Gatlinburg tn 37738

Gatlinburg tn 37738 DEFAULT


Gatlinburg Ripley's Believe It or Not FAQsFAQ’S

What can I find inside?

Inside the Gatlinburg Museum you find everything from an authentic shrunken head, to the world’s rarest egg, two headed animals, spinning tunnel and unique works of art. The Odditorium consist of 12 themed galleries containing over 500 mind boggling exhibits, oddities and curiosities.

How long does it take to tour the Odditorium?

Allow at least 45 minutes to an hour (or longer) to tour the Odditorium.

May I take pictures?

Pictures are allowed, and we have several great picture opportunities throughout the Odditorium, including a car robot made of used car parts, the Fattest Man, a Giant Tire, Robert Wadlow the Tallest Man, and Cinderella Chair

Where can I park?

There are various pay parking lots in front of the Odditorium as well as on either side street beside the Odditorium.

Is the Odditorium wheelchair accessible?

The Odditorium is wheelchair and stroller friendly, with an elevator for guest to use.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept Cash, Travelers Checks and all the major Credit Cards.

Can I set up a class trip?

Field trips are always welcome! We offer special rates for students. Please inquire by email for pricing at [email protected]

Do you host birthday parties?

Do you host Weddings & Receptions?

No, we no longer host Weddings & Receptions.

What COVID-19 safety measures do you have?

Our staff has been extensively educated to provide you with a safe experience. As always, one of our top priorities is protecting the well-being of our staff and guests. Our team is taking many strides to keep you safe, including strict sanitization routines. Click here to learn more about our safety measures.


Gatlinburg, Tennessee

City in Tennessee, United States

Gatlinburg is a mountain resort city in Sevier County, Tennessee, United States. It is located 39 miles (63 km) southeast of Knoxville and had a population of 3,944 at the 2010 Census[7] and an estimated U.S. Census population of 4,144 in 2018.[8] It is a popular vacation resort, as it rests on the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park along U.S. Route 441, which connects to Cherokee, North Carolina, on the southeast side of the national park. Prior to incorporation, the town was known as White Oak Flats, or just simply White Oak.


Early history[edit]

The William "Old Billy" and Martha Jane Huskey Ogle Cabin in Gatlinburg

For centuries, Cherokee hunters, as well as other Native American hunters before the Cherokee, used a footpath known as Indian Gap Trail to access the abundant game in the forests and coves of the Smokies.[9] This trail connected the Great Indian Warpath with Rutherford Indian Trace, following the West Fork of the Little Pigeon River from modern-day Sevierville through modern-day Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the Sugarlands, crossing the crest of the Smokies along the slopes of Mount Collins, and descending into North Carolina along the banks of the Oconaluftee River.[10] US-441 largely follows this same route today, although it crests at Newfound Gap rather than Indian Gap.

Although various 18th-century European and early American hunters and fur trappers probably traversed or camped in the flats where Gatlinburg is now situated, it was Edgefield, South Carolina, native William Ogle (1751–1803) who first decided to permanently settle in the area.[11] With the help of the Cherokee, Ogle cut, hewed, and notched logs in the flats, planning to erect a cabin the following year.[12] He returned home to Edgefield to retrieve his family and grow one final crop for supplies. However, shortly after his arrival in Edgefield, a malaria epidemic swept the low country, and Ogle succumbed to the disease in 1803.[13] His widow, Martha Huskey Ogle (1756–1827), moved the family to Virginia, where she had relatives. Some time around 1806, Martha Huskey Ogle made the journey over Indian Gap Trail to what is now Gatlinburg with her brother, Peter Huskey, her daughter, Rebecca, and her daughter's husband, James McCarter. William Ogle's notched logs awaited them,[13] and they erected a cabin near the confluence of Baskins Creek and the West Fork of the Little Pigeon shortly after their arrival.[1] The cabin still stands today near the heart of Gatlinburg. James and Rebecca McCarter settled in the Cartertown district of Gatlinburg.[14]

In the decade following the arrival of the Ogles, McCarters, and Huskeys in what came to be known as White Oak Flats, a steady stream of settlers moved into the area.[13] Most were veterans of the American Revolution or War of 1812 who had converted the 50-acre (200,000 m2) tracts they had received for service in war into deeds.[15] Among these early settlers were Timothy Reagan (c. 1750–1830), John Ownby, Jr. (1791–1857), and Henry Bohanon (1760–1842).[16][17] Their descendants still live in the area today.[18]

Radford Gatlin and the Civil War[edit]

