Summer Solstice is not only the longest day of the year, but also a great learning opportunity! Teach the kids (or yourself) about the scientific reasoning behind this extra-sun-filled day and the historical rituals celebrating the Sun and the life her light inspires on our planet. Use it as great reason to get outside and enjoy nature. The Smoky Mountains is a GREAT place to explore, learn, and celebrate, thanks to hundreds of miles of untouched forestry and absolutely gorgeous terrains.
When you stay in a Pigeon Forge cabin, you are close to tons of outdoor activities. Plus, you have great options for amenities, including superb views of nature! Explore these 50 different ways to show your appreciation to the Sun and the beauty of nature in the Great Smoky Mountains, June 21, 2018, for Summer Solstice.
- Wake up early and catch the most magical sunrise from the highest point in the Smoky Mountains, Clingmans Dome.
- Host a sunrise salutations yoga session on your cabin’s back deck to get in touch with your inner self on International Yoga Day.
- After waking up early for the sunrise, visit Coffee & Company in The Village of downtown Gatlinburg for a smooth and delicious pick-me-up before your fun-filled day ahead! They’re open early!
- Make some nature-inspired crafts like pressed flowers, nature drawings, and painted wish stones as you enjoy some shade on the deck and dad cooks hamburgers for lunch on the cabin’s grill.
- Make flower crowns and picnic in the magical mountain meadow of Andrews Bald while reveling in 360-degree views of the Smoky Mountains.
- Hike to a magnificent waterfall! Laurel Falls, Rainbow Falls, or Abrams Falls, there are tons of hiking trails throughout the Smoky Mountains!
- Attend the Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales street festivities in downtown Gatlinburg, listening to local musicians and storytellers – FREE – each night starting at 6 p.m.
- Enjoy the summertime sun at Dollywood’s Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival, where you can ride rollercoasters and waterslides before tasting some savory barbeque and listening to world-class bluegrass performances.
- Relax in the rocking chairs by the musical fountains of The Island in Pigeon Forge in between shopping and a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel.
- Explore the Smokies on a whitewater rafting trip on the Class III and IV rapids of the Pigeon River.
- Take a tour of the treetops along the rope bridges of Firefly Village in Anakeesta.
- Cool off from all your time in the sun on tall waterslides and relax in the shade of your own personal cabana in Dollywood’s Splash Country.
- Picnic by a river and swim in the spots only the locals know about like the hidden water holes of Midnight Hole and Greenbrier Swimming Hole.
- Tour the beautiful mountain paradise of Cades Cove; arrive early for the best chances to view black bears, wild turkey, and deer.
- Get your adrenaline pumping on an ATV adventure through forests, splashing through streams, and racing along rocky terrain.
- Pack a hammock and find the perfect set of trees to nap or read a book while out on the mountain trails.
- Take pictures of animals, bugs, and leaves along your outdoor adventures and look them up on the internet with the kids for a great learning opportunity!
- Explore the mountains the way the original settlers did, on horseback!
- Lazily float down the Little Pigeon River in an inflatable tube to soak up some sun while the cool waters carry you through the forests.
- Pick up a decent croquet set or frisbee at Walmart and play with the kids in Patriot Park in the Old Mill District by the Little Pigeon River in downtown Pigeon Forge.
- Take in the majesty and beauty of the Smoky Mountains with a car ride along scenic Newfound Gap Road.
- Paddle down the Pigeon River in an inflatable kayak, taking on rapids and soaking in the peaceful views from the river.
- Take a hike with a llama! The friendly llamas of Smoky Mountain Llama Treks carry your packs along a scenic hike; you can even picnic with them!
- Shop for the perfect sun dress to wear to dinner while perusing the huge Tanger Outlets in Sevierville.
- Learn all about critters from different climates, including penguins, tropical frogs, sting rays, and more at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
- Watch master woodworkers and other artisans along the Historic Art & Crafts Community Trail just outside of Gatlinburg!
- Learn all about the mountain culture with a tour of the restored historic structures collected from throughout the Smoky Mountains at the Oconaluftee Mountain Farm Museum!
- On the longest day of the year, see and test your talents against the “most of” in every category throughout the Ripley’s Guinness World Record Adventure!
- Gaze across panoramic views of the Gateway City to the Smoky Mountains from the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. (Your ticket grants you 2 trips to the top in the glass elevator, so be sure to come back at night!)
- Discover a more hidden valley in the remote, eastern edge of the Smoky Mountains in Cataloochee Valley, where you might catch some elk grazing in the peaceful grassy areas surrounded by the majestic mountains.
- Race down the mountainside on a unique mountain coaster after feeding the goats bleating from the rooftop at Goats On The Roof!
- Come face-to-beak with colorful parrots, toucans, and other tropical birds while touring the beautiful gardens of Parrot Mountain in Pigeon Forge!
- Sip on green tea and color mandalas together on the back deck of the cabin to partake in some artistic stress relief.
- Let some cold ice cream cool you down after fun in the sun at the Old Mill Creamery.
- Try new wines (for free!) while hanging out on the patio overlooking the Little Pigeon River at the Mill Bridge Winery.
- Walk across the Bridge to Prosperity, the longest suspension bridge in the United States, while hiking at Foxfire Mountain.
- Play putt-putt with the kids at Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini Golf course!
- Mine for fossils and gemstones with the kids while sifting through the cool waters of Pigeon Forge Gem Mine!
- After a day of playing outside, sit down to a relaxing, savory meal in a historic cabin on the river at the Peddler’s Steakhouse!
- Gather firewood and build a bonfire in your cabin’s outdoor fire pit and start roasting the marshmallows for s’mores!
- Let the kids catch fireflies around the cabin.
- Watch The Island show fountain dance and light up when the sun goes down!
- Face your fears in the dark hallways of the Gatlinburg Mysterious Mansion!
- Take your second trip to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle for a serene nighttime scene of the city lights with the dark shadows of the mountains surrounding Gatlinburg.
- Ride the rainbow neon lights of the Alpine Mountain Coaster track in the dark!
- Nature is a central aspect to Native American culture! Make a visit to Cherokee, North Carolina, on Friday or Saturday night to attend Cherokee Bonfires, a special summer event series open to the public with Native American storytellers!
- If you went to Dollywood after 3 p.m. on the Summer Solstice (or any other day), re-enter the park for FREE the next day!
- After such eventful days of exploring and fun, slip into the relaxing waters of the outdoor hot tub back at the cabin.
- Host nature-themed movie nights complete with popcorn and a fire in the fireplace with films the kids love, like Moana and Pocahontas.
- Keep on exploring! There are hundreds of miles of trails, a new experience in the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains awaits you each adventure!
The Summer Solstice marks the shortening of days and lengthening of nights, so keep the celebrations going after the sun sets behind the mountains!
Keep the good times rolling after Thursday, June 21, for an entire Smoky Mountain weekend!
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