May Events in the Smoky Mountains (2024)

Smoky Mountains in May

A list of upcoming events in the Smoky Mountains for May

May is one of our favorite months in the Smokies. The month marks the start of summer with (mostly) sunny weather. And it lacks the intense crowds that we tend to see in June, July and August – and sometimes even into late September. And of course, May also marks the start of the new summer season when you can ride some slides and water rides for both Soaky Mountain and Splash Country – two of the area’s most popular waterparks.

Dollywood and Anakeesta are popular attractions in May (pro-tip: Before visiting Anakeesta, check Tripster for discounts. And of course, as always, Puckett’s, Hard Rock Cafe and Ole Red will be featuring free live music on select nights.

If shops and Southern dining are more your speed, try stopping by the Old Mill District – which features a collection of historic buildings turned tourist attractions in Pigeon Forge – for a meal at the Pottery House or the Old Mill Restaurant and a photo-op at the Grist Mill. Arts and crafts lovers will enjoy the Arts and Crafts Community – one of our favorite places – located in Gatlinburg.

May is also the ideal time to explore nature in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hikers may want to consider one of our popular trails like Porters Creek Trail, The Gatlinburg Trail, Trillium Gap Trail (to the Grottos Falls waterfall), Laurel Falls, Alum Cave Trail, Clingmans Dome (the highest point in the Smokies), the Little River Trail, Ramsey Cascades Trail or even Baskins Creek Trail.

Those who prefer nature “lite” can opt for naturing by car (one of the best ways to see the park on a hot day in our opinion) on one of our popular scenic drives like Cades Cove Loop Road, Newfound Gap Road or Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. In May, you can see wildflowers. If you’re lucky, you might even see wildlife like a few black bears and wild turkeys.

Soaky Mountain – the area’s largest outdoor waterpark – reopens in May (photo by Daniel Munson/

If you’re a local attraction or business that would like to add an event to our calendar, please contact our editorial team.


Disclosure: We have used and experienced all the products and activities recommended on The Smokies. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products and experiences featured.

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