See also: East Tennessee bridge-burning conspiracy

In 1856, a post office was established in the general store of Radford Gatlin (c. 1798–1880), giving the town the name "Gatlinburg."[19] Despite the fact that the town bore his name, Gatlin, who didn't arrive in the flats until around 1854, constantly bickered with his neighbors.[20] By 1857, a full-blown feud had erupted between the Gatlins and the Ogles, probably over Gatlin's attempts to divert the town's main road. The eve of the U.S. Civil War found Gatlin, who became a Confederate sympathizer, at odds with the residents of the flats, who were mostly pro-Union, and he was forced out in 1859.[21]

Despite its anti-slavery sentiments, Gatlinburg, like most Smoky communities, tried to remain neutral during the war. This changed when a company of Confederate Colonel William Holland Thomas' Legion occupied the town to protect the salt peter mines at Alum Cave, near the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Federal forces marched south from Knoxville and Sevierville to drive out Thomas' men, who had built a small fort on Burg Hill.[22] Lucinda Oakley Ogle, whose grandfather witnessed the ensuing skirmish, later recounted her grandfather's recollections:

... he told me about when he was a sixteen year old boy during the Civil War and would hide under a big cliff on Turkey Nest Ridge and watch the Blue Coats ride their horses around the graveyard hill, shooting their cannon toward Burg Hill where the Grey Coats had a fort and would ride their horses around the Burg Hill ...[23]

As the Union forces converged on the town, the outnumbered Confederates were forced to retreat across the Smokies to North Carolina. Confederate forces did not return, although sporadic small raids continued until the end of the war.

Early 20th century[edit]

In the 1880s, the invention of the band saw and the logging railroad led to a boom in the lumber industry. As forests throughout the Southeastern United States were harvested, lumber companies pushed deeper into the mountain areas of the Appalachian highlands. In 1901, Colonel W.B. Townsend established the Little River Lumber Company in Tuckaleechee Cove to the west, and lumber interests began buying up logging rights to vast tracts of forest in the Smokies.[24]

Andrew Jackson Huff (1878–1949), originally of Greene County, was a pivotal figure in Gatlinburg at this time. Huff erected a sawmill in Gatlinburg in 1900,[25] and local residents began supplementing their income by providing lodging to loggers and other lumber company officials.[19] Tourists also began to trickle into the area, drawn to the Smokies by the writings of authors such as Mary Noailles Murfree and Horace Kephart, who wrote extensively about the region's natural wonders.

In 1912, the Pi Beta Phi women's fraternity established a settlement school (now Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts) in Gatlinburg after a survey of the region found the town to be most in need of educational facilities in the area.[26] Although skeptical locals were initially worried that the fraternity might be religious propagandists or opportunists, the school's enrollment grew from 33 to 134 in its first year of operation.[27] Along with providing basic education to children in the area, the school's staff created a small market for local crafts.

The journals and letters of the Pi Beta Phi settlement school's staff are a valuable source of information about daily life in Gatlinburg in the early 1900s. Phyllis Higinbotham, a nurse from Toronto who worked at the school for six years, wrote of the mountain peoples' confusion over the role of a nurse, their penchant for calling on her for minute issues, and her difficulties with Appalachian customs:

I soon found that people weren't used to hurrying, and that it takes a long time of patient waiting and general conversation to find out what they have really come for, or to get a history of the cases when making a visit. I have had to get used to getting most of a woman's symptoms from her husband, and not having heart failure when a messenger comes with the news that so and so is "bad off", "about to die", or "got the fever."[28]

Higinbotham complained that there was an unhealthy "lack of variety" in the mountain peoples' diet and that they weren't open to new suggestions. Food was often "too starchy," "not well cooked," and supplemented with certain excesses:

One of the doctors was called to several cases of honey poisoning. The men had robbed some bee gums, eaten a pound or two of each and been knocked unconscious where they stood.[29]

Evelyn Bishop, a Pi Beta Phi who arrived at the school in 1913, reported that the mountain peoples' relative isolation from American society allowed them to retain folklore that reflected their English and Scots-Irish ancestries, such as Elizabethan Era ballads:

Many times it is the ballad that the child learns first, no Mother Goose melodies are as familiar, and it is strange indeed to listen to a little tot singing of the courtly days of old, the knights and 'ladyes' and probably the tragic death of the lover.[30]

Such isolation attracted folklorists such as Cecil Sharp of London to the area in the years following World War I.[31] Sharp's collection of Appalachian ballads was published in 1932.

