Looking for a new way to celebrate Independence Day in the Smokies? We have the perfect guide for you! Compiled below are several suggestions that highlight the wide array of patriotic options for you and your family to enjoy. From parades and festivals to food and fireworks, you’ll be busy with plenty of things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
If you are a night owl, stay up late on July 3rd in downtown Gatlinburg for the midnight “First Independence Day Parade In The Nation” that honors the men and women who serve in the military. This 41st annual parade features floats, marching bands, and balloons. What better way to bring in the 4th than with a band playing patriotic music!
River Raft Regatta
The following day, be a spectator or a participant in the popular (and free) River Raft Regatta, held in Gatlinburg at 10 a.m. It starts at the Christ in the Smokies bridge and ends at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. At night, the city lights up the sky with a brilliant 20-minute fireworks display at 10 p.m. If you want a good spot to watch the fireworks, set yourself up between traffic lights #3 and #5.
If you aren’t into staying up late or have kiddos that need to be in bed, then head on over to the aptly-named Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge for the free 26th Annual Patriot Festival. There will be music starting at 1:30 p.m. through the day from Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter Joe Diffie, Emily Ann Roberts (featured on NBC’s “The Voice”), the band Tribute, and more. The festival ends with a 9:30 p.m. fireworks show. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, but not umbrellas. More about the festival can be found on the event website.
Dining & Shopping
If you want to have an all-American meal on Independence Day, we think the Timberwood Grill will be perfect. Sink your teeth into the BBQ Baby Back Ribs or the slow-roasted Smokemont Beef Brisket with Bourbon baked beans and thick-cut fries. Afterward, stop by the Patriot Peddler—a store filled top to bottom with only goods Made in the USA. While you’re there, pick up a “History of Old Glory” framed piece that shows the changes in our flag over time.
For those searching for some engaging shows, Dolly Parton’s Stampede is a good start. Plus, they have fireworks, so if you can’t make any of the local fireworks shows you can get at least a taste here. Speaking of taste, they have fantastic food too, because it’s a dinner show!
We hope if you’re visiting for Independence Day, you take the time to visit some of these wonderful festivals, parades, and businesses. Mark the dates and locations on your calendar. If you’re in the process of planning, log in or register for an account and make a brochure Wishlist for Independence Day.
Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.