Home » Gatlinburg

11 Places To See Santa in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Smoky Mountains

santa at crave mini golf

Santa is always a busy man in the Smoky Mountains. We hear he will be visiting multiple area attractions this year, including Crave Mini Golf (photos by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com & Crave Mini Golf)

Please note, that TheSmokies.com may receive commissions for links in this article that lead to purchases from third-party vendors.

Here’s where you can grab a photo with Santa this year in the Smokies

Santa is officially making his rounds throughout the Smoky Mountains for the Christmas season. And he’s excited to hear about your wishlists! Because Santa tends to be a busy guy, we thought it might be helpful to share his current travel itinerary in this article. But be warned, Santa’s schedule sometimes changes with little to no notice. Due to circumstances beyond his control, he often has to make emergency trips back to the North Pole. With that in mind, it might be best to call ahead and confirm that he’s still there before packing up your own sleigh with tiny children.

Without further ado, here are ten places to get your photos made with Santa in Pigeon Forge and the surrounding areas of Gatlinburg Sevierville, Kodak and Townsend.


Subscribe to our newsletter for area news, coupons and discounts

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Please wait...

Thank you for sign up!

the island in pigeon forge at christmas time
Santa always makes a few appearances at The Island in Pigeon Forge (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

1. The Island (Pigeon Forge)

Located in the breezeway at The Island in Pigeon Forge, both Santa Claus and the Grouch (a Grinch-inspired character) will be available for photos on select dates in December. Those dates and times are listed below.

  • Saturday, Dec. 18, 4-8 pm
  • Sunday, Dec. 19, 3-8 pm
  • Monday, Dec. 20, 3-8 pm
  • Tuesday, Dec. 21, 3-8 pm
santa with kids at crave mini golf
You can see Santa as well as 30,000 twinkling lights at Crave Mini Golf this year (photo contributed by Crave Mini Golf)

2. Crave Golf Club (Pigeon Forge)

Crave Golf in Pigeon Forge gets decked out this time of year with almost 100 trees, 30,000 twinkling lights and 20,000 ornaments as part of their candy-themed Christmas event. And we all know how Santa loves candy. This year, free photo ops will be available with both Santa and the Grinch at Crave Golf on the following dates:

  • Grouch: Saturday, Dec. 2, 6-9 pm
  • Santa: Saturday, Dec. 2, 3-6 pm
  • Grouch: Saturday, Dec. 16, 6-9 pm
  • Santa: Saturday, Dec. 16, 3-6 pm
the grouch at toy box mini golf
The Grouch, a Grinch-inspired character, will be visiting Crave Mini Golf, Toy Box Mini Golf and Sky Pirates this holiday season for photo ops (photos by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com & contributed Toy Box Mini Golf)

3. Toy Box Mini Golf

Santa and the Grouch will also be making appearances at Toy Box Mini Golf – one of Pigeon Forge’s newest mini-golf attractions. Hours and dates are as follows:

  • Grouch: Saturday, Dec. 9, 3-6 pm
  • Santa: Saturday, Dec. 9, 6-9 pm
Sky Pirates at Mermaid Bay construction
Construction is currently underway for Sky Pirates of Mermaid Bay Mini Golf, which is slated to open later this month (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Sky Pirates of Mermaid Bay

Santa and the Grouch will also be making appearances at Sky Pirates of Mermaid Bay, which is slated to open in late November 2023 with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 4. At the time of this writing, Santa and Grouch appearances are scheduled as follows:

  • Grouch: Tuesday, Dec. 19, 3-6 pm
  • Santa: Tuesday, Dec. 19, 6-9 pm
tree lighting event at lumberjack square
Santa will also be making daily appearances at the Shops at Lumberjack Square. Pictured: Last year’s tree lighting event with Paula Deen and Santa (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

5. The Shops at Lumberjack Square

You can also get your photo taken with Santa this year at The Shops at Lumberjack Square daily from Nov. 27-Dec. 22. In addition to the regular photo-op, a special Axe-throwing Santa will be showing off his special set of skills for show attendees prior to the 5 pm Lumberjack Feud. The Lumberjack Feud Christmas show begins Dec. 20. The traditional Santa photo-op schedule can be found below:

