Gatlinburg is one of the most cherished vacation spots in Tennessee. With all-season attractions and fun activities for every age group, it’s no wonder why so many people choose to go there each year. You’ll find something for everyone at this destination! From the kid-friendly Smoky Mountain Adventures to the thrill-seeking rides at the amusement park, people of all ages can find activities that suit their interests.
Read on to find out how you can make this trip the best one so far.
1. Take Some Time to Enjoy the Great Outdoors
If you’re traveling to the area with kids, you want to consider taking them to the most popular playgrounds in the country. You can visit the Ripley’s Aquarium or take a ride on the Gatlinburg Space Needle.
While there is some indoor entertainment in town, such as the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokey’s, you should also explore outside since there are many hiking and walking trails around the city. Wildlife viewing opportunities abound, and the views from the mountains will leave you breathless.
2. Book Your Hotel Early – Especially During Peak Seasons
For most families, planning out their vacation can be quite a task. It takes hours of research and comparing accommodations to ensure you’re getting a good deal on a place that will suit your needs.
Consider renting one of the Gatlinburg luxury cabins when planning your weekend getaway. These cabins come with modern amenities and spacious living areas, but they also provide the privacy that you might not find in other accommodations. If you have ever wondered what living on a mountain in the summer would be like, these cabins will give you a glimpse of it!
These cabins come with modern amenities and spacious living areas, but they also provide the privacy that you might not find in other accommodations. If you have ever wondered what living on a mountain in the summer would be like, these cabins will give you a glimpse of it!
3. Go on a Shopping Spree at the Arts & Crafts Center
The main reason so many people travel to Gatlinburg yearly is its arts and crafts center. Here, you’ll find dozens of stores where local artisans sell wares. Whether you need some souvenirs for your friends and family back home, or you want to support local artists, this is the place to go.
If you’re visiting during the fall, you shouldn’t miss the annual crafts show, where you can showcase your own pottery, glassware, or jewelry. Moreover, if you enjoy shopping, don’t pass up the opportunity to browse through the Gatlinburg Antique Mall. You’ll find plenty of souvenirs to bring home as a memento of your trip.
4. Visit the Visitor Center
When you think of Gatlinburg, you likely picture the amusement park or the aquarium. However, there is another attraction that you may not know about yet. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has an excellent visitor center across the street from downtown Gatlinburg. Here, you can learn all about the history of the national park, and you’ll also have access to some incredible exhibits. Kids who love animals will also adore the petting zoo located inside the center. Numerous educational programs are also offered throughout the season, so keep an eye out for special events! Not only will you learn about the region’s wildlife, but you can also take advantage of guided tours allowing you to explore parts of the park that are otherwise inaccessible.
5. Try Something New For Dinner
When staying in the area, don’t forget to try out new restaurants. Even if you’ve been to Gatlinburg before, you might have missed some fine dining options.
So why not stop by the Riverfront Grille for a delicious dinner this time around? Their menu has fresh seafood, grass-fed beef, and much more. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, consider the Asian cuisine at The Ginger House. They offer a wide variety of dishes that will please just about anyone!
There are several other eateries that you should check out as well. The farmers’ market is a great place to grab lunch, and you’ll find a large selection of locally sourced products sure to delight you!
6. Take Part in One of the Festivals or Events
There are tons of festivals and events throughout the year in the Gatlinburg area. The easiest way to get an idea of what’s on offer is to check the official website. Here, you can see all the current events and any upcoming ones. You’ll also be able to view schedules, ticket prices, and locations.
If you’re heading to the area during the fall, then you won’t want to miss the annual Apple Festival. This event features many activities, including live music, cooking demonstrations, etc.
7. Experience Live Theater
If you’re traveling to the area with kids, you might consider taking them to a theater production. Fortunately, several theaters are located within easy reach of Gatlinburg. Some of the most popular include the Gatlinburg Community Theatre, the Mountain Heritage Theatre, and the Great Smoky Arts And Crafts Village. These venues often hold performances that appeal to both children and adults. You might even want to participate in a workshop or class to improve your acting skills! Whatever you decide to do, it will be an experience you won’t forget!
8. Check out The Local Art Scene
Gatlinburg has always had a reputation for its arts and crafts, but it has recently begun attracting talented artists. As a result, there are plenty of galleries and studios where visitors can browse through paintings, sculptures, and much more. Many art pieces were created by locals, while others were imported worldwide. Most of the artwork available here is affordable, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank either!
If you’re interested in viewing local artists’ work, you should visit the Gatlinburg Arts And Crafts Center. For those who prefer a more laid-back atmosphere, you should consider stopping by one of the smaller galleries, like the Covered Bridge Gallery.
9. Spend an Afternoon with Animals
Visitors to Gatlinburg often want to spend the day hiking, swimming, or eating at different restaurants. However, many people don’t realize that a whole world of wildlife calls this region home.
You should consider spending an afternoon at the Gatlinburg Nature Center. Here, you’ll be able to interact with a wide range of animals, including snakes, spiders, skunks, and much more! There are even some reptiles, amphibians, and fish on display. Your kids will love seeing all the exotic animals, so you’ll be glad you made the trip.
For those particularly interested in learning more about nature, there are plenty of educational classes to attend. They can learn all sorts of fascinating facts and even become a member, which allows access to additional benefits and discounts at the site.
10. Go on a Horseback Ride
Many families enjoy going horseback riding when they’re visiting Gatlinburg. If you haven’t taken a ride before, you should plan on doing so.
Some stables and ranches also offer guided tours around the area. You’ll be able to choose the type of trail you’d like to take and pick the length of the ride. While at the stable, you should ask the staff to recommend some trails suitable for beginners. Most horses are gentle, but practicing before heading out for a longer trek is a good idea. Regardless of your chosen trail, you’ll have a blast galloping through the mountainside.
A trip to Gatlinburg, TN, can never disappoint you, even if you have been here before. There’s a chance you might miss some activities the first time around, so check out the activities we have listed above and renew your experience in Gatlinburg. Even if you’re visiting for the first time, your trip can be full of thrilling activities, great social interactions, and quality relaxing moments. If you’re having a hard time believing how a small town has so much to offer, try visiting the place and find out yourself!