Summer is the most awaited season of the year, and there's no better place to enjoy it than Gatlinburg. This charming town nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains offers plenty of opportunities to make your summer vacation unforgettable. Whether you're a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or a foodie, Gatlinburg has something for everyone. So pack your bags and head to Gatlinburg this summer for an unforgettable vacation. Whether you're traveling with family or friends, you'll find plenty of things to do and see that will make your trip worthwhile. And to make it a little easier, we've compiled a list of the top 8 things to do this summer in Gatlinburg. 

Go on Outdoor Adventures

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No summer 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 900+ 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.

Take in Panoramic Views

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Summer in the Smokies Returns to Anakeesta

For a truly magnificent photo op, try viewing the Smokies from above. You can enjoy panoramic views of the mountains on the Gatlinburg Sky LiftSpace Needle, Ober 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.

Drive the Great Smoky Arts And Crafts Loop

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Arts and Crafts Community

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 along with the 8-mile Arts and Crafts Loop that’s home to weavers, potters, painters, jewelers, candlemakers, and many other artists. Don't miss the Gatlinburg's Craftsmen's Fair at the Gatlinburg Convention Center

Find Some Family Friendly Fun

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Ober Mountain

With activities and excitement lining both sides of downtown, Gatlinburg is a great place for family attractions. Kids of all ages can play in 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 Mountain. With rides like the Alpine Slide and Ski 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.

Don't Miss the 4th of July Parade & Fireworks

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July 4th Fireworks

There’s no better place to celebrate July 4th than Gatlinburg, because we start earlier than anybody else. Gatlinburg’s Annual 4th of July Midnight Parade begins at 12:01 a.m. on July 4 and is the first Independence Day celebration in the nation. At 1 p.m. 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 Fireworks Show from The Space Needle lights up downtown at 11 p.m.

Plan a Romantic Getaway

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Couple at Anakeesta

Are you getting married this summer? Gatlinburg is one of the most romantic places in the world, not only for couples getting married and newlyweds honeymooning but for lovers who want to renew their relationships.

Visit the Farmer's Market

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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 next to the Post Office on East Parkway. The Gatlinburg Farmers Market features fresh, local produce, eggs, homemade baked goods and items like jams, honey and natural health products.

Listen to Summertime Music

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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. Musical entertainment can be found at the Ole Smoky “Holler” or at Ole Red Gatlinburg on a daily basis.  We’re also celebrating Appalachian music at the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival in August at venues throughout Gatlinburg. 

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!