Gatlinburg is the ideal vacation destination if you love the outdoors. Located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the area is bursting with activities. Take in the scenic panorama of Newfound Gap Road, hike to Rainbow Falls, zipline over lush wilderness. And that’s just the beginning. To help you discover all the area offers, add these top Gatlinburg outdoor activities to your to-do list. It will be a fun list to check-off, and you’ll make memories doing so!

gatlinburg outdoor activities

Great Smoky Mountains National Park features hiking trails with waterfalls, wildflowers and incredible vistas.

1) Go for a Hike

With over 800 miles of trails, it’s easy to get up-close to nature. The Smoky Mountains have a diverse selection of hikes, from two-mile loops to 10-mile treks. Stop by a visitor center, like Sugarlands Visitor Center, to pick up a few maps and guides. Where to hike can be a difficult question, so it’s nice to have a few suggestions in mind. The aforementioned Rainbow Falls, Abrams Falls, Laurel Falls and Rocky Top Trail are some of my favorite, promising cascading waterfalls and endless views.

2) Cycle in the Smokies

Cades Cove, one of the most picturesque places in the Smokies, allows bicycle traffic until 10:00 a.m. every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September. If you didn’t pack your bike, don’t worry. You can rent a bike at the Cades Cove Campground Store. Rates are $7.50/adults and $4.50/children. Cruise through the historic area, and marvel at its peacefulness. This is one of the only times Cades Cove isn’t filled with sightseeing motorists.

gatlinburg outdoor activities

The Smoky Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for a horseback ride.

3) Saddle Up Partner!

Hop on a horse to explore the area as settlers once did. Two trusted outfitters – Smoky Mountain Riding Stables and Sugarlands Riding Stables – take guests on guided backcountry excursions. Prices are reasonable, too, rates starting at $30/hour. The beautiful horseback riding trails inside the Great Smoky Mountains allow access to sweeping vistas, wooded forests and lovely valleys.

4) Zip through the Sky

On the edge of the national park, there are several Gatlinburg ziplines. At locations like Zipping in the Smokies and Adventure America Ziplines, you can zip pass waterfalls and over green forests, all at speeds around 50mph. It’s a total rush and fun for the whole family!

5) Reel in the Big Catch

gatlinburg outdoor activities

Gatlinburg is an ideal place to stream or creek fish.

The creeks flowing through Gatlinburg are famous for their mountain trout. Reel one in on one of the over 2,000 miles of streams in and outside the National Park. The Little Pigeon River flows right through downtown Gatlinburg. Plus, there fishing outfitters and guides are available to help you catch the picture-perfect fish.

Gatlinburg Outdoor Activities Equal Adventure

These five things Gatlinburg outdoor activities are just the start of the natural things to do in the Smoky Mountains. Vacation here to explore this pristine slice of nature on your own time, and in your own way.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Are you ready to experience summer adventures in Gatlinburg? Located in beautiful eastern Tennessee, surrounded by The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a nature lover’s wonder and an outdoorsman’s paradise. Plus, there are a variety of Gatlinburg attractions that aim to put the thrill back into your summer vacation. Ready for some fun?

Here’s my picks for the top five summer adventures in Gatlinburg:

Adventures in Gatlinburg

1) White Water Rafting

There are several reputable rafting companies in the Smokies giving guided tours of the Pigeon River, including Smoky Mountain Outdoors and Big Creek Expeditions. You can choose between upper and lower sections, so the thrill level is up to you.

Adventures in Gatlinburg

2) Ziplining in the Smokies

Where better to zipline that scenic Gatlinburg? We recommend zipping with Foxfire Mountain Adventures as they have the highest, longest and most scenic zip lines in the Smokies, with up to 1/4 mile long zip line over 200 feet above the forest floor. Other options include Adventure Ziplines of Pigeon Forge and Adventure America.

Adventures in Gatlinburg

3) Go Zorbing

Zorbing is good, old-fashioned fun those of all ages can enjoy. At Outdoor Gravity Park you can Zorb wet or dry, alone or with a friend, but the only place you can currently do it in the United States is in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Go once and you’ll want to go again!

Adventures in Gatlinburg

4) Tube the River

This one might not be adrenaline filled but it’s a summer tradition in the Smokies. Rent a tube from River Romp and float on down the river as your cares drift away behind you.

