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The Best Time To Visit Dollywood!

So, you want to visit Dollywood… but you’re not sure what time of the year is best… Don’t worry we’ve got you covered!

The 2023 operating season is FAST approaching, and most people are starting to plan those 2023 travel dates. That being said, let’s look at some tips on when YOU should consider a trip to the park!

In 2023 Dollywood will host SEVERAL events and festivals. New in 2023 will be the I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU 50th Anniversary Celebration kicking off the season on March 11th and will run through April 8th!

The park will then host the annual Flower & Food Festival from April 21st – June 11th, the Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration from June 17th – August 6th, the Harvest Festival from September 20th – October 30th, and finally Smoky Mountain Christmas November 4th – January 6th.

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While we definitely recommend taking the time to visit the park at least once during each festival we realize not everyone has the option to do that… so that poses the question…

WHAT is the best time of the year to visit to maximize your enjoyment of the park?

If you’re not concerned about themed festivals, want to avoid crowds during your visit, and are more concerned about low wait times for attractions we would suggest that you plan to visit the park after the I will Always Love You celebration ends and before the Flower and Food Festival begins.

This part of the season typically sees lower crowds because most children are still in school and the spring break period has ended. This should allow you plenty of time to enjoy all the coasters multiple times without a long wait.

BUT we must caution you! We still do not know WHEN Dollywood plans to open its newest attraction BIG BEAR MOUNTAIN! As of right now Dollywood says this attraction will open in Spring 2023 and is about 75% completed. So once opened,  this will create more traffic to the park if it debuts during the typical slow period!

If you’re someone who enjoys good entertainment and food more so than the attractions and you don’t mind crowds, then you can’t go wrong with a visit during Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration OR Harvest Festival! Each of these events sees longer operating days, special entertainment, and delicious limited time food offerings!

Finally, if you don’t mind the cold, possible closures due to inclement weather, and a very crowded park Smoky Mountain Christmas is the time for you! It’s the time the park comes alive with millions of Christmas lights, delicious food, special seasonal entertainment, and even Santa makes an appearance!

You should keep in mind that you’ll definitely need to bring your patience pants as wait times are some the highest, we see all year and the park can suffer from last minute closures of attractions and cancellation of entertainment due to weather.

You really can’t go wrong with a trip to Dollywood at any time during the operating season but it really comes down to personal preference. Are you someone who enjoys low crowds and maximum ride time OR do you prefer to stroll around the park and sample delicious foods and entertainment but don’t mind a few more people in the way?


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