Posted by Phil Rodgers in Things to Do
Autumn doesn't get much better than it has been lately here in the Great Smoky Mountains. Most days in the past few weeks have been sunny, clear and pleasantly cool, while nights have gotten down into the 30s (but without subjecting us to freezing temperatures). Combine that with all the cool things to be found in the Smokies on a daily basis as well as all the unique special events going on in the area, and you've got a whole list of reasons to come visit the mountains in the very near future.
Here are just a few ideas that you and your family can draw from to build one or more awesome days in the Smokies:
We talked about this at length in our last blog post a couple of weeks ago, so we won't rehash too much of that hear. Suffice it to say that we're probably right in the middle of peak fall colors in the lower elevations, while the higher elevations are just past peak. In fact, they're even starting to see some snowfall up at Clingmans Dome. But there are still lots of places you can go in the national park and surrounding communities to see quite a color show for 2022. Again, check out the previous post for more specific recommendations when it comes to routes you can travel to get the best views.
Exhibitions of arts and crafts are big this time of year, and October really is the high point of that season. Through the end of the month, you can still attend the Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair at the Gatlinburg Convention Center as well as the Pigeon Forge Rotary Club Craft Festival at Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge. And coming in November, you can return to the Gatlinburg Convention Center for the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community's annual Thanksgiving craft show. For that matter, you can visit that community, located north of Gatlinburg on Glades Rd. and Buckhorn Rd., any time of year to see the area's most talented crafts people at work in their studios. And don't forget that Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge has a resident community of crafters on site throughout its operational season. Through the end of October, their annual Harvest Celebration welcomes guest crafters from all over the country.
In case you hadn't noticed, Christmas is just a little over two months away. And if you haven't made much headway with your holiday shopping yet, visiting the Great Smoky Mountains will give you ample opportunities to do so. One source of gift ideas is the aforementioned Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community in Gatlinburg, where you can browse the studios, galleries and shops of some 100 resident artisans. Look for everything from painting, sculpture and photography to more traditional mountain crafts like broom making, woodwork, leather work, candle making, glass work and more.
Also, you probably already know that the Smokies are home to a number of outlet malls. Tanger Factory Outlets in Sevierville is one of the more popular outlet destinations, but also look for Governor's Crossing Mall in Sevierville as well as Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall. Outlet malls often carry name-brand merchandise and lower price points than you'll find at traditional retail stores. In addition, a wide variety of individual specialty retailers and gift shops can be found in shopping centers and plazas all throughout the Smokies area.
Any visit to the Smokies should probably include an excursion into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With more than 800 miles of available hiking trails, you'll have more opportunities to experience the grandeur and beauty of nature than you could possibly fit into one trip. From fall colors to waterfalls to majestic mountains, there's lots to see, and there are hiking trails to accommodate all levels of experience and physical abilities.
There are lots of places to play when you come to the Smokies in autumn, including Goats on the Roof in Pigeon Forge. Our attraction is easily accessible and has everything from a zippy alpine coaster to gem mining and our signature live goats living on the roof of our gift shop. You can even feed the goats!