One of the best things about a vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the variety of things to do. With all of the activities and attractions available Gatlinburg is easily one of America’s top family vacation destinations. Whether you want to spend a week exploring the Smoky Mountains or immerse yourself in the attractions of Downtown, you can do it all on your Gatlinburg getaway. This Smoky Mountain hamlet has it all – the only thing missing is you!
Don’t miss these things to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee:
Gatlinburg is located at the entrance to the National Park, offering the perfect gateway to this pristine natural preserve. Straddling the ridgeline between Tennessee and North Carolina, the mountains and valleys are a playground of things to do. Explore the sights with a scenic drive on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail or Highway 441. Hit trails like Rainbow Falls and Laurel Falls for an up-close look at the natural wonders of the area. Tour through Cades Cove for a historic look at the Smoky Mountains. No matter how you decide to explore the mountains, one thing is for sure – America’s most visited National Park will not disappoint.
Unique attractions in Gatlinburg appeal to parents and their children. Dive into life under the sea at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, then see if you can believe it or not at the nearby Ripley’s Museum. Want to play a round of putt-putt? Head to Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf. Dare to be scared? See if you can handle the frights found at Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. The fun doesn’t stop there, though. Race to go-karts to the finish line at Cooter’s Place of the Smokies, find laughs in a mirror maze, soar to new heights on the Gatlinburg Sky Lift or take the aerial tramway to Ober Gatlinburg for ice skating, alpine slides and other seasonal fun, including winter sports. During the summer, there’s no bigger thrill than white water rafting on the Pigeon River. Two outfitters to try include Smoky Mountain Outdoors and Rafting in the Smokies. Hop over to Pigeon Forge, just minutes away, to spend the day at Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Discover the natural appeal of the Smoky Mountains by embarking on an outdoor adventure. There are plenty to choose from including horseback riding, whitewater rafting and ziplining. With horse stables offering scenic, guided rides you can easily navigate the unspoiled Appalachian country. While whitewater rafting in Gatlinburg lets you make a splash and take in the scenic sights of the Smokies all at once. Two different rafting options are available too, so if you choose your adventure and make it mild or wild! Another way to embrace the outdoors is Gatlinburg ziplining. Gear up and go flying through the canopy of the Smokies. Cross through lush forests and even waterfalls as you get a birds-eye-view of the mountains and valleys of this pristine destination.
With five downtown malls and 400 boutique, shops and galleries located in Gatlinburg, collectors of just about everything can find something unique to take home. From crafty souvenirs to funny tchotchkes, visitors enjoy browsing through the shops lining Downtown and tucked away in quaint villages. A trip to the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is an absolute must, as over 100 crafters and artists are located there. Visitors will find stunning art, mountain craftwork, jewelry, leatherwork, pottery, homemade confections and much, much more. Plus, the artisans and craftspeople are on hand so you can see them work and watch their creations form. Be sure to save space in your suitcase for the treasures you’re sure to find while shopping in Gatlinburg.
No one goes hungry in Gatlinburg as there are a variety of places to eat, sure to satisfy even the pickiest eater. Country-cooking just like Mama made, eclectic options highlighting cuisine south of the border, barbeque joints, pancake houses and everything in between is available. There are plenty of chain restaurants in Gatlinburg, such as the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Mellow Mushroom and Loco Burro, but there are a lot more locally owned restaurants that are highly recommended. A few eateries that make our list include Smoky Mountain Brewery, Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que, The Peddler Steakhouse, Greenbrier Restaurant and The Cherokee Grill.