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Autumn morning in the Smoky Mountains

What would you do with an extra weekend in Gatlinburg?

For the first time in over a decade, the month of August will have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. That is an extra 48 hours where you and your family are completely free of the stress from everyday life. This means no school, no work, and no nosy neighbors.

For families wanting to spend their extra weekend in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains, we at Visit my Smokies have come up with a few fun activities you can enjoy based on different vacation personalities.

(See Related: 7 Amazing Things To Do in the Smoky Mountains Before Summer Ends)

Do you have your own plans for this special weekend in Gatlinburg? Let us know in the comments below.

Smoky Mountain Outdoor Adventure Lovers

When you and your family vacation in the Smoky Mountains, do you find yourselves always looking for something new and exciting to do that boosts your adrenaline? If so, then you and your family will love these thrilling things to do in the Smoky Mountains during your extra weekend in Gatlinburg.

White Water Rafting in Gatlinburg

You and your family will have a blast conquering the rapids on the Little Pigeon River while white water rafting in Gatlinburg. A fun and safe activity for almost any age level, guests will face Class I, II, III and IV rapids while taking a scenic tour of the Smoky Mountains like they have never seen before.

Some of our favorite Gatlinburg white water rafting companies include:

Smoky Mountain Outdoors

Rafting in the Smokies

Rapid Expeditions

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains

two people hiking in the Smoky MountainsThere are a total of 150 different hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. This number includes Smoky Mountain hiking trails with waterfalls, scenic overlooks, picnic areas, trails perfect for beginning hikers, and a few very difficult trails. That being said, adventure seekers are guaranteed to find the best hiking trail to enjoy during their extra weekend in Gatlinburg.

Here is a breakdown of a few of our favorite Smoky Mountain hiking trails:

Chimney Tops

  • Length (round trip): 3.8  miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,487
  • Features: Panoramic views
  • Difficulty rating: Moderate

Andrews Bald

  • Length (round trip): 3.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 899
  • Features: Panoramic Views
  • Difficulty rating: Moderate

Alum Cave

  • Length (round trip): 4.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,125
  • Features: Interesting geological features
  • Difficulty rating: Easy-Moderate

Mount LeConte

  • Length (round trip): 15.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3,000
  • Features: Old growth forest
  • Difficulty rating: Hard

Rainbow Falls

  • Length (round trip): 5.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,685
  • Features: Waterfalls
  • Difficulty rating: Moderate-Hard

Porters Creek

  • Length (round trip): 4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 699
  • Features: Historic buildings
  • Difficulty rating: Easy-Moderate

Click here to learn how you and your family can prepare for hiking in the Smoky Mountains.

Ziplining in Pigeon Forge

man zip lining in Pigeon ForgeWhen you were a little kid, did you ever dream of learning how to fly? If so, what better time to finally give it a try than with this year’s extra weekend in Gatlinburg.

There are several thrilling Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge zip line companies that can help give you and your family a bird’s eye view of the scenic Smoky Mountains. Not only will you love the feeling of excitement as the wind rushes through your hair as you zip from tree to tree, but you and your family will also return home with tons of new memories from this adventure.

Here is a list of some of the best places to go zip lining in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg:

-Legacy Mountain Ziplines

For a sneak peak of this adventure, be sure to check out our Insider’s View featuring this Pigeon Forge attraction!

-Smoky Mountain Ziplines


Pigeon Forge Attraction Hoppers

Dollywood attraction in Pigeon ForgePigeon Forge attraction hoppers are the families and vacationers who love coming to the Smoky Mountains because of all the fun and exiting things to do in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville. These vacationers know how memorable it can be to spend the day at Dollywood or enjoy a thrilling evening at one of the many popular Pigeon Forge dinner shows. Looking for discover your family’s new favorite attraction during your extra weekend in Gatlinburg this August? Read about a few of our favorites below.

Dollywood’s Pigeon Forge Amusement Park

For nearly 30 years, Dollywood’s Pigeon Forge amusement park has been an entertainment staple in the Smoky Mountains. Home to several thrilling roller coasters, entertaining shows, quaint shops, and delicious food, you and your family will love spending the day at this Pigeon Forge attraction during your extra weekend in Gatlinburg this August.