National park[edit]

Gatlinburg Trail entering Gatlinburg from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Extensive logging in the early 1900s led to increased calls by conservationists for federal action, and in 1911, Congress passed the Weeks Act to allow for the purchase of land for national forests. Authors such as Horace Kephart and Knoxville-area businesses began advocating for the creation of a national park in the Smokies that would be similar to Yellowstone or Yosemite in the Western United States. With the purchase of 76,000 acres (310 km2) in the Little River Lumber Company tract in 1926, the movement quickly became a reality.[32]

Andrew Huff spearheaded the movement in the Gatlinburg area, and he opened the first hotel in Gatlinburg – the Mountain View Hotel – in 1916.[33] His son, Jack, established LeConte Lodge atop Mount Le Conte in 1926.[34] In spite of resistance from lumberers at Elkmont and difficulties with the Tennessee legislature,[32] Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened in 1934.

The park radically changed Gatlinburg. When the Pi Beta Phis arrived in 1912, Gatlinburg was a small hamlet with six houses, a blacksmith shop, a general store, a Baptist church, and a greater community of 600 individuals, most of whom lived in log cabins.[35] In 1934, the first year the park was open, an estimated 40,000 visitors passed through the city. Within a year, this number had increased exponentially to 500,000.[19] From 1940 to 1950, the cost of land in Gatlinburg increased from $50 to $8,000 per acre.[36]

While the park's arrival benefited Gatlinburg and made many of the town's residents wealthy, the tourism explosion led to problems with air quality and urban sprawl. Even in modern times, the town's infrastructure is often pushed to the limit on peak vacation days and must consistently adapt to accommodate the growing number of tourists.[19]

Fire of 1992[edit]

On the night of July 14, 1992, Gatlinburg gained national attention when an entire city block burned to the ground due to faulty wiring in a light fixture. The Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum was consumed by the fire, along with an arcade, haunted house, and souvenir shop. The blaze was stopped before it could consume the adjacent 32-story Gatlinburg Space Needle. Known to locals as "Rebel Corner," the block was completely rebuilt and reopened to visitors in 1995. Few artifacts from the Ripley's Museum were salvaged, and those that survived are clearly marked with that designation in the new museum. The fire prompted new downtown building codes and a new downtown fire station. Ripley's has caught fire twice since it reopened, once in 2000 and again in 2003. Both of those fires, coincidentally, were caused by faulty light fixtures. The 2000 fire caused no damage, and the 2003 fire was contained to the building's exterior, with the museum suffering minimal damage, primarily cosmetic.[37]

Fire of 2016[edit]

Main article: 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires

Starting in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Chimney Tops, a moderately contained wildfire was compounded by very strong winds – with gusts recorded up to 87 miles per hour – and extremely dry conditions due to drought, causing it to spread down into Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Pittman Center, and other nearby areas.[38] It forced mass evacuations, and Governor Bill Haslam ordered the National Guard to the area. The center of Gatlinburg's tourist district escaped heavy damage, but the surrounding wooded region was called "the apocalypse" by a fire department lieutenant.[39] Approximately 14,000 people were evacuated that evening, more than 2,400 structures were damaged or destroyed, and damages totaled more than $500 million. Fourteen lives were lost in the fires, some local citizens and some visiting tourists.

Following the fires, the town of Gatlinburg was shut down and considered a crime scene. The city reopened to residents only after a few days but maintained a strict curfew for more than a week, only reopening to the public after the curfew was lifted.[40] In June 2017, the Sevier County district attorney dropped the charges against the two juveniles due to an inability to prove their actions led to the devastation that occurred in Gatlinburg five days later.[41][42] According to D.A. James Dunn in an official statement, other factors played a key role, particularly the wind:

But for the winds that reached speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour, it is highly unlikely and improbable that the Chimney Tops II fire would have left the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and reached Gatlinburg.[41]

In May 2018, two Gatlinburg residents filed a $14.8 million lawsuit against the federal government for personal losses suffered in the fire.[43]

Registered historic sites[edit]

  • First Methodist Church, Gatlinburg: Designed by Charles I. Barber in Late Gothic Revival style.[44]
  • Settlement School Community Outreach Historic District: Phi Beta Pi established a settlement school in the area in 1912. This part of the designated historic district includes the Jennie Nicol Health Clinic Building, the Arrowcraft Shop, the Ogle Cabin, Cottage at the Creek, and Craftsman's Fair Grounds and School Playground. The Settlement School Dormitories and Dwellings Historic District consists of Helmick House (Teacher's Cottage), Stuart Dormitory, Ruth Barrett Smith Staff House, Old Wood Studio, a chicken coop, and a stock barn.[44]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.1 square miles (26 km2), all of which is land. It is surrounded on all sides by high ridges, with the Le Conte and Sugarland Mountain massifs rising to the south, Cove Mountain to the west, Big Ridge to the northeast, and Grapeyard Ridge to the east. The main watershed is the West Fork of the Little Pigeon River, which flows from its source on the slopes of Mount Collins to its junction with the Little Pigeon at Sevierville.[45]

