Gatlinburg is the perfect place to visit in June if you’re looking to get away from the sweltering heat of your hometown. The area offers plenty of fun things to do this month to keep you busy and entertained, whether you’re traveling with family or friends or planning an outing with your significant other.
Here is a list of the top things to do in Gatlinburg in June that you won’t want to miss!
Best Things to do in Gatlinburg in June
- Explore Waterfalls in Smoky Mountains National Park
- Don’t miss The Fireflies at Elkmont
- Attend Dollywood’s Summer Festival
- Vibe with the Mountain Tunes & Tales Music Performances
- Have a Summer Adventure at Ober Gatlinburg
- Go Summer Fly Fishing in the Smoky Mountains
- Take a Gatlinburg Tour from the Sky!
- Explore Downtown Gatlinburg on the Free Parkway Trolley
- Rent a Cabin and Rejuvenate
- Bike around Cades Cove
1. Explore Waterfalls in Smoky Mountains National Park
At any time of year, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a breathtaking destination for vacationers. And what better time to explore the stunning waterfalls of the Great Smokies to beat the heat of June? The park has some of the best waterfall hikes in the country, and they’re easy to find.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to several beautiful waterfalls, including Abrams Falls, Laurel Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Grotto Falls.
Each of these waterfalls is located in different parts of the park and offers a unique and one-of-a-kind experience to each traveler!
Abrams Falls has a 5 miles round trip hike that traverses through the pine-oak and rhododendron forest, reaching a majestic 20 ft. high waterfall with voluminous streamflow that offers impressive sights to visitors!
Laurel Falls is one of the most popular and most visited waterfalls in Gatlinburg, and for good reason! This incredible 80 ft. high waterfall is named after an evergreen shrub that grows along the trail leading up to the fall.
The best part about visiting Gatlinburg in the sunny season is that you will get to witness the stunning rainbow created by the Rainbow Falls, an 80 ft. high fall with a 5.4-mile round-trip hike.
2. Don’t miss The Fireflies at Elkmont
While the beauty of the Great Smokies is unparalleled, the striking addition of glowing fireflies makes the place even more magical than ever!
Each year during June, thousands of bioluminescent beetles, better known as fireflies, descend on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and put on a synchronized display of flashes, which provides viewers with a mythical experience of the park.
This display is a mating ritual for the fireflies, with males attracting the females by flashing a glowing yellowish light in unison. This creates an intense light that almost looks like the shining sun against the night!
It’s a fantastic opportunity for families with children to enjoy nature and get some exercise while enjoying some fun activities together! Parking passes required to enter the parking lot or the viewing location are distributed through a lottery system.
Read this guide to find out more about how to get the passes on time so you don’t miss this unforgettable event with your family!
3. Attend Dollywood’s Summer Festival
Dollywood’s Summer Festival in Gatlinburg is an incredible event that brings tourists from all over the country. The festival has been going on for years and it just keeps getting better!
This is where the summer spirit comes alive and the entire Smokies is lit up like the fourth of July.
The show has a ton of family-oriented summer activities, but there are a few that are very popular and for all the right reasons! The festival holds some world-renowned roller coasters like the Lightning Rod and Wild Eagle, which are perfect for the adventurers of the family.
Then comes the main highlight of the event which everyone looks forward to, Sweet Summer Nights. The Sweet Summer Nights performance is a drone light show that illuminates the sky above the park and provides a majestic performance for guests who stay after midnight.
You will be thrilled as you watch hundreds of drones fly through the air, creating a magnificent symphony of light. This technological marvel is in sync with a musical fireworks show, creating a dazzling nighttime experience that you won’t forget for a long time!
This year, Dollywood is also bringing back their popular Gazillion Bubble Show Aurora, which is sure to be a great show for all ages. The festival also has plenty of other activities for kids and adults to enjoy, including live music, face painting, rides, and more.
There will also be many different food vendors available during this event as well as a variety of souvenirs that can be purchased at the event.
If you’re looking for a fun and family-friendly way to spend the summer in Gatlinburg, then this event is a must-visit for you!
4. Vibe with the Mountain Tunes & Tales Music Performances
The best way to beat the heat of June is to head out downtown and visit one of the lively and fun events that are going around in Gatlinburg throughout summer!
One of these spectacular events, Mountain Tunes & Tales, takes place daily throughout summer and features performances from talented musicians and performers from all over town!
The best way to attend the festival is by taking a stroll along Gatlinburg’s Parkway sidewalks and you will easily come across artists, dancers, and storytellers dressed as characters from the past, entertaining the passersby with great music throughout the evening.
The event first began in 2006, to keep the Appalachian heritage alive and promote the rich music culture of the Smokies! All performances are well planned and organized, with auditions beginning in advance.
Don’t forget to catch these amazing performances when you stroll around Parkway in Gatlinburg!
5. Have a Summer Adventure at Ober Gatlinburg
While Ober Gatlinburg is a hotspot for fun during winters, it offers an array of summer adventures as well to keep the families entertained and fueled for summer!
