Category Archives: Vacation Ideas

Ideas for your Smoky Mountain Vacation

Bloomin’ BBQ Music & Food Festival 2023 writes:

Sevierville’s nineteenth annual Bloomin’ BBQ Music & Food Festival will take place May 19-20, 2023. This family-friendly event will once again bring barbeque cook teams from all over the United States to Sevierville to compete for $17,500 in cash and prizes and the title of Tennessee State Champion in the Bush’s Best TN State Championship Cook Off. Rounding out the event is toe-tapping music on three stages, incredible arts and crafts, kids’ games and the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition honoring Sevierville’s favorite hometown girl, Dolly Parton.

The Swaggerty’s Farm Main Stage is packed with incredible entertainment this year, including headline performances from Yonder Mountain String Band and Sawyer Brown. Also catch great shows on that stage from Kentucky Just Us, Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier, The Barefoot Movement, Dale Ann Bradley, Breaking Grass, Tray Wellington, and Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley.

Bring the little ones to enjoy the Days Gone By Games, presented by Sevier County Government. Old fashioned wooden games and toys delight both young and old in this interactive play space which will remain open until approximately 9pm each day of the event. Nearly 60 artists and crafters will be part of Sevierville’s Bloomin’ BBQ Music & Food Festival– showcasing items from handmade jewelry and art to home decorator items.

Admission to Bloomin’ BBQ Music & Food Festival and the concerts are free thanks to great sponsors, including the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce which encourages you to stay in Sevierville while visiting the event. For great lodging and more information about Bloomin’ BBQ Music & Food Festival, call (888) 889-7415 or visit us online at”

The full article can be found at

Sara Evans Performs For Patriot Festival 2023 In Pigeon Forge writes:

“Country Music Star Set to Headline at This Year’s Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge

Each year, Pigeon Forge gets decked out in red, white, and blue to celebrate Independence Day with the Patriot Festival. This festival hosts live entertainment, activities for kids, delicious food, and a firework show to finish the evening. In the past, several big-name stars in the music industry have made their way to the Smoky Mountains to participate in the event, and this year will be no different. Find out who is the headline act at this year’s Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge:

Recent news has broken that revealed who will be headlining this year’s Independence Day celebration in Pigeon Forge. The headliner at this year’s event will be none other than country music artist and Grammy-nominated entertainer Sara Evans! Evans is the fifth-most played female artist on country radio for the past two decades, and some of her hit songs include “No Place That Far,” “Suds In the Bucket,” and “Born to Fly.” Over her career, Evans has earned multiple awards, including American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Grammy Award nominations.

Joining Sara Evans on the stage at this year’s Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge will be On the Border – The Ultimate Eagles Tribute! This tribute band performs some of the greatest hits by The Eagles and is known by many as one of the greatest tribute bands on the scene. They will treat guests of the festival to classic hits such as “Desperado,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” and “Life in the Fast Lane.” Both performances by On the Border and Sara Evans will be free for those attending the special 4th of July celebration in Pigeon Forge!

In addition to the live music to enjoy during the day and into the evening, the Patriot Festival is well-known for its explosive firework show to cap off the event. The firework show begins when it gets dark to give guests the best view of the colorful fireworks high in the sky. You are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to set up to enjoy the display! There will also be food vendors on-site where you can grab food to enjoy throughout the day, as well as plenty of other fun activities for the entire family.”

Read the full article at

Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival And Games in Townsend, TN.

This year’s annual Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival is taking place at the Townsend Visitor’s Center in, you guessed it, Townsend, TN, on the main road on May 20th and May 21st. The Smoky Mountains have a large presence of Celtic, Irish and Scottish communities that have been here for hundreds of years, so a celebration of Scottish highlander culture in the Tennessee highlands goes together like a black bear and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

Here’s what the official website writes about the Scottish Festival and Games:

“Scotland in the Smokies is calling you!!! Celebrating its 41st year, the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games is Tennessee’s oldest festival of Scottish, Irish and Celtic culture. Presenting folk, roots, rock & pop music, highland athletics, pipes & drums, highland and Irish dance. Whisky tastings, vendors and a great selection of beer and food from the Scottish, Irish and British homelands. Enjoy a weekend of family fun in the beautiful foothills of Townsend, Tennessee, just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Heavy Athletics
Marvel over the feats of strength in this sporting spectacle of champions. Scottish heavy athletics owe their roots to the Highland warriors who would keep in shape between battles by competing amongst themselves with everyday implements. A stone, a blacksmith’s hammer, a tree trunk (caber) became tools for building strength for battle.

