sunset in the smoky mountains in summer

5 Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains in the Summer

The Smokies come alive in the summertime! From popular summer festivals and events to outdoor attractions and activities, you’ll never run out of things to do here. To help you plan the perfect vacation, we’ve made a list of 5 things to do in the Smoky Mountains in the summer:

1. Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

View of the Smoky MountainsOne of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains in the summer is visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Not only is it free to enter, but it is home to over 800 hiking trails, great fishing opportunities, diverse wildlife and more. Whether you want to hike to a waterfall or share a picnic with your loved ones, there is something for everyone in the national park. We recommend going for a hike to Grotto Falls or taking a scenic drive through Cades Cove. Cades Cove is the perfect spot to catch glimpses of wildlife, like black bears and white-tailed deer.

2. Attend Dollywood’s Summer Celebration

Dollywood’s Summer Celebration is one of the biggest events of the season. It’s the perfect time for families to create memories together that will last a lifetime. Usually happening toward the end of June through the beginning of August, Dollywood visitors can enjoy The Gazillion Bubble Show and a nightly fireworks show! When you visit Dollywood in the summer, be sure to make plans to visit Dollywood’s Splash Country too. The water park is full of rides, pools and slides that will help you stay cool in the summer heat!

Banjo playerOther Summer Events in the Smoky Mountains

  • Gatlinburg’s 4th of July Midnight Parade
  • Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales
  • Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
  • Smoky Mountain Bigfoot Conference

3. Go White Water Rafting

Another great summer activity is white water rafting. Hop in a raft and go for a float down the Pigeon River. Smoky Mountain Outdoors has several trips for visitors to choose from in the summer. The Upper River Trip offers a thrilling ride down class 3 and 4 rapids, with big waves and plenty of surfing. The Lower River Trip is a more scenic float that is perfect for families with kids. For the biggest thrill, though, try the Extreme Upper River Trip. This trip has a smaller raft so you feel more of the waves!

4. Go Ziplining

A man going ziplining.Another fun outdoor activity is ziplining. Ziplining allows you to get a bird’s eye view of the Smoky Mountains. Soar from treetop to treetop as you take in the gorgeous views. When you visit CLIMB Works in Gatlinburg, try their Mountaintop Zipline Tour! You’ll get to zip side-by-side with the person of your choice, enjoying the experience together. Your zipline tour will also include rappels, aerial bridges and an ATV ride up the mountain!

5. Stay in a Cabin

Of course when you visit the Smoky Mountains, you’re going to need a place to stay. There’s no better place to stay in the summer than a cabin! Our Smoky Mountain cabins range from 1 bedroom to 8 bedrooms, so you can visit with your sweetheart or bring the whole family along. Cabins come with their own entertainment too, like pool tables, air hockey, home theaters and even indoor pools! Some cabins also have access to resort swimming pools so you can soak up the summer sun and splash around.

For more ideas of things to do in the Smoky Mountains in the summer, check out these area attractions.