The summer season is in full swing - which means it's the perfect time to start planning your getaway to a little town called Gatlinburg. To ensure you don't waste a second of the season, we've compiled the ultimate list of things to do this summer in Gatlinburg.
1. Outdoor adventures. No Gatlinburg vacation is complete without escaping to the mountains for an adventure. Great Smoky Mountains National Park holds the record for being America’s most visited national park – and for good reason. Hit any of the park’s 800+ miles of hiking trails and discover historical settlements, cascading waterfalls and scenic views along its many paths. Along with its numerous trails, there is no shortage of ways to get out and experience the park’s unique wilderness, from guided nature hikes to scenic drives, to river rafting and horseback riding. Motor routes like the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and the Cade’s Cove loop road also let you sightsee at a Sunday-drive pace and offer plenty of picnic areas to stop and enjoy lunch along the way.
2. Panoramic views. For a truly magnificent photo opt, try viewing the Smokies from above. You can enjoy panoramic views of the mountains on the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Space Needle, Aerial Tramway or from the comfort of an Anakeesta chondola. You can also hop in the car and take a scenic drive up to the Gatlinburg Bypass for an amazing view of the city surrounded by the Smoky Mountains.
3. Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Loop. Gatlinburg’s famous Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community – which started from a local tradition for making craftsmen goods - has since grown to be the largest group of independent artisans in North America. Find quality creations inside every storefront in the 8-mile Arts and Crafts Loop that’s home to weavers, potters, painters, jewelers, candlemakers and many other artists. Find out more information here.
4. Family fun. With activities and excitement lining both sides of downtown, Gatlinburg is a great place for family attractions. Kids of all ages can play amongst a magical treehouse village or race together on duel ziplines when families discover Gatlinburg’s newest theme park, Anakeesta. For any family looking for a variety of things to do, there’s just nothing like Ober Gatlinburg. With rides like the Alpine Slide and the new Mountain Coaster, year-round ice skating and a special area for the littlest ones, this amusement park is a favorite family destination. Families that enjoy a challenge can work together in a 60-minute race against the clock to break out from Gatlin’s Escape Games, one of the most adrenaline-pumping attractions in Gatlinburg. There are countless other family activities in town, from the wonderful Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to museums and mirror mazes. Check out Gatlinburg’s many family-fun attractions here.
5. Fourth of July. There’s no better place to celebrate July 4th than Gatlinburg, because we start earlier than anybody else. Gatlinburg’s 43rd annual July Fourth Midnight Parade begins at 12:01 a.m. on July 4 and is the first Independence Day celebration in the nation. At noon on July 4th, the action moves to the Little Pigeon with the River Raft Regatta. You can participate or cheer on your favorite floatable in this fun and competitive Independence Day tradition. The big finale comes after dark when a spectacular firework show lights up downtown at 10 p.m.
6. Romance. Are you getting married this summer? Gatlinburg is one of the most romantic places in the world, not only for couples tying the knot and newlyweds honeymooning but for lovers who want to renew their relationships.
7. Gatlinburg Farmers Market. Every year from May to October, our local farmers, artisans and food producers gather on Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Covered Bridge in the Arts and Crafts Community. The Gatlinburg Farmers market features fresh, local produce, eggs, homemade baked goods and items like jams, honey and natural health products.
8. Summer music. When the summer sun goes down, Gatlinburg’s downtown Parkway comes alive with the sounds of Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales! Visitors can stroll Gatlinburg’s famous Parkway sidewalks and easily catch one of Tunes & Tales’ many costumed performers sharing the music and tales that have existed in the Smoky Mountains as far back as the 1800s. On Saturday nights, more musical entertainment can be found at the Ole Smoky “Holler” and Sugarlands Distilling Co. as they host their summer entertainment series. Both distillers will have free live performances and a lineup of new artists that will be sure to keep your toes tapping. We’re also celebrating Appalachian music at the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival on August 13-22 at venues throughout Gatlinburg. Find out more about Gatlinburg’s summer music scene here.
You can get the latest information on all of Gatlinburg’s summer celebrations and activities by downloading our Visit Gatlinburg app or following Visit Gatlinburg on social media. See you this summer!