Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in December


There is plenty to do in December in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Various winter recreation facilities are open year-round, and lively community events and festivals occur every December. The city is home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of outdoor winter activities, from skiing to winter camping.

Winter Sports

Winter recreation such as skiing and snowboarding are available in Gaitlinburg in December. The Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Resort is located on Mount Harrison, with an elevation of more than 3,000 feet. The resort has eight slopes for skiers of all skill levels. Rent ski and snowboard equipments or bring your own. Beginners and advanced skiers or snowboarders can take courses from certified instructors on-site.


Participate in seasonal events such as the Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade, which includes floats, marching bands, balloons, music and decorated vehicles. Or search for unique gifts at the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community Holiday Arts and Crafts Show.


Winter camping is available in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and in many other campgrounds in the area. The Cades Cove Campground in the national park has 159 tent and RV sites with amenities like comfort stations, snowshoeing hiking trails, portable water, interpretive trails, lantern poles, picnic tables and fire grills. Campers can fish in the park’s many streams for species like trout and bass year-round.

Snow Tubing and Ice Skating

Try snow tubing at the Ober Gatlinburg snow tubing park that features a 50-foot vertical drop on a 10-lane, 400-foot run. You don’t need any experience to go snow tubing. If you prefer indoor activities, try ice-skating in Ober’s ice arena, which has more than 400 pairs of rental skates for women, men and children.


Visit museums such as the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Hollywood Star Cars and Hollywood Wax Museum. One of Ripley’s main attractions is the colony of African blackfooted penguins interactive exhibit, with a tank that holds over 40,000 gallons of saltwater. Guests can crawl through clear underwater tunnels to see the penguins swimming.

About this Author

Rona Aquino is an experienced writer in running, fitness and outdoors recreation. She is a proud Terp from University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English. Aquino is a contributing writer to and as the DC Trail Running Examiner.