Piping & Drumming
Enjoy bag piping and drumming throughout the weekend during competitions that bring players from all over the world to compete in different levels ranging from beginners to professionals.

Highland Dance
Scottish Highland Dancing is an exciting celebration of the Scottish spirit! The dances are a combination of strength, agility, movement, music and costume. They are generally danced solo and in competition unlike other dance mediums. Dancers typically dance to traditional Scottish music such as Strathspeys, Reels, Hornpipes and Jigs all played by accompanying bagpiper. Dances are made up of different parts, called steps and are usually four or six steps to a dance.

Highland dancing was traditionally performed by men but is now performed by men and women. It is one of few arenas where men and women compete equally. In most competitions, the number of women competing far exceeds the number of men.

In addition to perpetuating a great cultural tradition, highland dancers appreciate the athletic challenges, competitive goals, performance opportunities as well as the opportunity to meet and become lifelong friends with dancers from other areas, both nationally and internationally.

Scottish Clans
Find out if you belong to a Scottish Clan! Clan hosts can help you learn more about a clan, including their tartans, as well as welcome you into membership should you decide to officially join a clan.”

See more on this event at

Pigeon Forge Rotary Craft Fair – Spring

Reposted From The Pigeon Forge Tourism Page:

“The Rotary Spring Craft Fair starts two weeks from yesterday on Friday April 21st and runs through Saturday April 29th at The Mountain Mile in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. The hours are 10-6 everyday. Admission is $3 @and your money goes to support charitable causes. Please share this post and come check out the craft fair!”

Cabin Spotlight: “Finding Bigfoot”

East Tennessee’s favorite mythical Smoky Mountain figure not named “Dolly Parton” (as far as we know) inspires this new vacation cabin rental by Smoky Mountain Dream Vacation!

Their website writes:
“Does Bigfoot live in the Smokies? We invite you to come and explore our unique Bigfoot inspired cabin. This mystical place is secluded in Wears Valley, nestled adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Come sit on the porch and relax with family and friends or fire up the gas grill for entertainment. Gather around the fire pit next to the seasonal creek to roast marshmallow and make smores. If you hang out long enough, you could possibly hear the knocks and cries of Bigfoot.

Then, come inside and relax amongst the cozy fireplace on those cold winter days, in the main living area which includes a sleeper sofa and a 50” TV to watch your favorite shows on.After a long day of exploring for Bigfoot, rest on the beautiful king size log bed in the large bedroom which also has a 50” TV. The upstairs loft also has a king size log bed also and has a 40” TV. This cabin can accommodate 6 people and it also features two full bathrooms; the master bath has a jetted Jacuzzi tub. It has a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, and Wifi. Included in your stay is admission to Honeysuckle Meadows Pool and Deli just a few miles down the road in Wears Valley. You will also have access to the fishing pond for those avid fishermen, which is year-round and pool access is seasonal.”

See this cabin at

Great Smoky Mountains Park It Forward Program

It is possible you’ve heard the news already, but if not, we’ll be happy to introduce you to it here. Beginning March 1st, 2023, the Smoky Mountain National Park will require parking tags on vehicles for parking accessibility at National Park destinations. Daily passes are $5 and weekly and yearly passes are also available.

Let’s get this out of the way: while the most immediate and obvious reasons for the Park’s decision to sell parking access seem counter-intuitive, this program, called the “Park It Forward” program, is actually designed to improve driving safety and traffic issues that had been increasing for visitors and locals in recent years. The “Park It Forward” program will improve traffic conditions in the National Park by making planning ahead for parking conditions in the Park mandatory as well as produce a large new potential revenue source for maintenance and further improvements.

From the GMNSP headquarters website:

* Three tag durations are available for purchase for all vehicle sizes and types:
Daily – $5
Weekly – $15
Annual – $40
* Parking tags are not replaceable, refundable, transferable, or upgradable.
* Each tag is valid for a single vehicle and must include a license plate number matching the vehicle in which it is displayed.
* Parking tags are available for purchase both online and onsite.
* Display of physical parking tags in each vehicle is required. Digital representations are not accepted.
* Parking tags are not location-specific. A parking tag is required to park anywhere within the boundaries of the Smokies.
* Parking tags are not required for motorists who pass through the area or who park for less than 15 minutes.
* Interagency passes (senior, access, etc.) are not accepted in lieu of a parking tag.

