If you’re looking for things to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, then the middle of November is the time to go. The city is still mostly green and the leaves are just about done changing color, but by the middle of the month, the town will already be decked out for the holidays.
In November, you can still see bears in the area, but they won’t be as active as they are during the peak summer months.
One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of the fall season is to spend some time in the Smoky Mountains and check out Cades Cove and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A Guide to the Best Things to Do In Gatlinburg in November
With beautiful weather and fun activities around every corner, there’s no way you won’t enjoy yourself if you plan your trip for a relaxing getaway in the fall! Here are 10 of our favorite things to do in Gatlinburg this November!
Best Tours in Gatlinburg
Roaring Fork 2.5-Hour Jeep Tour
This thrill-packed tour will take you through the deep parts of the Great Smokies all the way to the Roaring Fork Trail on an open-air jeep.
On this rip-roaring adventure trip, you will have plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, stunning mountain views, and natural waterfalls – all ready to be explored!
Haunted Ghost Tour
As the cold starts creeping in at the beginning of November, it marks the perfect time for some haunting tours fueled with ghost stories that will creep you out!
This tour will take you through the lively streets of Gatlinburg and your guide will tell you about the dark and sinister history behind different places around town! Only suitable for the daredevils!
Participate in the Veterans Day Ceremony
The Veterans Day Celebration in Gatlinburg is a great way to honor the men and women who have served our country.
The origins of the parade can be traced back to the end of WW1, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (November). The parade is held on November 11th every year, in the Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
The event is free for the patriotic public and takes place at 1870 Sports World Blvd in Gatlinburg. The event features a Bald Eagle Presentation, a military flyover, musical members, and speeches that are given as tributes to the fallen, brave soldiers of the country.
The celebration is one of the highlights of November in Gatlinburg.
Winter Sports at Ober Gatlinburg
Winter sports in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are a great way to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery of Tennessee.
When it comes to winter sports, there are plenty of options for mountain-adventure enthusiasts. From skiing and snowboarding to snow tubing and sledding, Ober Gatlinburg has something for everyone!
Snowboarding and skiing require more concentration of snow that’s why they only properly start around December. If you’re looking for a high-energy way to spend the day, you might try snow tubing at Ober Gatlinburg instead.
The park features 10 different lanes that are perfect for family fun (and even some thrill seekers). The best part about snow tubing at Ober is that you don’t need to tire yourself by going up and down the hill.
The resort offers a “Magic Carpet” escalator that brings you to the top without any effort so you can focus on winning the tubing race with your friends!
The weather in November is perfectly mild and chilly and there’s enough snow for you to have a great snow tubing session without worrying about getting frostbite.
Each session lasts for 90 minutes and is available throughout the day, which means non-stop fun and adventure for you!
See the Departing Fall from Anakeesta & AnaVista Observation Tower
Anakeesta Theme Park is a mountaintop park situated in the heart of Gatlinburg, overlooking the stunning Great Smokies and the city.
In this mountain retreat, you will find every kind of adventure from scenic coaster rides to Treetop Skywalk – an array of connecting bridges that are perfect for a leisurely stroll through the serene atmosphere of the landscape.
The main attraction of this place is its unique design. It is a great place for photographers and tourists who need to take photos of beautiful scenes. The park also features lush botanical Vista Gardens that are full of challenging trails, stunning waterfalls, and a peaceful environment for families!
Anakeesta keeps adding new attractions, so if you’re traveling with your family, you should check out the new ziplines, treetop skywalk, mountain coaster, splash pad, and gem mining.
The AnaVista Observation Tower, on the other hand, is the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg and offers a 360 panoramic view of mountains and landscape as far as the eyes can see!
The tower itself is an incredible architectural marvel with a sophisticated design and multiple look-out levels inspired by Compass Rose.
If you visit Gatlinburg in November, you are bound to see yellow, orange and red autumn leaves dotting the mountains, enhancing the sweeping landscape!
Don’t Forget the Winter Magic & Chili Cookoff!
The Winter Magic & Chili Cookoff is a free event in Gatlinburg that celebrates the best of winter and chili. It’s held every year in November and marks the beginning of Winter Magic ceremonial lights throughout the downtown.
It’s a fantastic way to spend time with friends or family while enjoying some good food, music, and entertainment at the same time. The food here is amazing, especially the mouth-watering chili! There are lots of different types of chili to try, and it’s all made with locally-sourced ingredients.
Different chili eating contests take place around Gatlinburg that are guaranteed to keep you entertained throughout the night!
There are also plenty of activities for kids at this cookoff, including face painting and carnival games. You can even find live music if you’re looking for something to do while enjoying some good food and drinks!
Witness the Festival of Trees
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is known for its beautiful mountains and amazing scenery, but it’s also home to a popular annual festival called the Festival of Trees. The festival takes place each year between 23-27 November in Gatlinburg Convention Center, with trees all over town decorated with lights and ornaments.
The festival is a great way to experience this amazing resort city during the holidays and enjoy more than just the decorations on display. Visitors can also visit some of the shops in town and enjoy shopping while they’re there.
