We have a lot to look forward to in the Lakeside of the Smokies in 2023–unique events, lake days, concerts, festivals, competitions, and, of course, another year enjoying the natural beauty of East Tennessee. Plan an adventure, cross something off your bucket list, or take some time to relax and enjoy the great outdoors this year with a Smoky Mountain vacation. It’s always a good time to visit East TN because each season has something different to offer. Let’s take a closer look at some of the exciting things on the horizon for 2023.
Winter Activities in The Lakeside of the Smokies
Start the year off right with a trip to the Lakeside of the Smokies! Winter is the best time to plan a relaxing lake vacation free from the summertime crowds. Keep reading to find out about a few events coming up or check out this complete guide to a Winter vacation in Jefferson County.
Wintertime Fishing in Douglas and Cherokee Lake
The water might be chilly, but the fish are still biting! Cherokee Lake and Douglas Lake are two of the best fishing spots in Appalachia. Fishing might be more popular during warmer months, but late Winter is the best time to go for a big bass. The end of February and March are pre-spawn season—a period when the water starts getting warmer, before the fish settle into their beds to spawn (lay eggs). Bass can be found in shallow water during this period and they’re actively trying to gain weight, so the fish are easy to find, at their heaviest weight, and likely to bite. To learn more, read this guide to pre-spawn fishing.
Douglas and Cherokee Lakes bring some of the best professional anglers in the country to East TN each year. Major League Fishing is hosting the second event of the 2023 Bass Pro Tour from March 18th through March 23rd with rounds on both lakes. For the amateur anglers, the White Pine Marine Tournament Trail kicks off in Dandridge on February 25th with big prizes on the line including a brand-new Nitro fishing boat. Come watch the competitions and see who brings in the biggest bass.
Guided Fishing Trips on Douglas & Cherokee
If you’re not quite ready to fish in a tournament, you can rent a boat and hit the water or schedule a guided trip. Fishing with a guide helps you improve your skills, and they might even show you some secret spots for reeling in a big one.
Spirit of Nations Powwow
Learn about the culture and heritage of the Native American community at the Spirit of Nations Powwow, hosted at the Jefferson County High School on March 25th. This fun and educational celebration of Native American culture includes dance presentations and competition, flute playing, arts and crafts, kids’ activities, a drum competition, traditional craft demonstrations, storytelling, food, and a silent auction.
Spring in the Smoky Mountains
When the frost melts and flowers begin to bloom, it’s time to get outside and explore the Smokies. Hit the hiking trails or plan a camping trip to take advantage of the nice weather and all the springtime beauty that East Tennessee has to offer.
Hiking in Jefferson County
There are tons of hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains as well as some beautiful hiking destinations in the Lakeside of the Smokies. The Mossy Creek Wildlife Viewing Area is a wildlife refuge located in Jefferson City. It’s a great spot to take a leisurely stroll by the water and spot some local wildlife. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is only a short drive from Jefferson County, making it a perfect destination for a quick day trip during your visit. The national park has an extensive network of hiking trails for hikers of all skill levels.
Campgrounds in the Lakeside of the Smokies
Plan a camping trip to the Lakeside of the Smokies and enjoy temperate weather, waterfront views, and plenty of space. Whether you’re an RV camper or if an old school tent is more your style, the Lakeside of the Smokies has several quality campgrounds to accommodate you. Reserve a lakeside spot for the best view of the sunset over the Great Smoky Mountains.
Summer Fun in the Lakeside of the Smokies
Days on the lake, restaurants with beautiful views, and great live music—what’s not to like? Visit Jefferson County for summer fun that lasts from the time the sun rises until after the sun sets over the Great Smoky Mountains.
Visit Cherokee Lake & Douglas Lake
There’s no better way to beat the East Tennessee summer heat than a lake vacation. There are tons of places to stay, from luxury resorts to cabins and campgrounds. You can bring your own boat or rent one from one of the marinas. There are jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards, tubes, wakeboards and more available to rent!
Waterfront Dining on Cherokee Lake & Douglas Lake
After a long day on the lake, you’re bound to have worked up an appetite and what’s better than a meal with a view? Cherokee and Douglas Lakes have some excellent waterfront dining options where you can kick back, relax, and take in the scenery.
Live Music in Jefferson County
Take a break from the lake or finish your day off right with some live music. Get your groove on at the June Jubilee on June 17th in Historic Downtown Dandridge. This all-day music and street festival includes live music from various genres, a live auction, vendor booths, local food, and more!
Fall Festivities in Jefferson County
This fall, celebrate the rich history, culture, and sense of community, that make Jefferson County such a great place to live and visit. These fall festivals feature delicious food, unique vendors, activities for all ages, entertainment, and you might even learn something!
Pine Fest is an annual street festival that celebrates the history and future of White Pine. Visit Downtown White Pine on September 16th for food, crafts, and fun for the whole family!
Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival
Calling all lads and lassies, the annual Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival takes place on September 30th in historic Downtown Dandridge. Whether you’re Scottish, Irish, or neither, this cultural celebration is a great opportunity to learn about the history and heritage of the two groups in the South and in Appalachia. Celtic Folk bands, bagpipers, Irish step dancers and more will take the stage to entertain. See beautiful Scottish Highland cows, Blackface sheep, and Irish and Scottish working dogs in action as they demonstrate their herding skills. There will be merchandise vendors selling Scottish, Irish, and Celtic goods, jewelry, and clothing, food vendors serving local and authentic snacks and meals, and a Celtic Ale Garden where you can enjoy a refreshing brew.
Mossy Creek Station Festival
The Mossy Creek Station Festival is an annual community festival in Jefferson City featuring a wide array of vendors, activities, and entertainment. Visit Mossy Creek Station on October 7th to take part in all the fun!
Add a Trip to the Lakeside to your 2023 Calendar
This list barely scratches the surface of things to do in the Lakeside of the Smokies in 2023! There’s tons of fun on the horizon, check out this complete list of upcoming events. Visit our website for more information on where to stay, shop, eat, and play during your trip to the Lakeside of the Smokies.