26 Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg

12 mins read
By A n v e s h on Unsplash

Gatlinburg is a mountain town in Tennessee’s Sevier County. Gatlinburg’s climate is subtropical with hot, humid summers and chilly, damp winters. It is a popular tourist attraction in Tennessee. Every corner of this town offers thrilling activities.

There are several hotels, chalets, and eateries to choose from. Its malls, museums, and mountains draw tourists from all over the world. The most popular national park in the country may be entered from this town.

Due to the fact that Gatlinburg is also home to Tennessee’s sole ski resort, winter sports enthusiasts go there throughout the winter.

You may be unsure of where to begin if you’re organizing a trip to Gatlinburg. This article will give you a brief idea of things to do in Gatlinburg.

Things to Do in Gatlinburg

Listed below are 26 fun things to do in Gatlinburg.

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Things to do in Gatlinburg
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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the nation. Visiting this national park is one of the most common things to do in Gatlinburg. A stroll through the Great Smoky Mountains, whether on the Appalachian Trail, a wildflower walk, or a visit to one of the many waterfalls, will leave you smiling and with a lasting impression. Because the experience changes seasonally, there is always a fresh scene to discover.

This national park doesn’t require an entrance fee, making it one of the few locations in the USA where tourists are free to take in all of the sights and the surrounding splendor.

See the sights along the road, such as the Sugarlands Visitor Center, Newfound Gap, Clingman’s Dome Road, Ocanaluftee Valley, and Mingus Mill, as every trip to the Smokies begins with a drive down the Newfound Gap Road.

  1. Hollywood Star Cars Museum

The Gatlinburg Space Needle is only a short stroll from the museum, which is situated in the city’s center. Outside the museum’s entrance, the Gatlinburg Trolley stops, and there is pay-and-display parking close by.

For fans of television and movies as well as car enthusiasts, a visit to the Hollywood Star Cars Museum is essential. Discover more than 40 of Hollywood’s most well-known automobiles on display with engaging exhibitions related to the movies and television shows they are featured in.

General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and the Ecto-1 truck from Ghostbusters are two of the museum’s highlights.

  1. Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

Riders are taken on a unique trip down the mountain by sweeping bends and turns. The original family-friendly attraction is likely to excite the crowd’s adrenaline seekers. The Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, on the other hand, allows passengers to choose the speed to make the ride glide through the trees a more pleasant experience for individuals who don’t like the excitement of intense attractions.

  1. Snow Tubing

You don’t want to miss out on Ober Gatlinburg snow tubing, which is one of the most well-liked winter activities in Gatlinburg for both locals and tourists. Without having to undertake the arduous climb up the mountain, you can still enjoy all the excitement of tubing downhill in the snow. The Ober Gatlinburg “Magic Carpet” escalator will take you back to the top of the mountain after you’ve finished snow tubing down the hill so you can repeat the process endlessly.

You may race family and friends while down a 400-foot hill in the snow tubing park at Ober Gatlinburg, which has 10 lanes.

  1. Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge
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Pigeon Forge is a year-round family-friendly vacation spot with a ton of entertaining things to do. It is simple to understand why so many people choose Pigeon Forge to be their home away from home, with its exhilarating attractions, award-winning entertainment, and endless options for dining, shopping, and housing. Dollywood, one of the most well-known theme parks in the nation, is located near Pigeon Forge.

  1. Whitewater Rafting

  • Smoky Mountain Outdoors

Visitors can choose from several rafting excursions at Smoky Mountain Outdoors, which is based in Hartford, Tennessee. Since 1933, they have taken great satisfaction in being the industry leader in safety, attention to detail, and fun. Each rafting adventure is accompanied by experts to ensure complete safety. Take the Upper River tour for an exciting 6.5-mile journey through class III and IV rapids for a cruise down the river.

  • Wildwater LTD

From its site in Hartford, Tennessee, Wildwater provides trips on both the Upper and Lower Pigeon Rivers. On the banks of the Pigeon Rivers, their Pigeon River Adventure Center offers whitewater rafting, zipline and canopy rides, picturesque Jeep trips, and a restaurant all in one accessible location.

  1. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort

Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort, which is close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has a spa, a zipline, mini golf, and on-site food & beverage options, is ideal for families. There are several options for lodging, from cozy studio villas to roomy two-bedroom villas, so everyone can have their area. There is parking and lodging here that is wheelchair accessible.

