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How to Have a Blast in Gatlinburg: 20 Fun and Unforgettable Things to Do

How to Have a Blast in Gatlinburg: 20 Fun and Unforgettable Things to Do

By Sometime Traveller

Updated on

Gatlinburg is a charming town in Tennessee that attracts millions of visitors annually. It’s nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, offering stunning views and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. But there’s more to Gatlinburg than just nature. It also has a vibrant downtown area with shops, restaurants, museums, attractions and entertainment for all ages and tastes.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo trip, Gatlinburg has something for you. You can explore the scenic trails, enjoy the thrill of the rides, learn about the local culture and history, or simply relax and have fun. There’s no shortage of things to do in Gatlinburg!

In this article, we’ll show you 20 of the best things to do in Gatlinburg that you can’t miss. We’ll also give you some tips on how to make the most of your visit. So grab your camera, pack your bags, and get ready for a fantastic experience in Gatlinburg!

Here are the best Things to Do in Gatlinburg

#1: Ride the Gatlinburg SkyLift

One of the most iconic things to do in Gatlinburg is to ride the Gatlinburg SkyLift. This chairlift takes you from downtown Gatlinburg to the top of Crockett Mountain, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the town and the mountains. It’s stunning at sunset when the sky becomes a colourful spectacle.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can walk on the SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, it costs $27.95 for adults and $17.95 for children. 

Is SkyLift worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will love the ride and the views. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will appreciate the scenery and the photo opportunities.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#2: Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

If you love marine life, you’ll love Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. This aquarium is home to over 10,000 animals, including sharks, rays, penguins, jellyfish, seahorses and more. You can see them up close in various exhibits, such as Shark Lagoon, Penguin Playhouse, Coral Reef and Tropical Rainforest. You can also touch some of them in interactive areas, such as Stingray Bay and Discovery Center.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can go on a glass-bottom boat adventure over Shark Lagoon. 

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, it costs $39.99 for adults and $24.99 for children. 

Is Ripley’s Aquarium worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will have a blast learning about the aquatic creatures. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will enjoy the variety and beauty of the marine life.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

People Also Read: 6 Hidden Gems of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

#3: Hike to Grotto Falls

If you’re looking for a refreshing hike in nature, head to Grotto Falls. This waterfall is located on Trillium Gap Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s about 3 miles round trip from the trailhead, accessible by car or trolley.

The hike is moderate in difficulty, with some uphill sections and rocky terrain. But it’s worth it when you reach the falls, which are 25 feet high and cascade over a rocky ledge.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can walk behind the falls and feel the mist on your face. 

Is there any entrance fee?: No, it’s free to enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Is Grotto Falls worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will enjoy the hike and the waterfall. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will appreciate the natural beauty and tranquillity of the place.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#4: Explore Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Tennessee and the highest point along the Appalachian Trail. It’s located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, about 23 miles from Gatlinburg by car. From the parking lot, it’s a half-mile hike to the observation tower, which stands at 6,643 feet above sea level.

The hike is steep and paved, but the views from the tower are spectacular. You can see up to 100 miles on a clear day, and admire the rolling mountains and valleys.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can see seven states from the tower: Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and Virginia. 

Is there any entrance fee?: No, it’s free to enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Is Clingmans Dome worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will enjoy the challenge and the reward of the hike. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will marvel at the panoramic views and the elevation.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

People Also Read: 9 Amazing Attractions to Visit in Gatlinburg, TN

#5: Have Fun at Gatlinburg SkyPark

Gatlinburg SkyPark is a place where you can have fun and adventure in the air. It’s located at the top of Crockett Mountain, where you can also find the Gatlinburg SkyLift and SkyBridge. The SkyPark offers various activities, such as ziplining, mountain biking, rope courses, climbing walls and more. You can also relax and enjoy the views from the SkyDeck, which has a bar, a cafe and a gift shop.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can zipline over the SkyBridge and feel the adrenaline rush. 

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, it costs $44.95 for adults and $34.95 for children. 

Is Gatlinburg SkyPark worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will have a blast doing the activities. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will have fun and challenge themselves at the SkyPark.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#6: Shop at The Village

The Village is a quaint shopping area in downtown Gatlinburg that resembles a European village. It has 27 shops that sell everything from clothing and accessories to books and art. You can also find cafes, bakeries, restaurants and ice cream parlors to satisfy your cravings. The Village is a great place to stroll around, browse the merchandise, and enjoy the atmosphere.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can find unique and local items that you won’t find anywhere else. 

