GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — With the Fourth of July weekend on the horizon, if you’re looking for a cabin to rent in the Smokies, the pickings will be slim. Gatlinburg celebrates Independence Day in a big way, starting with the nation’s first 4th of July parade that kicks off at 12 a.m.
Those who operate cabin rentals have never seen business this strong over a 14-month period of time. When the coronavirus hit and everything shut down in March of 2020, cabin rentals fell, but when restrictions were lifted, visitors started returning to Sevier County in big numbers, the rush hasn’t subsided since.
At Stony Brook Cabin rentals in Gatlinburg, reservation agents are busy with little rest time in-between calls.
People have made reservations at record numbers for the last 13 to 14 months.
Pam Hill, co-owner of Stony Brook Cabins says, “Business booming people calling everyday looking for last-minute rentals. There aren’t any. Everybody is full and we’ve been full.” And when asked about the rest of the summer, Hill says, “It’s already full, so it’s going to be busy, busy, busy.”
With new attractions, the tourist season for visiting the sites in Sevier County is at its height. Thousands of new vacationers every day crowd the Parkway walking the streets lined with attractions, shops, and restaurants.
If families or couples seek some peace and quiet, they can find it by spending their vacation time at a cabin.
Jettie Prudhomme and Leonard Brown have come to the mountains of Tennessee from Lake Charles, Louisiana. Leonard said it’s the perfect location to place an engagement ring on his fiance’s finger.
“It’s probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. With the greenery, the privacy. And with the Mountains. I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life,” Brown said.
Prudhomme says, “Peaceful, it’s quiet. We’re far enough away from town where we can have the tranquility, but if we want to have some excitement, we head downtown.”
There will be lots of excitement beginning at one minute after midnight on the 4th, when the annual 4th of July parade kicks off in downtown Gatlinburg. Pam Hill says, “I think they found Gatlinburg and they love traveling. They love being out. People still have a little bit of extra money from the stimulus. People are working from home more so they are able to travel and work from their cabin.”
Back at the reservation desks at Stony Brook, because of the demand, they’re booking rentals weeks and months in advance. Hill says, “I have one week open in one cabin in July. It’s the big 13-bedroom. That’s the only one we have open the whole month of July.”
The Visitor’s Bureaus of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevier County are open and fully staffed, and let’s not forget Dollywood. When the 4th of July holiday ends early next week, for the bureaus and the amusement park, it’s on to promoting other events for the summer.
And, cabin rentals? They’re projected to remain strong for the rest of the year as thousands of people make their way to the mountains every day.