Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a popular tourist destination year-round, but Thanksgiving is an especially exciting time to visit. The quaint mountain town offers a unique Thanksgiving experience with a mix of outdoor activities, culinary delights, and festive events. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, there’s something for everyone in Gatlinburg during the holiday season.
One reason to choose Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving is its historical significance. The town has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s, and Thanksgiving has been celebrated in Gatlinburg for over 100 years. Visitors can learn about the town’s past at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center or explore the historic buildings on the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Loop. Additionally, the town’s charming atmosphere and friendly locals make it a welcoming place to spend the holiday.
Another reason to visit Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving is its stunning natural beauty. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just a short drive away, and visitors can take in the breathtaking fall foliage or enjoy a hike on one of the many trails. The crisp mountain air and picturesque scenery make for a memorable Thanksgiving getaway.
- Gatlinburg offers a unique Thanksgiving experience with a mix of outdoor activities, culinary delights, and festive events.
- The town has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s, and Thanksgiving has been celebrated in Gatlinburg for over 100 years.
- Visitors can enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and take in the breathtaking fall foliage.
Why Choose Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving
Gatlinburg is a popular destination for Thanksgiving, and for good reason. Here are a few reasons why you should consider spending your holiday in this charming mountain town:
Beautiful Fall Foliage
One of the main draws of Gatlinburg during Thanksgiving is the stunning fall foliage. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which surrounds Gatlinburg, is known for its vibrant autumn colors. Visitors can take a scenic drive through the park or go for a hike to enjoy the views.
Another reason to choose Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving is the abundance of cozy cabins available for rent. Whether you’re traveling with a large family or just a few friends, you can find a cabin that fits your needs. Many cabins come equipped with full kitchens, fireplaces, and hot tubs, making them the perfect place to relax and enjoy the holiday.
Delicious Dining Options
Gatlinburg has plenty of dining options for Thanksgiving, whether you’re looking for a traditional turkey dinner or something a little different. Many restaurants in the area offer special Thanksgiving menus, so you can enjoy a delicious meal without the stress of cooking.
In addition to the beautiful scenery and cozy cabins, Gatlinburg has plenty of fun activities to keep you entertained during your Thanksgiving stay. From visiting the Gatlinburg SkyBridge to exploring the town’s many shops and attractions, there’s something for everyone in Gatlinburg.
Overall, Gatlinburg is a great choice for Thanksgiving thanks to its beautiful fall foliage, cozy cabins, delicious dining options, and fun activities.
Historical Significance of Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is a popular destination for Thanksgiving, and it has a rich history of celebrating this holiday. In this section, we will discuss the early celebrations of Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg, as well as some of the modern traditions that have emerged.
The first Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg was celebrated in 1785, when a group of settlers gathered together to give thanks for their bountiful harvest. This tradition continued throughout the years, with families and communities coming together to share food and fellowship.
One of the most notable early celebrations of Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg was held in 1925. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park had just been established, and the community came together to celebrate the occasion. According to Tripster, “The celebration included a parade, a football game, and a community feast. It was a time for the people of Gatlinburg to come together and celebrate their shared heritage and the natural beauty of their surroundings.”
Today, Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg is celebrated with a variety of modern traditions. One of the most popular is the Gatlinburg Thanksgiving Craft Show, which is held annually by the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. This event showcases the work of local artisans and provides a unique opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind gifts and decorations.
Another popular tradition is the Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights. This event allows visitors to take a trolley ride through downtown Gatlinburg, which is decorated with millions of twinkling lights. The ride includes narration and holiday music, making it a fun and festive way to celebrate Thanksgiving.
In addition to these events, many families choose to rent a cabin in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge for Thanksgiving. This allows them to enjoy the natural beauty of the area while also having a comfortable and cozy place to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones.
Overall, Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg has a long and rich history, and it continues to be a beloved holiday in the community. Whether you’re interested in exploring the area’s early traditions or participating in modern celebrations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Weather in Gatlinburg during Thanksgiving
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a popular destination for Thanksgiving due to its picturesque scenery and abundance of outdoor activities. However, visitors should be prepared for the weather conditions during this time of year.
According to WeatherTab, the average high temperature in Gatlinburg during November is between 55 to 65°F, while the average low temperature is between 25 to 40°F. Rainfall is expected to occur 5 to 7 days throughout the month.
Visitors should pack warm clothing, including coats, hats, and gloves, as well as waterproof jackets and boots in case of rain. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before embarking on outdoor activities.
Despite the cooler temperatures, the fall foliage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a highlight of the Thanksgiving season in Gatlinburg. The vibrant colors of the sugar maple, scarlet oak, and sweetgum trees can be seen throughout the park, making it a popular destination for hiking and scenic drives.
Overall, visitors to Gatlinburg during Thanksgiving should be prepared for cooler temperatures and the possibility of rain, but can also look forward to experiencing the beauty of the fall foliage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Culinary Delights in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is a food lover’s paradise, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of traditional Thanksgiving meals and local Gatlinburg specialties.
