‘Tis the season for fun, snow, holiday lights, and, of course, shopping for that perfect gift for friends and family. Now imagine going out shopping under more than 5 million tiny sparkling holiday lights! If you can’t picture what this feels like, you need to head over to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville for the annual Winterfest. This year, the lights will keep shining on the holidays from when they were turned on early in November until the end of February.

And, when you’ve had your fill of light displays, crowds, and bustle, do yourself and your family a favor, and make reservations to stay on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies. Enjoy some uninterrupted quality family (or couple!) time each night after a busy day enjoying Winterfest. Every form of lodging imaginable is available.

From amazing light displays to incredible holiday shows and so much more, the Smoky Mountain Winterfest Celebration has something spectacular for everyone, no matter how young or old. Take a look at the many things there are to do as part of this year’s Winterfest.

So Much More to Do in the Smokies

Pile the kids in the car so you can get out there and enjoy the Winterfest Driving Tour of the Lights. Driving tour maps for the 3 main towns celebrating Winterfest can be found here: Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. No matter how many times you have visited the Smokies, coming here for the holidays and the Smoky Mountain Winterfest Celebration is the perfect way to usher in the holidays and create amazing memories with family and friends!                   

The Pigeon Forge light display, alone, features more than 5 million lights! Light displays feature trees, snowmen, Santa, forest animals, snowflakes, dancing fountains, rocking horses (and everything in between) and cover light posts, streets, bridges and the ground, all to spectacular effect.

What Else Besides the Driving Tour of Lights?

Complete your holidays with a trip to Dollywood for a Smoky Mountain Christmas. Christmas in Dollywood brings you over 4 million lights, plenty of rides to enjoy, holiday music playing throughout the park and the nightly Parade of Lights. This year sees the addition of “Dolly’s Parade of Many Colors,” with many new floats, songs, and specialty characters, as well as a stage production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the first time.

Don’t pass up on the chance to visit the Old Mill District, to get to the Old Mill Square’s Holiday Open House; you must drive through the “covered bridge” constructed from thousands of miniature lights that takes you into one of the most “historic” areas of Pigeon Forge. Take the kids out to Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry where you might just get to catch Jolly Old St. Nick in the act of making a rooftop delivery. The theatre is decorated with numerous huge trees and thousands of tiny lights.

Don’t Forget to Take in Dolly Parton’s Christmas Stampede

Whoever said a stampede is no fun has never seen a stampede put on the way Dolly Parton does it. Talk about a place to take the kids for some magical memory-making time! The 60-foot tall Christmas tree is a sight to behold. Covered in colorful lights, sparkling ornaments, and ribbons from top to bottom with a twinkling star at the top, this is the perfect place to take pictures for your social media post or annual Christmas cards.

Meanwhile, over at the Island in Pigeon Forge, they have put together all-new decorations and three new Christmas trees, the tallest of which stands 40-feet tall. Decorators used approximately 40,000-holiday ornaments, 500,000 lights, and more than 5,000 feet of garland to decorate the Island for the holidays. Santa and Mrs. Claus have a new workshop this year and will greet their guests while listening to the roving troupe of singers belting out Christmas carols.

Places to Stay in the Peaceful Side of the Smokies

While these activities are all a lot of fun, if you are coming in from out of town, don’t forget to choose a place to stay over on the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies,” where you and your family will find several great choices of more peaceful accommodations.  From hotels like the pet-friendly Best Western Cades Cove, where you can enjoy a free breakfast buffet, to cabins such as the Chimney Tops Cabin where you and your significant other can enjoy a 2-bath, 1-bedroom rustic cabin, the options are endless.

There are plenty of amazing places on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies to park your suitcases while you enjoy a great Smoky Mountain Christmas vacation with your loved ones.