The heated indoor/outdoor water park, Wild Bear Falls Water Park is one of the property features that guests have easy access to during their stay.

  1. Ice Skating

ice skating
By Karl Hörnfeldt on Unsplash

  1. Ice Skating at the Mountain Mile

An ice skating rink has been established at The Mountain Mile in Pigeon Forge. You are invited to bring your skates or rent them if you choose. The rink is made of synthetic plastic, so not only can you skate on it but parents can also walk on it using conventional shoes.

  1. Wilderness at the Smokies

1424 Old Knoxville Highway, Sevierville, Tennessee, is the address for Wilderness at the Smokies. The resort provides ice skating instruction for those who have never skated before. To celebrate the chilly season with light displays, unique shopping, award-winning shows, and attractions, all while showcasing the winter beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, these three mountain towns come together for Smoky Mountain Winterfest, which offers a spectacular display of lights and events.

  1. Cades Cove Loop Road

One of the most visited places in the Great Smoky Mountains is Cades Cove, a wide, lush valley encircled by mountains. It offers some of the best opportunities in the park to watch wildlife. In the wide valley of Cades Cove, animals including white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, turkeys, and other creatures are commonly seen.

The five-mile roundtrip trail to Abrams Falls and the Cades Cove Nature Trail are just two of the trails that start near the cove. The cove is also the starting point for longer excursions to Rocky Top and Thunderhead Mountain.

Along the circle path are scattered a number of perfectly kept buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including three churches, a working gristmill, barns, log cabins, and many more.

  1. Gatlinburg Skylift Park

When the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park opened in 1954, it was the first four-season scenic chairlift in the South. This landmark takes visitors from the center of the city 1,800 feet above sea level to Crockett Mountain, where the record-breaking Gatlinburg SkyBridge is situated and offers some of Gatlinburg’s greatest vistas.

The brand-new SkyDeck and nearby SkyCenter provide a spot for refreshment and leisure while taking in the expansive mountain views.

A ride on the Gatlinburg SkyLift is a must-do activity for thousands of visitors each year, many of whom make it an annual tradition. It is the longest-running attraction in the city.

  1. Hillbilly Golf

There are two 18-hole courses to pick from, each of which has several visual effects. A close-up view of a period of Tennessee history is provided by the course’s theme, which combines hillbilly culture and an old-fashioned farm setting. The course requires players to strategize on each move as they play golf on a terraced and continuous downward slope while dodging a variety of hazards, which ups the action and thrill of the game.

You must ride a funicular tram 300 feet to the top in order to reach the two courses. Everyone can get a sense of the surroundings, the mountain’s slope, and how difficult it will be to keep your golf ball on course during the ride up.

  1. Alum Cave Trail

One of the most well-known hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Alum Cave Trail. Hikers will first traverse an old-growth hardwood forest as they cross log bridges over Walker Camp Prong and Alum Cave Creek. One of the highlights of the hike is passing through Arch Rock’s constricting tunnel.

The trailhead is 2.3 miles away from the Alum Cave Bluffs. When the air and ground outside the bluffs are moist, it is difficult to believe how dry the earth is underneath them. Many visitors leave at this point, but if you continue on the trek to the top of Mount Le Conte, you’ll be rewarded with expansive views from the trail’s exposed cliffside vantage points. If you’re up for it, taking Alum Cave all the way to Mount LeConte’s summit is a fantastic climb that is possible for youngsters with the proper type of enthusiasm.

  1. Gatlinburg Pinball Museum

The Historic Nature Trail, which departs from the Parkway at Light #8, leads to the Pinball Museum. Only a few blocks away, immediately after the Space Needle.

Over 100 pinball machines and vintage arcade games are available for play at the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum, an interactive museum. The museum features all of your favorite vintage arcade games as well as a ton of limited edition and rare pinballs.

The Addams Family Gold Edition, The Walking Dead, Dialed In, Lord of the Rings, Metallica, Medieval Madness, Attack from Mars, and the 1965 classic Gottlieb Sky-Line are just a few of the pinball machines the museum has.

  1. Rainbow Falls

On sunny afternoons, a rainbow created by the mist from this 80-foot-high waterfall can be seen. The area around the falls develops a spectacular ice structure during prolonged winter cold spells.

