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort to stay in an authentic safari tent or make an adorable retro camper your home for the weekend.


Rafting at NOC

Gatlinburg offers a dozen ways to end the season with a final splash. For the thrill-seekers looking to make some waves, reserve a raft guided by one of Gatlinburg’s top rafting companies. With similar beginner to advanced routes running down the Little and Big Pigeon River junctions, each outfitter offers gear, transportation and custom experiences perfect for the whole group, plus additional recreational activities to add to your day’s agenda. If chilling by the water is more your style, Gatlinburg’s close location to dozens of swimming holes makes it easy to find a great place to cool off. For a local favorite, follow HWY 321 North to discover the Greenbrier entrance to Ramsey Cascades and miles worth of pull-off spots ideal for a refreshing dip in the Little Pigeon River.

Explore Gatlinburg's Summer Food Options

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Summer food at Anakeesta

While there is always something good cooking in Gatlinburg, Labor Day weekend is a great time to serve up some good times around a picnic table in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or dive fork first into delicious bites on the menu at celebrated eateries like Delauders Smoky Mountain BBQ or the Cliff Top. Send off the summer by indulging in the dishes and drinks you’ll remember long after your vacation. We recommend cooling off with an ice cream cone (or two) at Maddog’s Creamery and Donuts, Ben & Jerrys or try Cookie Dough Bliss’s amazing ice cream and edible cookie dough combo, before moseying over to Tennessee Cider Company to taste their refreshing summer ciders on tap now. Discover Gatlinburg’s many restaurants and watering holes open throughout the year.

Discover All The Ways To Play

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Moonshine Mountain Coaster

In Gatlinburg, summer adventure isn’t just for kids! Zip, climb or putt your way through the Labor Day weekend at recreational-orientated attractions like AnakeestaGatlin’s Rugged Ropes Adventure CourseMoonshine Mountain Coaster, or one of the many family fun activities listed here. For an extra dose of fun that will get you excited for cooler temperatures, look to Ober Gatlinburg’s Labor Day Snow Play, Ober’s Tubing Park’s special weekend event, for the chance to trade the sweltering sun for an afternoon of frolicking in mounds of snow. Admission into the snow area is free for all ages.

Watch One Last Brilliant Sunset

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mountain overlook sunset

Gatlinburg has no storage of opportunities to end a day with a picturesque Smoky Mountain sunset. Watch the shades of the evening’s sunset unfold from places such as Gatlinburg SkyLift ParkSpace Needle and Ober Gatlinburg’s Aerial Tramway. Get your timing just right and you will be rewarded with the shimmering lights of Gatlinburg’s burgeoning nightscape as the sun blurs into layers of smoky, blue mountains.