Christmas at The Island in Pigeon Forge TN
Photo Credit: Andrew Saucier

Choose Your Own East Tennessee Winter Vacation

Frozen waterfall hike or snowboarding? Cozy cabin or hotel? Christmas lights or constellations? Choose your ideal winter getaway.

Featured in this Article:

Boutique Lodge or Cozy Cabin?
Christmas Lights or Constellations?
Hot Chocolate or Moonshine Tasting?
Ice Skating or Snowboarding?
Christmas Concert or Christmas Ballet?
Small Town Celebration or Famous Festival?
Frozen Waterfall Hike or Indoor Snow Tubing?

Choose how you'll spend the upcoming holiday and winter season. Is that curling up in a cozy cabin with local Tennessee distillery spirits or will you fill your calendar with Christmas events and light shows? However you celebrate the colder months of the year, spend them making warm memories in Tennessee.

Boutique Lodge or Cozy Cabin?

RT Lodge - Maryville

The perfect winter getaway is RT Lodge, a classic lodge style property with comfort and charm. Enjoy a room furnished with either a king or two single beds, each with fluffy comforters and buttery-soft linens. It's an ideal place to unwind after a day of small town exploring, wine tasting in the area and outdoor adventures. Complimentary, hot breakfast is included in your stay. For dinner, head to The Restaurant at RT Lodge for comfort foods such as buttermilk fried chicken, house made charcuterie, handcraft cocktails and more.

The Coalmont Cabin - Coalmont

Photo Credit: @thecoalmontcabin

If your dream is to curl up in a tiny cabin and watch snow fall gently on trees, a lake and rolling hills, then the Coalmont Cabin is for you. While we can't guarantee snow (that's Mother Nature's job), we can guarantee your stay will be full of winter magic. The 460-square-foot waterfront cabin sleeps 2-4 people and includes a stocked kitchen, woodstove, full bath and two large decks with a fire pit and an outdoor fireplace near the dock for grilling. You can enjoy fishing, kayaks or pedal boating on the lake or take a dip in the private, 7-person, self-sanitizing salt water hydrotherapy hot tub. Ride the zip line, play board games, work on a puzzle and enjoy the views with a good book.

Christmas Lights or Constellations?

Speedway in Lights - Bristol

Bring the family to marvel at all of the Christmas light displays that illuminate Bristol Motor Speedway at The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights Nov. 17, 2023-Jan. 6, 2023. See 3 million lights on a 4-mile trek from the comfort of your car. Then, enjoy additional activities in the Christmas Village which includes an ice rink, the longest standing ice skating rink in the region.

Obed Wild & Scenic River - Wartburg

If you prefer the sparkling lights that nature provides, make a trip to do some stargazing at Obed Wild & Scenic River. The scenery by day is beautiful, especially in the winter and by night, the stars shine brightly. The park is an International Dark Sky Designated Area meaning the park actively reduces light pollution to preserve nighttime nature, uses quality outdoor lighting and more. 

Hot Chocolate or Moonshine Tasting?

Red Eyed Rooster Co. - Chattanooga

Photo Credit: @redeyedroosterco

If you're strolling Chattanooga or about coming back from an outdoor adventure, stop by Red Eyed Rooster Coffee Co.'s for a delicious hot chocolate. The mobile coffee and espresso bar serves up hot chocolate made with Ghirardelli chocolate and steamed milk, making for the perfectly indulgent winter treat. They also have pastries, espresso, chai tea, caramel spiced apple cider and more. Check out their schedule for their daily locations.

Adventure Distilling - Cosby

Photo Credit: Designsensory

Celebrate the local culture of the Smokies at Adventure Distilling Co. in Cosby that offers moonshine distillery tours. See their process of distilling true 103-proof clear corn liquor and enjoy a tasting of their many flavors. Enjoy live music and check out nearby Smoky Mountain Adventure Tours which offers UTV tours of the area. 