Adventures in Gatlinburg

5) Visit Dollywood

Dollywood is home to 40 exciting rides and attractions, including the all-new Lightning Rod, America’s fastest wooden coaster, and the soaring Wild Eagle, America’s first wing coaster. Families with little ones love the Country Fair area, themed with flying elephants and a ferris wheel, while the perfect place to cool off is at the Lazy River, Daredevil Falls and River Battle. Purchase a Dollywood vacation package for great savings or to combine your tickets with Dollywood’s Splash Country.

Add these summer adventures in Gatlinburg to your vacation for a trip you’ll never forget!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

It’s summertime in the Smoky Mountains which means it’s time for a memorable vacation in Gatlinburg.  Surrounded by The Great Smoky Mountains, this hamlet offers a variety of things to do.  From attractions that dive into aquatic life to scenic spots straight out of a postcard and white water rapid adventures, the places to visit in the Smokies create an escape all their own.

The Top Five Things to Do in Gatlinburg this Summer include:

Things to Do in Gatlinburg this Summer

1) Go on a White Water Rafting Trip

Brave the Pigeon River and go whitewater rafting in Gatlinburg.  There are several outfitters to choose from, all of which provide guided services on the upper and lower section of the river.  The upper section features Class III and IV rapids, while the lower section is more leisurely with Class I and II rapids.  Choose the adventure best for you and enjoy a beautiful day on the river.

Things to do in Gatlinburg this summer

2) Take a Hike

Of course, one of the top things to do in Gatlinburg this summer is hiking. Sure, it can be hot during the summer season but you’d be surprised how cool the air can feel in those higher elevations. In addition, many of the treks are waterfall hikes so you can enjoy the mist and spray of the falls for both their beauty and natural cool down effects. Do keep in mind, however, that you’ll need plenty of water and sunscreen on for those summertime hikes.

3) View the Underwater World of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

This expansive attraction takes you on a journey through “life under the sea.”  Ripley’s Aquarium exhibits feature a variety of aquatic life and an interactive area is a fun place to play and learn with the kids.  Explore Penguin Playhouse, Stingray Bay and Coral Reef. Then, take a journey on moving 340-foot long glidepath through the Shark Lagoon.
Things to Do in Gatlinburg this Summer

4) Take the Scenic Route

Take a ride aboard the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway or the Gatlinburg Sky Lift for fantastic views of the Smoky Mountains.  With Ober Gatlinburg, you ride in a comfortable gondola to the top of the mountain, where sweeping vistas as well as an ice skating rink and family amusement rides.  The Gatlinburg Sky Lift is a more laidback approach as you ride in open air ski-lift style chairs.  At the top, you can explore the gorgeous views and a charming panormaic scene. 
Things to do in Gatlinburg this summer

5) Go Ziplining

Add some extra excitement to your vacation with a Gatlinburg zipline .  Several companies, including Foxfire Mountain Adventures and Adventure America, offer scenic zipline adventures.  Zipping through the air past lush canopies and splendid mountains is a rush I highly recommend! It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg this summer. 

Bonus: Take a day trip to Pigeon Forge. It’s home to Dollywood and Splash Country. As a result, it’s an ideal place to play during the summer season in the Smokies.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a nature lover’s dream as there are a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy, especially since this town is the gateway to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Everything from fishing to hiking to whitewater rafting in Gatlinburg is available to guests.

Rafting in Gatlinburg

Summer is a fantastic time of year to try rafting in Gatlinburg.  This Smoky Mountain vacation addition is a thrilling good time. In addition, it’s extremely affordable due to steep discounts from Gatlinburg rafting companies.

Current Deals on Rafting in Gatlinburg

 

Many of the whitewater rafting companies are located in Hartford, Tennessee, which is located about 45 minutes northeast of Gatlinburg. The area is home to the Pigeon River, which follows the eastern boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains. It is a beautiful place to visit, and provides a gorgeous setting for a Smoky Mountain rafting trip.

Visitors can choose to go on a moderate, kid-friendly adventure or can up the ante a bit and go on a more thrilling adventure that includes Class III & IV rapids. The Lower Pigeon River area is suitable for children 3 years and older, and for those that weigh less than 70 pounds. The Upper Pigeon River is for passengers 8 years and older, as it features the higher class rapids.

