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It is hard to believe that the summer is already more than halfway over. 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 7 things to do in the Smoky Mountains your family must do before summer ends.
Go Gatlinburg White Water Rafting
White water rafting in Gatlinburg is probably one of the most thrilling things to do in the Smoky Mountains. 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 Gatlinburg white water rafting companies include:
- Rafting in the Smokies
- Over 31 years experience
- Class I, II, III, and IV rapids
- Open March-November
- Also offers Ziplining, Ropes Course, and picnic area
- Phone Number: 1-800-776-7238
- Website: https://raftinginthesmokies.com/
- Smoky Mountain Outdoors
- Over 21 years experience
- 2 courses to choose from
- Open Spring-Fall
- Also offers Group Discounts, Kayaking, combo attraction pricing
- Phone Number: 1-800-771-7238
- Website: https://www.smokymountainrafting.com
Visit Dollywood’s Great American Summer
Dollywood’s Great American Summer Festival has quickly become one of the most popular things to do in the Smoky Mountains this time of year. In true Dollywood style, the Pigeon Forge amusement park’s festival features tons of amazing shows that are sure to entertain both the young and old at heart.
The shows found at this year’s Dollywood festival include:
- Gazillion Bubbles: This show is a captivating combination of bubbles, lasers and special effects from the world renowned bubble artist, Fan Yang.
- The Little Engine Playhouse: Perfect for children who love to sing and dance, this show brings all your kids favorite stories to life with three musicals composed by Ms. Dolly Parton herself. Each of the musicals last about 20 minutes each.
- The Great American Country Show: It wouldn’t be summertime in the Smoky Mountains with a little bit of music and a ton of laughter. This show features talented singers and musicians, as well as a few celebrity appearances, that are sure to put all members of your family in the summertime spirit.
- My People: One of the most personal shows that Dollywood offers, the My People show takes its audience through a musical journey of country music superstar Dolly Parton’s family history. This show even incorporates a few of Dolly’s family members, including her brother Randy and her sister Cassie.
What makes Dollywood’s Great American Summer Festival even more exciting is the park closes each night with a brilliant fireworks display. Creatively named “Nights of Many Colors,” the fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m. every night, an hour before the park closes.
This year, Dollywood’s Great American Summer will run June 13-August 2.
Before buying your tickets, be sure to read our blog on the best ways to save money at Dollywood.
Go Biking in Cades Cove
A 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 and Saturday morning until 10 a.m. 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.
Ride the Lazy River at Dollywood’s 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 how the best ways to save money at Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Go Night Hiking in the Smoky Mountains
We all know how fun it is to go hiking in the Smoky Mountains, but have you ever considered doing so after dark? Beginning June 15, you and your family can do just that every Monday and Friday beginning at 9 p.m.
Lead by a member of the National Park Service, groups and families have the exclusive opportunity to explore the scenic Cades Cove area after the sun goes down. The night hikes in Cades Cove usually last until about 11 p.m., and guests should expect to walk a total of 2.5 miles.
Experience is not required to participate in the Smoky Mountain night hikes. Children under 14 years of are required to he accompanied by an adult.
To participate in the hike, guests should meet at the shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road before 9 p.m. for orientation.
For visitors who may not be familiar with how to get to the Cades Cove Loop Road, here is a map you can use for driving directions:
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 1800’s.
To catch a glimpse of what to expect at this year’s Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales, watch this video:
Performances run 6-11 p.m. every night from June 12-August 1. This is a completely free Gatlinburg event.
Ride the Gatlinburg Trolley
From early June to mid-August, the Gatlinburg trolley service offers passengers free rides on many of its scenic lines. The Gatlinburg trolley is the best way for you and your family to tour all of the amazing shops and attractions that downtown Gatlinburg has to offer without having to worry about parking.
The free routes currently being offered by the Gatlinburg Trolley are:
- Red Line: Takes passengers from the Gatlinburg Mass Transit Center to the Historic Nature Trail
- Green Line: Takes guests on a scenic tour of River Road and Ski Mountain Road
- Yellow Line: Transports visitors from the Gatlinburg parkway to the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community
- Tan Line: Travels through The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and stops at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, Laurel Falls Parking Area and the Elkmont Campgrounds
- Blue Line: Runs from the eastern part of the Parkway to the Gatlinburg Community Center
- Purple Line: Runs from the northern part of the Gatlinburg Parkway to the Gatlinburg Welcome Center
For more information on the Gatlinburg trolley’s current routes, visit their website at: http://www.gatlinburgtrolley.org/routes
Do you have your own favorite thing to do in the Smoky Mountains in the summer? Let us know in the comments below!
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.