Value Times are January, February, April, May, November and December.
Holidays and Special Events
It's fitting that the home of country music has so much country left to enjoy. Tranquil rural landscapes unfold across the state, from the rich black fields along the Mississippi to the lush horse farms of central river valleys to the Appalachian Mountains with their forests and plowed furrows of red dirt.
Where the state seems least rural is in tourist centers like Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, where miles of miniature golf courses, amusement centers and motels seem to be intent on overrunning the stoic Smoky Mountains. Not to worry, though. The mountains will endure, as will the state's rural charm. Travelers who can appreciate both, or who are interested in the styles of music that have grown so well in the Tennessee dirt, are likely to have a great time in the state.
Take a stroll along Gatlinburg’s downtown Parkway and you’ll soon see there’s no place like it. Here, 11-foot sharks swim over your head in an underwater tunnel at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. The Guinness World of Records Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum feature incredible mysteries and amazing objects. Go-cart racing, miniature golf and Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre offer day to evening family entertainment.
Tennessee offers some of the best southern cooking anywhere. Be sure to have biscuits and gravy for breakfast at least once, real southern-style barbecue and some of the many varieties of chicken, from fried to stewed to fricasseed. Take the time to sample the fare at some small-town eateries. The "meat-and-three" diners are also a Tennessee tradition, serving up daily specials that include three varieties of cooked vegetables.
More than 400 specialty shops, boutiques and galleries, all within easy walking distance downtown, make it simple to find a special collectible or unique one-of-a-kind piece in this mountain resort town. Stop by the Arrowcraft Shop across from the Aquarium or take the trolley to the nearby Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community for unique area crafts, including pottery, jewelry, wood carvings and artwork. Pigeon Forge is home to a number of factory outlets, with bargains on a variety of products.
Tennessee tends to be hot and humid in the summer, though the higher you go into the mountains, the cooler it gets. Temperatures range 66-90 F/19-32 C June-August, but the humidity climbs with them. Expect thunderstorms in summer, especially in July in the Smoky Mountains. The Smokies are comfortably warm on summer days with cool nights.
We recommend flying into Nashville and renting a car (available at the airport) so you may tour the state while heading for your destination. Take I-75 South to Exit 81 and follow Highway 321 North through Maryville and Townsend to Gatlinburg. Approximate driving time from interstate: 1 hour 10 minutes. Or, take I-40 to exit 440 to Highway 321—this less-traveled route offers scenery and serenity all the way to downtown Gatlinburg.
GETTING AROUND THE AREA
Once in Gatlinburg, many area attractions, eateries and shops are within walking distance. But you’ll want a car to explore the beautiful countryside of Tennessee.
The information contained here and within the Time Out Vacations website is believed to be correct. Every effort has been made to assure accuracy. Time Out Vacations and Global Connections, Inc. assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions.
The destinations listed are subject to change without notice or may no longer be available under this vacation certificate.