Are you planning to visit Gatlinburg or the Smoky Mountains and wondering what you can see there and what are the best things to do in Gatlinburg, TN?
You came to the right place! Whether you are visiting Gatlinburg for just a day or planning a longer vacation in the Smoky Mountains, this guide should answer all your questions.
Gatlinburg is a thriving town set in a valley of the Great Smoky Mountains and is a common stopping point for visitors looking to explore the Great Smoky Mountains, National Park.
Somehow it’s really tricky to find a comprehensive guide to things to do in Gatlinburg. Everyone just tells you how amazing it is, without telling you where to go and what to see, or just mention a few most popular sights without showing what Gatlinburg is truly about…
Thus this guide to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains, not only covers all the main landmarks and must-see places in Gatlinburg but also includes a couple of lesser-known gems in Pigen Forge.
I also included a few fun things to do that make your trip to Gatlinburg even more special and memorable. Find out!
Things To Do In Gatlinburg
To help you better plan your time in Gatlinburg at the bottom of this article I also included a map indicating all the things to do in Gatlinburg mentioned in this article and a suggested itinerary for one day in Gatlinburg.
You can find them all the way at the bottom, together with our recommendations on when to visit Gatlinburg & the Smoky Mountains, how to get there, and how long and where to stay.
To make sure you don’t miss out on anything during your first experience in the Smoky Mountains, we’ve come up with 30 things to do in Gatlinburg this summer for first-time visitors.
Keep reading for my ultimate Gatlinburg itinerary.
Hiking Trails in The Great Smoky Mountains In Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Within its 800-mile trail system, you’ll see the best the park has to offer whether you’re on a short nature trail or a long hike. Here are some of my favorite free things to do in Gatlinburg.
Gatlinburg’s Historic Sites
Gatlinburg has a history filled with stories, legends and colorful characters including the city’s namesake. Radford C. Gatlin was a controversial figure who opened the village’s second general store where he established a post office.
Gradually, the village, which was name White Oaks Flats at the time became known as Gatlinburg, Unfortunately, he was banished from the town around the town of Civil War for his political views.
Best Attractions in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gatlinburg offers outdoor adventures, kid-friendly attractions, scenic charms that keep families, friends, and let’s not forget romance for couples that keep people coming back, year after year.
Gatlinburg has everything from Downhill snow skiing, Class-IV whitewater rafting, world-class golf and fishing and 600 miles of hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains, horseback riding is just a few of the recommended outdoor activities for your visit.
Check out my top kid-friendly attractions approved my daughter Madison.
Exploring Waterfalls In Gatlinburg
2020 Summer and Fall Events in Gatlinburg
GATLINBURG EVENTS IN MAY 2020
Location: Gatlinburg Convention Center
GATLINBURG EVENTS IN JUNE 2020
Location: Park at Sugarlands Visitor Center and ride the trolley to Elkmont (parking pass required).
GATLINBURG EVENTS IN JULY 2020
Location: Gatlinburg Parkway
GATLINBURG EVENTS IN AUGUST 2020
Location: W. L. Mills Conference Center
Location: Gatlinburg Convention Center
GATLINBURG EVENTS IN SEPTEMBER 2020
During the fall, the Smoky Mountains transform into a beautiful palette of colors as leaves begin to change. While the timing can never be predicted precisely to a specific day, we provide a fall color forecast for the Gatlinburg area to provide tips on the best time to visit to see the best possible colors!
Location: Ober Gatlinburg
Phone: 1-800- MUCH FUN
GATLINBURG EVENTS IN NOVEMBER 2020
Location: Downtown Gatlinburg
Location: Gatlinburg Convention Center
GATLINBURG EVENTS IN DECEMBER 2020
More info: click here
Location: Downtown Gatlinburg along the Parkway
Location: Around the intersection of Parkway and Historic Nature Trail at the base of the Space Needle
Time: Late Evening
How to Get to Gatlinburg, TN
Knoxville’s McGhee-Tyson Airport is only 35 miles away and is served by seven airlines: Delta; Northwest; USAir; American Eagle; United/United Express; TWA and ComAir.
The Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge Airport, seven miles from Pigeon Forge, has complete airport facilities for small private aircraft.
Miles To Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
|Atlanta, GA||205||Dayton, OH||375|
|Birmingham, AL||296||Indianapolis, IN||394|
|Charlotte, NC||197||Lexington, KY||240|
|Charleston, WV||316||Memphis, TN||426|
|Chicago, IL||578||Nashville, TN||220|
|Cincinnati, OH||323||New Orleans, LA||661|
|Dallas, TX||947||St. Louis, MO||549|
|Daytona Beach, FL||572||Washington, D.C.||508|
|If traveling from:||Consider this route:|
such as Lexington, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, or Louisville
|Take I-40 East from Knoxville to Exit 407, turn right onto State Route 66, continue until first major intersection in Sevierville and turn left onto U.S. 411, follow U.S. 411 to State Route 416, turn right onto State Route 416 and follow until reaching U.S. 321, turn right onto U.S. 321 and continue until you reach Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.|
including Richmond, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem or Charlotte
|Consider I-40 West to Foothills Parkway Exit 443, turn onto U.S. 321 and continue until you reach Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.|
including Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, Asheville, Jacksonville, Miami or Daytona Beach
|Consider I-26 to I-40 West to Foothills Parkway Exit 443, turn left onto U.S. 321 and continue until you reach Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.|
|Memphis or Nashville||Consider I-40 East to Exit 364 at State Route 95, then U.S. 321 East continuing through Maryville and Townsend, then Highway 73 to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.|
|Tampa, Montgomery, Birmingham, Macon, Atlanta or Chattanooga||Consider I-75 to exit 81 at State Route 95, then Highway 321 East continuing through Maryville and Townsend, then Highway 73 to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.|
No matter the season, Gatlinburg offers a wide variety of attractions and activities. In the summer and fall, adventurers can hike, bike and horseback ride through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
In the winter, visitors can ski and snow tube at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort.
Year-round, this mountain town offers plenty of unique diversions you won’t find anywhere else, including moonshine tastings and an 8-mile loop of galleries and boutiques featuring Appalachian arts and wares like wood-carving and broom-making.
For a bird’s-eye view of the city, take the elevator up to the observation deck of the Space Needle or hop on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram.
Conclusion of Best Things To Do In Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is a charming destination nestled at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Millions of families visit the Smoky Mountains each year.
While the town’s population is just under 4,000, Gatlinburg has a nice mix of small-town charm and a busy tourist destination.
Experience southern hospitality, attractions, waterfalls, creeks, and local shopping that reflect true mountain living. BOOK YOUR GATLINBURG VACATION TODAY!
Ready to plan your trip, grab my FREE Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!
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Additional Articles For Exploring The Smoky Mountains
Do any of my top things to do in Gatlinburg Tennessee peak your curiosity? Is Gatlinburg on your summer bucket list? I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
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