You’ll love summer in Gatlinburg! From parades and water fun to music and crafts, you’ll find fun for every member of the family here. Try these five outings.
1. EARLIEST FOURTH OF JULY PARADE
Gatlinburg loves the Fourth of July so much that it’s always the first to celebrate! Join the locals for Gatlinburg’s “first in the nation” parade, stepping out at midnight as July 3 turns into July 4. National Geographic Traveler magazine honored this event as one of the country’s top 10 July 4 parades. Arrive early on July 3 to get the best spot for viewing this popular and unique parade. And on the night of July 4, watch the skies blaze at the Fireworks Finale!
2. SMOKY MOUNTAIN TUNES AND TALES
From mid-June through early August, the streets of downtown Gatlinburg come alive with costumed performers bringing you stories, music, and dance--and it’s all free. During the Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales festival, tap your toes as music floats through the air and pause to hear Appalachian storytelling. Just stroll the sidewalks and the festival fun finds you.
3. SPLASH COUNTRY
Did you know Dollywood has a sister park where you can cool off on water rides? Splash Country has something for all ages! Kids will love exploring secret coves at The Cascades. Thrill-seekers will love sliding through corkscrewing tunnels on the Mountain Scream. Or rise a whopping 70 feet into the air, then plunge on an exhilarating free-fall slide of 280 feet at Fire Tower Falls. There are so many more slides, drops, and dunks--these are just a few!
4. MOUNTAIN ADVENTURES IN THE NATIONAL PARK
Gatlinburg is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the perfect summer escape into nature. With more than 800 miles of trails, the park lets you get away from crowds and into forest shade. Look for these easy trails close to Gatlinburg: Fighting Creek Nature Trail, Gatlinburg Trail, Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, and the Laurel Falls Trail. Visit the National Park Service’s Sugarlands Visitor Center for trail maps and exhibits.
5. SUMMER IN THE SMOKIES AT ANAKEESTA
The mountaintop park Anakeesta hosts Summer in the Smokies from June 1-Sept. 3. Every weekday there are crafts and games for kids. On Mondays and Tuesdays, come for storytime. Every Wednesday through Sunday, relax while you listen to live music. Of course, you’ll also enjoy Anakeesta’s offerings like its treetop canopy walk, ziplines, alpine coasters, and more.