The Lakeside of the Smokies is a charming and beautiful area in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. It’s a great vacation destination year round, even when it’s cold outside. Lake views, luxury lodging, and the laid-back, small-town vibe make for a relaxing holiday vacation. A vacation in the Lakeside of the Smokies gives you the best of both worlds–you can partake in the lively Christmas festivities in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, without paying exorbitant holiday prices. The Lakeside of the Smokies is a quick drive from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In this article we will help you plan a holiday getaway to the Lakeside of the Smokies with lodging, dining, shopping, and activity recommendations.

Historic Shepard Inn

Places to Stay: Resorts, Cabins, and Camping

The first step to planning your holiday getaway is choosing a place to stay in the Lakeside of the Smokies. Whether you are looking for a place to spend a weekend during the holiday season or a place to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas, there are tons of great options in the Lakeside of the Smokies.

Mountain Harbor Inn

Looking for a relaxing and beautiful place to take your significant other this holiday season? Look no further than the Mountain Harbor Inn located in the Lakeside of the Smokies. Picturesque views of Douglas Lake, luxurious suites with balconies, lakeside cabin, and a spa make the Mountain Harbor Inn the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Enjoy a couples massage in your room, rent a boat for the day, and have a delicious meal all in one place. 

Did we mention the Super Winter Specials? Luxury accommodations are available for a significant discount during the winter months and guests 65 and older receive an additional discount. Click here or call 379-1313 to learn more about Mountain Harbor Inn and to make reservations.

Smoky Mountain Lakeside Resort & Marina

It might be too cold for a swim, but the lake views and top-notch accommodations at Smoky Mountain Lakeside Resort & Marina, Lakeside Resort for short, are still worth considering for your holiday vacation. Lakeside Resort is where luxury meets nature. It’s the perfect place for a group trip, couples’ trip, family vacation, or even family reunion. Their villas are modern in design and include amenities such as a fireplace, private hot tub, and outdoor decks. The luxury lake house at Lakeside Resort is a great place for bigger groups and families to stay. Panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains, a rooftop deck, lakefront access, and even a game room will make for an unforgettable vacation in the Lakeside of the Smokies. You can rent a pontoon or rent a slip and bring your own boat. The marina includes a restaurant and patio with fire pits and hammocks. 

Shepard Inn

The Shepard Inn bed and breakfast is perfectly described by their slogan, “we saved a place in time for you”. The Shepard Inn is a historic home constructed in the 1800s and maintains the elegance of the past. If you’re looking for a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of modern society, The Shepard Inn is perfect for you. Each room is different–decorated with beautiful antique furniture and named for one of the presidents that are known to have stayed there. It is conveniently located in downtown Dandridge, so visitors can explore local businesses on foot.

Campgrounds in the Lakeside of the Smokies

You probably won’t want to brave the cold in a tent, but if you have an RV there are lots of places to spend your vacation in the Lakeside of the Smokies. Park your RV, build a fire, set up camp, and enjoy magnificent lake and mountain views. Click here for a list of campgrounds.

Chicken and Dumplings

Mug & Mason

Places to Eat (& Drink)

You won’t go hungry during your visit to the Lakeside of the Smokies. From mom-and-pop restaurants to fine dining, there are plenty of great spots to satisfy your appetite between activities. There are plenty of chain restaurants, but we encourage you to choose locally owned establishments like the ones listed below for an authentic taste of the region.

Southern Food in the Smoky Mountains

Whether you’re a southerner or visiting the region, you’ll be impressed by the Southern food in the Lakeside of the Smokies. Visit Owen’s Restaurant in Dandridge for family style breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their menu is constantly changing so you know what you’re getting is fresh, check their Facebook to find out what they’re serving up today. If you’re in Jefferson City, eating at Lisa’s Country Kitchen is a must. From fried chicken to ribs that fall off the bone, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.  

Check out the new Mug and Mason in Jefferson City is where American Southern favorites  have a Scots-Irish flair. Their take on the classic chicken and dumplings is sure to warm the heart and while the classic and chips will take you right across the pond! 

Bars, Breweries, and Distilleries

It’s wintertime and you might need a drink (or a few) to warm you up. Visit bars, breweries, and distilleries to try locally made spirits, beers, and cocktails. You’ll get a taste of the local culture and might even meet some friends along the way. The following are some of the best places to enjoy an adult beverage in the Lakeside and Smoky Mountains. 

