The Great Smoky Mountains is an area of primarily East Tennessee but also North Carolina. The area is home to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the most visited park in the country. It’s also home to tourist towns, including Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
People often visit this area of the country during the summer months to enjoy hiking, rafting, and other outdoor activities in the milder temperatures of the mountains.
It’s also popular during the fall because people flock to the area to see the colorful foliage along the mountain peaks.
What about winter, however? The Smoky Mountains, including Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, make an excellent place to spend the holidays as well.
The following are seven reasons to consider a Smoky Mountain Holiday this year.
The Smoky Mountains is a beautiful, restful place, and it’s perfect for renting a cabin that can accommodate your entire family, including your extended family if that’s what you prefer. There are a number of cabin rental companies in the area, and you can choose from anything from a small, cozy cabin for two to a sprawling luxury cabin complete with stunning views and amenities like hot tubs.
With a cabin rental, you can make your own meals if you choose and many are secluded in quiet areas of the mountains.
The Smoky Mountains are known for offering a variety of entertainment and variety shows, and during the holidays, they’re even more dazzling. During the Christmas and holiday season, there are shows like the Pirates Voyage Christmas Show as well as Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede.
Other shows that take on a holiday theme are the Smoky Mountain Opry Christmas and the Hatfield & McCoy Christmas Show.
Gatlinburg is a town in the Smoky Mountains that is modeled after a German village. During the holiday season, they deck the town out in lights, and also have events like the Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. 2019 will be the 44th year of the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade, and it draws tens of thousands of attendees.
One option for enjoying the town lights is to do the Trolley Ride of Lights. The Trolley Ride of Lights goes through the downtown Gatlinburg Parkway, and it runs along the route three times a night and lasts for 45 minutes.
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is in Sevierville, and it’s an expansive light show that takes place on the weekends from November through January.
The custom-built light displays are synchronized with the music on your car radio, and there’s also free admission to Santa’s Village when you buy admission to the light show.
Smoky Mountain Christmas
Dolly Parton herself is from the Smoky Mountains, and she has her name on many of the area’s top attractions, including her Dollywood theme park. Every year from November through early January, Dollywood turns into a Christmas wonderland.
Visitors can walk through Glacier Ridge, which features a 50-foot Christmas tree, or they can enjoy high-end productions like Christmas in the Smokies, and It’s a Wonderful Life brought to life on stage.
The nightly Parade of Many Colors features five million lights, and you can visit the Smoky Mountain Christmas Chapel for a Christmas service every Sunday evening during the season.
Christmas at the Titanic
There is a Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge, and during the holidays, you can be transported to a grander time with the decorations and Christmas trees on the mock boat. There are real reindeer, and you can get a photo with Santa.
The Polar Express
The Polar Express train is relatively close to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, and it’s on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad is in the mountain town of Bryson City, and it leaves from the classic Bryson City depot.
The trip is around 1 ½ hour round-trip, and you go through the wilderness toward the North Pole. The ride goes along with the sounds of the soundtrack from The Polar Express movie, and you receive warm cocoa and sweet treats while you listen and read along with the story of The Polar Express.
The ride culminates with a visit from Santa. He boards from The North Pole, and each child on the train receives a special silver sleigh bell gift. The train then returns to the Bryson City Depot.
No matter your interests, there are plenty of holiday options in the Smoky Mountains.