With beautiful scenery and endless seasonal activities, fall in the Smoky Mountains is one of the very best times of the year for a vacation! It’s no wonder why it’s the most popular season here in the Smokies. The leaves are changing colors, the weather gets cooler, and there are so many fun things to do in town! Here are 6 of our favorite things about spending autumn in the Smokies:

1. Incredible Fall Colors

Fall leaves in the Smoky Mountains.Even if you didn’t make it to the Smoky Mountains in the early part of fall, there is still time to see some of the area’s beautiful foliage. The peak of the fall foliage usually comes in late October and will continue right into November. You can enjoy views of the amazing colors in a variety of locations, from the deck of your cabin to scenic spots in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, such as Newfound Gap Road and Cades Cove. The changing leaves is what truly brings people to town for fall in the Smoky Mountains!

2. Early Holiday Shopping

Although it is fall, it’s never too early to start holiday shopping! While you can always shop at the mall or online, the Smoky Mountains have many charming stores where you can find one-of-a-kind gifts. The Village Shops in Gatlinburg, for example, has over 20 unique shops, boutiques, restaurants, and galleries that are great for holiday shopping. You can also take the 8-mile Arts & Crafts Loop in Gatlinburg, where you can find many amazing handcrafted items.

3. Autumn Hikes and Drives

newfound gap road in the fall in the smoky mountainsFall in the Smoky Mountains is the ideal time to do some exploring, whether you want to go hiking or driving. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has many scenic drives where you can also step outside your vehicle and do some hiking. The parking lot at Newfound Gap, for example, will place you right on the famous Appalachian Trail. Upper Tremont Road is another excellent place to go for a drive in the fall, featuring waterfalls, scenic views, and a number of nearby hiking trails.

4. Seasonal Events at Dollywood

Dollywood is a fun family destination any time of year, with its many rides, live entertainment, and great restaurants. And, starting in the fall, this theme park is transformed into a truly magical place. You can enjoy their Harvest Festival where the park is decked out with pumpkins and other decor and sample all kinds of seasonal food and drinks. Then, they change over to Smoky Mountain Christmas where you take in the incredible lights, decorations, seasonal food and drinks, shows, and much more!

5.  Holiday Festivals

Gatlinburg Christmas lightsIf you will be in the area for fall in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll want to check out the Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show, where you’ll find many handcrafted items made by local artists. Just a week later, visitors can enjoy the Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show for even more excellent shopping opportunities. The area also has several early winter celebrations, such as Winterfest, which begins on November 10 and continues through February.

6. Celebrating Thanksgiving

The Smoky Mountains are one of the best places in the country to celebrate Turkey Day! At one of our cabins, you can prepare a Thanksgiving meal with your fully equipped kitchen. Also, many of the restaurants in the area stay open for Thanksgiving, in case you feel like taking a break from cooking. Aside from eating, you can spend Thanksgiving weekend relaxing on your deck, lounging by the fireplace, and watching football on your cabin’s large screen TV.

As you can see, there is nothing quite like fall in the Smoky Mountains! To start planning your autumn vacation, check out our complete selection of Smoky Mountain cabin rentals.