  • August Hours: Beginning August 4, Sunday-Monday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Tickets: Adults (12-59) $58; Children (4-11) $46; Seniors (60+) $53

Click here for tips on how to save money at Dollywood.

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge

The perfect combination of good food and good fun, the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge tells the story of the longest-standing family feud in the Smoky Mountains. During the show, audience members will watch as members of both families try to outdo each other with dancing, music, comedy and stunts. In addition to the show, visitors will also be able to feast down on a delicious traditional Southern meal that consists of fried chicken, cornbread, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, coleslaw, sweet tea and more.

  • Tickets: Adults $49.95; Children $19.95
  • Phone number: 1-800-985-5494

Click here for showtimes for the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge.

Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg

family at the aquarium in GatlinburgThe Gatlinburg aquarium is unlike any other attraction in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Here, families have a special opportunity to observe a countless number of marine wildlife that they would not otherwise be able to see.

More recently, Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg introduced a new exhibit that features everything ooey and gooey that calls the ocean home. This includes jellyfish, slugs, worms, clownfish, and more. In addition, guests to the Gatlinburg can actually pet a real life jellyfish! Don’t worry mom, a staff member will be on hand to make sure your kids don’t get stung.

  • August Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Sunday 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • Tickets: Adults $26.99; Children 6-11 $15.99; Children 2-5 $7.99 (Tennessee residents can enjoy this Gatlinburg attraction for just $10 through the month of August.)

Xtreme Racing Go Karts in Pigeon Forge

Xtreme Racing Center in one of the most unique go kart tracks in Pigeon Forge. Here, the professional racing grade karts can reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour. For visitors looking for a more traditional go kart experience, Xtreme Racing Center in Pigeon Forge also offers an elevated track where guests can race in either a single or double standard go kart.

For an Insider’s View of Xtreme Racing Center in Pigeon Forge, feel free to watch the video below:

Gatlinburg Restaurant Foodies

couples eating at a Gatlinburg restaurantNo matter when you visit the Smoky Mountains, you and your family are going to have to eat at some time. However, vacationers who really appreciate an unparalleled dining experience, you will get a kick out of any of these Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg restaurants.

Greenbrier Restaurant  in Gatlinburg

A little off the beaten path of the Parkway, the Greenbrier Restaurant in Gatlinburg has been serving up family favorites for over 30 years. The log cabin this restaurant calls home was originally built in 1939. Before being transformed into the popular eatery we know today, the Greenbrier Restaurant in Gatlinburg was known as The Gatlinburg Lodge and served as a resting place for travelers to the area to sleep.

  • Location: 370 Newman Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Hours: Sunday-Thursday 4:30- 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 4:30-10 p.m.
  • Phone: (865) 436-6318

Pigeon Forge Margaritaville

Margaritaville Pigeon Forge restaurnantThe highly anticipated Pigeon Forge Margaritaville finally opened its doors to the Smoky Mountain community earlier this summer. Like other Margaritavilles, this Pigeon Forge restaurant is themed after the popular music of country music superstar, Jimmy Buffett.

Designed to offer a relaxing atmosphere for all who visit, this restaurant showcases tons of fun island-themed decor, inspirational quotes, and entertaining music videos for guests to enjoy throughout their meal.

If you have a chance, be sure to check out Pigeon Forge Margaritaville’s gift shop before you leave. You never know what you can find there for the special Parrot Head in your life.

  • Location: 130 Island Drive, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (at the entrance of The Island in Pigeon Forge)
  • Hours: Restaurant 11 a.m.- 2 a.m.; Gift shop 10 a.m.-1 a.m.
  • Phone: (865) 210-8530

Gatlinburg Pancake Pantry

It’s no secret that we in the Smoky Mountains have a soft spot for pancake houses, but the Gatlinburg Pancake Pantry is more than just that. A staple on the Gatlinburg Parkway since 1960, this breakfast-themed Smoky Mountain restaurant offers a high-quality dining experience that is second to none.

Here, not only are you guaranteed superior customer service, but most of the menu items are made from scratch using recipes that have been handed down for decades, including the butter.

