The Smoky Mountains’ Famous Firefly Light Show Will Be Virtual This Year

This summer, sit back and watch nature's light show from your sofa.

While we’re all at home, the travel bug is biting hard. Of course, there are ways to combat it, like taking virtual tours of museums and theme parks. You can even claim your seat on Disney’s virtual rides without being there in person. But if you’re like us and craving the great outdoors, now you can head to the Smokies from the comfort of your living room.

This year’s Smoky Mountains firefly light show is going virtual!

What Is This Firefly Show?

Every summer, Great Smoky Mountains National Park throws a lottery for parking spaces and offers a trolley to safely drive wildlife lovers up to the best view of the fireflies. It’s a huge deal and one of the Smokies’ most lucrative tourist attractions. The biggest event of the summer usually takes place between late May and early June, and last year, visitors caught a glimpse of these pretty lights from May 30 to June 6.

What’s so special about fireflies in the Smokies? They’re actually a different species called Photinus carolinus, aka the synchronous firefly. That means their lights sync up so they all flash at the same time. Every male firefly flashes about six times with a break before starting up again, which makes for a perfectly timed light show people love to watch.

Still craving some adventure? These virtual landmark tours are perfect for putting that travel bug to bed.

Where to Gather for Nature’s Light Show

Grab some warm tea and a blanket, and tune into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park firefly light show on June 1 at 8 p.m. EST. You don’t have to pay for a subscription to watch—the stream will be live for free on YouTube. The stream is presented by Discover Life in America, a nonprofit dedicated to understanding all the quirkiest species of Appalachia, and you can donate to the cause via their website.

We can’t wait to cozy up with this firefly light show! If only we had some s’mores to complete the outdoor experience…

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Laurie Dixon
Having a passion for writing her whole life, Laurie joined the Taste of Home team to bring together her two favorite things—creative writing and food. She spends most of her time playing with her dog, drafting up short stories and, of course, trying out new recipes.