Words by Paige Townley
Springtime is almost here, and that means so many opportunities to enjoy being outdoors. Coastal destinations may be top of mind when it comes to enjoying the season, but there’s another getaway that offers so much to enjoy through spring break and beyond: Gatlinburg. The mountain town is blooming with spring activities just waiting to be explored. Here are our five favorite adventures awaiting in this treasured mountain town.
Walk Through the Wildflowers
More than 1,600 species of flowering plants live in the great Smoky Mountains National Park, dubbing the park with another nickname: Wildflower National Park. Throughout the spring a variety of different wildflowers bloom, including some of the most rare and iconic wildflowers to be found, such as Lady Slippers, White Trillium, Wild Geranium, and Yellow Trillium. There are a variety of trails ideal for hiking through the Park and spotting the blooming beauties. For anyone looking for a little guidance, each spring the Park hosts the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, a week-long festival featuring programs and guided hikes that share everything you need to know about the wildflowers of the season.
Partake in Blooms & Tunes
Nestled on a 70-acre mountain above downtown Gatlinburg is Anakeesta, an award-winning theme park that has become a sought-after destination for many of the 14 million annual visitors to Gatlinburg. This spring, Anakeesta will host Blooms and Tunes, a celebration of all things spring. To be held April 15 through June 5, the park will feature massive spring-themed art installations, live music seven days a week, chef-inspired seasonal menu items, and thousands of blooms at Vista Gardens, the park’s botanical garden.
Shop the Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show
Gatlinburg is known for its thriving arts and crafts community, and the Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show is the place each spring to check out their newest handcrafted items. The show will be hosted April 5 through 8 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, and it will include a wide variety of handmade items by local artisans, as well as featured craftspeople from around the country.
Experience Hands On Gatlinburg
For anyone interested in learning how to be a crafter, Hands On Gatlinburg is the time to do it. The annual event is an immersive three-day experience that allows anyone the opportunity to learn all about arts and crafts from the experts at The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. Now in its 8th year, the event is to be held May 5 through 7 and patrons can register to attend all sorts of classes.
Stroll Downtown Gatlinburg
No visit to the mountain town is complete without a stroll down the Parkway. Nine shopping malls and a plethora of specialty shops line the famous shopping destination. Perusing everything from clothing and jewelry to woodcrafts and other handmade items is made even better in springtime with a sweet treat in hand, like a Candy Bar Shake or custom rolled ice cream from Maddi Mae’s Café or an over-the-top milkshake featuring anything from waffles to cookies from The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar. For those looking for something a little less frozen, there’s delicious crepes from Smoky Mountain Creperie.
Ready to plan your next Gatlinburg getaway? Visit www.gatlinburg.com.