Plan your Smoky Mountains vacation for May to experience our unique spring delights. You’ll find blossoms, bears, bluegrass and beer awaiting you! Here’s a guide to May’s marvels.
Bask in Great Weather
In the Smoky Mountains, May wafts in with daily average highs in the mid-70s. It’s not hot and sticky like summer! You’ll get 13 or more hours of daylight most days in May, too, so plan to stay outside longer to visit amusement parks or get one last ride on a thrilling mountain coaster or zipline.
Get Wowed by Wildflowers
Hike or walk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to take in the delicate colors of native wildflowers. May brings out lush, flowering shrubs. The famous pink and white mountain laurel starts blooming in early May throughout the park. You’ll find it easily along roads and trails. Flame azalea shrubs, sparked with blossoms that range from white to orange, red or yellow, bloom in low- to mid-elevation forests in May. Before you set out, check the National Park Service’s website to see what’s blooming.
Watch Black Bears
This is a good month for spotting the Smokies’ mascot, the black bear. Mothers and cubs usually emerge from their winter dens in March and April—so by May, cubs go venturing in the forests with moms nearby. The best times to catch a glimpse of a bear is the early morning or late evening. Remember, feeding bears illegal and so is approaching them. Stay safe.
Enjoy May Festivals
Sevierville hosts the Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass festival May 14-15, with down-home bluegrass music all day long on three different stages, plus a barbeque competition, and walking tours of Sevierville’s historic downtown.
Try Ober Gatlinburg’s MayFest, a celebration of spring, German-style. Sample brews , listen to “oompah” band music, pick up local crafts, and bring the kids for the bounce house, games and more. Check the Ober Gatlinburg website for dates.
Whether you’re a crafter, or you just appreciate handicrafts, the Mountain Quiltfest May 5-8 will entice you to wander the displays of artistic quilts.
Try Something New
Our Smoky Mountain towns always find new ways to delight visitors. This spring, expect Pigeon Forge Chairlift to open its doors for rides with terrific views. The Island debuts its new Flying Theater Ride this year. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park opens its new SkyTrail, a mountain-hugging but easy path, this spring, too.
Gaze at the View from Your Cabin
May evenings in the 60s are just right for sitting on your rental cabin’s deck and sipping a warm drink or local wine. Don’t miss May in the Smokies. Reserve your cabin today.