By Leif Palmer
Posted on June 14, 2019
The height of summer signals the perfect time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains. With so many family-friendly things to do in July, you'll have no trouble finding a long list of activities for all ages to fill your vacation wish list. Here are just a handful of ideas to make the most of a Smoky Mountain summer.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park comes alive in July as native deer, bear, and foxes share their space with hikers, bikers and campers. While exercising the usual caution around these animals, you'll be in store for some memorable views of the Smokies' four-legged ambassadors as they make their way through the mountains. If you prefer your mountain trekking by car, you can find scenic drives around Newfound Gap Road. Or don your inflatable vest and challenge yourself to a whitewater rafting expedition along Little Pigeon River.
Fourth of July in the Smokies begins with a boom starting with the big bass drums that herald the annual Fourth of July Midnight parade. You heard that right: the festivities kick off at precisely 12 a.m. on the 4th, making this the nation's first Independence Day parade each year! And the day ends with a bang from Gatlinburg's acclaimed fireworks display, which begins around an hour after sunset. In between, the Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta invites all comers to race practically any unmanned, floatable objects (from rubber ducks to wooden sticks) for a chance at a prize.
Hooray for Dollywood! The pride of Pigeon Forge welcomes fun-seekers of all ages in July. A new section called Wildwood Grove has just opened and provides a family friendly area for kids and grown-ups alike. And in summer during the extended hours, something magical happens with the prominent Wildwood Tree in the middle of the new area. The 50 foot tree will light up at night with 650 colored butterflies. The area is also home to new rides including Mad Mockingbird, The Dragonflier, Frogs & Fireflies, and Black Bear Trail.
Dollywood's Summer Celebration offers longer hours, additional entertainment and nightly fireworks. Top off the day with the Dolly Parton's Stampede Dinner Show. The kids can have good, messy fun eating barbecue with their hands, while horses and stunt riders make a daring dash around an arena.
Crafts abound in the Smokies during July. The annual Gatlinburg Craftsman's Fair was named one of the Southeast's most popular events. Hundreds of artists and crafters from around the U.S. convene to display and sell their wares. You'll find some gorgeous, handmade items from well-known national and local artisans.
Have a ball. The Tennessee Smokies are a minor league team that delivers major league fun. Take in all the action at Smokies Park in Kodak, Tennessee. The spacious, open-air park is ideal for whiling away a warm July night. If slow-pitch is more your speed, the 44th annual Smoky Mountain Classic Softball Tournament takes to the field July 13-15. It's a sit-on-the-blanket family event with face painting, hot dogs, and plenty of country charm.
Summer in the Smokies awaits! One of America's great destinations, the Great Smoky Mountains, delivers a lifetime of fond memories whether you're an adventure-seeker eager for the next great challenge, a family ready for fun and frolic. Book your Tennessee mountain cabin and kick back and relax in one of the most beautiful natural settings imaginable.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in east Tennessee. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.