Even in the wake of the devastating Tennessee wildfires, Gatlinburg still managed to finish strong in 2016. With the support of the entire country behind them, park trails and tourist spots around White Oak Lodge and Resort are getting back on their feet and opening for business.
Whether you’re a veteran of visiting the Great Smoky Mountains or getting ready to take your first Gatlinburg trip, we just want to remind you how awesome it is.
Arts and Crafts
Gatlinburg and the surrounding area could be considered the A&C capital of the U.S. With major crafting events and a year-round resident craft community, there’s a lot to explore.
Hands On Gatlinburg: April brings a chance to DIY. Bring home a beautifully crafted piece of artwork made with your very own hands.
Craftsmen’s Fair: Mid-summer brings the annual Craftsmen’s Fair, where arts and crafts lovers can explore nearly 200 booths filled with original work from America’s largest group of independent artisans.
Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community: Speaking of those independent artisans, this historic 8-mile loop has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail. These artisans whittle, paint, sew, cast, weave and carve to create original collectibles.
Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Holiday Shows: Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons bring this enormous show to the Gatlinburg Convention Center.
Music is the name of the game in Gatlinburg, where Appalachian roots give way to nationally renowned annual events featuring bluegrass, gospel and more. Gatlinburg also takes its holidays seriously (in a totally fun way).
Smoky Mountain Songwriter’s Festival: This extremely popular event brings together singers and song writers with Appalachian roots. It includes private workshops as well as live performances open to the public.
Fourth of July Midnight Parade: Why celebrate Independence Day in the daylight when you can light up the night at this event unique to Gatlinburg (now going on its 42nd year!)
OktOBERfest: Commemorate old Germany’s 207-year tradition Munich-style at this month-long festival of food, beer and music.
From the trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to ziplining through the forest, Gatlinburg is a destination for the outdoor enthusiast.
Skiing at Ober Gatlinburg: Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and the Ober Aerial Tramway are open and ready for ski season! Skiing, tubing, ice skating and more await.
Wildflower Pilgrimage: Who says trekking through nature can’t look a lot like a fairy tale? The stunning Wildflower Pilgrimage is entering its 67th year of taking visitors through the floral beauty of a Great Smoky Mountain spring.
Synchronous Fireflies: You’ll want to get in on this early summer event, this is the only place in the U.S. to see such a thing. Thousands of fireflies pulse together in this ritual mating display, lighting up the forest with an ethereal glow.
Ziplining, Ghost Walks, Rafting and More: There’s almost too many choices when it comes to ways to get outside and enjoy Gatlinburg, so we’ve summed up some of the most popular here. Don’t forget horseback riding, too!
Fall Foliage: This alone is a reason to go. The stunning color in the Smoky Mountains is unparalleled.
Food and Shopping
You certainly won’t go hungry, and you’d better leave room in your bags for plenty of souvenirs.
Pancakes: There is no shortage of farm fresh breakfast places in Gatlinburg, but the griddle seems to rule them all with so many pancake houses (after all, maple syrup is a local staple).
The Village: Looking for that special gift or souvenir? The Village, with its unique shops, is the place to go.
Old Mill: The Old Mill is a must visit for food. The Pigeon Forge attraction is home to a restaurant and extensive pantry-like gift shop.
Shows at Pigeon Forge: From musical extravaganzas to knee-slapping country-style comedy, all shows are family friendly and many include dinner.
Museums: There’s more to Gatlinburg than Ripley’s. From the Titanic to world records, be sure to visit some of these specialty museums (just to say you did!).
There’s so much to see and do, it’s hard to imagine it all fitting into one amazing mountain city. We hope you’ll visit some of these favorites in 2017, take tons of pictures, and share your adventures with us on Facebook or Twitter @WhiteOakResort!
COMMENT: Do you have a favorite spot in Gatlinburg? Share your recommendations!