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  • Writer's pictureTennessee Family Vacation


Dollywood was opened on May 3, 1986, by country music legend Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment.

The park is situated on a sprawling 150-acre property in the Great Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee, near the town of Pigeon Forge.

Its scenic location in the mountains adds to its charm and appeal.

Tennessee Family Vacation

Dollywood features a wide variety of attractions and rides, ranging from thrilling roller coasters and water rides to family-friendly attractions and kiddie rides.

Dollywood has received numerous awards and recognition for its unique blend of entertainment and culture.

It continues to be a popular destination for both locals and tourists looking for a memorable experience in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The park embraces the autumn season with a variety of special events, decorations, and activities during its Harvest Festival - September 20 - October 30, 2023.

This Top Tenn list gives you all of the details on Dollywood's Harvest Festival. Take a look!

Tennessee Family Vacation
Tennessee Family Vacation

#1 - Stunning Fall Foliage

The Great Smoky Mountains, where Dollywood is located, are renowned for their breathtaking fall foliage.

The cooling temperatures and reduced sunlight trigger deciduous trees in Tennessee to prepare for winter by shedding their leaves.

The vibrant colors of fall foliage are a result of this process, which is also a sign of the changing season.

Dollywood is surrounded by beautiful forests, and visiting in the fall allows you to experience the vibrant colors of changing leaves.

Tennessee Family Vacation

#2 - Mild Weather

Fall typically brings milder and more comfortable weather compared to the scorching summer months.

You can enjoy the outdoor attractions without the intense heat and humidity.

Fall typically sees lower humidity levels compared to the summer months.

Lower humidity means the air can cool down more effectively in the evening, leading to cooler nighttime temperatures.

This cooler weather provides the perfect ending to a day spent at Dollywood!

Tennessee Family Vacation

#3 - Smaller Crowds

Fall is considered the off-peak season for Dollywood, which means shorter lines, less congestion, and a more relaxed atmosphere in the park.

You'll have more opportunities to enjoy the rides and shows without long waits.

Weekdays tend to be less crowded than weekends, especially during the school year.

Many families visit theme parks on weekends, so visiting on a weekday can also significantly reduce the crowd size.

Tennessee Family Vacation

#4 - Special Events

Dollywood hosts the annual "Harvest Festival" and "Great Pumpkin Luminights" events.

The Harvest Festival features unique entertainment, seasonal decorations, and delicious food.

A pumpkin patch of friends await around every corner during the Dollywood nights this fall.

You can strike your best pumpkin pose and capture perfect photos with their captivating autumn characters, including Benjamin Bear, Flit and Flutter (resident butterfly ambassadors), Apple Jack, Miss Lillian, Pumpkin Penny and Pumpkin Polly, Hoot Owl and Ollie the Owl, Patches the Scarecrow, and the Pumpkin Master.

Tennessee Family Vacation

#5 - Pumpkin Luminights

During the Harvest Festival, Dollywood hosts the "Great Pumpkin LumiNights" event, where the park is adorned with over 12,000 illuminated pumpkins, creating a magical and festive atmosphere.

It's a great opportunity for visitors to take in the beauty of Fall and capture memorable photos.

Tennessee Family Vacation
Tennessee Family Vacation

#6 - Unique Dining Experiences

Mountain-fresh flavors and hearty harvest plates are on the menu at Dollywood this fall.

You can sample seasonal treats like caramel apples, pumpkin spice goodies, and hearty Southern comfort food at Dollywood's restaurants and food stands.

Other offerings include Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo, the Harvest Pulled Pork Sandwich, all washed down with perfectly spiced sips like Pumpkin Pie Punch.

Save room for decadent delights like a Pumpkin Pie Funnel Cake to ensure your day ends on a sweet note!

Tennessee Family Vacation

#7 - Live Entertainment

Dollywood is known for its live entertainment, and during the fall, you can enjoy special autumn-themed shows and performances that capture the spirit of the season.

The park hosts numerous shows and performances daily, including musical acts, dance shows, and theatrical productions.

You can enjoy the sounds of a Smoky Mountain fall with Southern gospel, bluegrass, Americana and country tunes to tap your toes to.

Dolly Parton herself occasionally makes appearances and performs at the park!

Family Vacation

#8 - Dollywood's Craftsman's Valley

Explore the park's Craftsman's Valley area, where you can watch skilled artisans demonstrate traditional crafts like blacksmithing, glassblowing, and pottery.

Fall is a great time to appreciate these crafts and possibly purchase unique souvenirs.

Dollywood takes pride in celebrating the culture and heritage of the Appalachian region.

Visitors can explore craft demonstrations, museums, and exhibits showcasing traditional Appalachian skills and crafts.

Tennessee Family Vacation

#9 - Scenic Train Rides

Dollywood offers a charming steam-powered train ride called the Dollywood Express.

In the fall, this ride becomes even more scenic as it travels through the beautiful Smoky Mountains foliage.

The engineer sounds the whistle and your 20-minute mountain excursion is underway.

The authentic 110-ton coal-fired steam engine takes you on a breathtaking five-mile journey through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains where you'll enjoy pastoral scenery and some of the most beautiful views that nature has to offer.

Close your eyes and enjoy a fascinating trip back in time when travel in and out of the mountains of Pigeon Forge relied on trains like the Dollywood Express.

Tennessee Family Vacation

#10 - Nearby Attractions

The surrounding area offers plenty of other attractions, including hiking trails, scenic drives, and opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Gatlinburg is a charming mountain town that is just a short drive from Dollywood.

There you will find shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

You can explore the Gatlinburg Strip, visit Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, or take a scenic ride on the Gatlinburg SkyLift.

Besides Dollywood, Pigeon Forge has other attractions like WonderWorks (an interactive science museum), The Island in Pigeon Forge (shopping, dining, and entertainment complex), and the Titanic Museum Attraction.


For more information about Activities in east Tennessee, visit the Tennessee Family Vacation Explore page.



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