Other outdoor adventures that await visitors to Gatlinburg include Fishing in the Smokies, horseback riding at Five Oaks Riding Stables and ziplining in Gatlinburg. A few of the ziplining options include Adventure America Ziplines and Adventure Park Ziplines.

Reserve your Gatlinburg vacation today to experience all of the outdoor fun available!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

When vacationing in the Smoky Mountains, the last thing you want is to be hit with a parking charge at your hotel or lodging accommodations. Fortunately, your have plenty of Gatlinburg hotels with free parking to choose from.

Hotel parking fees can add up fast, especially if you plan to stay several nights and have more than one car. Instead of wasting your vacation budget on parking fees, save money by staying somewhere with free parking. That way you can use your funds for fun instead of for fees!

Take a look at some of our favorite Gatlinburg hotels with free parking.

Gatlinburg Hotels with free parking

Image via Park Place Condominiums / Facebook

Park Place Condominiums

In addition to being one of the hotels in Gatlinburg with free parking, Park Place Condominiums also offers guests a wide range of amenities. From being just steps away from the National Park to the picturesque landscape, you’ll love staying at Park Place Condominiums.

Bearskin Lodge on the River

Located at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bearskin Lodge on the River provides amenities including complimentary breakfast, free WiFi, and non-smoking rooms. With cozy accommodations and free parking, this is an ideal hotel for Gatlinburg visitors.

Gatlinburg Hotels with free parking

A stay at Old Creek Lodge includes free parking.

Old Creek Lodge

As one of the Gatlinburg hotels with free parking, Old Creek Lodge seeks to provide guests with the top amenities. While staying at the lodge, you can enjoy free breakfast, a convenient hotel location, a heated outdoor pool, and more. Within close proximity to everything, Old Creek Lodge is a great choice for families vacationing in Gatlinburg.

Glenstone Lodge

A classic Gatlinburg hotel, Glenstone Lodge provides guests with comfortable rooms, convenient amenities, and a gateway to the area’s top attractions. The hotel not only offers free parking, but also a children’s pool, free WiFi, smoking and non-smoking rooms, and a prime location near downtown Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg hotels with free parking

A golf getaway and free parking can be found at RiverStone Resort & Spa.

RiverStone Resort & Spa

Although technically located in Pigeon Forge, the RiverStone Resort & Spa is situated along the Gatlinburg golf course. Anyone looking for a golf getaway at one of the Gatlinburg hotels with free parking will appreciate all that this resort has to offer.

The Park Vista – a DoubleTree by Hilton

This spacious Gatlinburg hotel offers something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re visiting on business or a family reunion, The Park Vista hotel does not disappoint. Take advantage of amenities such as a picnic area, a 24-hour business center, and a bar with an outdoor patio and fire pit.

Browse Gatlinburg Hotels with Free Parking

To see a full list of Gatlinburg, TN hotels that provide free parking, check out Reserve Gatlinburg. From condos to hotel rooms, you’ll find the perfect hotel for your Smoky Mountain vacation.

 

When you’re on vacation you still want to be connected. At Gatlinburg hotels with free internet service you can easily access your email, check your flight status, or confirm any last minute tickets you might want to purchase through Reserve Gatlinburg. A large majority of Gatlinburg hotels offer free internet service finding one that fits your vacation needs is a breeze.

A few of the Gatlinburg TN hotels with free internet service we recommend include:

Bearskin Lodge on the River

With its unique mountain charm located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bearskin Lodge promises the best that nature has to offer in Gatlinburg. At Bearskin Lodge, you’ll find state-of-the-art amenities among its traditional mountain craft decor and massive log beams. Downtown Gatlinburg shops, restaurants, and attractions are just outside your door. As a result, you’ll stay connected with the free WiFi at a convenient Gatlinburg location.

Glenstone Lodge

Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, Glenstone Lodge features a great location, phenomenal views, and abundant amenities. When looking for Gatlinburg hotels with free Internet service, what more could you ask for? The Glenstone Lodge is set in the heart of Gatlinburg, within walking distance of all of the best Gatlinburg attractions, shops, and restaurants. Glenstone Lodge is also located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which features swimming holes, hiking trails, and even a Historic Motor Nature Trail.

Fairfield Inn Gatlinburg North

Always fresh, always clean, the Fairfield Inn guest rooms are full of thoughtful amenities, including a well-lit desk, remote control TV with free cable, and complimentary weekday newspaper. Relax while splashing in a refreshing swimming pool after a day of exploring all that Gatlinburg has to offer. You’ll find that fun and excitement are right at your doorstep, with Davy Crockett Mini-Golf located in the shadow of the Inn.

