By Leif Palmer
Posted on January 11, 2020
Once upon a time, there was a period in the Smokies that people used to refer to as the “off season.” It was a dark time when businesses closed for the winter, and visitation to towns like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville all but dried up. However, that's not true any more. Nowadays, there are still lots of reasons to come to places like Gatlinburg in January and February, and this week, we'll run just a few of them by you for your consideration.
Yep, Christmas and New Year's Eve are over, but Winterfest is still going strong and runs all the way through February. That means all the beautiful holiday lights are still on display all over town, and there are still plenty of special events taking place throughout the area to add fun and excitement to your winter days.
Winter is actually the BEST time of year to visit this mountaintop ski resort, and for obvious reasons. Although it's been unusually warm lately, the weather is typically conducive to either natural snowfall or manufactured snow, which makes conditions ideal for skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and more. Plus there are shops and eateries at the attraction that make it fun all year long.
Now that the area retailers have gotten through the Christmas season, many of them are selling their merchandise at discounted prices to make room for 2020 inventory. This is a good time to hit the shops and look for some great deals to start the new year off right.
Those are just a few reasons to visit Gatlinburg in winter, but here's one of the coolest things about making your travel plans for this time of year. Even though there's no real off-season any more, things do slow down compared to peak seasons like summer and October. That means there's not nearly as much traffic to contend with, lines for attractions are virtually non-existent (except maybe at Ober Gatlinburg), and lodging providers typically offer lower rates for the winter season.
This also means that if you're looking for public parking, Gatlinburg is a cinch this time of year. Of course, we have so many parking facilities downtown, that even in peak season, you usually won't have much difficulty finding a great place to park your vehicle for the day at a fair price.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.