U.S. Route 441 is the main traffic artery in Gatlinburg, running through the center of town from north to south. Farther along 441, Pigeon Forge is approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) to the north, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (viz. the Sugarlands) is approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) to the south. TN-73 (Little River Road) forks off from 441 in the Sugarlands and heads west for roughly 25 miles (40 km), connecting the Gatlinburg area with Townsend and Blount County. U.S. Route 321 enters Gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge and Wears Valley to the north before turning east and connecting the city to Newport and Cosby.[45]


Gatlinburg has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen: Cfa) with hot, humid summers and cool, wet winters. Precipitation is heavy year round, peaking in the months of May–July, with October being the driest with only 3.19 inches (81 mm) of average precipitation. Snowfall is lower in the valley, averaging about 8 inches (20 cm) of annual snowfall.

Climate data for Gatlinburg 2 SW, Tennessee, 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1921–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
Average high °F (°C) 46.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 36.6
Average low °F (°C) 26.6
Record low °F (°C) −18
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.75
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)15.1 14.5 14.7 12.5 14.8 15.1 15.4 13.8 10.9 9.9 11.6 15.2 163.5
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)2.0 1.7 0.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 1.0 5.8
Source: NOAA[46][47]


As of the 2010 census,[7] Gatlinburg had 3,944 people, 1,681 households, and 1,019 families residing in the city with 5,825 housing units available. The racial makeup of the city was 85.3% White, 0.6% African American, 0.4% American Indian/Alaska Native, 2.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 8.9% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race accounted for 15% of the population.

Of the 1,681 households, 22.8% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.4% were non-families. Individuals living alone accounted for 29.4% of the non-family households, and 11.3% of those living alone were 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33, and the average family size was 2.8.

The city's population consisted of 18.5% of individuals under the age of 20, 5.9% from 20 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44.7 years. The ratio of males to females was almost equivalent at 1.02:1 (1,990 males to 1,954 females). For adult individuals 18 or older, the ratio of males to females was also very close at 1.03:1 (1,671 males to 1,628 females).

According to data in the 2012–2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for Gatlinburg,[50] the median income for a household in Gatlinburg was estimated at $36,445, with an estimated median family income of $42,903. For individuals who were employed full-time, males had a median income of $30,159 versus $24,528 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,423, and 15% of the population and 5.8% of families had income levels below the poverty line. 13.8% of those under the age of 18 and 8.3% of those 65 years and older were living below the poverty line.

As of July 1, 2017, the 2017 estimated population of Gatlinburg had increased to 4,163.[51]



Ober Gatlinburg aerial tramway

Bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is an important tourist destination in Tennessee, with many man-made attractions. Ober Gatlinburg[52] is the only ski resort in the state. It has eight ski trails, three chair lifts, and a wildlife encounter area and is accessible via roads and a gondola from the city strip. The Gatlinburg Trolley, a privately funded public transit system, caters to area tourists.[53]

The Gatlinburg SkyLift takes visitors up 1,800 feet (550 m) to the top of Crockett Mountain,[54] to the longest footbridge in the US which spans two mountains.[55]

Gatlinburg Space Needle provides a 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains from its 407-foot (124 m) observation tower. The attraction includes glass elevators, educational exhibits on the history of Gatlinburg, a two-story arcade, and since 2016 a magic and mentalism performance at the Iris Theater.[56][57][58]

The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community is an 8-mile loop located on the north side of town, It is dedicated to preserving traditional mountain crafts. With over 100 artists and craftsmen, the Community is a living, breathing tribute to the history of Tennessee. The carvers, weavers, watercolor artists, casters, soap makers, potters, silversmiths and dozens of other artisans skillfully demonstrate their abilities,[59] as well as several restaurants.[60]

The Ripley's group of attractions includes Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, which opened in 1997 and features special exhibits covering subjects such as the Titanic, pirates, and the planet Mars, Ripley's Haunted Adventure, Odditorium, Mirror Maze, 5D Moving Theater, Guinness World Records, Old MacDonald's Farm Mini Golf, and Davy Crockett Mini Golf.[61] Ripley's Super Fun Zone was added in 2020.

Anakeesta is a nearby theme park named after the Anakeesta Formation that makes up many of the mountains near Gatlinburg, including Chimney Tops, Charlie's Bunion, and Mount Kephart. In Cherokee, the name means "the place of the balsams" and refers to high ground.[62] The park has zip lines, chair and gondola rides to the top of Anakeesta Mountain, and a mountain coaster. Inside the park, Firefly Village has shops and restaurants.[63][64]Dollywood and Dollywood's Splash Country, which are both named for Dolly Parton, are amusement parks located in nearby Pigeon Forge.

