Smoky Mountain Fathers Day Fun Activities! Ten ways to celebrate Father’s Day in The Great Smoky Mountains Sunday, June 18, 2017. The Great Smoky Mountains offer a myriad of ways to celebrate Dad’s special day. Whether your Dad prefers, hiking, biking, fishing, great food or a cold brewski, the forests, towns and valleys located around the park have lots to offer.
1: Begin with breakfast by enjoying a stack of golden pancakes at the Log Cabin Pancake House up the hill on Airport Road after turning at red light # 8 in Gatlinburg ( readily identified by the covered wagon on the roof.) The restaurant opens at 7 a.m. and features a full breakfast. Parking is available in a lot just behind the building which is handicapped accessible. Not up for a large meal? Mosey on down the cobblestone alley in The Village (located at traffic light #6) downtown Gatlinburg and enter the Donut Friar’s, which offers an amazing variety of delicious donuts and pastries. The Friar also features great coffee, including espressos and cappuccinos. Cake donuts are available beginning at 5 a.m. and you can park on the street until 9 a.m. After 9, the staff recommends turning at traffic light #6 to access one of the city parking lots.
2: Pack a basket with delectable food and head to one of the many beautiful picnic facilities in the great Smoky Mountain National Park (My Dad’s personal favorite was the Chimney’s located a few miles south of Gatlinburg on Newfound Gap Road.) Most are located near flowing rivers, and feature tables and grills to make preparing that special treat for Dad an easy task. Don’t want to cook? Many local restaurants and sandwich shops like Old Dad’s General Store on the strip in Gatlinburg offer take-outs with all the fixings. All you need is a cooler, a bag of ice and a big jug of iced tea. Don’t forget to take folding chairs (all the better to sit in while dipping your toes in that cold mountain stream) and a couple of blankets for an afternoon nap.
3: Angling for the best present? A gift certificate from Smoky Mountain Angler provides beginning and advanced fly-fishing
lessons. You can also book a professional guide which will allow Dad to test his fishing skills at some of the more remote areas in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If Dad wants to test his luck solo, plan a trip to the Oconaluftee River, one of the best stocked trout streams in North Carolina, located on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, N.C.. Required tribal permits cost $10 per day and are available online or at the welcome center or fly-fishing shop. Anglers may keep up to 10 fish per day UNLESS you are fly-fishing on a 2.2 mile stretch on Big Cove Road which is catch and release only.
4: Has Dad’s outdoor gear had it? Check out some of the innovative new gear at GSM Outfitters. Camping has come a long way since the days of the clunky folding camp stove. Space-age technology has introduced lightweight and efficient ways to enjoy the outdoors. Most gear (tents, stoves, etc.) are compact enough to make backpacking a pleasure. Hiking boots are waterproof and the addition of Gore-Tex and other materials makes for warmer toes on winter hikes. Clothing has also undergone a transformation. T-shirts and shorts are designed to wick away moisture and will quickly dry after a dip (unexpected or otherwise) in a mountain stream.
5: Hike your way to big fun on Father’s Day in the park with a
leisurely stroll down one of the many nature paths like Fighting Creek trail at Sugarlands Visitors Center or something a little more strenuous. Your intrepid dad will enjoy a hike two miles up to Alum Cave Bluffs. This hike has it all with amazing views, a climb through arch rock, rushing streams, and a diverse forest. If you have the energy you can continue on to the summit of Mount LeConte for the best view in the Smokies!
6: Plan an overnight camping trip to one of the dozens of campgrounds located in the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether Dad prefers “glamping” in a luxiourous motor home, or less glamorous pop-ups and tents, or opts to really rough it in the backcountry, Park campgrounds offer an opportunity to reconnect with nature. Some of the more popular sites include Elkmont, Smokemont and Cosby. It is not too late to catch a late night firefly show or watch for shooting stars in the dark summer skies as you are lulled to sleep by the soothing (and sometimes a bit startling) sounds of Mother Nature.
7: Maybe dad is not the sharpest knife in the drawer but at Smoky Mountain Knife Works on highway 66 in Sevierville he does not have to be. The knife works offers the worlds finest selection of blades you can imagine. Don’t forget to check out the kitchen gadgets in the basement. You won’t be disappointed!
8: Looking for an adult beverage option for Dad? Check out the Smoky Mountain Brewery and restaurant located on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge ( the brewery also has sites in Knoxville and Gatlinburg) and enjoy one of the six locally crafted beers on tap. The facility is open from 11 a.m.-midnight and features live local music nearly every night. Or, cheer Dad at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery which specializes in dozens of flavors and proofs of corn liquor in downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Live music in an outdoor setting is featured regularly. Check out the HeySmokies events calendar to find the dates and times!
9: Dining options abound in and around the Smokies. The iconic Smoky Mountain Trout House is a long-time favorite and a great place to chow down on delicious mountain Rainbow Trout. Another visitor favorite is the Cherokee Grill and Steakhouse. The Boursin Filet is to die for! For a more down-home meal, check out the Bush Beans Café located about 15 miles east of Sevierville, just across Highway 411 from the massive Bush Bean manufacturing plant. We enjoyed the fried catfish, fried okra and a heaping bowl of greens. While there check out the country store that offers a variety of Bush products and the museum that provides a history of the Bush family and the manufacturing process. The cafe is open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; the store from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and the museum from 10 a.m -4 p.m.
10: If all else fails and you need one more idea for a Smoky Mountain Fathers Day gift just give ol’ Dad a great big HeySmokies bear hug. They are free, feel great, and never get old. It may be the best gift ever invented!