Apr 26, 2024 - Things to Do

Plan ahead for a firefly free-for-all

A stacked image of Photinus carolinus in the Smoky Mountains.

A stacked image of fireflies in the Smoky Mountains. Credit: Peleg Lab at CU Boulder

The National Park Service is opening a lottery at 10am to give people an opportunity to surround themselves with the glow of thousands of fireflies.

Why it matters: Tennessee's Elkmont Campground at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (about a four-hour drive from Nashville) offers tourists the chance to watch fireflies illuminate the night in search of mates for roughly two weeks each spring.

How it works: The synchronous firefly viewing will take place June 3-10.

  • NPS uses a randomized computer drawing system for reservations to reduce park traffic that would disturb the fireflies.
  • A total of 1,120 vehicle reservations, 140 per night, will be issued through the lottery.

What's next: Visit Recreation.gov to apply. The lottery closes at 11:59pm Monday.

  • Applicants will find out if they are successful in mid-May.

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