Away For the Holidays

Away For the Holidays

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a must-visit winter destination

Words by Ashley Locke

At the beginning of this year, no one could have guessed how much time we would be spending at home. Concerts and sports were cancelled, then summer vacations, then many schools shifted to online. People have been spending most of their time at home since March, so going home for the holidays doesn’t have the same excitement that it usually does—so why not go away for the holidays this year?

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a southern Winter Wonderland. Located in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, the fog-lined evergreen trees are dusted with snow in the winter months. Cozy cabins are tucked into the mountains, and twinkling lights take over the city. In other words, it’s pure magic. 

Gatlinburg is home to the only ski resort in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg. There’s no better view of the mountains than from the Aerial Tramway ride up to the resort. At the top, there’s plenty to do—playing, shopping, and dining. The winter fun includes ice skating, snow tubing, skiing, and snowboarding, and there’s fun for the little ones at the Cubbies Snow Zone. There’s something for everyone in the family!

Downtown is completely walkable, so once you park there’s no need to drive again. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite to eat, enjoy museums and rides, or get some holiday shopping done. There are plenty of unique gifts you won’t be able to find anywhere else, from local jams and jellies to hand-poured candles. You can spend a full day eating and shopping alone!

One of the highlights of the season is Winterfest, from November through February, millions of lights twinkle throughout the city. There are exciting events all season long, including Christmas parades and New Year’s fireworks. If the hustle and bustle isn’t quite your speed, you can find peace and quiet on the miles of hiking trails that span the mountains. There’s beauty and fun everywhere you look.

If you feel like you’ve been at home a little bit too long, the holiday season is a great time to take a trip—because in Gatlinburg, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.