How do you like to ring in the New Year? Some like to make a fancy affair with dressy outfits, elaborate decorations, and dancing. Others like to be part of a raucous crowd with a confetti blizzard, like in Times Square. But if you prefer something a little more laid-back, then come to our corner of eastern Tennessee to toast in the new year.
Here are 4 reasons to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Smoky Mountains
An authentic Smokies celebration – Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge both have their own New Year’s festivals and parties, some of which have been running for decades and have become family traditions. Watch fireworks burst into showers of color and an illuminated ball descend in the center of Gatlinburg, which takes place at the Space Needle. Pigeon Forge hosts New Year’s Eve at The Island, a colorful indoor mall, and at the Dollywood theme park, which is also wrapping up its 30th anniversary.
The Peace and quiet – If you want to contemplate the past year and look forward to the next, there’s no better place to do both than in the Smoky Mountains. Hike a winter trail, relax in front of a crackling fire, or gaze at the beautiful Smokies as you reflect where you’ve been and where you’re going.
Getting outdoors – A New Year’s Eve in the Smoky Mountains wouldn’t be complete without getting out and enjoying some fresh higher altitude air. Even though snow regularly falls on the mountain tops, it rarely does at the lower elevations. The weather is usually cool at night but sunny during daytime. So go for a hike on the National Park trails, stroll around Gatlinburg (which only gets 10 inches of snowfall every year) or ski or go tubing at Ober Gatlinburg.
Romantic views – Of course, you don’t have to hike to enjoy the postcard-perfect vistas of the Smoky Mountains. But if you’re so inclined, find a favorite trail and head to the top, even if there is a little snow on the ground, such as Max Patch over on the North Carolina side. Of course, Cades Cove is a scenic view and open anytime of the year.