Highlands Condominium

The Highlands Condominium has the very best view and location with easy access to Gatlinburg, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Pigeon Forge. Each condominium has a complete kitchen with fireplace and private balcony with an excellent view! There are two pools on site, one indoor and one outdoor, hot tub and also an exercise room. As one of the many Gatlinburg hotels with free Internet service, the Highlands Condominium offers complimentary Internet access in every room.

Old Creek Lodge

Old Creek Lodge has all the amenities you expect and some you wouldn’t! You’ll find a fireplace in every room; remember this is the mountains. Take a dip in the pool and you’ll think you’re in a mountain stream – it’s so close. Enjoy your breakfast from the deck overlooking where two streams meet. In addition, the lodge offers plenty of free parking for your convenience. With these cozy and rustic amenities, Old Creek Lodge is sure to be one of your favorite Gatlinburg hotels with free Internet service.

Park Place Condominiums

For an outdoor adventure, Park Place is a natural choice for the perfect vacation. Surrounded by lush hardwoods and mountain views, condos line the banks of the rushing Little Pigeon River. Park Place is literally steps away from both the quiet solitude of the National Park and charming downtown shops, restaurants and attractions of Gatlinburg. But, you’ll stay connected in the middle of this pristine nature scene thanks to the free WiFi!

River Terrace Resort

River Terrace Resort and Convention Center is located along Little Pigeon River in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, adjacent to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and also near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition, River Terrace Resort is a short drive from Pigeon Forge, Dollywood theme park, entertainment venues, family-friendly restaurants, shopping opportunities and other attractions. Hiking trails, championship golf, and whitewater rafting are also nearby.

Stay connected while on vacation and receive the guaranteed lowest rate available by reserving your stay at one of the many Gatlinburg hotels offering free WiFi.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Families planning a vacation can often run into a budget crunch.  Mom and Dad’s everywhere want to get the most of their hard-earned money, which is all the more reason a vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee makes sense.  Both economical and entertaining, the Smoky Mountains can be the place where you get away from it all without having to spend it all. I’ve outlined some budget friendly Gatlinburg vacation tips to help you save while you play.

Gatlinburg vacation tips

1) Arrive Late at Dollywood

The first of our five Gatlinburg vacation tips features Dollywood. At this Smoky Mountain theme park you can spend two days for the price of one.  How to take advantage of this benefit? Simply enter the park after 3pm and you can come back the next day with the same ticket for no additional charge.  This is a great way to fully explore Dollywood, especially if you want to see all the unique shows performed at the park.

2) Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Free

America’s most visited National Park is absolutely free to visit!  In fact, families can easily spend several day in the Smokies and only spend money on gas and picnic supplies.  Plus, the National Park Service frequently hosts free programs and activities.  Be sure to stop by one of the visitor centers, such as the Sugarlands Visitor Center, for a schedule of things to do during your vacation.

3) Take the Trolley for Cheap Travel

The price of gas seems to always get in the way of vacation fun.  All the more reason to take the Gatlinburg Trolley. It offers free rides during the summer and only a 50 cent regular fare.  As a result, it’s super budget-friendly to hop aboard to travel from one Gatlinburg attraction to the next.  Plus, there is a connection between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg making each destination easily accessible.

4) Take Advantage of Direct Deals

Reserve your show and attraction tickets in advance on Reserve Gatlinburg for exclusive savings.  Many things to do in Gatlinburg offer discounts so you can save while you play putt-putt, visit interesting museums and even whitewater rafting.  Be sure to check out the Gatlinburg Direct Deals page for the latest money-saving deals. As far as Gatlinburg vacation tips go, this one is sure to stretch your budget.

5) Rent a Cabin

You may think a cabin cost more than you can afford.  However, when you break down the price you can actually save money by doing so. One reason being you can stock up on snacks and food instead of constantly needing to dine out.  Many people don’t necessarily want to cook on their vacation, but if you’re a family traveling its can be a real money-saver to have a kitchen on hand.  Plus, most Gatlinburg cabins have grills so you can barbeque, relax in your cabin’s hot tub and truly have a relaxing night in the Smoky Mountains.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinbug to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

When vacationing in Gatlinburg, it’s imperative that you discover activities and things to do the entire family will enjoy. Gatlinburg is home to an immense amount of interesting and one-of-a-kind attractions for kids and adults alike. From hands-on exhibits to extreme adventures, your family will have plenty of Gatlinburg interactive attractions to choose from while vacationing in the Smokies.