Is there any entrance fee?: No, it’s free to enter The Village. 

Is The Village worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will like the variety of shops and treats. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will love the charm and quality of The Village.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

People Also Read: 5 Best Christmas Towns in America to Visit in 2023

#7: Learn at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Ripley’s Believe It or Not is a museum that showcases the weird, the wonderful and the unbelievable. It has more than 500 exhibits that will amaze, entertain and educate you. You can see shrunken heads, vampire skulls, two-headed animals, optical illusions and more. You can also interact with some of the exhibits, such as spinning tunnels, mind games and puzzles.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can experience the world’s largest kaleidoscope. 

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, it costs $24.99 for adults and $14.99 for children. 

Is “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will have fun and learn something new. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will be fascinated and amused by the exhibits.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#8: Smoky Mountain Ziplines, Gatlinburg

Smoky Mountain Ziplines is a canopy tour that offers fun and adventure in the air. You can glide through the trees on seven ziplines, ranging from 800 to 2,500 feet long and 150 to 200 feet high. You can also enjoy the views of the mountains and the forest. The tour is guided by experienced and friendly staff who will ensure your safety and enjoyment.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can experience the thrill and beauty of ziplining. 

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, it costs $89.95 per person. 

Is Smoky Mountain Ziplines worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids 5 and up can join the tour. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will have fun and challenge themselves on the ziplines. 

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#9: Taste Some Moonshine at Ole Smoky Moonshine

Ole Smoky Moonshine is Tennessee’s first legal moonshine distillery. It produces authentic moonshine using corn grown by local farmers and water from the Smoky Mountains. You can visit its two locations in Gatlinburg: The Holler and The Barrelhouse. There you can see how moonshine is made, sample various flavours and buy some bottles to take home.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can taste some of the best moonshine in the country. 

Is there any entrance fee?: No, it’s free to enter Ole Smoky Moonshine. 

Is Ole Smoky Moonshine worth visiting with kids?: No, it’s unsuitable for kids under 21. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will enjoy the variety and quality of the moonshine.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

People Also Read: Top 5 Places To Explore in the Great Smoky Mountains

#10: Play at Anakeesta

Anakeesta is a mountain theme park that offers fun and adventure for the whole family. You can access it by taking a scenic chondola ride from downtown Gatlinburg. Once you’re there, you can explore the Firefly Village, which has shops, restaurants and a treehouse playground.

You can also enjoy the views from the AnaVista Tower, the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the ziplines, the mountain coaster, the dueling zipline or the treetop skywalk.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can experience the beauty and magic of the Smoky Mountains. 

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, it costs $29.99 for adults and $19.99 for children. 

Is Anakeesta worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will love the activities and attractions. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will have fun and relax at Anakeesta.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#11: Eat at The Peddler Steakhouse

The Peddler Steakhouse is a popular restaurant that serves delicious steaks and seafood. It’s located in a historic building that was once a home and a peddler’s shop. The restaurant has a cozy and rustic atmosphere, with a fireplace and a view of the river.

You can choose your own cut of steak from a cart that comes to your table, and enjoy it with a salad bar and a baked potato. You can also try other dishes, such as prime rib, trout, chicken or pasta.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can savor some of the best steaks in town. 

Is there any entrance fee?: No, it’s free to enter The Peddler Steakhouse. 

Is The Peddler Steakhouse worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will like the food and the service. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will enjoy the quality and the ambiance of the restaurant.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

People Also Read: 9 Top Places in the US to See the Northern Lights This Winter

#12: See the Stars at Hollywood Star Cars Museum

Hollywood Star Cars Museum is a museum that displays more than 40 vehicles that were used in movies and TV shows. You can see cars from famous films such as The Fast and the Furious, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Batman and more. You can also see cars that belonged to celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and Michael Jackson. You can take photos with the cars and learn about their history and features.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can get close to some of the most iconic cars in Hollywood. 

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, it costs $14.99 for adults and $9.99 for children. 

