Gatlinburg sits at the entrance of the Smoky Mountains National Park and is easily one of the most scenic destinations in Tennessee. Visitors flock from all over the US to take in the beautiful sights and enjoy the welcoming mountain town atmosphere. For your next 4th of July getaway, consider a vacation in Gatlinburg! The city is full of fun things to do and see all year long, but it truly comes alive in the summer to celebrate America’s birthday. From great fireworks shows to theme park fun, Gatlinburg has all the charm and excitement to make your Independence Day vacation amazing. Keep reading to find out our top picks for activities for the 4th of July in Gatlinburg 2021!

4th of July in Gatlinburg 2021 Midnight Parade

One of the most unique 4th of July traditions in Gatlinburg is the Midnight Parade! Local residents here are proud to boast the title of the “First Fourth of July Parade in the Nation” and this parade is unlike any other you’ll find. Beginning at midnight after the fireworks show, the parade attracts about 80,000 spectators a year and is full of patriotic floats that honor America’s history, military veterans and other heroes. Named by National Geographic Magazine as one of the top 10 parades in the USA, this is a must-see for anyone spending the 4th of July in Gatlinburg! This year’s official parade Grand Marshal is American Idol contestant EmiSunshine, an East Tennessee native whose talent has been featured at venues ranging from the Grand Ole Opry to the TODAY Show.

View the Fireworks Show at SkyLift Park

Of course, you can’t have a 4th of July celebration without a spectacular fireworks show! Luckily, Gatlinburg doesn’t disappoint, offering one of the best fireworks shows in the nation. Free to attend, and viewable from nearly anywhere in the city, this fireworks display soars over the city’s Space Needle, making for a great backdrop to the show. Fireworks begin around 10 p.m. but be sure to prepare in advance to get the best views.

Speaking of great views, although you could observe the fireworks show from anywhere in Gatlinburg, why not make the most of your stay and get VIP seats? For the biggest and best fireworks viewing party in Gatlinburg, head to SkyLift Park! SkyLift Park was the first four-season chairlift in the South and is a local landmark. Sitting directly across from and about 100 feet above the Space Needle, SkyLift is perfectly situated to offer amazing views of the fireworks display. Make a day of it by purchasing tickets to the park and spending some time exploring the SkyLift and SkyBridge. You’ll be stunned by the breathtaking natural views here during the day and be blown away by the fantastic views of the 4th of July fireworks at night!

Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta

In addition to the unique tradition of the Midnight Parade, Gatlinburg has another unique local annual event for the 4th of July: The River Raft Regatta. Taking place on the 4th, on the Little Pigeon River in downtown Gatlinburg, this creative competition is fun for both attendees and participants. Unmanned rafts float down the river, with prizes being awarded to the top 3 finishers for both categories of rafts: Trash (not hand-made) and Treasure (hand-made). Special prizes are handed out for the oldest and youngest participants, as well as Most Creative raft. You can also rent rubber ducks to enter the competition for $2 each or 3 for $5. The top 3 duckies will also receive trophies. Registration begins at 10 a.m. with the race beginning promptly at 11 a.m. Whether you want to participate or just observe, this is a 4th of July event that you surely won’t forget!

Family-Friendly Events at Anakeesta

A favorite local destination in Gatlinburg is Anakeesta Park. This theme park offers thrills and attractions designed around the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains and is a fantastic place to visit during your 4th of July vacation. Enjoy nature walks, ziplines, obstacle courses, and a rollercoaster all with the background of amazing mountain views. In addition to this great year-round attraction, Anakeesta also hosts events on the weekends that make the park extra-special. On Friday evenings, enjoy a family-friendly movie night in the park. Free with your admission, the whole family can come along to enjoy the temperate summer mountain weather and watch a classic family film. They also offer live music shows on both Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer. Whether you want to spend a day of thrills in the park, or an evening relaxing for movie night, Anakeesta is a great place to spend some of your time for the 4th of July in Gatlinburg 2021!

Between beautiful mountain views, a unique list of local events, and of course a great fireworks show, Gatlinburg is the perfect Southern destination for an amazing 4th of July weekend! Celebrate America’s birthday with a fun getaway in Gatlinburg!

Contact us today to book your luxury stay for the 4th of July in Gatlinburg!