“Annual parking tags must be displayed in the front, lower passenger side windshield. Daily and weekly parking tags must be placed face-up on the front, lower passenger side dashboard.”

See more information at or

Rose Glen Literary Festival 2023

From the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce website:

The Rose Glen Literary Festival will take place on Saturday, February 25 at the Sevierville Convention Center from 9am until 4pm. The event features presentations, book signings and workshops. The festival idea was first conceived and produced by the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce in 2010 to give exposure to local authors, allowing them an opportunity to sell and sign books, meet their readers, and network with fellow writers. Rose Glen Literary Festival has since become an annual regional event spotlighting national bestselling authors.

The first festival was held at Walters State Community College Sevier County Campus. After four years the event had outgrown the college and relocated to the Sevierville Convention Center.

Sevierville’s thirteenth annual Rose Glen Literary Festival will offer a venue for some of the southern Appalachian region’s best writers to sell and sign books while also featuring new and innovative programming from nationally recognized authors.

Featured Guests Include:
* Jenny Hale
* Dr. Bill Bass
* Frank Murphy
* Stephen Lyn Bales
* Art Bohanan
* Tala Shatara
* Bo Roberts
* Nancy East
* Sam Venable
* Marilyn Mascaro
* Laura Still
* Brent Minchey

See more on this event at

Smoky Mountain New Years Eve Parties For 2023

So what’s Sevier County got in store for New Years Eve parties for 2023? Here’s what the cities are posting:

Pigeon Forge:
New Years Eve Celebration At The Island

From their website:
“Ring In the New Year With a Bang!

Join us at The Island in Pigeon Forge as we countdown to 2023 with a dazzling Island Show Fountain and midnight fireworks production on Saturday, December 31! The Island in Pigeon Forge will be open on Saturday, December 31st from 10 a.m. to midnight, and we look forward to celebrating with you as we ring in the New Year! The Island in Pigeon Forge is excited to offer families the opportunity to celebrate and make cherished memories together while ringing in the New Year in spectacular fashion! Join us on New Year’s Eve for a day of family fun and incredible midnight fireworks, and let’s kick off 2023 with a bang!”

See this event at:


New Year’s Eve Celebration and Fireworks Show

From their website:
“Gatlinburg will ring in the new year under the cover of the iconic Gatlinburg Space Needle for its 35th Annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show on Saturday, December 31. Since 1987, this free, family-friendly celebration has been one of the largest organized New Year’s Eve events in the nation, and this year’s celebration is set to be a spectacular end to the year. 

Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to take advantage of the celebration specials offered by many Gatlinburg restaurants and businesses. Live music begins at 10 p.m. at the base of the Space Needle on Historic Nature Trail/Airport Rd.”

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New Year’s Eve Lights of Wonder

From their website:
“Ring in the New Year at the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park!

The city of Gatlinburg is getting ready to have its fireworks display from the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle this New Year’s Eve! To get the very best, and most unique view, of the fireworks in (and above) town, you need to get your VIP “NYE Lights of Wonder” tickets for an exclusive fireworks viewing on top of the SkyLift Park’s mountain and SkyBridge. From the SkyBridge, you will be vieiwing the fireworks from 500 feet above Gatlinburg and roughly 100 feet above the Space Needle’s firework’s launchpad. View the fireworks from the best spot in town, enjoy the Lights Over Gatlinburg lights after-hours at the SkyLift Park, AND come back to visit the SkyLift Park as many times as you would like to the very next day- January 1st!

Tickets are limited at will sell out, so get yours today before it’s too late!

See this event at:


Wilderness at the Smokies

From their website:
“Ring In New Year’s With Us!
Join us as we say goodbye to 2022 and welcome in 2023 in a variety of fun ways!

Monty’s Mini New Year’s Eve Bash
Wilderness at the Smokies will be hosting a Mini New Year’s Eve Party on Saturday, December 31st from 12‐1:30 pm for children under the age of 11. The event will occur in the River Lodge Conference Room and will include a dance party and party favors and sweet treats for kids to enjoy.

