Treat yourself to a relaxing and heart-warming Gatlinburg vacation this February. If you do, you can experience the area before the falls break free from their icy constraints and visitors from around the world begin to converge on the Smoky Mountain National Park for the busy season.
Whether you want to experience winter in the mountains or simply enjoy a romantic V-day getaway, Gatlinburg is a great destination. Not sold yet? Read on for an inside look at some of the best local activities you can try and attractions you can visit in February.
Reasons to Visit Gatlinburg in February
February is a great time to visit Gatlinburg, TN, since there are fewer tourists, winter sports and activities are in full swing, and there tend to be a lot of fun events and good deals for Valentine’s Day. Aside from that, who wouldn’t want to bask in the unmatched beauty of the snow-covered Smokies, warming themselves up beside a fireplace in a quaint mountainside cabin after a fun-filled day on the town?
There are fewer tourists
While Gatlinburg has a lot to offer tourists year-round, there tend to be significantly fewer visitors between January and May. With February falling firmly between those dates, you can expect to experience many of the same attractions and natural beauty — just without the crowds.
Winter Sports Hub
Gatlinburg is home to the only ski resort in Tennessee. But access isn’t what really makes it special. Fun for the whole family, Ober Mountain in Gatlinburg offers skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snow tubing, and a discovery snow play zone.
Incredible events and celebrations
The most notable event in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville areas is Winterfest. This annual event ends on Feb. 18, 2024. Until then, guests can visit decadent light displays, enjoy holiday performances, experience Appalachia via train, and even get to know local wildlife one-on-one. Area restaurants, museums, and businesses also host special events and activities on Valentine’s Day so you can make memories with the special person in your life.
7 Things to do in Gatlinburg in February
From quiet streets and bespoke museums to invigorating events and winter sports, Gatlinburg has a lot to offer Here’s a short list of some fun local things to do in February.
1. Go on a Wintery Hike
February is typically the coldest month in Gatlinburg. Still, with average temperatures ranging from 29 – 53ºF, you can still have a great time on the trails. Just remember to don some quality winter hiking gear — the exertion will do the rest to keep you warm.
Beyond that, flatter paths with lower elevations tend to be less slippery and more accessible year-round. Here are a few Gatlinburg hiking trails that offer great views and a relatively comfortable walk in February.
Gatlinburg Trail: Passing by creeks and falls, you may also find that this scenic hiking trail transports you to a mountainous winter wonderland, depending on when you visit.
Twin Creeks Trail: Situated in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this moderately difficult hike will take you by enchanting streams and let you explore log cabins and stone ruins.
Old Sugarlands Trail: Moderately challenging to hike, this out-and-back trail is full of historical charm, wildlife, and Ephemeral Wildflowers like daffodils, chickweed, jonquils, and violets.
Metcalf Bottoms Trail: This tranquil path runs through lush forests alongside Little River. On the way, you’ll come across the Walker Sisters Cabin, where you can learn about the ladies who refused to give up their family land.
Tip: Most trails don’t get too icy in February, but you can usually see beautiful frozen falls if you know where to look.
2. Enjoy Gatlinburg Winter Activities and Sports
A highlight of any February visit to Gatlinburg is undoubtedly Ober Gatlinburg, a popular mountaintop ski resort. Since February is one of Gatlinburg’s snowiest months, you can experience a true winter wonderland with minimal artificial snow (weather permitting). Better yet, Ober Mountain has fun activities for everyone regardless of age, interests, and abilities. Here’s a rundown of some things you can do:
High-octane winter sports: Thrill-seekers can enjoy skiing and snowboarding on well-groomed slopes, while tubing enthusiasts can speed down snowy hills.
Relaxing winter activities: For those seeking a more laid-back experience, try gliding down the mountainside on a family-friendly Alpine Slide or ice skating on a rink surrounded by the natural beauty of the Smokies.
3. Enrich Your Mind at a Museum
Explore local museums to stimulate your mind and keep yourself sharp during vacation; there’s no shortage of captivating exhibits, historical artifacts, and interesting stories in Gatlinburg. Whether you’re interested in the region’s history or cultural heritage, these museums offer a wealth of knowledge that can enhance your visit.