Hollywood Star Cars Museum, which opened in 1996, features Mayberry's squad car, The Beverly Hillbillies jalopy, DRAG-U-LA from The Munsters, two Batmobiles, the Camaro from Charlie's Angels, and Herbie the Love Bug. Many of the featured vehicles were designed by George Barris.[65] The Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers houses more than 20,000 shakers from all over the world.

A few music- and family-oriented theaters are located in Gatlinburg, including Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre for musical comedy. Christ in the Smokies uses 3D dioramas with life-size figures, music, lighting, and special effects to tell the story of Christ.[66]

Gatlinburg has numbered intersections in the core of the town. The numbers hang from traffic lights or signs and are written on official tourist maps. (A similar idea was tried in Niagara Falls, New York, after the mayor of Niagara Falls visited Gatlinburg and took the idea back to Niagara Falls. The idea was short-lived in New York and was scrapped due to budget issues.)

During the Christmas season, the entire downtown area is decorated with lights for the Winterfest Celebration that takes place from November through February.[67] A Trolley Ride of Lights is available from early November to late January during the celebration,[68] and a free shuttle bus traverses the city every half-hour.

Because of the ease of obtaining a marriage license in Tennessee, Gatlinburg is a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons, with more than 20 wedding chapels in the town and surrounding areas.[69]

Former attractions[edit]

Cooter's Place was a free Dukes of Hazzard museum with the General Lee, indoor go-karts, and indoor mini golf.[70] The museum portion moved to Pigeon Forge,[71] the building and mini-golf were re-opened as Ripley's Super Fun Zone.[72]

World of Illusion in Gatlinburg, which had been there since 1977, closed on Jan 6th 2020. As of right now the building has yet to be developed.

Convention Center[edit]

The Gatlinburg Convention Center has over 67,000 square feet of exhibit space.

The Convention Center hosts the annual week long Gatlinburg Regional, the largest non-National bridge tournament in the USA which attracts over 3,000 players from all over the world.

Notable people[edit]

  • Travis Meadows (1965–): A country music singer and songwriter who has written songs for stars like Eric Church, Wynona Judd and Dierks Bentley, Meadows started his songwriting career while living in Gatlinburg.
  • John Reagan (1818–1905): Born in Gatlinburg, Reagan moved to Texas as an adult and became a career politician who served in the Texas House of Representatives, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and as Postmaster General and Secretary of the Treasury for the Confederate States of America.
  • Felice and Boudleaux Bryant: Songwriters duo, who lived in Gatlinburg from 1978 onward, where they wrote numerous songs such as Rocky Top. They lived in the Gatlinburg Inn, and afterwards in The Bryant House which still hosts a museum with their belongings.


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  15. ^Wall, 128.
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  22. ^Wall, 128–132.
  23. ^Lucinda Oakley Ogle, Jerry Wear (editor), Sugarlands: A Lost Community In Sevier County, Tennessee (Sevierville, Tennessee: Sevierville Heritage Committee, 1986), 57.
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  31. ^Bishop, 32–35
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  70. ^"Cooter's Place". Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  71. ^
  72. ^"New Attraction in Gatlinburg: Ripley's Super Fun Zone". February 21, 2020.

External links[edit]

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Things To Do in Gatlinburg

The Great Outdoors is Greater in Gatlinburg

The Mountains are Calling! Gatlinburg is perfectly suited for big adventures in the great outdoors.  

Experience your own mountaintop adventure right from downtown.  Soar to the top of Anakeesta Mountain on a one-of-a-kind Chondola.  Walk across the longest pedestrian Skybridge in North America. Ride the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram to a mountain of fun. However, these popular attractions barely scratch the surface of what Gatlinburg has to offer in the out-of-doors.
Families, friends, and couples come to Gatlinburg to enjoy it all.  Ziplines and whitewater rafting, world-class golf and fishing, and 800 miles of hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is one of America’s premier outdoor destinations. Biking, bird watching, and horseback riding are also recommended activities to try while you’re outside in Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg (Tennessee) ᐈ Things to do - Best Places to Visit - Top Tourist Attractions ☑️

the gateway to the great smoky mountains

an adventure like no other welcome

Mission Statement for the City of Gatlinburg

The City Commission and the administration of the city of Gatlinburg are committed to EXCELLENCE in the provision of QUALITY municipal services designed to PROTECT the lives and property of visitors and citizens, to PROMOTE the natural beauty and tourism activities of the area, and to PROVIDE for responsible and orderly growth. 

