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The Smoky Mountain area has become a year-round vacation destination, and Winterfest has much to do with this trend. Winterfest is a magical display of lights presented by the towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge Sevierville. These communities along with local merchants sponsor a Christmas light display that is second to none. Millions of lights in some captivating displays are alone worth the trip to the area at this time of year.
Winterfest however is not all about light displays, but also includes many activities centered around a winter theme. Many of the local shows include special Christmas productions, and Dollywood each year showcases the "Smoky Mountain Christmas" theme.
Winter is always a good time to visit. It is a good time to avoid the crowds, although the popularity of the many Winterfest activities is changing this as more visitors are discovering the attraction of visiting the Smokies at this time of year. Even so, there are still many discounts available that will appeal to the budget conscious traveller.
Some suggestions for our winter guests include:
Both the City of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg offer trolley tours of their respective light displays. Pigeon Forge tours depart from Patriot Park, while the Gatlinburg tours depart from light # 5 in front of Ripley's Aquarium. This is an inexpensive and recommended way of seeing the twinkling lights of Winterfest!
The panoramic and long range views are best in the Winter. Take a drive into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and if weather permits enjoy one of the many hiking trails. Not only will they be less crowded than in other seasons, but the winter beauty of the park is something that everyone should experience.
A visit to Ober Gatlinburg. The ski slopes at Ober Gatlinburg usually open in early winter, and remain open weather permitting until late February. If you go, we suggest taking the aerial tram from downtown Gatlinburg! Opening for the 2008/2009 season is Ober's Snow Tubing Park with 10 great lanes and a 50' vertical drop. There's no special skills or equipment required, all you need is a sense of adventure!
Spend a day at Dollywood and enjoy the "Smoky Mountain Christmas" theme that only gets better each year. This year the "Smoky Mountain Christmas" runs from November 9, 2008 to January 3,2009. Dollywood is closed on Thursdays during this period. This festival includes a line up of live Christmas Shows, and the park is draped in over 4 million lights! You will not want to miss Santa’s Workshop, where larger-than-life-sized toys and an 18-foot-tall Christmas tree fill guests of all ages with wide-eyed wonder.
If you come prior to Christmas, there is no better place than the outlet malls in Pigeon Forge to get the Christmas shopping complete!
See our Calendar of Events for other Winterfest activities. As it is every year, Abide With Me will also be decorated for the holidays. There are some terrific rates available for the Winter season.