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.
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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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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.
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
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!