Is Hollywood Star Cars Museum worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will be amazed by the cars and their stories. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will appreciate the nostalgia and the details of the cars.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#13: Relax at The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum

The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum is a museum that showcases more than 20,000 pairs of salt and pepper shakers from around the world. It’s a quirky and charming place that will make you smile and wonder. You can see shakers of all shapes, sizes, colors and themes. You can also learn about their history, culture and significance. And if you find a pair that you like, you can buy it at the gift shop.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can discover the diversity and creativity of salt and pepper shakers. 

Is there any entrance fee?: No, it’s free to enter The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum. 

Is The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will have fun looking at the shakers and finding their favorites. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will be surprised and delighted by the shakers.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#14: Smoky Mountain Outdoors (SMO) Rafting, Gatlinburg

Smoky Mountain Outdoors (SMO) Rafting is a whitewater rafting company that offers exciting and safe trips on the Pigeon River. You can choose from two options: the Upper River Trip, which has class III and IV rapids, or the Lower River Trip, which has class I and II rapids.

You can also enjoy the scenic views of the Smoky Mountains and the wildlife along the way. The trips are guided by experienced and friendly staff who will make sure you have a great time.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can have a thrilling and scenic rafting adventure. 

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, it costs $89.95 per person. 

Is Smoky Mountain Outdoors (SMO) Rafting worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids 3 and up can join the Lower River Trip. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will have fun and challenge themselves on the Upper River Trip. 

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

People Also Read: 8 Top Haunted US Adventures for a Spooky Experience

#15: Get Spooky at Mysterious Mansion

Mysterious Mansion is a haunted house attraction that will give you chills and thrills. It’s located in a Victorian-style mansion that looks creepy and old. Inside, you’ll encounter ghosts, ghouls, zombies and other horrors that will make you scream. You’ll also have to find your way out of the dark and twisted corridors, rooms and staircases. The attraction is open year-round, but it’s especially scary during Halloween.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can test your courage and have some spooky fun. 

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, it costs $15 for adults and $10 for children. 

Is Mysterious Mansion worth visiting with kids?: No, it’s not suitable for kids under 12. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will enjoy the scare and the atmosphere of the mansion.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#16: Ski at Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg is a ski resort and amusement park that offers winter fun for everyone. You can ski, snowboard, snow tube or ice skate on the slopes and rinks. You can also ride the aerial tramway, the alpine slide, the mountain coaster or the chair swing. And if you want to see some wildlife, you can visit the wildlife encounter, where you can see bears, otters, bobcats and more.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can have a blast in the snow and the sun. 

Is there any entrance fee?: No, it’s free to enter Ober Gatlinburg, but you have to pay for the activities. 

Is Ober Gatlinburg worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will love the snow and the rides. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will have fun and relax at Ober Gatlinburg.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

People Also Read: 8 Top US Places for Winter Sports Beyond Skiing

#17: Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park, Gatlinburg

Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park is a mountain-themed, heated indoor/outdoor water park located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It is part of the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa, and features more than 60,000 square feet of aquatic attractions, such as waterslides, lazy river, hot tubs, interactive treehouse, and more.

It is the largest indoor water park in the southeast region, and has a retractable roof that allows guests to enjoy the water fun regardless of the weather or the season.

What makes this place worth visiting?: It offers thrilling, relaxing, and fun water activities for all ages. 

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, admission tickets are required for entry

Is Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park worth visiting with kids?: Yes, it has kid-friendly attractions and a toddler playground. 

Good for adults?: Yes, it has a hot tub and a swimming pool. 

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#18: Eat at Pancake Pantry

Pancake Pantry is a famous restaurant that serves delicious pancakes and other breakfast items. It’s been in business since 1960 and it’s the first pancake house in Tennessee. It has more than 20 varieties of pancakes, such as chocolate chip, blueberry, banana walnut and more. You can also order eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and other sides. The restaurant is cozy and friendly, with a fireplace and a wooden interior.

What makes this place worth visiting?: You can taste some of the best pancakes in town. 

Is there any entrance fee?: No, it’s free to enter Pancake Pantry. 

Is Pancake Pantry worth visiting with kids?: Yes, kids will like the pancakes and the service. 

Good for adults?: Yes, adults will enjoy the quality and the flavour of the food.