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October 13, 2021

Herbert Holt Park to open Weekends of October 15, 22, & 29

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September 29, 2021

GPD officers graduate Law Enforcement Academy

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September 28, 2021


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September 27, 2021

West Loop Road to be closed Thursday, September 30

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September 27, 2021

Special Called Beer Board Meeting - September 30, 2021

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September 23, 2021

Herbert Holt Park to close next two weekends

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September 23, 2021

Upcoming Single-Lane Closures on the Spur  

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September 22, 2021

Gatlinburg Golf Course to host Smoky Mountain Junior Golf

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September 21, 2021

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Things To Do In Gatlinburg
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With a mix of sweeping landscapes and quirky attractions, Gatlinburg is one of the major tourist towns of Tennessee.

Visitors come from all around the world to visit its malls, museums and mountains.

If you’re planning a trip to Gatlinburg, you’re probably wondering where to start.

Should you visit the big stuff to cross it off your bucket list?

Should you look for local, lesser-known hot spots where you can escape the crowds but still have a good time?

Should you do both?

Here are just a few cool things to do in Gatlinburg to maximize your vacation experience.

You’ll find both popular and obscure attractions on the list, so there’s a little something for everyone.

Things To Do In Gatlinburg

1. Gatlinburg Trolley

Gatlinburg Trolley

Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock

If you’re not sure where to get started with your sightseeing, hop aboard the Gatlinburg trolley.

It’s a charming, old-fashioned transit bus that can take you on multiple color-coded routes throughout the city:

Red Route

The red route will send you down the River Road and through the liveliest parts of downtown Gatlinburg.

You’ll pass all kinds of malls, museums, hotels, restaurants and other points of interest.

Yellow Route

The yellow route snakes through the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community, so if you’re into galleries, theaters and other creative pursuits, follow the sunshine shade.

Tan Route

The tan route is for nature lovers.

It winds through a series of parks and campgrounds before coming to a stop at the famous Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There are also green, pink, blue and purple routes, but we’ll let you discover those paths on your own.

The best things to do in Gatlinburg are fun and spontaneous!

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Weidman Photography / Shutterstock

With mountains, valleys, hills, rivers and flowers that bloom all year long, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the United States.

It sees more visitors than any other national park in the country, and it’s an absolute must-do when you’re in Gatlinburg.

Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park will have their choice of outdoor activities.

You can hike, bike, backpack, camp and fish. You can go water tubing and horseback riding.

From every angle, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of mountains rising in the distance and animals peeking their heads through the brush.

Another great thing about the park is that it’s free!

It’s one of the only national parks in the U.S. that doesn’t charge for admission.

Whether you’re camping for the entire weekend or just climbing a summit for the sunrise, you won’t want to miss the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Is beauty, majesty and tranquility make it one of the biggest points of interest in all of Gatlinburg.

Address: Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

3. Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre

Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre

Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre

Laugh until your sides are sore at the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre.

It’s the only live comedy theater in Gatlinburg, and it’ll offer all of the songs, dances, jokes and poofy skirts that you’d expect from a vaudeville-style performance.

This isn’t the kind of theater where you sit in a respectful silence at the tearjerker tale being depicted in front of you.

Instead, you’ll be dragged right into the fun with audience participation segments in various skits and musical numbers.

The actors will be loud. The crowd will be even louder.

The comedy routines will vary, but they’ll always show you a good time.

Maybe you’re planning a unique date night.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to catch a show at a real vaudeville theater.

Whatever your reasons for looking into the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, it’ll definitely provide top-tier entertainment in Gatlinburg.

Address: 461 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

4. Ghost Walk of Gatlinburg

Ghost Walk of Gatlinburg

Nicole S Glass / Shutterstock

Gatlinburg has a spooky history.

As one of the long-standing settlements of Tennessee, it’s had more than its fair share of murders and mysterious disappearances, so it’s become something of a hot spot for hauntings.

The Ghost Walk will take you on a tour of the most dreaded locations in the city, including a 19th-century cemetery that’s famous for its eerie nighttime noises.

You’ll be able to watch, listen and observe as the tour guide fills you in on local folklore.

EMF readers are handed out at the beginning of every tour so that you can monitor the energy readings of everything around you.

If you’re looking for fun things to do near and around Gatlinburg, consider the Ghost Walk.

It’ll raise the hair on your arms for sure!

Address: 520 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

5. Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen

Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen

Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a trip to the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen.

It’s one of the best places in Gatlinburg to enjoy mouthwatering chocolates and freshly-spun sugar treats, and it might even turn into an educational experience to boot!

You see, one of the unique things about the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen is that you can watch the candies as they’re being made.

