If you're a fan of arts and crafts, October promises to be just the month for you. It's crafts season in the Great Smoky Mountains, and if you happen to be planning to travel to Gatlinburg this month, there's one special event you might want to mark on your calendar. The 44th Annual Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair comes to the Gatlinburg Convention Center October 10 through 27.
Yep, it still feels like summer out there, and there's still a few days left before the official beginning of fall. But those crispy days and turning leaves will be here before you know it. And the folks in the Great Smoky Mountains aren't waiting. In fact, Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival kicked off on September 6, and it will run through November 22.
Gatlinburg has a lot going for it when it comes to attracting visitors – tons of cool attractions, shops and restaurants – and it's all sweetened by the backdrop of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. Plus the city is on the doorstep of Great Smoky Mountains National Park itself.
We're all about helping folks find Gatlinburg parking, but for most visitors, that's one of the very first things they do when they arrive in town. After that, there's a lot of time to fill, and most of our guests find plenty of ways to have fun, whether it's visiting a local attraction or shopping in one of our many retail or craft destinations.
On your next trip to Gatlinburg, TN, seriously consider making the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community a part of your travel plans. This eight-mile loop, located on the north end of Gatlinburg, is home to dozens of galleries, studios and shops, where hundreds of talented artisans practice their skills daily and offer a wide range of arts and crafts for sale to the public. The community is known for its hand-crafted work, including leather work, woodworking, painting, sculpture, photography, basketry, jewelry making, soap making, candle making and pottery just to name a few.
One comment we've heard frequently from Smoky Mountain visitors over the years is that they sometimes are tempted to avoid visiting downtown Gatlinburg because they're concerned that finding parking will be a big hassle.
In case you weren't aware, Gatlinburg hosts the earliest Fourth of July parade in the nation each year. In fact, it steps off just after midnight on the 4th (the evening of the 3rd), so it's hard to make it any earlier and still be on Independence Day.
Interested in finding a way to enjoy the natural beauty of the mountains and have a blast while you're doing it? Then consider visiting Anakeesta theme park in downtown Gatlinburg. It's handy to get to, but once you're up on the mountain, you may feel like you're a million miles away, surrounded by mature timberland and awesome views of the nearby Great Smoky Mountains.
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in downtown Gatlinburg has been around for about 20 years now. And it's still one of the top tourist attractions in the Smokies, providing guests of all ages with a fascinating underwater look at the mysterious realm of the world's oceans. The aquarium's self-guided tour takes you through multiple themed exhibit areas where you'll see everything from octopi to barracuda to eels. You can actually pet stingrays and even take a journey through the see-through tunnel running under Shark Lagoon, possibly coming face to face with several species of these intimidating predators of the sea.
It's hard to believe, but it's already time to go swimming in the Smokies! We're coming up on Memorial Day weekend, and the temps are well up into the 80s, so the conditions are just right for Smoky Mountain visitors to get their splash on. And as of last weekend, one of the area's most fun places to get wet has opened its gates for its 19th season.