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#19: Mountain Wildlife Museum 

Mountain Wildlife Museum is a taxidermy museum that showcases wildlife from all over the world. It is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, near Gatlinburg. The museum has a collection of pre-Act (1973) endangered species and other impressive creatures. It educates visitors about the wildlife’s glory, preservation, and habitats.

What makes this place worth visiting?: It displays stunning and rare taxidermy specimens in a realistic setting.  

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, tickets can be purchased online or at the door. 

Is Smoky Mountain Opry worth visiting with kids?: Yes, it is a great place to learn about wildlife and nature.  

Good for adults?: Yes, it is a fascinating and unique museum experience. 

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

#20: Gatlinburg Space Needle

Gatlinburg Space Needle is a 407 feet tall observation tower in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It offers a 360 degree view of the Great Smoky Mountains and the city of Gatlinburg from its outdoor observation deck. It also has a glass elevator, an arcade, a theater, and a pizza bakery.

What makes this place worth visiting?: It provides a spectacular and panoramic view of the scenery.  

Is there any entrance fee?: Yes, tickets can be bought online or at the door.  

Is Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster worth visiting with kids?: Yes, it has fun and educational attractions for kids.  

Good for adults?: Yes, it has a relaxing and nostalgic atmosphere for adults. 

Useful Links: Official Website | Google Maps Location

Visit Gatlinburg

Conclusion

Gatlinburg is a wonderful place to visit, with so many things to do and see. You can have a blast in Gatlinburg, whether you’re looking for nature, culture, entertainment or relaxation. You can also find something for everyone, whether you’re traveling with your partner, your family or your friends. Gatlinburg is a place that will make you happy and create lasting memories.

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. If you did, please share it with your friends and family who might be interested in visiting Gatlinburg.

Disclaimer: While we endeavor to provide accurate information based on our comprehensive research, please note that attraction details and fees are subject to change. We recommend verifying all relevant details directly with the attraction to ensure a seamless experience.

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FAQ’s

Is it better to be in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg?

Both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are popular tourist destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains, but they offer different experiences. Pigeon Forge is more family-oriented, with attractions like Dollywood and the Titanic Museum. Gatlinburg is more laid-back and has a more traditional mountain town feel.

Is 3 days in Gatlinburg worth it?

Yes, 3 days is a good amount of time to spend in Gatlinburg. You can visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, go shopping and dining in downtown Gatlinburg, and enjoy some of the many other attractions in the area.

What is Gatlinburg Tennessee best known for?

Gatlinburg is best known as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is also a popular destination for shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.

When not to visit Gatlinburg?

The busiest times to visit Gatlinburg are during the summer months and during the fall foliage season. If you are looking to avoid the crowds, it is best to visit during the spring or winter months.

What is the 5 mile loop in Gatlinburg?

The 5 mile loop in Gatlinburg is a scenic drive that takes you through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The loop starts and ends in Gatlinburg and passes by some of the park’s most popular attractions, including Clingmans Dome, Newfound Gap, and Sugarlands Visitor Center.

What is the best month to visit Gatlinburg Tennessee?

The best month to visit Gatlinburg is October. The weather is mild, the crowds are smaller, and the fall foliage is at its peak.

How should I dress in Gatlinburg TN?

The weather in Gatlinburg can vary depending on the time of year. In the summer, it is hot and humid, so it is best to dress in light, comfortable clothing. In the winter, it can be cold and snowy, so it is best to dress in layers.

Is it better to stay in a hotel or cabin in Gatlinburg?

Both hotels and cabins offer a great place to stay in Gatlinburg. Hotels are more convenient and offer more amenities, but cabins are more spacious and offer a more rustic experience.

What is the busiest week in Gatlinburg?

The busiest week in Gatlinburg is the week of Thanksgiving.

Is Gatlinburg good for a girls trip?

Yes, Gatlinburg is a great destination for a girls trip. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and attractions that cater to women.

Is Gatlinburg expensive?

Gatlinburg can be expensive, especially during the peak season. However, there are ways to save money, such as staying in a cabin or camping, cooking your own meals, and taking advantage of free activities

How much does SkyLift Park cost?

SkyLift Park costs $29.95 for adults and $22.95 for children.

Why does everyone love Gatlinburg?

Gatlinburg is a beautiful mountain town with a lot to offer visitors. There is something for everyone in Gatlinburg, from outdoor activities to shopping and dining.

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