Located in downtown Jefferson City, Mossback Distilling Company is a moonshine distillery with an accompanying tasting house & cocktail lounge. They serve craft cocktails, offer tastings, and sell full bottles of their products. If you prefer wine, embark on a delicious journey through the Smokies on The Rocky Top Wine Trail. This tour of Smoky Mountain wineries features free tastings at five wineries. Enjoy a beer with the locals at Dandridge Brewing Company in historic downtown Dandridge. They offer a large selection of craft beers as well as sandwiches and bar food.

For a full list of places to eat in the Lakeside of the Smokies click here.


Christmas Tree in Glenmore Mansion

Candle Light Tours at Glenmore Mansion

Play: Activities in the Smokies and Lakeside of the Smokies

You will never be bored during your time in the Lakeside of the Smoky Mountains. There is tons to do in the lakeside, and it’s a quick drive to The Great Smoky Mountain National Park and tourist attractions in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. No matter the weather, there are places to visit and things to do for visitors of all ages.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

The beauty of The Smoky Mountains will be a highlight of your vacation. Experience the natural beauty of East TN by exploring hiking trails, taking scenic drives, and enjoying lakeside views.


Hiking is the first activity that most people think of when visiting the Smoky Mountain area. There is a long list of hiking trails to explore in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and other parks in the area. The weather is notoriously unpredictable in East TN, so you might get lucky with an unseasonably warm day during your vacation. Regardless of the weather, it’s worth bundling up to experience the natural beauty. 

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a vast network of hiking trails ranging in difficulty from the day-long hike up to Mt. Leconte to kid-friendly hikes. If you’re looking for lake views or want to bring your dog along (The Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not allow dogs), go hiking in Panther Creek State Park, which has 17 hiking trails (and biking trails) with views of Cherokee Lake and the Cumberland Mountains. 

Douglas Lake & Cherokee Lake

There’s nothing quite like the views of Douglas and Cherokee Lake—serene waters surrounded by rolling hills and the Smoky Mountains. Just because it’s chilly outside doesn’t mean you should leave the lake off your itinerary, there are tons of ways to enjoy the Douglas and Cherokee Lake year round. Rent a boat, go fishing, stay in a lakeside cabin, resort, or campsite, or simply sit back and enjoy the view.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

Enjoy Christmas decorations from your warm car at Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, a drive-through light show located near the lakeside at the Smokies Stadium in Kodak, TN. The massive light show features displays of trees, animals, Christmas scenes and more. You really have to see it yourself to understand the scale. The fun doesn’t stop there, there are tons of activities for kids–photos with Santa, zoo animals, train rides, and more. 

Christmas at Glenmore

Glenmore is a Victorian Mansion in Jefferson City with a rich history. Built during the 1800s, this gorgeous home is now open to the public. They are decking the halls of Glenmore Mansion for a special event this holiday season: Candlelight Tours. Every room of the house will be decorated, and the candlelight will allow you to experience what it was like to live during the Victorian era, before electricity was commonplace in East TN. The tour is self-guided, but there will be guides in every room to answer questions.


Local shops have unique items that you can’t find at big chain stores. There are tons of local stores to visit in the Lakeside of the Smokies. Take home a souvenir or purchase a unique gift during your vacation.  

Christmas Shopping Expo

The 2022 Christmas Shopping Expo is a massive 2-day shopping event in Dandridge, TN. It’s a great opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts with over 130 vendors, boutiques, crafts, and artisans. There will also be food trucks and baked goods to enjoy. The event is only $2.00 and proceeds help support the local food pantry. The event takes place December 3rd from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM and December 4th from 10:00 AM until 4:00PM.

Two People looking out of window Shepard Inn

Visit the Lakeside of the Smokies this Holiday Season

Visit the Lakeside of the Smokies this holiday season and experience what makes East TN great—good food, good people, plenty of things to do, and a beautiful natural landscape. Take advantage of your time in the Smokies, Lakeside, and small towns by visiting local businesses. From romantic suites for two to lakeside houses that can accommodate your entire family, there are so many great places to stay in the Lakeside. 

Click here to find out more about planning your vacation in the Lakeside of the Smokies.