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Temperatures can get pretty hot in the Smokies during the summer! Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can beat the heat when you visit, from water rides to indoor attractions. To help you plan your trip, we’ve made a list of the top 10 things to do in the Smoky Mountains in the summer to keep cool.
1. Dollywood’s Splash Country
At the top of our list is the most popular water park in the area: Dollywood’s Splash Country! This attraction is home to a variety of water rides and activities for everyone, from the daredevils to those who just want to relax. Feel the rush on the SwiftWater Run and Fire Tower Falls, or enjoy a scenic float on the Downbound Float Trip. You’ll have no trouble keeping cool at Dollywood’s Splash Country.
2. Pigeon Forge Snow
Speaking of snow tubing, you can enjoy it all year long when you visit Pigeon Forge Snow. This indoor snow tubing attraction is the first of its kind and uses real snow to create a unique tubing adventure. Race down the slopes as many times as you want during your hour of fun, then head over to the Snow Play area. The Snow Play area is the perfect place to build snowmen and snow forts, and have snowball fights. The attraction always stays between 60-70 degrees inside, so you won’t have to worry about bundling up on your summer vacation!
3. Water Rides at Ober
Even though it’s popular for its winter activities on the slopes, Ober Gatlinburg is home to fun things to do in the summer too! You can keep cool on their water rides, and try summer tubing. The park has 3 different water rides: Blue Cyclone, Shoot the Chute, and the Lightnin’ Water Ride. You don’t even have to have a swimsuit to enjoy these rides, but prepare to get splashed! For more excitement, go summer tubing. You’ll cruise down a 250-foot lane that is made of synthetic materials to make you feel like you’re tubing down snow!
4. See a Show
Another way to avoid the heat in the Smoky Mountains is to go see a show. Whether you’re in the mood to laugh or listen to live music, there is plenty to choose from. For both a delicious dinner and entertaining show, head to the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat meal of all your favorites while watching two feuding families try to settle their differences mountain style! For a feel-good show, visit the Country Tonite Theatre, which includes singing and dancing, comedy, gospel, American patriotism, and more. You don’t have to be a fan of country music to enjoy this show. The best part is that kids 12 and under get in for free with a paying adult!
5. Indoor Ice Skating at Ober
Another great activity to keep cool in the summer is indoor ice skating at Ober Gatlinburg! You can enjoy winter fun all year round at this attraction. Ice skating is fun for the whole family. Skate around the rink or try Ice Bumper Cars, which offers a new take on a classic attraction. You’ll race around the rink in your colorful tube bumping into other cars or just spinning around on your own!
6. Ripley’s Aquarium
Your trip to the Smoky Mountains wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the top aquarium in the country! Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has more than 1,000 of your favorite aquatic animals. Not only will you get to see all of them, but you’ll have the opportunity to interact with them through a variety of unique experiences. Waddle with penguins in their indoor/outdoor habitat, touch a jellyfish, or touch a stingray! You can also swim with the stingrays and feed a green sea turtle.
7. Stay at a Cabin with a Pool
One of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains in the summer is stay in a cabin with a swimming pool! There are cabins with access to a resort swimming pool that’s just a short walk or drive away so you can soak up the sun and splash around. For a little more privacy, book a cabin with an indoor pool. Swimming pool cabins allow you to cool off whenever you want without worrying about crowds. You’ll also have other great amenities in your cabin like hot tubs, incredible mountain views, game rooms, and more.
8. Go Whitewater Rafting
You definitely don’t want to miss the chance to go whitewater rafting in the Smoky Mountains during your summer vacation! One of the best places to go rafting is Smoky Mountain Outdoors. They offer trips that are fun for both kids and thrill-seekers. The splashes when you hit the rapids will help keep you cool, and you might even have the opportunity to hop out and go for a swim in the river!
9. Go Tubing in the Little River
For a more relaxing trip on the river, go tubing down the Little River! River Rat Tubing offers both lower and upper trips on the Little River. The lower trip has relaxing rapids, scenic views, and a rock jump. The upper section has a scenic float with bigger rapids and refreshing swimming holes. Whichever trip you choose, you’re guaranteed to have a great time!
10. Outdoor Gravity Park
Outdoor Gravity Park is the only attraction of its kind in the United States! This activity offers fun for the whole family. You’ll climb into an OGO, which is a transparent plastic sphere, and race down the hill on 1 of 3 tracks. In the H2OGO, 10 gallons of water are added to the sphere for a slip-and-slide adventure like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. Not only will the water keep you cool, but it makes the inside of the OGO so slippery that you’ll slide around inside as the OGO revolves around you!
More Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains in the Summer
We’ve given you our list of the top things to do in the Smoky Mountains in the summer to keep cool, but there are endless opportunities for fun when you visit! Take a look at more popular things to do in the Smoky Mountains, then start planning your summer vacation.