Camp Social’s New Year’s Eve Crab Legs and Prime Rib Buffet
From 2-8 pm on New Year’s Eve our Camp Social will be having a Crab Legs and Prime Rib buffet unlike any other.

Reservations will be required. Please call 865.868.4483 to make your reservation.”

See this event at:

The Pines Downtown Retro NYE Bash

From their website:
“Join us for a NYE Retro Bash event in Historic Downtown Sevierville!
* Live Video Jockey
* Champagne Toast at Midnight
* Party Favors
* Duckpin Bowling
* Games & More!

** Food, beverages and bowling sold separatley. **”

See this event at:

Recommended Wedding Chapels In The Smokies

The Smoky Mountains are built on couples, families and reunions – in every aspect of the truth except actually physically building on them. The Smoky Mountains are a destination for many things during the Winterfest and weddings you better believe are one of them.

We have a lot of wedding providers who perform excellent services for couples and we’d like to start you off on the right direction with some recommendations:

* Honeysuckle Hills
934 Mill Creek Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(865) 368-5569


From their website:
“Welcome to our Pigeon Forge wedding venue in the Smokies! All-Inclusive weddings with creative photography is our specialty. Our spacious outdoor areas with gardens, horses, country chic décor, and historic barn is the best way to experience a wedding in the Smokies. We can also help pull together an unforgettable wedding with reception since we work with the best vendors in the Southeast. Your family traveling from all over the United States (and beyond) will never want to leave our lovely venue.”

* Sampson’s Hollow
1335 W Millers Cove Rd, Walland, TN 37886
(865) 803-7075


From their website:
“Gently kissed by the romantic blue mist of the Appalachian region, Sampson’s Hollow is an intimate wedding venue in beautiful Walland, TN. The countryside farm venue is approximately 15 minutes from the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains. Reminiscent of the Scotts-Irish influences of the region, the lush property boasts of rolling green hills and wildflower meadows. The location lies in a hollow, with a panoramic view of the majestic Smoky Mountains. The wedding venue shares the same views as our neighbors at Blackberry Farm. Choosing your wedding venue is one of the first decisions you will make in your journey to your wedding day.”

* Swann Plantation
1708 Old Knoxville Hwy, Sevierville, TN 37876
(865) 223-8500

From their website:
“Whether you prefer the intimacy of the Carriage House, the country ambiance of the Milk Parlor or the spacious lawn in the Arena, Swann Plantation offers truly unique settings for your wedding! Our horse-drawn carriage and white dove release are just some of the ways to make your day even more memorable. Make Swann Plantation your plantation for the day! The milk parlor can seat over 300 guests classroom-style and over 150 guests for dinner! You can use the entire property to entertain groups in the thousands.”

* The Venue at Greenbrier Estate
2855 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(865) 414-3884

From their website:
“Nestled atop a scenic mountain ridge on beautiful Greenbrier Estate, The Venue at Greenbrier Estate delivers simple elegance & breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains and encompasses all the beauty you would want for your Wedding Venue in Gatlinburg. Whether you’re indoors surrounded by panoramic mountain views, or outdoors on our picturesque deck, our one-of-a-kind venue will leave you & your guests with lifelong memories of your special event.”

* A Light of Love Wedding Chapel
3230 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37868
(828) 333-8999

Smoky Mountain Weddings & Romance

From their website:
“For 28 years, A Light of Love Wedding Chapel has provided thousands of couples with simple yet elegant wedding ceremonies. Our chapel is full of charm and character making it the perfect storybook venue.”

* Creekside Cove Wedding Chapel
702 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(865) 429-0955

From their website:
“At HearthSide Cabin Rentals, we believe that every bride deserves to have a memorable wedding ceremony. That is why we are proud to offer couples looking planning a scenic destination wedding in the Smoky Mountains the most beautiful wedding venues in the area, including our Gatlinburg wedding chapel. Whether you’re planning a large ceremony or you want something small with close friends and family, we have the perfect Smoky Mountain wedding venue for you. We also have both traditional and unique wedding venues that include a classic Gatlinburg wedding chapel that can accommodate up to 100 guests, as well as an open-aired pavilion that offers a panoramic view of the Smoky Mountains.”