From Mini golf to shopping and an area exclusive to kids’ entertainment, Ober Gatlinburg will keep you on your toes with so many exciting things to do!
To kick off your thrill-packed adventure to the amusement park, you can take the Aerial Tramway, a 2.1-mile magic carpet ride that takes you through awe-inspiring views of the Great Smokies and bustling downtown Gatlinburg, leaving you to your destination at the amusement park.
One of the newest attractions at the park is the Ski Mountain Coaster, a 2,750 feet long coaster on which you can race down the mountain at a pace that suits you best. If you’re feeling adventurous, then go all in and if you want to bask in the stunning landscape, then you can keep it at a slow pace, relishing every moment!
The Park also offers a Wildlife Encounter where you can show the kids unique species of black bears and bobcats. You can shop for souvenirs around the Tramway Mall or head to KiddieLand for some exclusive kids’ fun-filled activities.
Ober Gatlinburg has something exciting planned for visitors of all ages!
6. Go Summer Fly Fishing in the Smoky Mountains
One of the best things to do in Gatlinburg is to go summer fly fishing in the Smoky Mountains! The Smokies offer some of the best trout fishing in the country, with more than 700 miles of fishing spots spread out and surrounded by the striking terrain of the Great Smokies.
With such a fantastic backdrop and abundance of fishing streams, you don’t want to miss the chance of experiencing this new adventure!
Little River and Pigeon River in the Smoky Mountains are among the hotspot locations that are perfect for escaping big crowds and fishing in peace. Little River has a wider area to choose from and is easily accessible by road.
On the other hand, Little Pigeon River has a much more reclusive location that is accessible through a strenuous hike, but the abundance of fish and the surreal aura of the place makes it worth the challenge!
Don’t forget to take a GSMNP fishing license before heading on to your adventure!
7. Take a Gatlinburg Tour from the Sky!
What started as a simple skylift through Gatlinburg has now become a magnet for thrill-seeking adventures!
This is the Gatlinburg Skylift Park that provides you with the opportunity to take your summer vacation to new heights (literally) and surround yourself with breathtaking views of the Smokies and beyond!
Along with the original one, the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, other up-and-coming attractions are a must-try for you. One of these is the Gatlinburg Skybridge, which is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.
It is 680 feet long and gives those who are brave enough to cross it a whole new view. Beware of the glass panels that you will encounter whilst waltzing your way through the bridge.
You can also take a relaxing hike through the mountains at Sky trail, a beautiful walkway that links both ends of the Sky bridge and features an array of attractions along the way.
Rest and energize at the cafe with some delicious food or kick back and relax on the SkyDeck, sipping moonshine and relishing the scenic landscape!
8. Explore Downtown Gatlinburg on the Free Parkway Trolley
It’s always a good time to visit downtown Gatlinburg, no matter what season it is! But there’s something special about the summertime, the air is thick with the smell of barbecue and the sound of live music permeates the streets!
With so much open for exploration, what better way to navigate the city than the Parkway Trolley? This incredibly convenient ride takes you through the hotspots around town, with tons of spots on the best sites, shops, and distilleries.
These rides operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and offer free tours starting in mid-June and lasting till mid-August.
With absolutely no stress on the pocket, this is the perfect way to explore and visit all the popular attractions around Gatlinburg and strike them off the bucket list!
9. Rent a Cabin and Rejuvenate
Gatlinburg cabin rentals are a great way to spend your summer! With so many fun activities available in the area, there is no doubt that you will have a blast.
Not only are there more activities, but it’s also much more affordable than other times of the year. Cabins provide privacy, allowing you to relax and enjoy your time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Gatlinburg cabin rentals allow you to experience the area’s natural beauty and charm while also being close enough to the downtown area that you can travel into town whenever you want. You will not only get to experience some amazing scenery but also have access to many different activities within walking distance of your cabin rental!
If you love going on hikes, then cabins will be perfect for you because there are plenty of trails in the Smoky Mountains just minutes away from where you will be staying.
There are also several waterfalls and lakes nearby that are fun for everyone in your group (and kids especially).
10. Bike around Cades Cove
Biking is the perfect way to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and stay active on your summer vacation, and there is no better location to do that than in Cades Cove!
The bike paths here are perfectly smooth and the awesome views of the Great Smokies provide the ideal backdrop for this peaceful activity.
The loop is closed for automobiles, which makes it great for bikers to enjoy the roads without any disturbance. You can bring your bikes or choose a convenient approach and rent them from the site.
Biking is an amazing activity that keeps you active and spiritually reawakened while giving you the best vantage point to the Great Smokies!
Free Things to do in Gatlinburg
Stroll through the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
This 8-mile loop features over 100 local artisans selling everything from handcrafted jewelry to Appalachian folk art.
Take a scenic drive on the Newfound Gap Road
This 33-mile stretch of road winds through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys below.