If you missed traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains this summer, there's still plenty of year left to take advantage of all the beauty and adventure that our area has to offer. And now that fall is just about officially here, there's even more going on around here thanks to Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival, which got under way on November 7.
Some visitors associate Gatlinburg with inaccessibility due to the city's small footprint and tight mountain-valley setting. And this is true to some extent, but this week, we're going to make a case for why Gatlinburg is the best place to base yourself for the day if you're wanting to easily access the entire Smokies area.
One of our favorite holidays is coming up – one that exists solely for the purpose of enjoying an extra day off from work. Labor Day is September 3 this year, and for a lot of you, that means a bonus free day or possibly even a three-day weekend.
Kids throughout the country are heading back to the classroom, and within a couple of weeks, there will hardly be a school system within a day's drive of the Great Smoky Mountains that won't be back to school. For parents who have been tending to restless, squabbling kids during these last few weeks of summer break, the return to the school-year routine is a welcome event.
In addition to the mountains themselves, one of the top reasons that people visit the Smokies region is the abundance of arts and crafts. It makes sense when you consider that the natural proliferation of arts and crafts was partially responsible for helping launch the tourism industry here in the first place.
We're smack dab in the middle of summer, which means this is peak season for folks coming to the Great Smoky Mountains and enjoying the outdoor lifestyle this area has to offer. Between the neighboring national park, a nearby national forest, whitewater-filled rivers and TVA reservoirs that occupy so much of our region, opportunities abound for families to get outside and play this summer.
When it comes to being a vacation destination, Gatlinburg sure has a whole lot going for it. But parking availability at individual businesses isn't one of those assets. Gatlinburg is a fairly small town, wedged into the crevices of a scenic mountain valley, so real estate is at a premium. There are dozens and dozens of attractions, shops and restaurants that simply have very few to zero on-site parking spaces.
This is the time of year when visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park sharply rises. School's out for the summer, and most folks plan their family vacations for this window of time. And people aren't the only creatures active in the national park. Bears are up from their winter slumbers and are living their lives within that same territory.
For more than 30 years, Dolly Parton's Stampede (formerly known officially as “Dixie Stampede”) has been one of the top dinner destinations in the Smokies. The attraction combines a delicious multi-course meal with a captivating live production to create one of the most in-demand show experiences in town.
Most of us can probably agree that sitting in traffic behind the wheel of a car is everyone's least favorite thing to do when visiting the Smokies. But this week, we've got a great tip for helping you avoid doing just that. From June 16 through August 15, the city of Gatlinburg will be offering free trolley service along the Parkway downtown.