Traditional Thanksgiving Meals
Many restaurants in Gatlinburg offer traditional Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings. Cherokee Grill is a popular spot for Thanksgiving dinner, serving both a traditional holiday meal with turkey and trimmings and its regular menu featuring steaks, seafood, burgers, chicken dishes, and pork chops. The Park Grill is another great option, serving up a traditional Thanksgiving feast with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and more.
Local Gatlinburg Specialties
For those looking to try something a little different, Gatlinburg has plenty of local specialties to offer. The Pancake Pantry is a must-visit for breakfast lovers, serving up a wide variety of pancakes, waffles, and crepes. Donut Friar is another local favorite, offering freshly baked donuts and pastries.
For lunch or dinner, visitors can check out Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina for some delicious tacos and margaritas. The Peddler Steakhouse is another popular spot, serving up delicious steaks and seafood.
Overall, Gatlinburg offers a wide variety of culinary delights for visitors to enjoy during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Thanksgiving Events in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is a popular destination for Thanksgiving, offering a wide range of events and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the top Thanksgiving events in Gatlinburg:
Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
The Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade is a popular event that takes place on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The parade features beautifully decorated floats, marching bands, and more. The parade route runs from Baskins Creek Bypass to traffic light #10.
Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Thanksgiving Show
The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Thanksgiving Show is a four-day event that takes place at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. The event features over 100 artists and craftsmen showcasing their work, including pottery, paintings, woodcarvings, and more.
Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff
The Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff is an annual event that takes place in downtown Gatlinburg. The event features live music, a chili cookoff, and the lighting of the Gatlinburg Winter Magic lights display.
Gatlinburg is a great place to spend Thanksgiving, with plenty of events and activities to keep visitors entertained. Whether you’re looking for parades, festivals, or other activities, Gatlinburg has something for everyone.
Outdoor Activities in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, especially during Thanksgiving. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking trails and scenic drives.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some of the popular trails include:
- Alum Cave Trail: This 5-mile round trip trail takes hikers to the Alum Cave Bluffs, a beautiful rock formation.
- Chimney Tops Trail: This 4-mile round trip trail is a challenging hike that rewards hikers with stunning views of the park.
- Laurel Falls Trail: This 2.6-mile round trip trail is a family-friendly hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall.
Before embarking on a hike, visitors should check the trail conditions and weather forecast. It is also important to bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate clothing and footwear.
For those who prefer to enjoy the beauty of the park from the comfort of their car, there are several scenic drives to choose from:
- Cades Cove Loop Road: This 11-mile loop road takes visitors through a historic settlement and offers opportunities to view wildlife.
- Newfound Gap Road: This 33-mile road takes visitors to the highest point in the park and offers stunning views of the mountains.
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: This 5.5-mile one-way road takes visitors through a forested area with several waterfalls and historic buildings.
Visitors should be aware that some of the park roads may be closed during the winter months due to weather conditions.
Overall, Gatlinburg offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy during Thanksgiving. Whether hiking or taking a scenic drive, visitors can experience the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Indoor Activities in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg offers a variety of indoor activities for visitors to enjoy during Thanksgiving. Here are some of the top options:
Gatlinburg is home to several museums that offer a glimpse into the area’s history and culture. One popular option is the Gatlinburg Space Needle, which features an observation deck with 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can also explore the Space Needle’s arcade and learn about the history of space exploration at the on-site museum.
Another museum worth checking out is the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of vehicles from popular movies and TV shows. Visitors can see the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman TV series, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard, among other iconic cars.
Gatlinburg is home to a variety of shops and boutiques that offer unique gifts and souvenirs. One popular shopping destination is the Mountain Mall, which features over 30 stores selling everything from handmade crafts to gourmet food products.
Another shopping option is the Village Shops, a collection of 27 boutique stores housed in a picturesque European-style village. Visitors can browse for jewelry, clothing, and home decor items, among other things.
For those looking for a more traditional shopping experience, the Tanger Outlets in nearby Sevierville offer a wide selection of brand-name stores selling everything from clothing to housewares.
Accommodation Options in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg offers a variety of accommodation options for Thanksgiving travelers, from hotels to cabins. Here are some of the most popular options:
Gatlinburg has a range of hotels available to suit all budgets. Some of the most popular options include:
- The Park Vista – A DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel: Located in the heart of Gatlinburg, The Park Vista offers stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The hotel features an indoor pool, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant.
- The Greystone Lodge on the River: This hotel is situated on the banks of the Little Pigeon River and offers comfortable rooms with balconies overlooking the river. The hotel also features a heated outdoor pool and a hot tub.
- The Lodge at Buckberry Creek: This luxury hotel is located just outside of Gatlinburg and offers stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Lodge features a spa, a restaurant, and a wine cellar.
Renting a cabin is a popular option for Thanksgiving travelers in Gatlinburg. Here are some of the most popular cabin rental companies in the area:
- The Cabin Rental Store: This company offers a wide range of cabins in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas. Their cabins range in size from one to nine bedrooms and feature amenities such as hot tubs, game rooms, and mountain views.
