Calling all leaf-peepers, sweater weather lovers and sippers of cider! The streets of downtown Gatlinburg are lined with pumpkins and scarecrows. Pops of color can be seen throughout the mountainside, the forest canopy is beginning to fill in with stunning fall foliage and the smell of hot apple cider is filling the air from here to there. The only thing that we are missing is you! That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to an autumn getaway to Gatlinburg and the Smokies. Take a few minutes to read over all the fun that awaits here in the hills of Tennessee and then, start planning your trip to one of the top fall destinations in America.
5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Time in The Smokies This Autumn
- Plan Your Day Wisely: Leaf Peepin’ season is one of the most popular times for folks to join us in the Smokies. You’ll make more of your time by taking a few minutes to come up with a flexible plan. Start early, go-to meals in between traditional meal times, and explore trails that are less popular but still beautiful.
- Pack for at Least Two Seasons: The weather in the Smokies is rarely predictable. If you’re heading this way during autumn you’ll want to make sure that you have clothing to keep cool on the streets of Gatlinburg, jackets to keep you warm at Clingmans Dome and an umbrella to keep you dry when the rain rolls in. Being prepared will help you enjoy your trip, regardless of the weather that you experience during your stay.
- Pack Some Patience: Again, it’s a popular time. Come with plenty of patience packed and just an overall attitude that it’s great to be in the Smoky Mountains. After all, a busy day in Gatlinburg is still far better than a busy day at work, right?
- Give Back to The Area You Love: Our folks in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas love to welcome visitors and they want you to have a wonderful vacation. Remember to give back to them when you’re dining out, checking out of your lodging, or enjoying a drink. Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not charge an entrance fee but by dropping a few dollars in one of the donation boxes you can provide much-needed support for the country’s most visited national park.
- Mix It Up: A little city fun, a little exploring the great outdoors. We have the best of both worlds, so be sure to mix it up and enjoy it all!
5 Gatlinburg Events You Don’t Want to Miss this Fall
- Bavarian Fun, Yodeling, and Bier: Every year Ober Gatlinburg kicks off the season with OktOBERfest. You’ll find everything from traditional folk dances to food and fun for the entire family.
- Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival: From the time the first leaf begins to show it’s true colors until the last leaf falls to the ground, the City of Gatlinburg celebrates the season throughout town. The Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival includes seasonal events that fill up the days and cute scarecrows line the streets. Lovers of all things autumn will be in heaven when visiting. Everyone else will learn to love the season just as much before they roll out of town and head back home.
- Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff: If you can’t make it into town during October then set your eyes on mid-November and the best chili in the Smokies. Presented by Bush’s Chili Beans, this is one foodie fest that you won’t want to miss!
- Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair: If you love the art and culture of the Great Smokies then you’ll certainly want to add visiting the annual Gatlinburg’s Craftsmen’s Fair to your itinerary. It’s a wonderful way to take in work from countless artists, experience their gifts first hand and support them all while taking home some really special items for yourself and loved ones.
- Veteran’s Day Celebration: In 2020 the annual Veteran’s Day Celebration will go on, but it will be held at Rocky Top Sports World. The event is free to the public and it’s a great way to honor those that have given so much to our beautiful country.
5 Photos to Take and Share Before You Leave Gatlinburg
- Strolling Among the Scarecrows: If you’ve been to Gatlinburg then chances are you’ve already snapped a few photos with the friends of fall in downtown. If you haven’t been here yet, you can’t miss them. Take a few photos, share them and be sure to tag us! Find the locations on the Gatlinburg App.
- Above the City: The Gatlinburg Bypass isn’t just handy for skipping over traffic in downtown Gatlinburg, but it also offers one of the best views in town. Stop in, soak up the beauty, and snap a few photos.
- A Great Smoky Mountains National Park Pitstop: Take a selfie, photo with your sweetheart or capturing a family trip to the Smokies by stopping at the sign for the national park is a classic move that you won’t want to skip.
- Fun at Gatlinburg’s Favorite Mountain Top Attractions: Fun times are waiting for you on Anakeesta Mountain, at the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park on Crockett Mountain and at Ober Gatlinburg. Head on up to the top, participate in the seasonal fun and share a few photos with us!
- Smoky Mountain Sippin’: Gatlinburg never has a shortage of sippin’ opportunities year-round but autumn brings out everything from fancy cups of joe to cider and fall-flavored moonshine. What are you sippin’ on this season? Share a photo on your social account and tag us!
4 Ways to Celebrate Halloween in the Hills of Gatlinburg
- Celebrate with The Mysterious Mansion: One of the creepiest haunted houses in the Smokies is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year! The Mysterious Mansion sits on River Road and is packed with all the things your nightmares are made of. Are you brave enough to talk a walk through the mansion?
- Fine Dining with a Ghostly Twist: The Greenbrier is not only one of the top dining experiences in Gatlinburg but it also has a ghostly twist to its history. Lydia supposedly lingers from many years ago after her tragic death. Make reservations, enjoy a nice dinner and then sit around the outdoor fire pit while you share a few of your own ghost stories.
- Ripley’s Fright Nights: Every Friday and Saturday during October Ripley’s Haunted Adventures adds to their already terrifying experience. Stop in and participate if you’re ready for a little extra spook in your Halloween.
- Appalachian GhostWalks: Speaking of spooks. Plenty roam the streets of Gatlinburg and hills of Appalachia. Take a stroll with Appalachian GhostWalks to discover the hidden secrets and spooky tales of White Oak Flats and the Great Smoky Mountains.
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