While you’re munching on saltwater taffy, you can watch the newest batch of taffy being pulled by the old-fashioned machine.

Other treats include jellies, fudge squares, candied applies, pecan bark, peanut brittle and chocolate-covered pretzels.

There are also specialty desserts like “moonshine taffy” that have to be tasted to be believed.

There’s a lot of cool stuff to do in Gatlinburg, but the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen will let you fill your belly and learn something new, so it’s a high-quality attraction from every angle.

Loosen your belt and get to snacking!

Address: 744 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

Planning a trip to other parts of Tennessee soon? You’ll love our lists detailing the best things to do in Memphis, TN and things to do in Nashville, TN!

6. Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

Ekkachai Kesanthia / Shutterstock

You’ve been on regular roller coasters, but have you ever experienced an alpine coaster?

It’s basically a thrill ride down the side of a mountain where you strap into an individual caboose and control your own speed with hand-held brakes.

It’s just as exciting as it sounds, especially if you’re looking for far-out things to do on vacation!

The Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster isn’t the only alpine coaster in the city, but it’s one of the best.

The views are incredible as they rush past, and you can reach maximum speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

You can also customize your experience to a certain degree.

You can ride solo or double; you can travel down the mountain as quickly or as slowly as you want.

You can even ride during the day or night; when it’s dark outside, the coaster tracks are illuminated with dozens of tiny lights.

The Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster is one of the most fun things to do when you’re in this part of Tennessee.

If you’re looking for Gatlinburg attractions that are worth the money, climb onto the coaster and get to flying.

Address: 306 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

7. Mountain Mall

Mountain Mall

Mountain Mall

With its wooden architecture and kitschy, country-style shops, the Mountain Mall isn’t your average shopping mall.

It would be more accurate to describe it as a tourist attraction rather than your typical retail space.

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Gatlinburg, however, the Mountain Mall offers a charming kind of entertainment.

From the homemade goods in its specialty stores to the Appalachian folk music that will play as you shop, it will give you a genuine “mountain” feeling that lives up to its name.

Located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, the Mountain Mall is definitely one of the best things to do in the city.

If your money is burning a hole in your pocket, drop some cash on candles, quilts, spices, books or wood carvings at this quaint shopping complex.

Address: 611 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

8. Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium

Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium

Christopher Forker / Shutterstock

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium lives up to its name by being a truly odd place.

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Gatlinburg, however, it’s hard to beat an attraction that’s all about the unique and the bizarre.

You’re probably most familiar with the museum portion of Ripley’s, and it’s true that you can find everything from shrunken heads to deformed animal skeletons in its grotesquerie.

But there are other activities to enjoy as well, including a mirror maze, mini-golf course, haunted house and “5D” movie theater.

The last one is known for having seats that actually shake when you’re watching a film.

You might also like the aquarium at Ripley’s.

It boasts everything from a stingray petting zoo to an underwater penguin exhibit where you peer at the animals through glass tunnels.

Don’t expect a “normal” zoo experience at a place like Ripley’s!

If you have this weekend free, buy a ticket for Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium.

You could spend days lost in its labyrinthine halls without actually seeing everything, so it’s a great way to fill an empty schedule.

Address: 800 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

9. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa

Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa

Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa

Choosing good accommodation is one of the most important parts of planning a Gatlinburg vacation.

Fortunately, the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa makes it an easy choice.

When you stay at Westgate, you’ll enjoy luxury lodgings that include everything from a concierge service to on-site amenities like a spa and mini-golf course.

Heated pools will keep you warm in the winter; a nearby zipline attraction will get you out of your room in the summer.

Another amazing thing about Westgate is that it boasts its own indoor water park.

Covering 60,000 square feet, it offers slides, pools and waterfall features to keep the whole family splashing.

It even has a retractable glass roof!

If you need a place to stay in Gatlinburg, reserve a villa at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa.

It’s one of the best resorts near the Gatlinburg area, and it’ll keep you refreshed, recharged and ready for the next adventure.

Address: 915 Westgate Resorts Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

10. Wild Plum Tea Room

Wild Plum Tea Room

Wild Plum Tea Room

With small round tables cozily arranged in a wooden log cabin, the Wild Plum Tea Room is the very picture of an old-world teahouse.

It will take you back to the days when teas were steeped with whatever ingredients were on hand and customers chatted with each other without their smartphones to distract them.

You might not be able to resist Instagramming, however, when you see some of the refreshments that you can order with your tea.

From chicken salad to hot turkey pie, it’s the kind of finger-licking fare that you’d expect from a southern U.S. restaurant, but it’s accompanied by tea that spans the reaches of Asia, Africa and Europe.

