The Ultimate Gatlinburg Winter Vacation Guide

October 15, 2019

Winter is almost here! Now is the time to start planning your Gatlinburg winter vacation.

The quaint mountain village has plenty to offer, with numerous attractions, shopping, dining and, of course, the great outdoors available to visitors.

Likewise, Winterfest is a highlight of the season, offering wintertime activities, dazzling light displays, and special events. Ready to take the next steps on your Gatlinburg winter vacation? Read on to discover tips, insight, and the best things to do this winter.

The Great Smoky Mountains with a dusting of snow.

Before You Go

Weather during a Gatlinburg winter vacation is generally pretty comfortable, with an average temperature of 50°. Keep in mind, this weather forecast is for the lower elevations.

While you're out exploring, you'll no doubt gain elevation seeking those stunning Smoky Mountain sights. The higher you go, the colder it gets and the chance for snow increases greatly. Plan your day accordingly, as well as your suitcase! With conditions changing frequently, you'll want to wear layers and have plenty of cold-weather gear. Above all, plan to stay comfortable—it is a vacation after all.

Cabins are the perfect place to stay during a Gatlinburg winter vacation.

Where to Stay

For a cozy Gatlinburg winter vacation, I highly recommend staying in a cabin. Gatlinburg cabin rentals have locations in the heart of the mountains. You'll be surrounded by nature and you might even see some wildlife!

In addition, the seclusion of your cabin gives you a sanctuary in the mountain that's all your own. Many of these cabins are rather luxurious. For example, hot tubs, are a standard amenity. And really, what could be better than a hot tub soak on a panoramic deck?

Eden Crest Vacation Rentals

Featuring luxury one- to five-bedroom log cabins, Eden Crest Vacation Rentals offer an ideal place to unwind in the Smoky Mountains. Moreover, guests can enjoy a variety of features within each rental, including free Wi-Fi, home theaters, pool tables, whirlpool spa baths, and more.

Hearthside at the Preserve

As the highest elevated resort in all of the Smoky Mountains, guests have a magnificent view of the mountain range and landscape. Further, these luxury cabins with 1-3 bedrooms feature picturesque views and offer extraordinary amenities like hot tubs, upscale furnishings, fireplaces, and much more.

Hearthside Cabin Rentals

Hearthside Cabins are nestled in and around the heart of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Cabins offer amazing mountain views, game tables, hot tubs and are also pet-friendly.

Bluff Mountain Rentals

Located at the foot of Bluff Mountain, these quaint cabin rentals include hot tubs, easy access to the Smoky Mountains, and comfortable accommodations for your Gatlinburg winter vacation.

Snow tubing and smiles go hand-in-hand.

What to Do

A Gatlinburg winter vacation has no shortage of things to do. Coupled with everyday fun, below are some of the seasonal highlights.

Ober Gatlinburg

This ski resort makes its own snow and is a fun place to tube, ski or snowboard down the Smoky Mountains. Indoor ice skating is available too. Make sure you purchase your Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway ticket in advance to avoid driving up to the mountain.

Ripley’s Aquarium

One of my favorite downtown Gatlinburg attractions is the Ripley’s Aquarium. Diving into life under the sea is not only interesting but also educational. Kids love the aquarium, and during the holidays they have a Musical Christmas Tree standing 5-stories tall which entertains guests with a musical light show.

Trolley Tour of Lights

From November 22, 2019, through January 25, 2020, you can hop aboard a Gatlinburg Trolley to see the Winterfest light displays. The guided, enclosed excursions leave from traffic light #5. Then, they travel through downtown and along Highway 321. For your convenience, multiple tours leave nightly. Admission is $10 per person.

Snowy road during winter at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park/

Auto Tour the Smoky Mountains

It might be too chilly for a hike, but it's never too cold to auto tour the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stop by a local coffee shop for drinks and snacks first. Then, hit the highway! A few routes worth cruising are Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Newfound Gap Road.

Christmas Shows

In nearby Pigeon Forge, Christmas shows help celebrate the season with songs, dancing, and of course, merriment. Even the grinchiest grinch will feel the spirit of the holidays at these productions.

Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry
A festive holiday experience, complete with flying sugar plum fairies and angels, dancing elves, magical reindeer and an appearance from Santa Claus. The show also features the largest living nativity in the area, as well as a huge band, beautiful costumes, special effects and more.

Christmas at Dolly Parton's Stampede
Treat yourself to the Christmas-themed Dolly Parton's Stampede show. The North Pole vs. South Pole story has twinkling lights, evergreens, old-fashioned holiday costumes, Christmas music favorites, elves and more. A special toys segment featuring a flying Sugar Plum Fairy, larger than life toys, and a real horse-mounted Toy Soldier all set to the music of the Nutcracker.

Hatfield & McCoy Christmas Dinner Disaster
The story between these two feudin' families gets a Christmas twist for the holiday season. Accordingly, a festive spirit is at the heart of the singing and dancing, mighty feats of strength, jaw-dropping stunts and side-splitting comedy. Oh, and there's moonshine to keep you nice and toasty this holiday season!

Peddler Steakhouse/Facebook

Where to Eat

The Gatlinburg Parkway is full of places to dine. Whether you're looking for a laid-back night out or an elegant night for two, these Gatlinburg restaurants have you covered.

Smoky Mountain Brewery
A casual restaurant modeled after an Alpine Lodge, the Smoky Mountain Brewery offers fantastic beers, delicious pizza, and calzones, as well as hearty dinners of steak and pasta. I recommend the pretzels and beer cheese an appetizer accompanied by the Mountain Light brew. The food and brews here are enough to warm you up on a cold Gatlinburg winter day!

Peddler Steakhouse
This pioneer cabin turned restaurant is a rustic yet elegant place to eat in Gatlinburg. With a creekside location, the ambiance is superb as are the top-grade steaks and service. For this reason, it's one of the most popular places to eat in the Smoky Mountains.

Wild Plum Tea Room
This pet-friendly restaurant is a Gatlinburg hidden treasure. The cuisine and decor are inspired by the Austrian tea houses and their menu is constantly rotating with new and exciting dishes. Since this is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike, reservations are recommended.

Escape to the Smokies this Winter

What are you waiting for? As you can see, a Gatlinburg winter vacation is an ideal escape. Be sure to book your hotel and attraction tickets through Tripster Gatlinburg for the best prices and savings available.

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