December 14, 2023

5 Best Things to Do during Christmas in the Smoky Mountains

Heading to the Smoky Mountains this December? Keep reading for our top five favorite things to do!

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We love the Smoky Mountains, and last month was my first time to visit during the holidays. And let me tell you, it was 100% worth it! It was during the week and it was after Thanksgiving. The weather was incredible! It was in the 50’s-60’s, and it felt great. We didn’t even wear coats most of the trip during the daytime. The weather was nice, the surrounding towns were so festive, it wasn’t crowded and it was so relaxing and fun!

If you’re planning on coming to visit over the next several weeks for the holiday, do it! You won’t regret it. It is so magical at the Smokies this time of year. Keep reading for my top list of things to do in the Smoky Mountains this holiday season. And if you don’t make it this year, be sure to plan for it next year! It will be so memorable for you and the entire family!

Top 5 Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains

1.) Visit Dollywood and Smoky Mountain Christmas. I took all 3 of the kids to Dollwood a couple years ago, and this was our first time back! Goodness gracious do I love Dollywood! And so do all the kids! This trip I took just Leighton. She is always such a good team sport when we have the littles and she doesn’t get to ride all the bigger rides that they can’t ride. This time she got treated to a little trip with just us, and it was so special.

Right now Dollywood has their A Country Christmas going on. The entire park is decorated so festive. It truly is magical here. They have Christmas music playing everywhere. Everyone is so friendly. And it is one of the most family friendly parks I’ve ever been to! Since we are huge thrill ride fans, we added roller coasters up first on our list! We knocked out Big Bear Mountain. It is their newest coaster, and it didn’t disappoint! It takes off so fast and was such a fun coaster!

Some of the other ones we rode were Dragonflier, Thunderhead, Wild Eagle and Mystery Mine. Wild Eagle was my favorite and Mystery Mine was Leighton’s favorite. They also had tons of good food at the park and so many cute gift shops with stuff that you would love or gifts for the kids and friends and family too. For kids or for adults, there is something for everyone here!

smoky mountains girls trip

2.) Spend a day at Anakeesta. We went to Anakeesta for the first thing back on fall break, and we all had SO much fun that we just had to add it to our list on this trip too. And I’m so glad we did! A day at Anakeesta is a day with lots of incredible views, good food, fun rides and relaxing, peaceful vibes. It begins with a ride up the Chondola, the chairlift or gondola. They also have the Ridge Rambler that you can ride up on if you prefer to be on wheels. = )

The entire ride up, you are met with breathtaking views. And once you get to the top, the views are even better. There are firepits, carolers, tons of great gift shops, restaurants, Christmas decor and lights everywhere and 2 mountain coasters. They also have the Treetop Skywalk, the observation tower and several playground areas for the kids that are filled with life sized birdhouse shapes play houses and tree houses. If you’re looking for a beautiful place that is perfect for the adults and the kids, this is it!

where to stay in the smoky mountains

3.) See a Christmas show. Most of them offer dinner during the show too. Some of our favorites are Dolly Parton Stampede, Hatfield & McCoy and Country Tonite. We went to Dolly Parton’s Stampede last time, and the entire family loved it! Right now they have Christmas themed dinner shows that will leave you full and the everyone entertained and in the holiday spirit!

4.) Drive around and look at Christmas lights in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville. On our drive in, we were in awe of all the Christmas lights through all the towns. We drove in at night, and it was just magical for all of us. We loved looking at all the lights, and these 3 towns didn’t skimp on the lights one bit! They really outdid themselves, and Leighton loved it too!

5.) Stay at Margaritaville Gatlinburg. This was my first time staying at Margaritaville, and we loved every moment of it! They had several dining options on property, a spa, an indoor pool, sauna and fitness area. Outdoors they had a pool and waterslide, hot tub, fire pit and large seating areas with a fireplace. They also had several fireplaces indoors, and the entire hotel was decked out for Christmas!

They even had 2 parrots on property that Leighton loved to visit each day. All the food and drinks (we loved the coffee shop!) were so good! We had such great service and were so happy with our stay here. And the best thing is their location! They are located right on the strip and right across the street from Anakeesta. It was so convenient to head out for the day and just walk to explore some of the best dining, gift shops and activities right here within walking distance. They also have several large room options that are perfect for families! They even have Christmas activities going on at the hotel. We loved being so conveniently located and not even having to worry about traffic!

smoky mountains at christmas

Have you been to the Smokies before? What’s your favorite season to visit? Have you been during the holidays? What are your favorite things to do in town?


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