The interactive attractions in Gatlinburg let you experience the best family fun and engage in all that Gatlinburg has to offer. Some of our favorite Gatlinburg interactive attractions include:

 

Gatlinburg Interactive Attractions: Know Before You Go

Before you put on that ziplining harness or put the go-kart pedal to the metal, make sure you read our quick advice:

Understand Age, Height, and Weight Restrictions
Some Gatlinburg interactive attractions have specific age, height, and weight requirements due to the nature of the activity. Know these measurements and rules before you go!

Follow All Attraction Rules
Some of the interactive attractions Gatlinburg has to offer can get quite extreme! For your safety and the safety of other participants, make sure you follow all attraction rules and policies.

Know the Context of the Attraction
Since Gatlinburg offers plenty of interactive attractions to choose from, some are geared towards an older audience. Make sure you fully understand what the attraction is before letting kids participate.

Get Your Tickets From Reserve Gatlinburg
With so many Gatlinburg interactive attractions to enjoy, you can easily burn a hole in your wallet. To maximize your vacation fun and also minimize your spending, check out the ticket discounts available from Reserve Gatlinburg.

Which Gatlinburg Interactive Attractions Will You Experience?

Choose from Reserve Gatlinburg’s selection of interactive attractions for a vacation you’ll never forget. From zipping through the skies of the Smokies to racing at go-kart tracks to playing a round of putt-putt, the interactive attractions in Gatlinburg give you plenty to do… the only thing needed is you!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

When you visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee you’re going to want to explore The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The best way to do so is to lace up your hiking shoes and hit the trails.  To help you on your way, put this concise list of Gatlinburg hiking tips to use.  Read on to learn the need-to-know basics about Gatlinburg hikes.

Gatlinburg Hiking Tips (Hiking_465912421)

5 Helpful Gatlinburg Hiking Tips

1) Bring Plenty of Water
I suggest a minimum of two quarts per person per day.  Never drink out of local streams.  Seriously.  You might think those mountain streams will quench your thirsts but they’ll only delay your further days of exploration.

2) Wear Appropriate Footwear
Hiking shoes or boots are recommended, but even sturdy sneakers will work for short hikes.  Whatever you do, don’t wear flip flops or sandals.  You’ll slip and slide across the terrain and might end up hurting yourself.  Not a fun thing to do on vacation!

3) Dress in Layers
This is especially true when you hike trails with elevation gains, as the weather can cool down unexpectedly.  Wear layers that can be easily removed or added, so you can be comfortable throughout the duration of your Gatlinburg hike.  Packing a light rain jacked is helpful, too, as you never know when a Smoky Mountain rain shower might pop up.

4) Bring a Backpack
Fill it with some of the above items such as water and rain gear, but be sure to pack snacks, sunscreen, bug repellent, a camera, a first aid kit and even a flashlight so you’re fully prepared for your day of discovery.

5) Stop by a Visitor Center
Visitor center’s are useful resources for anyone planning a an outdoor trek in Gatlinburg. For instance, you can pick up a trail guide at locations like Sugarlands Visitor Center.  Trust me, it’ll be useful.  If you’re like me, you’re dependent upon your cellphone for information in everyday life.  On the trails of the Smoky Mountains, though, you will not get reception.  Plan accordingly.

Follow these hiking tips and you’re sure to have an enjoyable experience in the Smoky Mountains.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Starting June 16, Gatlinburg visitors and locals alike will have access to the city’s trolley FREE of charge.  The trolley has a route up and down the Parkway and is a great way to see the area, get from one destination to the next and explore the things to do in Gatlinburg.  So, leave your car at the hotel and hop aboard the Gatlinburg Trolley.

You can board one of three designated trolleys at numerous stops along the Parkway.  The trolley service route extends from Traffic Light #1 at the north end of town to Traffic Light #10 near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The FREE, specially painted, open-air shuttles will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from June 16 through August 16, 2017. Extra stops have been established along the special route to bring the number to 40 along Parkway.

Find out more about Downtown Gatlinburg.
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Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Gatlinburg vacations from Ashley.