The Best Annual Events to Plan Your NC Smoky Mountain Vacation Around

The Best Annual Events to Plan Your NC Smoky Mountain Vacation Around

As you're looking ahead on the calendar to plan your vacation time in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, be sure to save these dates for annual events that you might want to consider planning your vacation around. There's always somewhere to explore, new adventures to be had, and local festivities to partake of no matter what time of year you're here—so check out a few of our favorites that happen throughout the year, pretty much every year. 

Freedom Fest Bryson City NC | Watershed Cabins NC Smoky Mountain Rentals
The Great Bacon Chase | Watershed Cabins NC Smoky Mountain Rentals
The Polar Express | Watershed Cabins NC Smoky Mountain Rentals

Bryson City NC Freedom Fest

Freedom Fest in Bryson City happens on the Fourth of July each year. Everett Street is closed for all your favorite arts, crafts, food and the music festival followed by a super fireworks show at 10pm—some of the best in the Smokies! You’ll find food vendors serving up festival classics including funnel cakes, shave ice, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, BBQ, kettle corn and more. It's definitely worth planning your Smoky Mountain summer vacation around. Details here.

The Great Bacon Chase

If you're looking for something fabulously fun, make sure you attend the Great Bacon Chase in Bryson City. The less-than-a-block fun run starts at the Appalachian Rivers Aquarium and finishes on Island Street near Mountain Layers Brewery. You can be the bacon or chase the bacon with your dog. A bacon costume is included in your race registration. The fun run usually takes place near the beginning of October. Details here.

Fall Foliage in the Great Smoky Mountains

Fall colors appear first at the highest elevations and work their way down over a 5-6 week season. Late September to early October is when the higher elevations (around 5000 feet) start to change color while the lower elevations (2000 feet) typically peak during late October and early November—so you should be able to find beautiful color no matter when you visit in the fall. Because fall is such a popular time in the mountains, cabin rentals book up fast. Planning ahead gets you the dates and the lodging you want. Details here.

The Polar Express

The Polar Express runs mid-November through the end of December each year at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot in Bryson City. Get your golden ticket stamped by the conductor and enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening to The Polar Express. Santa is waiting at the North Pole, where he’ll board the train and greet each child on the return trip, giving them their own silver sleigh bell to take home. Don’t forget to wear your pajamas! Details here. 

A Smoky Mountain Christmas

Bryson City is a small town with a big celebration over the holiday season. The streets are decorated with holiday lights and garlands; the shops offer plenty of gifts and one-of-a-kind arts and crafts, as well as tasty foods and wines. The 20-foot Christmas tree on the town square is in front of the Visitor Center, where kids can write a letter to Santa. You can peruse all of the holiday fun from last year and plan for this year's holiday season in the mountains by reading more details here..

what's your favorite time of year for aN NC smoky mountain vacation? 

We want to know! 

The Best Annual Events to Plan Your NC Smoky Mountain Vacation Around

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