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Scenic road in Cades Cove that visitors can enjoy on a Smoky Mountain vacation.

6 Amazing Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains Before Summer Ends

Summer always seems to go by way too quickly! Pretty soon it will be time for back to school shopping and Friday night football games. However, before you pack away your summer adventure spirit, we at Visit My Smokies have put together a list of the top 6 things to do in the Smoky Mountains before summer ends.

1. Go Smoky Mountain White Water Rafting

White water rafting in the Smoky Mountains is probably one of the most thrilling things to do in the area. Not only does this outdoor adventure offer some of the most peaceful and scenic mountain views, but the feeling of accomplishment that comes after you and your group have successfully conquered all of the rapids is an incredible bonding experience.

A few of our favorite white water rafting companies include:

  • group of people white water raftingRafting in the Smokies
    • Class I, II, III, and IV rapids
    • Open March-November
    • Also offers ziplining, ropes course, rock climbing, and picnic area
    • Phone Number: 1-800-776-7238
  • Smoky Mountain Outdoors
    • 2 rafting trips to choose from
    • Open Spring-Fall
    • Also offers group discounts, kayaking, combo attraction pricing
    • Phone Number: 1-800-771-7238

2. Visit Anakeesta 

Anakeesta is open all year long, but you don’t want to miss out on the chance to experience it during the summer. Throughout the summer, Anakeesta extends its park hours so that visitors can enjoy Sunset in the Smokies. During this event, the park is open until 10 pm and gives everyone the opportunity to watch a breathtaking sunset from the top of Anakeesta Mountain. You can also enjoy the park’s famous splash pad during the summer months. It’s the perfect way to keep cool while you’re on the mountain! Other fun things to do at Anakeesta during the summer are listen to live music, ride a mountain coaster, enjoy Astra Lumina, play on the Treehouse Village Playground, and so much more. The fun and excitement is unmatched at Anakeesta in the summer.

3. Go Biking in Cades Cove

cades cove mountain viewA trip to Cades Cove is hands-down one of the most family-friendly things to do in the Smoky Mountains. It is almost as if time stands still here because of all of the historic buildings, churches and wildlife that call this place home.

What makes Cades Cove even more special during the summer is that park officials close its 11-mile loop road off from car traffic every Wednesday. This allows bikers and walkers to enjoy a few hours exploring the area without worrying about the noise of cars scaring off all the animals.

Click here to learn more about how to prepare for your summer trip to Cades Cove.

4. Ride the Lazy River at Dollywood’s Splash Country

We have already told you about all the fun and excitement you can have this summer by visiting the Pigeon Forge amusement park, Dollywood, but what about its neighbor, Splash Country?

Well, just like its sister park, Dollywood’s Splash Country is the perfect thing to do in the Smoky Mountains for families looking to experience one of the most memorable vacations possible.

At Dollywood’s Splash Country, families will find a variety of water slides, swimming pools and rides that will keep you entertained for hours.

Click here for tips on the best ways to save money at Dollywood’s Splash Country.

5. Find Swimming Holes in the Smokies

Nothing beats taking a dip in one of the popular swimming holes in the Smoky Mountains! One of the most popular spots is the Townsend Wye. This large swimming hole is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. You can bring a tube and float, or just splash around in the water! The small rapids make it perfect for tubing, but there’s also a “beach” and grassy area where you can sunbathe or enjoy a picnic. Other popular swimming holes are Elkmont Swimming Hole near Elkmont Campground and Metcalf Bottoms. Metcalf Bottoms is popular because it doesn’t require hiking to get to — you can simply park then take a few steps toward the swimming hole.

6. Listen to Smoky Mountain Music at Gatlinburg’s Tune & Tales

If you love Smoky Mountain music, then you and your family will love Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales. This unique Gatlinburg event brings talented singers, songwriters storytellers and street performers from all across the region and invites them to show off their talents in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg on the Parkway.

Visitors to Tune & Tales will get a kick out of watching the entertainers perform in their period costumes that hint of times as far back as the early 1800s. It’s one of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains in the summer!

Performances run 6-11 p.m. every night from July 1-July 31st. This is a completely free Gatlinburg event.

For more information on fun things to do in the Smoky Mountains, be sure to check out the What to Do section of our website.