Gatlinburg, nestled amidst the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains, is a charming city known for its breathtaking scenery, outdoor adventures, and family-friendly attractions. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adrenaline junkie, or someone seeking a relaxing vacation, Gatlinburg offers a diverse range of activities that will leave you captivated. In this article, we will delve into the top things to do in Gatlinburg, TN, and discover why it’s a must-visit destination.
Table of Contents
- Getting Close to Nature
- Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
- Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area
- Adventure and Thrills
- Gatlin’s Rugged Ropes Adventure Course
- White Water Rafting on the Pigeon River
- Ziplining at CLIMB Works Smoky Mountains
- Family-Friendly Fun
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
- Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
- Gatlinburg Space Needle
- Arts, Crafts, and Shopping
- Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
- Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery
- The Village Shops
- Unwind and Relaxation
- Mynatt Park
- Gatlinburg Wine Cellar
- Sugarlands Distilling Company
- Unique Experiences
- Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster
- Hollywood Star Cars Museum
- Earthquake – The Ride
Getting Close to Nature
Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg’s prime attraction is its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most visited national park in the United States. With over 800 miles of hiking trails, visitors can venture into the heart of the mountains and discover awe-inspiring vistas, diverse wildlife, and pristine waterfalls.
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
For a scenic drive through the enchanting beauty of the mountains, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a must-try. This 5.5-mile one-way loop road takes you on a journey back in time, with historic buildings, lush forests, and cascading streams.
Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area
A year-round destination, Ober Gatlinburg offers thrilling activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, and an alpine slide during warmer months. The Aerial Tramway ride to reach the park is an adventure in itself, providing panoramic views of the mountains.
Adventure and Thrills
Gatlin’s Rugged Ropes Adventure Course
For the adventurous souls, Gatlin’s Rugged Ropes offers a challenging and exhilarating experience with treetop obstacle courses and ziplines. It’s the perfect way to conquer your fears and enjoy the thrill of navigating through the forest canopy.
White Water Rafting on the Pigeon River
Experience the rush of adrenaline as you raft through the exhilarating rapids of the Pigeon River. Professional guides ensure a safe and memorable journey through the breathtaking scenery of the Smoky Mountains.
Ziplining at CLIMB Works Smoky Mountains
CLIMB Works offers an unforgettable ziplining experience, where you can soar above the trees and take in the breathtaking vistas below. The thrilling zipline tour is a perfect activity for families and groups.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Ripley’s Aquarium offers a fascinating underwater journey, featuring interactive exhibits, a walk-through tunnel with sharks swimming above, and opportunities to touch stingrays. It’s an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.
Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
Take a scenic chairlift ride to the top of Crockett Mountain and enjoy panoramic views of Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains. At the summit, you can also explore the SkyDeck and enjoy refreshments at the SkyCenter.
Gatlinburg Space Needle
For breathtaking 360-degree views of the city and the Smoky Mountains, head to the iconic Gatlinburg Space Needle. The observation tower provides a unique perspective of the area’s beauty.
Arts, Crafts, and Shopping
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
Immerse yourself in the rich culture and creativity of the region at the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. This eight-mile loop features over 120 artisans, showcasing traditional and contemporary craftsmanship.
Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery
Learn about the history of moonshining in the Smoky Mountains and witness the authentic distillation process at Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery. Sample a variety of moonshine flavors and take home your favorite.
The Village Shops
A stroll through The Village Shops is a delightful experience, with its quaint European-style architecture and a variety of boutiques, galleries, and eateries. It’s a perfect place to find unique souvenirs and gifts.
Unwind and Relaxation
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Mynatt Park, a serene oasis offering picnic spots, walking trails, and a playground. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely day with family and friends.
Gatlinburg Wine Cellar
Indulge in local wines and enjoy a laid-back wine tasting experience at Gatlinburg Wine Cellar. Discover the flavors of Tennessee and unwind in a charming setting.
Sugarlands Distilling Company
Experience the art of crafting spirits and sample a range of moonshines and whiskeys at the Sugarlands Distilling Company. The distillery also offers insightful tours to learn about the distillation process.
Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster
Embark on an exhilarating ride on the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, where you control the speed of your own cart. It’s a thrilling experience that takes you through twists and turns amidst stunning mountain views.
Hollywood Star Cars Museum
Get up close to famous cars from classic films and TV shows at the Hollywood Star Cars Museum. From the Batmobile to the DeLorean from “Back to the Future,” it’s a paradise for movie buffs.
Earthquake – The Ride
For a thrilling simulation of a 5.3-magnitude earthquake, visit Earthquake – The Ride. This motion-simulated experience is both entertaining and educational, providing insights into the region’s seismic activity.
Gatlinburg, TN, offers an incredible blend of natural wonders, adventure, family-friendly activities, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re a nature lover, thrill-seeker, or art enthusiast, Gatlinburg has something to offer for everyone. So, plan your visit to this gem of the Smoky Mountains and create memories that will last a lifetime.