This wildly popular event has been a local’s favorite for more than 30 years and helps to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains.
The Festival of Trees is always a fun time for locals as well as tourists, so if you’re planning on visiting Gatlinburg during this time of year and want to do some sightseeing, check out their website for more details about what events are scheduled during your stay!
Get the Adrenaline Pumping with Winter Hikes
The Smoky Mountains are a great place to hike during the fall. The leaves are changing, it’s still warm, and the air is crisp.
There are so many hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains that you can find one that suits your style. Some of them are shorter, some offer more difficult terrain, and others require more effort.
One thing that all of them have in common is that they’re all exceedingly beautiful. You’ll find yourself surrounded by amazing views of trees, mountains, waterfalls, and streams.
Many of these hikes take you into areas where you can get up close and personal with nature, which is something not everyone gets to experience while they’re on vacation or out hiking on their own.
If you’re not into hiking, then just enjoy the fall colors in the mountains. You can also try horseback riding or kayaking during this time of the year.
Trillium Gap Trail, Clingmans Dome, and Laurel Falls Trail are the most popular trails that are perfect for hiking in November!
Have a Family Thanksgiving Dinner in a Secluded Cabin
Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family and friends, but it can also be an opportunity to reconnect with nature.
The Gatlinburg area has a number of beautiful locations that provide the perfect setting for a Thanksgiving dinner, as well as other events such as Christmas parties and family reunions!
A rental cabin in Gatlinburg is the perfect place for your next outdoor Thanksgiving celebration! You will find here many beautiful cabins for rent of any size and for any event.
You will have plenty of space to accommodate your guests and make it feel like a home away from home. These cabins, located in the beautiful natural landscapes of the Great Smokies, are outfitted with all the facilities needed for your stay, including a full kitchen, large hot tub, fireplace, and more.
You can enjoy entertaining your friends and family at this lovely getaway during Thanksgiving, or any time of year!
These locations offer easy access to the outdoors so that you can enjoy the beautiful fall weather while eating delicious food cooked by yourself or your chef!
Go Winter Shopping around the Town
As the holiday season approaches Gatlinburg, the whole town lights up with Christmas decorations! Downtown Gatlinburg is full of shops and outlets that offer special discounts and exclusive holiday deals as Christmas draws closer.
It’s also a great time to walk around town and see the stunning winter lights that cover the entire city. If you visit in November, you will also get to experience the Balck Friday Sale, with amazing deals available on popular outlets like Tanger and Walmart.
If you’re shopping for something unique, check out the local art galleries or antique shops. If you’re looking for something more mainstream, you’ll find plenty of gift shops and clothing stores.
On the other hand, if you need something for yourself, there are plenty of places to get a new pair of shoes or some new clothes.
Try the Iconic Moonshine
A visit to Gatlinburg is incomplete if you don’t try this traditional Appalachian spirit called Moonshine. It’s often prepared illegally with simple ingredients like yeast, water, corn, and sugar, but it’s also very popular in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains.
With multiple distilleries present throughout the town, it’s not hard to find a glass of this handcrafted drink. It has a smooth taste and can be enjoyed straight up or mixed with other drinks like colas or fruit juices.
As the holiday season arrives, the change of seasons makes for a great reason to gather with friends and family, and moonshine is perfect for celebrating that special occasion!
You can gather with friends and family to enjoy a couple of drinks and reminiscence on your past year’s memories!
Visit the Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show
The Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show is one of the largest and most popular craft shows in the country. It takes place every year in Gatlinburg at the Convention Center and welcomes the best artists and craftspeople from all over town.
This show is a great opportunity for you to find unique and handcrafted gift items made by members of the Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Community for everyone on your list, and it’s also a great way to support local businesses.
The show runs on weekdays throughout November, so be sure to mark it on your calendar if you are planning to do some Christmas shopping ahead!
Free Things to Do in Gatlinburg
With Christmas and celebrations around the corner, fall/winter is the perfect time to visit Gatlinburg. While the celebrations can be a little heavy on the pocket, your trip to the Great Smokies can be as budget-friendly as possible.
Here are three fun and exciting things you can do in Gatlinburg that won’t cost you a dime!
Take a Scenic Drive through Lit Downtown Gatlinburg
During November, the entire Gatlinburg Parkway is decorated with more than 3 million lights that provide stunning views when you take a drive downtown.
The town is at its liveliest and the atmosphere is electrifying, making it the perfect spot to spend the holidays.
Explore the Great Smoky Mountain NP
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has become a household name for tourism in Tennessee, and for good reason!
The park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, as well as some of the most stunning views in the state. November is a great time to explore the park, as the leaves are changing colors and the crowds are thinner than during the summer months!
From waterfalls to mountaintops, you will find everything you are looking for here at GSMNP!
Visit the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a 5.5-mile loop road that takes you through some of the most panoramic points around the park.
You’ll see waterfalls, old-growth forests, and stunning mountain views. Plus, there are plenty of places to stop along the way to take photos or just enjoy the scenery!