* Smokey Ridge Wedding Chapel
1719 Timber Ridge Way, Sevierville, TN 37862
(800) 893-7274

From their website:
“For your dream wedding and honeymoon accommodations “In The Smokies” offers beautiful chapel ceremonies perfect for any wedding casual or formal, outdoor wedding locations, inside the National Park, cabin weddings, receptions, honeymoon and vacation cabins, and professional wedding photography packages. Create your own Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg package or select from one of our many affordable wedding packages. Tell us what your dream wedding plan is; contact us and let our professional wedding planners take care of the details.”

* Wedding Bell Chapel
2254 Alpine Village Way, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(865) 228-5014


From their website:
“Are you looking for just the right place in the Smokies to have your wedding ceremony or renew your vows? We would welcome the opportunity to share a part of your special day as you begin or continue your journey together as a married couple.”

* Smoky Mountain Weddings and Renewals
790 Hidden Valley Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(865) 436-7782

From their website:
“We Make Your Smoky Mountains Wedding Dreams Come True! On your wedding day, you want everything to be picture perfect. At Smokey Mountain Wedding Chapel, we focus on your wishes and strive to make your Smokies Wedding memorable and stress-free. We’ll guide you through our many traditional wedding options to help you to create a wedding that is uniquely yours–and in the setting of your choice.”

* Angels View Wedding Chapel
1740 High Rock Way, Sevierville, TN 37862
(865) 365-0918

Main Home

From their website:
“Allow our professional wedding coordinators to help you plan the perfect romantic wedding and honeymoon! From the beginning you want everything to be perfect. Our wedding planners will help you select colors, flowers, cake design, reception options and lodging! We pride ourselves on being able to offer you a better variety of services at incredible prices to meet any budget. We can make the perfect wedding package for you. Take advantage of our on site Day Spa and Salon! Get a massage at the Spa or in the privacy of your honeymoon cabin!”

* The Wedding Chapel in the Glades
460 Glades Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(865) 436-3338

From their website:
“Nestled in country woodlands right next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, our log wedding chapel provides a wonderfully intimate wedding venue. Imagine the sunlight streaming in through the windows and skylights, or on a cool evening, the dancing reflections of candlelight and the flickering flames of a gas-log fireplace. Our Gatlinburg wedding chapel is the perfect location for your special day. The Wedding Chapel in the Glades provides the perfect atmosphere, the perfect setting—the perfect wedding ceremony! After all, this is one of the most important days of your lives. We would like to help you make the memory even more pleasant—a memorable day you’ll treasure for a lifetime.”

* Chapel at the Park
1844 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
(865) 430-3372

From their website:
“Gatlinburg’s only 5-Star Wedding Chapel. Awarded the Best Destination Wedding Venue in TN for 2020. Our beautiful and romantic White Wood Wedding Chapel is located on a secluded 3 acre estate nestled along side the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We offer simple elopement weddings for just the two of you, weddings with just a few family and friends, to full-Service Wedding Celebrations for up to 70 family members/ guests. We offer Indoor and Outdoor Weddings.”

SkyFly Attraction In Pigeon Forge

A new era of virtual reality is forming around us in the early 2020s; and one place where that technology is literally soaring (or as close to it as virtual reality can allow) is the SkyFly attraction at The Island in Pigeon Forge.

Their official brochure provides the details:

“Great Ready To Take Flight!

SkyFly: Soar America utilizes a state-of-the-art ride system to give you the feeling of flight. You will hang suspended before a 50-foot spherical screen while our award-winning film whisks you away on an exhilarating journey across the United States. Special effects, including wind, mist and scents, combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience for all ages.”

In SkyFly, you will get onto a ride mechanism that will physically function like an airship. While immersive experiences like this have been around for a few decades, SkyFly takes it to much more advanced technological heights to make you really like you have been taken to some serious heights yourself! Your destinations will include:

* Yellowstone in Wyoming
* The Tetons in Wyoming
* Yosemite in California
* The Sequioa Groves in California
* Squamish in British Columbia
* Niagara Falls in New York
* Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
* Maui in Hawaii
* The Everglades in Florida
* Chimney Rock of North Carolina
* The Grand Canyon in Arizona
* The Tracy Arm Fjord in Alaska
* The Fisher Towers in Utah
* The Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee
* The Smoky Mountains in, you guessed it, Tennessee

A video trailer of the experience made by the SkyFly owners and operators can be seen here:

See more information on SkyFly at