The 5.4-mile roundtrip hike to the waterfall is rated as moderately challenging. However, some people may consider the trip tough due to its duration, height rise, and occasionally rocky path conditions. The hike there and back takes three to five hours.

Pets and bicycles are not allowed on the trail. Avoid scaling the cliffs that surround Rainbow Falls. These rocks are incredibly slippery because of the mist and algae. Even if it would be tempting to climb on the rocks, keep in mind that major injuries and even deaths have happened frequently recently.

Put on a pair of reliable hiking boots and set off to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s renowned Rainbow Falls waterfall.

  1. Mysterious Mansion

The first haunted attraction in the Smoky Mountains opened in 1980 and is called Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg. This home is allegedly haunted by the ghosts of a family who perished there in 1903. The family went wild, turned on one another, and murdered one another in a terrible series of events. No one can dispute that the house has been plagued by paranormal activity ever since.

A traditional three-story haunted mansion from the “turn of the century” can be toured independently at Mysterious Mansion. Navigate through hidden passages, winding staircases, and eerie, dark hallways without ever knowing what rotten, restless occupants may be hiding around the corner in each ominous room ahead of or behind you.

The live characters are one of the Mysterious Mansion’s best features; they are excellent, stay in character, and are well-trained in how far to push the boundaries. Live actors will magically arrive, vanish, and terrorize you and your group throughout the haunted home.

A visit to the Mysterious Mansion is one of the most exciting things to do in Gatlinburg. You should definitely visit it atleast once during your trip to the town.

  1. Smoky Mountain Winery

The Smoky Mountain Winery is situated at 450 Cherry Street. From Light #3, take East Parkway, then turn left onto Pine Lane.

Gatlinburg’s oldest winery, Smoky Mountain Winery, was founded in 1981 and has won multiple accolades. Located just off East Parkway in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, it is a hidden gem and a top choice for many individuals who enjoy trying the region’s various wine kinds.

The sweet flavors of Southern wines are popular with tourists from all across the nation. French hybrid grape types are ideally suited to the higher mountain elevations and humid environment of Tennessee.

East Tennessee wines typically have a rich blend of delicate and fruity undertones and a sweeter finish. Muscadine is a popular wine in the South, and Smoky Mountain Winery offers both a red and a white that they made.

  1. Anakeesta Adventure Park

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In the Cherokee language, Anakeesta means “the location of high ground.” Located 600′ above the city of Gatlinburg on a 70-acre mountain, Anakeesta.

The Treetop Skywalk, which features hanging bridges that reach 880’—more than 50′ above the forest floor—and AnaVista Tower, the highest point in the city center with 360-degree views, are among the featured activities. Adventurers adore the Dueling Zipline Tour, the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, and the netted play areas, which include the TreeVenture Challenge course with a treehouse motif.

There are several different dining options at Anakeesta. Cliff Top offers elevated views of Mt. LeConte, while the Smokehouse serves slow-smoked southern barbecue. Our full-service bars with indoor or outdoor seating provide craft beer and specialty cocktails.

  1. Wild Plum Tea Room

The Wild Plum Tea Room provides a unique opportunity to savor great cuisine in a cozy, cabin-like setting. It is situated in Gatlinburg’s historic Arts and Crafts Community. It offers special diets that are vegetarian-friendly, vegan, and gluten-free. The tea parlor has the air of a bygone pioneer village because of its mature trees and relative silence.

If the weather permits, you can eat outside on the Wild Plum’s patio area, on the screened porch, or in the main dining room. Stop in for tea or dessert if you want to enjoy the tea room but are not in the mood for a full meal.

Here are some favorites that previous visitors have suggested: A vegan platter with salad, olives, hummus, and veggie dippers is also available. Other dishes include Amaretto Apple Bread Pudding, Tuna with Kohlrabi Salad, Cuban Pork Sandwich with Chutney, Sherry Tomato Bisque Soup, Curry Quinoa Salad, and Cheesy Cauliflower Soup (made with eggless mayonnaise).

  1. Ski Resort

The Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area is a popular year-round, family-friendly resort and the only ski area in Tennessee.

Upon arrival, visitors can take a ride on the Ski Mountain Coaster, spin around the rink on the Ice Bumper Cars, or listen to bluegrass music atop Mount Harrison, via the Scenic Chairlift. Outdoor adventures include skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing in the winter; Alpine Slide, Guided Hiking Tours, Rock Climbing Wall, Chair Swings, Maze, and Mini Golf in spring, summer, and fall, and the Ski Mountain Coaster, Scenic Chairlift, Wildlife Encounter.