  • Location: 628 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Phone: (865) 436-4724

To learn more about the history of the Gatlinburg Pancake Pantry, be sure to visit the Gatlinburg restaurant’s website: https://pancakepantry.com/our-story/

Mama’s Farmhouse Restaurant

If you plan on visiting Mama’s Farmhouse Restaurant, be sure to bring a big appetite. This family-style restaurant in Pigeon Forge is known for its generous portions and great-tasting menu items.

The way it works at Mama’s Farmhouse is each member of your party picks from a list of entrees to enjoy, and as a group you pick a total of five sides to be shared among you. To top it off, your group also has its choice of five different desserts for the table to enjoy. Entree selections vary by day.

Not sure when you will be hungry? Not a problem. Mama’s Farmhouse Restaurant in Pigeon Forge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m., and lunch is served until 3 p.m.

  • Location: 208 Pickel St., Pigeon Forge, TN, 37863
  • August Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Phone: (865) 908-4646

Deal Seeking Pigeon Forge Shoppers

woman shopping at Tanger Outlets in Pigeon ForgeIt is nearly impossible to return home from a vacation in the Smoky Mountains without picking up a souvenir or two, especially with all of the high-quality and niche shops that can only be found in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

For vacationers headed to the area looking for the best deals during their extra weekend in Gatlinburg, here is a brief list of all the best places to shop in the Smoky Mountains.

Tennessee Tax-Free Weekend

Smoky Mountain vacationers planning on spending their extra weekend in Gatlinburg at the beginning of the month will appreciate the added bonus of being in town during this year’s Tennessee Tax-Free Weekend. A unique statewide retail holiday that occurs every year during the first weekend in August, the Tennessee Tennessee Tax-Free Weekend allows shoppers to pick up several items typically used for back to school shopping at a discounted rate.

Tax rates can vary throughout the state thanks to changes in local tax rates. By shopping in Sevier County, visitors can save nearly 10% extra off certain clothing items, accessories, school/office supplies, computers and more. This discount is on top of any other deals and specials the stores are offering.

Click here to learn more about Tennessee Tax Free Weekend in Gatlinburg.

Shopping in Pigeon Forge

The area’s largest outlet mall is one of the most popular retail destinations in the Smoky Mountains. Here, guests can find a long list of popular name brand stores that offer their merchandise at low factory prices.

An example of stores that can be found at the Pigeon Forge outlet mall:

  • J. Crew
  • Banana Republic
  • Nike
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • Ralph Lauren Polo
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Nautica, Journey’s
  • New Balance
  • Justice
  • The Disney Store

Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community

For nearly 70 years, the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community has been home to over 100 of the most talented Smoky Mountain artists and craftsmen. Talents found in this community include painting, sculpture, weaving, leatherworking, wood carving, and more!

The Island in Pigeon Forge

This attraction has exploded over the past year in terms of having fun and exciting things to do at The Island in Pigeon Forge. In addition to their swiftly-growing list of delicious restaurants like the Pigeon Forge Margaritaville and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, The Island is also where guests can find a just-as-fast growing number of retail spaces.

A sample of all the new Pigeon Forge stores that can be found at The Island include:

  • The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at The Island in Pigeon ForgeTervis Shop in Pigeon Forge
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • The Paula Deen Store (coming soon)
  • Puzzled
  • The Island Trading Post
  • Smoky Mountain Sun Shades
  • Miner’s Gems
  • Pepper Palace
  • Village Idiot
  • The Toy Chest Company
  • And more!

The Island in Pigeon Forge is located at 131 Island Dr. in Pigeon Forge, directly behind the Lumberjack Feud theater. Free parking can be found to the right of the attraction, and there are free trolley rides to take guests to and from the parking lot.

Places to Stay in the Smoky Mountains

If you and your family are looking for a relaxing place to stay in the Smoky Mountains during your extra weekend in Gatlinburg this August, be sure to check out the Where to Stay tab on our website. There you will find tons of spacious Smoky Mountain cabins, bed and breakfasts, condos, chalets, and more!

Do you and your family already have your plans laid out for your extra weekend in Gatlinburg this August? Let us know in the comments below!