As the gateway town to the country’s most popular national park, Gatlinburg is a great place to start exploring the area in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The ancient Smoky Mountains are endlessly rolling and captivating to the gaze, and whether you’re looking for some beautiful creations of nature or some human-made entertainment, you’ll find some of the best scenic attractions in the area listed here to help you get started in finding some great sights.
Top Attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
When it comes to family-friendly attractions and entertainment, the neighboring East Tennessee towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have plenty of options available for active families. With Great Smoky Mountains National Park right next to the two towns, deciding which of these attractions are the best can be difficult, based on your personal tastes and interests, but we’ve come up with a list of five top-rated attractions in the area to help you plan your next vacation.
Special Areas of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Here is a brief guide to several distinct areas in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, useful for the new visitor to get oriented to some of the special places and scenic natural features. Visitors to the Smoky Mountains return year after year, and discover their favorite places, gradually learning many of the countless things to do and to see in the Gatlinburg area. Here are some of the more notable.
Craftsmen’s Fair 2021 – 46 Years and Unique as Ever
Celebrating its forty-sixth year in Gatlinburg, the annual Spring Craftsmen’s Fair happens July 9-18. 2021, in the Convention Center at traffic light #8.
For these 10 days, the Fair is open 10 am to 5 pm each day, with one ticket price of $10 that can extend through all the days if you want – and kids 17 and younger get in FREE with an adult.
Independence Day Parade 2021
Gatlinburg is back in 2021 with the nation’s first Independence Day celebration, starting one minute after midnight of the 3rd, for the 46th Annual Fourth of July Midnight Parade. This mile-long stream of parade entrants will work its way along Parkway this year led by the most perfect Grand Marshal, Gatlinburg’s favorite singer and musician, Miss Emi Sunshine.
Favorite Swimming Places in the Smokies
As summer temperatures heat up, this is a great time to look for ways to stay cool. Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding area provide plenty of opportunities to go swimming for fun, relaxation and an escape from the heat. When you visit the park, keep in mind that there are more than 2,000 miles of streams, as well as creeks near hiking trails, picnic areas and scenic drives.
It’s a good idea to bring dry socks, towels and plastic bags for wet clothes when you go hiking in the park. You’ll also find waterfalls with swimming holes in the park, but you should always check for warning signs first to make sure they’re safe. Avoid swimming in any areas where warning signs are posted.
Planning A Fishing Trip in the Smoky Mountains
If you love fishing, Great Smoky Mountains National Park should be on your list for a fishing trip. The park has over 2,000 miles of streams and rivers, and more than 800 miles of these contain fish, so it’s easy enough to find your own favorite spots practically anywhere in the park.
Since the park is easy to access and is open year-round, any time of the year is good to visit – with the spring being a prime fishing time. This is America’s most popular national park, and also one of the best freshwater fishing destinations in the US.
Dollywood Summer 2021 – Just Add Drones!
Dollywood continues its vibrant summer season for 2021 with the Summer Celebration festival, running from June 25 through July 31. The ever innovative theme park brings us several festival themes during the course of the year, and this one is more spectacular than ever.
If you thought the multitude of umbrellas overhead were something special, wait until you see the hundreds of drones in the night sky, choreographing musical extravaganzas, along with fireworks. It’s a light show in three dimensions filling the sky, each evening through the festival. To warm the crowd up there’s a 30-minute dance party beforehand to get you on your feet.
Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Most people only have a few days to explore the lifetime’s worth of things to do and see in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Gatlinburg and the surrounding area, so here are the hot spots and highlights of the national park to save you time and point you to the best.
The most visited national park in the United States is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with the bustling town of Gatlinburg serving as its principal gateway. The national park is recognized internationally as a unique biosphere, and is home to over 100 species of trees, some in old-growth forests, as well as a vast array of wildflowers, wildlife, and scenic attractions.
With more than 2,000 miles of streams and flowing waters, including many magnificent waterfalls, the park offers abundant fishing and rafting opportunities. The more than 800 miles of hiking trails afford access to achingly beautiful mountain vistas and natural scenic views, while practically every drive in the park and surrounding area constitutes a lovely scenic drive in its own right.
Family Reunions & Gatherings in the Smoky Mountains
We see a lot of family reunions in the Smoky Mountains, where several generations stay in one large cabin, or some smaller cabins close to each other, and where they organize a celebration in our Conference and Wedding Reception Facility. In fact, of course, weddings are one of the great reasons for extended family and friends to meet up again in one place.
When multiple generations and larger groups of people stay in the same resort area, they don’t want to be crammed together in a hotel room. They want the spaciousness of a cabin, with multiple floors and areas for fun, and separate nooks and bedroom suites for quiet time, and communal areas where everyone can come together over a meal or a game or just a sprawling conversation.