Blog Archive

Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge Coupons – Over $1,350 In Free Tickets To Top Attractions

Get $1,350 or more in Free Tickets when you book with us.

Get over $700 in our Trip Cash Free Tickets PLUS get our Daily Giveaways on top of this!

Get Trip Cash on Check-In

Get over $700 in Free Tickets when you check into your cabin. You’ll get an envelope filled with Trip Cash. These are free tickets and discounts to 14 of the top Smoky Mountain attractions. See the full list of Trip Cash tickets below.

The Trip Cash tickets are our gift to you, PLUS you’ll get our Daily Giveaways on top of these!

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge coupons

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Great Smoky Mountains Balloon Festival 2024: Experience the Magic

Hot air balloons drifting majestically across the sky is a sight that captures everyone’s imagination. The Great Smoky Mountains Balloon Festival, a beloved annual event, is set to return on August 17, 2024, promising a day filled with wonder, adventure, and unforgettable memories. Set against the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains, this festival offers an opportunity to experience our area’s natural beauty from a new perspective.

Event Date and Location

Mark your calendars for August 17, 2024, when the skies over the Smokies will come alive with a display of hot air balloons. The festival will be held at the Townsend Visitors Center in Townsend, Tennessee. Known as the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies,” Townsend provides the perfect setting for this enchanting event, offering both stunning scenery and a serene atmosphere​.

Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival - August 2024

Ticket Prices and Entry

Tickets for the Great Smoky Mountains Balloon Festival are affordably priced to ensure that everyone can enjoy this magical experience. General admission tickets are available for $20 per person, with children under the age of 5 admitted free of charge. For those looking to enhance their experience, VIP tickets are offered at $75, providing exclusive access to the VIP area with shaded seating, complimentary refreshments, and prime balloon viewing spots​. Tickets can be purchased online in advance, and it’s advisable to buy early as this popular event often sells out.

The Balloons

One of the main attractions of the festival is, of course, the hot air balloons. This year, over 20 balloons are expected to participate, each one unique in design and color. These giant, floating works of art will fill the sky with a kaleidoscope of hues, creating a visual feast that is sure to leave attendees in awe​. The balloon pilots, hailing from various parts of the country, are seasoned professionals, eager to showcase their skills and share their passion for ballooning with the audience.

The event features several balloon-related activities throughout the day. Morning and evening balloon flights offer attendees the chance to take to the skies and experience the Smoky Mountains from a bird’s-eye view. Tethered balloon rides are also available, providing a taste of flight for those who prefer to stay closer to the ground. The highlight of the day is the spectacular balloon glow at dusk, where the balloons are inflated and illuminated from within, creating a magical display of light and color against the night sky​.

Festival Activities and Entertainment

Beyond the mesmerizing balloons, the Great Smoky Mountains Balloon Festival offers a wide array of activities and entertainment for the whole family. The festival grounds will be filled with live music, featuring performances from local bands and artists throughout the day. A variety of food vendors will be on hand, offering delicious eats ranging from classic festival fare to gourmet treats.

For those interested in arts and crafts, the festival includes an artisan market where local craftsmen and artists showcase their handmade goods. This is the perfect place to pick up a unique souvenir or gift. Children will love the dedicated Kids’ Zone, which features inflatable bounce houses, face painting, and interactive games​.

Nature enthusiasts can take advantage of the festival’s location to explore the natural beauty of the Smokies. Guided hikes and nature walks are scheduled, providing an educational and enjoyable way to experience the area’s diverse flora and fauna. There will also be educational sessions on ballooning, where attendees can learn about the history and science behind these magnificent flying machines​.

Tips for a Great Experience

To make the most of your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains Balloon Festival, here are a few tips:

  1. Arrive Early: Gates open at 6:00 AM for the morning balloon launch. Arriving early ensures you get a good parking spot and prime viewing location.
  2. Bring Essentials: Sunscreen, hats, and comfortable seating like lawn chairs or blankets can enhance your experience. While there will be food and drinks available for purchase, bringing your own water and snacks can be handy.
  3. Dress Appropriately: The weather in August can be quite warm, so lightweight clothing is recommended. However, evenings can get cooler, so having a light jacket or sweater is a good idea.
  4. Capture the Moment: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the breathtaking sights. The balloon glow, in particular, is a photo opportunity not to be missed.