- Cabins of the Smoky Mountains: This company offers cabins in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville. Their cabins range in size from one to eight bedrooms and feature amenities such as private hot tubs, fireplaces, and game rooms.
- Auntie Belham’s Cabin Rentals: This company offers cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Their cabins range in size from one to seven bedrooms and feature amenities such as hot tubs, pool tables, and mountain views.
No matter which accommodation option travelers choose, they are sure to have a memorable Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg.
How to Reach Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is a popular tourist destination located in the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee. There are several ways to reach Gatlinburg, depending on your location and preferences.
If you are driving, the easiest way to reach Gatlinburg is by taking Interstate 40 to Exit 407 and following Highway 66 South to Highway 441. This route takes you directly to Gatlinburg and is well-marked with signs.
The closest major airport to Gatlinburg is McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, Tennessee, which is approximately 45 miles away. From the airport, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to Gatlinburg.
If you prefer to travel by bus, Greyhound and Megabus both offer service to Knoxville, Tennessee. From there, you can take a shuttle or taxi to Gatlinburg.
There is no direct train service to Gatlinburg, but Amtrak offers service to Knoxville, Tennessee. From there, you can take a shuttle or taxi to Gatlinburg.
Getting Around Gatlinburg
Once you arrive in Gatlinburg, the best way to get around is on foot. Most of the attractions, restaurants, and shops are located within walking distance of each other. However, if you need to travel farther, there are several options, including trolleys, taxis, and rental cars.
Overall, Gatlinburg is a popular and easily accessible destination for Thanksgiving or any time of year.
Tips for a Memorable Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg
Thanksgiving is a special time to spend with family and friends and enjoy a delicious meal together. If you are planning to spend your Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg, here are some tips to make it a memorable experience:
1. Rent a Cabin
There is no better way to experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains than by renting a cabin. Gatlinburg offers a variety of cabins to fit any budget and group size. Renting a cabin will provide you with a cozy and comfortable space to spend quality time with your loved ones while enjoying the stunning views of the mountains.
2. Plan Your Meals
Thanksgiving is all about the food, so make sure to plan your meals ahead of time. If you are staying in a cabin, take advantage of the fully equipped kitchen and prepare your own Thanksgiving feast. Alternatively, many restaurants in Gatlinburg offer special Thanksgiving menus, so make sure to make reservations early.
3. Attend the Thanksgiving Craft Show
The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community hosts an annual Thanksgiving Craft Show, featuring handmade crafts and gifts from local artisans. This is a great opportunity to find unique and special gifts for your loved ones, while supporting the local community.
4. Explore the Outdoors
Gatlinburg is surrounded by the beautiful Smoky Mountains, offering a wide range of outdoor activities. Take a hike to see the fall foliage, go horseback riding, or take a scenic drive through the mountains. Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather and bring plenty of water.
5. Enjoy the Winter Festivities
Gatlinburg is known for its winter festivities, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to enjoy them. Visit Ober Gatlinburg for ice skating, skiing, or snow tubing, or take a ride on the Gatlinburg SkyBridge for stunning views of the mountains. Don’t forget to check out the Christmas lights and decorations throughout the town.
By following these tips, you can ensure a memorable Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg with your loved ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
Best places to propose in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is a romantic destination with several picturesque spots to propose. The Gatlinburg SkyBridge is one of the most popular places to propose, offering stunning views of the Smoky Mountains. Other great options include the Gatlinburg Space Needle, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Activities in Gatlinburg during November
November is a great time to visit Gatlinburg, with plenty of activities to enjoy. Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or enjoy the Winter Magic Tunes & Tales event in downtown Gatlinburg. You can also enjoy the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, which takes place in early November and features over 200 artisans showcasing their work.
Celebrating Thanksgiving at Dollywood
Dollywood is a popular destination for families during Thanksgiving. The park is open on Thanksgiving Day and offers a traditional Thanksgiving feast at several restaurants. You can also enjoy the park’s festive decorations and holiday shows, including “Christmas in the Smokies” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Thanksgiving packages in Pigeon Forge
Several hotels and resorts in Pigeon Forge offer Thanksgiving packages that include accommodations, meals, and activities. The Margaritaville Island Hotel, for example, offers a Thanksgiving package that includes a three-night stay, Thanksgiving dinner, and access to the Island in Pigeon Forge’s holiday events. Other options include the Park Tower Inn and the Wilderness at the Smokies.
Winterfest lights in Gatlinburg
Winterfest is a popular event in Gatlinburg that features millions of twinkling lights throughout the city. The lights are turned on in early November and remain on until late February. Some of the best places to view the lights include the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the Gatlinburg Space Needle, and the Trolley Ride of Lights.
Open attractions in Gatlinburg on Thanksgiving
Many of Gatlinburg’s attractions are open on Thanksgiving Day, including the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the Gatlinburg Space Needle, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, some attractions may have limited hours or be closed for the day, so it’s best to check ahead of time.