Summer Vacation is coming up quickly and although you know you are visiting the Smoky Mountain area, you aren’t quite sure exactly what activities you want to do while in the area. Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg sure do not have a minimal number of fun attractions for all to enjoy and you cannot forget the many hikes in the National Park. However, if you have visited the area often, perhaps you have already enjoyed many of the area attractions more than once and are looking for something a bit different this year. Is that you? Well, if it is continue reading because we have put together a list of some unusual summer adventures for you and your family/friends to enjoy during the Summer of 2017.

Gatlin’s Escape Games

At Gatlin’s Escape Games, you have sixty minutes to solves puzzles and challenges to escape! This is a team effort and consists of 2 – 8 players. You and the other players will journey through the Legend of Atlantis. It has a Indiana Jones vibe to it and is guaranteed to bring some unexpected fun to your vacation.

The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

The Wizard of Oz

This is the debut year for The Wizard of Oz Train Ride! Beginning July 14th, you can enjoy this 2 ½ hour event/ride that will tell the story of a lot of people’s all-time favorite movie. The journey will begin in Munchkinland where Dorothy meets Glinda the Good Witch. Glinda suggests that she take a train that follows the Yellow Brick Road to see if the Wizard of Oz can help her find her way back to Kansas. You will get to enjoy the train ride along with Dorothy and her friends as they travel to Emerald City. Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion help Dorothy as they try to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West-all before meeting the Wizard during a live stage show.

You will have multiple chances to take photos with your favorite characters and all the children will receive a gift for helping Dorothy along her journey! The Railroad is encouraging everyone to dress up in costumes and wear as much Wizard of Oz attire as you can!

You can experience this fun adventure on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning July 14th. This will go through July 30th and the train departs at 11:30AM and 2:30PM. Refreshments and live music will also be be available.

The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad will also have their BBQ and Brews this summer!

2nd Annual Drums on the Dam Dragon Boat Race

In Sevierville, at Douglas Dam Lake, they will be hosting the 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Race on August 5th. Teams of 16 – 20 rowers compete in paddling traditional Hong Kong style dragon boats in the timed heats. It is about a 200 yard course and the top twelve teams compete for the Dragon Boat Championship! Even if you are not competing, this is a fun outdoor event that provides excitement for the whole family.

Total Lunar Eclipse Viewing at Clingmans Dome

On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will be visible along a 67 mile wide path that stretches across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. The western side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will fall under the path so it will be a fantastic place to be for viewing! The National Park is organizing public viewing events in three separate areas within the Park: Clingmans Dome, Cades Cove and Oconaluftee. The viewing at Clingmans Dome is going to be a special ticketed event and they will have experts, educational exhibits and story tellers on site. Tickets will be available for purchase on a first come first serve bases through Tickets go on sale on March 1st. You MUST have a ticket to attend the eclipse viewing at Clingmans Dome. The viewings at Cades Cove and Oconaluftee will be free and will be an informal staff-guided event. The Cable Mill at Cades Cove and the Visitor Center at Oconaluftee will be the viewing spots.

First Independence Day Parade in the Nation

Gatlinburg knows how to kick off a salute to the men and women of our armed forces! This will be the 42nd First July Fourth Parade in the Nation and it begins at midnight. Gather the streets of Gatlinburg with 80,000 other folks as we all honor our heroes in the small town of Gatlinburg. This parade is named by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine as a “Top Ten Parade in the United States” as well as recognized by

This parade stretches about a mile down the Parkway. Although the Parade does not start until midnight, there are plenty of other activities that are going on throughout the day. Also, on the 4th, you can catch the annual River Raft Regatta at Christ in the Smokies Bridge on River Road. Unmanned floatables race down the river before ending at the Ripley’s Aquarium  Bridge. Prizes are involved and this is just a fun event to enjoy while walking outdoors in downtown Gatlinburg. Later in the evening, the 100th Army Band will play a free concert at 8:30PM and then again at 10:20PM after the 20 minute firework display in downtown. The concert will be held on the Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium.

The Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales will be going on every night during the summer until July 29th so that is another way you can enjoy some musical fun.

Our area is made for family vacations and there is always something new to enjoy. If you visit the area so you can enjoy one of the many hiking trails throughout the National Park then I would suggest you hike to one of the many swimming holes we have within the Park. It is a great way to cool off!
Join us in the Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Smoky Mountains this summer and enjoy some of the above summer adventures. As always, we are always here to answer any questions you may have about upcoming events, attractions and/or hiking trails in the Park. We want YOU to have the BEST vacation yet so let us help you plan your summer trip. Give us a call at 800.429.4361 to book one of our luxury vacation rentals in the heart of Pigeon Forge.