Ice Skating or Snowboarding?

Ober Mountain - Gatlinburg

You can do both ice skating and snowboarding at Ober Mountain, Tennessee's only ski resort. Enjoy year-round ice skating for all skill levels on the indoor ice arena. Skates are available for toddler shoe size 6 through adult size 15. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. If you want an adrenaline rush, have a day of skiing or snowboarding on Ober Mountain's slopes designed for a variety of skill levels. Equipment rentals are also available. Additional snow fun includes snow tubing, ice bumper cars and the Snow Zone where you can play in the snow. 

Christmas Concert or Christmas Ballet?

Dollywood - Pigeon Forge

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas is always a highlight of the season, voted America's Best Christmas Event for more than a decade. In addition to the 6 million lights and family-friendly, holiday fun, you can catch one of the award-winning shows that happen each day. Gather with your loved ones to enjoy guest favorites like "Christmas in the Smokies," "O Holy Night," and "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" that will fill your heart with Christmas spirit.

Paramount Center for the Arts - Bristol

Get your tickets now to enjoy Bristol Ballet Company's two-night performance of the timeless classic, The Nutcracker Dec. 8-9, 2023 at Paramount Center for the Arts. This family-friendly ballet follows Clara's adventure as she helps the Nutcracker battle the evil Rat Queen and dance away to the Land of Sweets. Guest artists Erin Ginn and Jace Coronado return from New York City to reprise their roles as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. 

Small Town Celebration or Famous Festival?

Whoville Christmas - Jonesborough

Celebrate the holidays in Jonesborough, transformed into Dr. Seuss' beloved Whoville 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST Nov. 25. This Dr. Suess-themed event hosts different Whoville activities throughout downtown. Snap a photo with the Grinch and get a sweet treat. Reading of the classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by the Heritage Alliance will take place noon, 1:15 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. at the Chester Inn Museum. Tickets are free but must be picked up in advance at the Chester Inn Museum. Tickets will be available starting at 11 a.m. and tickets will be available for the last two programs at 1:15 p.m.

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival - Pigeon Forge

Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas is a must-see for the whole family. See 6 million twinkling lights throughout the park. Hop on the classic Dollywood Express Light Experience. The classic train ride takes you throughout the park to see the holiday sights and sounds as Christmas tunes fill the air. Glacier Ridge is spread through Wilderness Pass and Timber Canyon and tells a heartwarming story of two bears reuniting for the holidays. Blue and white lights twinkle as you follow the story, creating an icy home. Take a photo with Santa and see if you're on the naughty or nice list. Extend the holiday magic with a stay at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort & Spa or the new HeartSong Lodge & Resort.

Frozen Waterfall Hike or Indoor Snow Tubing?

Rainbow Falls - Gatlinburg

Photo Credit: @fairfortunephoto

Capture the beauty of Rainbow Falls in winter along the Rainbow Falls Trail in the Roaring Fork area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A rainbow is usually produced by the mist rom the 80-foot high waterfall and when winter cold temperatures hit, ice formation builds around the falls making for stunning photography. The 5.4-mile hike is considered moderate to difficult with about 1,500-feet in elevation. After spending time at the falls, you can continue on the trail for another 4 miles to the summit of Mount Le Conte. 

Pigeon Forge Snow - Pigeon Forge

America's first indoor snow park is Pigeon Forge Snow. You can hit the slopes year round and enjoy family-friendly fun for everyone. Race down the slopes in a snow tube and build snowmen and snow forts in the play area. Get 1 hour of snow tubing and 30 minutes of snow play for $36.99, the best of both worlds with a great price.

Find more winter vacation ideas: 

Choose Your Middle Tennessee Winter Vacation 

Choose Your West Tennessee Winter Vacation

Things to do in Tennessee this Winter

Winter Getaways in Tennessee

Cozy up in Tennessee in the winter at these getaways near you for the best winter vacation.

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