The Titanic Museum: February is Sweetheart Month at the Titanic Museum. You can engage with interactive exhibits, get serenaded by a century-old piano, and pose for photos on the ornate wooden staircase.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Perfect for families, you can explore odd and unusual artifacts, immerse yourself in a 5D moving theater, challenge your friends to a go-kart race, or get lost in a colorful mirror maze.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: This aquarium is fun and educational for sea lovers of all ages. Step inside to see the lives of exotic fish, rays, sharks, eels, jellyfish, and more. And if you come at the right time, you can also see the Penguin Parade.
Hollywood Star Cars: Visit to see iconic Hollywood vehicles like the Batmobile from the Original Batman, the 1969 Dodge Charger from Dukes of Hazzard, and the 1981 DeLorean from Back to the Future.
4. Visit Gatlinburg Landmarks
History doesn’t just happen inside. On warmer days, consider seeking out some of Gatlinburg’s famous landmarks. From unencumbered views of grandiose mountain vistas to Insta-worthy photo op locations, here are a couple of places you should add to your February vacation itinerary:
Gatlinburg Space Needle: Ride to the top of this iconic 407-foot landmark to look over the town below and the Smoky Mountains from a 360º observation deck.
Gatlinburg SkyLift Park: Stroll through the “Tunnel of Love” and experience the spark of romance as the lights on the famous bridge glow red and white.
5. Try Local Spirits, Wine, and Moonshine
Indulging in local wine, whiskey, and moonshine is a great way to immerse yourself in part of the region’s heritage. These drinks are deeply rooted in Gatlinburg’s history and traditions, and local taphouses have spent generations perfecting their recipes. Here are a few locally-owned spots with the best flavors:
Ole Smoky: Stop by this local distillery to enjoy Gatlinburg’s live music scene and local events while you try out some of their signature moonshine flavors. Try the Strawberry Mango Margarita or Buckeye Shines.
Tennessee Shine Co.: This popular distillery has convenient locations all around Sevier County. When you visit, try unique flavors like their Black Berry Shine, Blue Houdini Shine, and Jalapeño Cornbread Shine.
Gatlinburg Winery: Stop by this winery to sample recipes developed by the owner in-house. If you make the trip to one of their Gatlinburg locations, try one of their world-famous cotton candy wines.
6. Treat Yourself or Your Valentine to Dinner
Enjoy dinner in Gatlinburg to fuel up for your adventures and to delight your inner foodie. Several beautiful, unique, and romantic restaurants in the area are great during the wintery calm of February. Here are a few places we recommend dining (but there’s no shortage of worthwhile spots):
The Melting Pot: Experience a new way of dining at this local fondue restaurant. If you and your friends, family, or date are big fans of chocolate or cheese — this is the place to be.
The Peddler: One of the top-rated steakhouses in Gatlinburg, this is the go-to spot if you’re in the mood for a juicy steak or a gourmet dessert like the Hot Blackberry Cobbler.
7. Book a Secluded Cabin Getaway
Finding the right cabin is non-negotiable for a good winter vacation in the mountains. Whether you want something simple but cozy or extravagant, you deserve somewhere comfortable, enjoyable, and warm to return after a long day of attending events, hiking, and exploring Gatlinburg.
Here are just a few options that Gatlinburg vacationers tend to snap up in a hurry, especially in February.
Romantic Views: Enjoy a direct view of the Smokies from the indoor hot tub or swinging chairs. Along with a fully equipped kitchen, arcade games, a fun heart-shaped pool, and other lovely amenities, this is the perfect place to spend V-day with your partner.
Ever After: This luxury cabin in Gatlinburg offers stunning views of the Smokies. Nestled among the trees, it has relaxing amenities like a hot tub, shower jets, games, a fireplace, and outdoor swings.
Another Day In Paradise: Find your own piece of paradise in the mountains when you book this cabin. Complete with a theater room, hot tub, pool table, and incredible views — this cozy cabin is perfect for a winter getaway for two.
Elk Springs Resort Cabins Offer More Than Just a Place To Rest Your Head
There are so many fun things to do in Gatlinburg in February. And after a long day of tirelessly exploring the area, there’s nothing better than heading back to a cozy cabin and sinking into a comfortable bed. If you need somewhere to lay your head when the day is done, or you want to spend time having fun at a cabin, look no further than Elk Springs Resort.
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