Falling into the Smokies

Summer always seems to fly by, which means fall will be here before we know it! So right as you’re planning your school’s-out-summer’s-here bash, it’ll be time to start gearing up for school again. It may seem that fall is forever away because summer just started, but it’s really the perfect time to start planning for a getaway for fall in the Smokies. So before you start buying pencil sharpeners and notebooks, take a little time to plan something fun!

Fall is the perfect time to slip away to the Smoky Mountains. The days are cool, the nights are perfect for cozying up in front of the fireplace, Gatlinburg has fall fairs and festivals, and the scenery – the changing leaves – is absolutely stunning. It’s the time for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, sipping hot apple cider, throwing a football in the yard, drinking hot cocoa as you sit on the back deck, warming up with stacks of fluffy pancakes downtown, and enjoying laid-back fall days.

As you plan, check out our easy fall guide below, from fall packing tips and ideas for family fun to events going on when summer winds down.

Fall Family Fun
From game night in the cabin to outdoor activities, fall in Gatlinburg always means family fun. Need some ideas? We have 15 ideas to get you started this fall in the Smoky Mountains.

  1. Head to Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge to toss around a football on a sunny fall day.
  2. Take a scenic ride on Ober Gatlinburg’s Aerial Tramway.
  3. Listen to live music in the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler.
  4. Cast a line in the cool waters of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  5. Fly through the trees with Smoky Mountain Ziplines.
  6. Sip on fresh apple cider – with a side of mini apple pie – at The Apple Barn.
  7. Play mini golf in downtown Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.
  8. Spend a fall afternoon at the beautiful Bent Creek Golf Course.
  9. Relax on your cabin’s deck with a cup of coffee and a good book.
  10. Watch a ball game and enjoy a local beer at Smoky Mountain Brewery.
  11. Take a horseback ride through the national park with Sugarlands Riding Stables.
  12. Browse the shops at The Village in downtown Gatlinburg.
  13. Roll down the windows and enjoy the views in beautiful Cades Cove.
  14. Warm up with some local moonshine at Ole Smoky Moonshine.
  15. Take your group for a fun outdoor adventure with Smoky Mountain Guides.

Fall Fairs & Festivals
There is always something going on in Gatlinburg during the fall, with many events showcasing the history, culture, and beauty of the mountains. Celebrate in the Smokies this fall with:

Fall Colors | Mid-September to Early November | Gatlinburg
OktOBERfest | September 22 – October 29 | Ober Gatlinburg
Sugarlands Mountainfest | September 28 – October 1 | Downtown Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair | October 5 – 22 | Gatlinburg Convention Center
Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff | November 8 | Gatlinburg
Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show | November 21 – 26 |Gatlinburg Convention Center
Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show | Nov 27 – Dec 3 | Gatlinburg Convention Center

Pack it Up
Packing for vacation can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be – especially if you’re booking a comfortable cabin that has amenities to make you feel at home.

  • Book a cabin with a washer/dryer so you can pack light
  • Bring snacks for game night in the cabin: popcorn, hot chocolate, candy, and more
  • Pack light layers that are easy to take on and off for hiking and outdoor fun
  • Don’t forget the camera – that fall foliage is unbelievable!
  • Bring your favorite board games and a deck of cards for family game night
  • Pack comfortable hiking shoes so you can enjoy the fall scenery up close
  • Plan time to just relax on the deck – fall is the perfect time for this
  • Bring outdoor gear if you don’t want to rent: fishing poles, football, and more
  • Toss in a rain jacket – they’re lightweight and will keep you prepared for pop-up showers