  1. Mountain Mall

The Mountain Mall is located in Gatlinburg, TN, adjacent to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

From the wood walls to the whiskey barrel garbage cans (which are made from the same barrels used to produce Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey), the shopping center is decorated with mountain-themed accents in every way. Additionally, you can hear local artists playing Appalachian mountain music as you stroll through the Mountain Mall.

The shops preserve an emphasis on regional handcrafted goods while selling virtually everything under the sun. Your arrival will be greeted by handmade quilts, leather goods, crafts, jewelry, and other stuff.

The Ryan Marsh Gallery, a spectacular art gallery with the artist’s one-of-a-kind paintings and other works within, is located in the mall. Additionally, beautiful chess sets are available. You may even specify your brand and color.

  1. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

On the Gatlinburg Bypass, which connects the Spur and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is where you’ll find the Gatlinburg Overlook.

The breathtaking mountain backdrop and magnificent views of downtown Gatlinburg are provided by the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook. The mountains below are covered in a lovely mist in the mornings. The view is clear during the day, and the Space Needle and the other lights of the downtown area are visible at night.

A 407-foot viewing tower is part of the Gatlinburg Sky Needle, also known as the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Additionally, it provides a fantastic vantage point for viewing the nearby mountains.

  1. Tennessee Homemade Wines

Local Gatlinburg residents who are deeply ingrained in the family legacy of Tennessee sweet wine are the founders of Tennessee Homemade Wines. They brew and sell the greatest sweet wine available by utilizing local craftspeople, local craftsmen, and local produce. They create sweet table wines with various flavor notes that are made from many different fruits.

You may rest assured that when you purchase a bottle of wine, you are genuinely savoring the essence of the Smoky Mountains and supporting local growers because the fruit used in the winemaking process is acquired from a number of different nearby farms.

Some of their standout products include Blueberry Bammer, Old Apple Recipe, White Knuckle Grape, and Midnight Red Muscadine.

  1. Amusement Parks

Gatlinburg has many amazing amusement parks such as Gatlinburg Skylift Park, Ripley’s Mountain Coaster, Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area, Anakeesta, Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster, and Moonshine Mountain Coaster. Exploring these amusement parks with your family or friends can be added to the list of the things to do in Gatlinburg.

  1. Mountain Streams

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail’s stop number five is where the Grottos Falls Trail starts. This short path leads behind the falls, through a hemlock forest, and spans three tiny streams. Summer hikers and salamanders both thrive in the cold, humid climate at the falls.

The Indian Creek Falls Trail runs alongside Deep Creek on an antiquated road. It has a simple gradient and a comfortable walking surface. There are pines, oaks, rhododendrons, and hemlocks, and in the moister areas, there are also wildflowers. The falls generate a large pool at their base after plunging 60 feet over rocky ledges.

  1. Gatlinburg Golf Course

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In the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area, there are 10 professional golf courses. The Great Smoky Mountains can experience very harsh winters, therefore spring and fall are the ideal seasons to play golf there. Golf can still be played during the summer because the area’s summers are cool in the mornings and late afternoons.

There are numerous miniature golf courses in the area in addition to professional golf facilities. These are excellent for novices since they provide them the chance to learn the game’s rules, such as how to aim a club, what par means, and how to score a game.

Some examples are Laurel Valley Golf Course, Island Pointe Golf Club, and Patriot Hills Golf Club.

  1. Riverwalk Greenway

This 6.4-kilometer (four-mile) Greenway along the Little Pigeon River is a little-known natural treasure. There are numerous places to stop and rest along the journey, including benches, restrooms, and drinking fountains. Additionally, walkers can stop for a rest on the river’s edge and dip their feet in the water to cool them off.

Final Note

There are plenty of fun things to do in Gatlinburg. Before visiting Gatlinburg, have a look at this article, and as you explore the neighborhood and this distinctive Smoky Mountains town, uncover your adventure.

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USA Tales has content written by niche experts, travelers, students, and those with real-life experience. Our content is also periodically reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure content accuracy and relevancy. Have a question? Email us at team@usatales.com

Vaishali Garia

Post Graduate from Uttarakhand, India.

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