The Great Smoky Mountains Balloon Festival is more than just an event; it’s an experience that brings people together to celebrate the beauty of flight and the wonder of nature. Whether you’re a seasoned balloon enthusiast or a first-time visitor, this festival offers something for everyone. With its stunning location, diverse activities, and the awe-inspiring sight of colorful balloons filling the sky, the 2024 festival promises to be a highlight of the summer. So, gather your family and friends, and head to Townsend, Tennessee, on August 17, 2024, for a day of unforgettable fun and adventure.

Where to Park in Gatlinburg: Tips from Locals

With our setting at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a great place to live. With our quaint downtown, tons of attractions, and natural scenery, it’s no wonder so many travelers come to visit us.

But with popularity come challenges, one of the most biggest being parking.  During peak tourist seasons it can be a challenge to find a parking spot in downtown Gatlinburg.

Parking Challenges During Peak Tourist Season

Gatlinburg experiences its peak tourist seasons during summer, fall foliage, and the winter holidays. During these times, the number of visitors can make finding convenient parking a chore.

One of the main challenges is the limited availability of free or inexpensive parking. On-street parking is scarce and limited to short durations. Many of the small, privately-owned parking lots fill up quickly, which means visitors have few options other than picking more expensive parking garages or lots.

Geography is part of the problem.  Gatlinburg is built along a narrow valley, which means space is at a premium. As a result, planning ahead and knowing where to park becomes crucial.

Parking in Gatlinburg

Parking Prices

Parking prices in Gatlinburg vary widely depending on the location, proximity to popular attractions, and time of year. During peak seasons, expect to pay premium rates, especially for spots closer to the downtown area. Here’s a general breakdown of what you can expect:

  • On-Street Parking: Rates typically range from $1 to $2 per hour. However, these spots are limited and often have a maximum time limit of 2-4 hours.
  • Public Parking Lots and Garages: Prices range from $5 to $20 per day. The closer the facility is to main attractions, the higher the rate.
  • Private Parking Lots: These can be the most expensive, especially those operated by businesses or hotels, with rates ranging from $10 to $30 per day.

List of Parking Lots, Garages, and Other Parking Areas

To make your visit more convenient, here’s a list of some of the main parking options in Gatlinburg, including addresses, number of spots, and prices where available:

  1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Garage
    • Address: 88 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    • Number of Spots: Approximately 550
    • Price: $10 per day
    • Conveniently located near major attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium and downtown shopping areas.
  2. Ober Gatlinburg Parking Garage
    • Address: 1001 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    • Number of Spots: 750
    • Price: $8-$10 per day
    • Provides easy access to the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway.
  3. Reagan Drive Parking Lot
    • Address: 830 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    • Number of Spots: 250
    • Price: $8 per day
    • Located close to the Gatlinburg Convention Center and various dining options.
  4. Gatlinburg Convention Center Parking Garage
    • Address: 234 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    • Number of Spots: 300
    • Price: $10 per day
    • Ideal for those attending events at the convention center.
  5. Calhoun’s Village Parking
    • Address: 1004 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    • Number of Spots: 150
    • Price: $10 per day
    • A great option if you plan to dine or shop at Calhoun’s Village.
  6. Bearskin Parking Garage
    • Address: 125 Cherokee Orchard Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    • Number of Spots: 300
    • Price: $12 per day
    • Offers proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance.
  7. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Parking Lot
    • Address: 900 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    • Number of Spots: 100
    • Price: $10 per day
    • Convenient for dining at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and exploring nearby shops.
  8. McMahan Parking Garage
    • Address: 600 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
    • Number of Spots: 400
    • Price: $8-$10 per day
    • Centrally located, providing easy access to many of Gatlinburg’s attractions.

Tips for Parking in Gatlinburg

  1. Arrive Early: To secure a spot, especially during peak seasons, aim to arrive early in the morning.
  2. Consider Alternative Transportation: Utilize the Gatlinburg Trolley, which offers a convenient and affordable way to get around town without the hassle of parking.
  3. Check for Real-Time Parking Information: Some parking facilities offer real-time availability updates online or via mobile apps.
  4. Plan Ahead: Research parking options and have a backup plan in case your first choice is full.