  • Daily Nov. 27-Dec. 22, 4:15-5:15 pm
santa's candy cane cottage
There are multiple ways to visit Santa at Santa’s Claus-et (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

6. Santa’s Claus-et

There are multiple ways to meet Santa at Santa’s Claus-et in Gatlinburg. The most popular way, of course, is the walk-in visit with Santa at his Candy Cane Cottage. The second is a personalized 20-minute one-on-one 20-minute meet and greet with Santa (by appointment only for $200). And the third is a 10-minute Zoom visit ($50). The latter two can be reserved online on at the Santa’s Claus-et website.

At Santa’s Candy Cane Cottage, kids can tell Santa about what they want for Christmas and get their photos taken. It’s free to visit Santa, but there will be a small charge if you want to take a photo home. Santa has to keep up with rising labor costs to keep those elves happy. Good help is hard to find nowadays. While hours may vary, especially on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, his general schedule at the Candy Cane Cottage will be as follows:

  • Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5 pm (now thru Dec 22)
  • Sunday, 1-4pm (now thru Dec 22)
the santa haus
Santa has also been known to make appearances at The Christmas Place inside The Santa Haus. He most frequently stops at the aptly named Santa Haus (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

7. The Christmas Place

If you want to find Santa in the Smoky Mountains, visiting The Christmas Place is a good place to start. The Christmas Place will feature Santa’s Haus this year for guests to experience the magic of Christmas. This year, Santa will be home on the following dates and times all the way up ’til Christmas Eve:

  • Monday, Thursday, Sunday, 10 am-6 pm (now through Dec. 24)
  • Friday & Saturday, 11 am-7 pm (now through Dec. 24)
  • Saturday, Dec. 23, 10 am-7 pm
  • Sunday, Dec. 24, 10 am-3 pm
wooden bear holds merry christmas sign
Fun fact: Santa skips the chondala chairlift at Anakeesta and just uses his flying sleigh to get up the mountain (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

8. Anakeesta’s Enchanted Winter (Gatlinburg)

Santa’s sleigh will also be landing on Anakeesta Mountain on select dates throughout November and December. But no formal schedule has been announced at the time of this writing.

winter wonderland sign at wilderness at the smokies during the holiday season
Wilderness at the Smokies will also feature ice skating this season (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

9. Wilderness at the Smokies

This year, Santa will be making his rounds at Wilderness at the Smokies with multiple meetup locations to choose from. He will be in the outdoor Winter Wonderland by the resort’s ice rink during the first hour of each scheduled appearance and then in Santa’s Workshop during the last two hours. At Santa’s Workshop, kids can also enjoy cookie decorating and other holiday crafts. His current schedule can be found below:

  • Friday, Nov. 24, 2-6 pm
  • Saturday, Nov. 25, 3-6 pm
  • Friday, Dec. 1, 3-6 pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 2, 3-6 pm
  • Friday, Dec. 8, 3-6 pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 9, 3-6 pm
  • Friday, Dec. 15, 3-6 pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 16, 3-6 pm
  • Thursday, Dec. 21, 3-6 pm
  • Friday, Dec. 22, 3-6 pm
  • Saturday, Dec. 23, 3-6 pm
santa's list at dollywood's smoky mountain christmas event
Kids will love Dollywood’s interactive Santa’s List installation (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

10. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

During Santa’s trips to East Tennessee, he also enjoys visiting his friend Dolly Parton. Returning again this year, “Santa’s List … Naughty or Nice” allows kids to see inside Santa’s cabin as he reviews his famous list. Families can discover whether their name is on the list and also have their photos made as they watch Santa work.

11. Bass Pro Shops

Back by popular demand, Bass Pro Shops will host Santa from Nov. 4 through Dec. 24. Advanced reservations are required. To make a reservation to see Santa, visit the Bass Pro website.

Where do YOU plan to catch Santa this year? Let us know in the comments!

Have a question or comment about something in this article? Contact our staff here. You may also contact our editorial team at editor@thesmokies.com (preferred) or call 865-505-0648.

Leave a Comment