Navigating parking in Gatlinburg can be challenging, but with a little planning and knowledge, you can make your visit more enjoyable. By considering the various parking options and prices, and being aware of peak season challenges, you’ll be better prepared to explore all that this charming town has to offer.

What To Do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in July 2024

The 4th of July holiday is the big attraction this month, with lots of celebrations in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and nearby towns.  There’s so much to do, many holiday events even start on July 3rd!  

There’s also plenty to do all month long. From patriotic celebrations to unique festivals, here’s a roundup of special events that will captivate tourists. 

Gatlinburg's midnight 4th of July parade

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Back Roads and Shortcuts in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge get a lot of traffic, especially during the summer peak season.  Roads through Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be crowded.  Likewise, traffic along the Parkway in Pigeon Forge can be bumper-to-bumper on buys weekends.

That’s why it can be useful to know some of the alternative roads to take if the main routes are jammed.

We’re locals, so we know our way around and have developed some tricks to avoid clogged rounds during the busy season.

Here are some of our favorite shortcuts.

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What’s Happening in June in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

The arrival of June brings a world of excitement to the Smoky Mountains, particularly the twin towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a music lover, or searching for family fun, June is packed with something for everyone. Here’s a glimpse of what’s going on this June 2024.

Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge (May 20 – June 1)

Pontiac aficionados won’t want to miss Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge, an event that brings together over 400 Pontiacs, from classic models to the latest editions. The event includes a car show, a swap meet, and a cruise through the scenic streets of Pigeon Forge. Held at the LeConte Center from May 29 to June 1, 2024, it’s a unique gathering for anyone with a passion for these iconic cars and a perfect opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow enthusiasts.
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What’s Happening in April in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

April in the Smoky Mountains around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is the month of wildflowers in the millions, all the venues are open, people are arriving for fun, and everything starts popping.

Wildflowers are a big thing here in the Smokies, with literally millions of brightly colored wildflowers springing up all over during April. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is normally so filled with trees and covered with canopy that the forest floor doesn’t see a lot of sun, but in springtime, before the canopy has fully leafed out, the wildflowers get their chance in the sun, for a short window of time.

We see flowers blooming everywhere inside and outside of the park during April, but we see it best each year with the expert guides of the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage taking us on selected tours to the best places and the most stunning sights of these millions of exotic flowers. Registration opened in March, and the magic dates this year are May 1-4, 2024.

The snow melt brings water to the forest floor (the “understory“) for all those wildflowers to wake up, and the waters of Great Smoky Mountains National Park are generally rushing and giving us good waterfalls, and river adventures – and the fishing is good. Music is in the air as special events happen, and the sound of hot rods mingles in too.

April is also the time when the national park announces the viewing dates for the annual synchronous fireflies in June, and the Lottery dates for the limited parking available.

One image courtesy of GSMNP

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Immersive Theaters in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

We’ve had virtual reality for some time, but immersive theaters are fairly new – this is where the screen image moves and so do you, in your moving seat. Immersive technology continues to grow, so this roundup of all the immersive experiences available in the area will expand over time. It’s a moving target – rather like most of the sights and sounds in the immersive attractions.

Here’s a brief roundup of the immersive theaters in the area.

Image courtesy of Ripley’s 5D Adventure

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Homeschooling Activities in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

The Smoky Mountains area of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer a feast of wonders for homeschooling parents who want to pack a semester’s worth of learning into so much fun that kids will value their education forever. Even better is that many of the attractions also offer homeschool rates.

From the natural wonders of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the museums and attractions of the towns, a trip to Gatlinburg packs in more opportunity for adventure and learning than anyone can take in just in the one trip. That’s why so many people make it a favorite for the kids (and parents) to return to often.

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What’s Happening in February in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

February in the Smoky Mountains means the action is on the slopes for ski season, or out on the hiking trails with their special appeal in winter. It’s cold outside, but it’s cozy warm in the cabin, made for snuggling with Valentine’s Day happening and a romantic getaway in the snowy mountains on the calendar.

Read on for all that’s happening in the area in February.

Image courtesy of Ober Mountain

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