The coolest things to do in Gatlinburg are the experiences that you can’t find anywhere else in the city.

They’re unique, enduring things that you’ll always remember about your time here.

Order a cup of chai at the Wild Plum Tea Room and start making vacation memories that will last a lifetime!

Address: 555 Buckhorn Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

11. Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

You might be surprised to learn that Tennessee gets snow, but when you climb high enough on the mountains, the slopes are just right for things like skiing, snow tubing and ice skating.

Ober Gatlinburg isn’t the only resort to take advantage of them, but it’s one of the best!

Visitors to Ober Gatlinburg can enjoy everything from scenic chairlifts to bumper cars on ice.

You don’t have to wait for cold weather, either; they offer entertainment for every season.

You can play in the arcade, splash on water slides, climb the rock wall, take a wildlife tour or let the wind flow through your hair on an alpine roller coaster ride.

The possibilities are endless.

Ober Gatlinburg is definitely on the list of good vacation spots in Tennessee.

Whether you’re traveling in the blazing days of summer or the chilly cold of winter, you’ll find fun and exciting activities to keep you busy.

There’s a reason why it’s one of the most popular destinations near Gatlinburg.

Address: 1310 Ski Mountain Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

12. Hillbilly Golf

Hillbilly Golf

Hillbilly Golf

You’ve probably realized by now that many Gatlinburg attractions are centered around the mountains.

But did you know that you can even find golf courses on the side of the cliffs?

Hillbilly Golf offers a fun, one-of-a-kind experience for people who enjoy swinging a club.

You’ll take a tram up the local mountain before being presented with 18 holes that are deliberately designed to be exciting, challenging or just plain mind-boggling.

Don’t worry if your putting skills could use some work.

The delightful thing about these “redneck” courses is that they even the playing field for people of all skill levels, so the whole family can get in on the action.

Who knows? Your kids might even whoop you!

Hillbilly Golf isn’t like regular golf.

It’s a strange course in an even stranger location, but that’s what makes it memorable.

If you’re looking for fun stuff to do near Gatlinburg, be a hillbilly for the weekend.

Address: 340 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

13. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

MarkVanDykePhotography / Shutterstock

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a scenic drive that will take you through some of the most stunning natural wonders of Tennessee.

Not only does it offer beautiful views along the main road, but it can also be used as an access point for hidden gems that are only accessible if you park and hike.

The biggest attraction is Rainbow Falls.

It’s a gorgeous vertical waterfall that you can only reach after pushing your way through an hour’s worth of leaves and ferns in the surrounding woodlands.

You’ll work up a sweat, but the view will be worth it.

Another popular destination is the Place of a Thousand Drips.

It’s a horizontal, low-flow waterfall that slinks over an incredible rock formation, and depending on the weather when you go, it might be tinkling quietly or roaring in an overflow.

If you’re wondering what to do on a beautiful day in Gatlinburg, consider a drive down the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

It’s a true sightseeing experience, and there’s a good chance that it will become one of your favorite memories of Gatlinburg.

Address: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

14. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

Chansak Joe / Shutterstock

There are three ways to enjoy Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, and all of them will provide gorgeous views and photo ops:


The SkyLift will take you on a gentle ride to the top of Crockett Mountain. At its peak, your legs will be dangling at 1,800 feet!


The SkyBridge will let you literally walk across air. It’s a suspension bridge that stretches across the entire valley, making it the longest and most dizzying walkway in Tennessee.


The SkyDeck will let you take a break from all of the death-defying heights. Grab a snack, shop for souvenirs or just enjoy the view from the safety of flat ground.

If you’re looking for memorable tourist attractions in Tennessee, make sure to check out Gatlinburg SkyLift Park.

You’ll never forget the tableaus here because you’ll definitely fill up your camera roll!

Address: 765 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

15. Gatlinburg Pinball Museum

Gatlinburg Pinball Museum

Gilmanshin / Shutterstock

You’ve never seen an interactive museum quite like this.

Not only does the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum take you on a nostalgic journey through the retro arcade and pinball games of yesteryear, but it also lets you play them.

You can race cars, shoot baskets and kill aliens on genuine vintage machines that have been buffed and restored to their former glory.

You don’t have to mess with coins or tokens, either.

For a single all-day admission fee, you can play as many games as you want.

You can even come and go to your heart’s content since you’ll have a hand stamp as identification.

If you’re looking for the top things to do in Gatlinburg, you won’t want to miss the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum.

It isn’t anything like the dull, dry museums that you might have experienced on other vacations.

It’s retro fun ’til the sun goes down.

Address: 205 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

16. Sugarlands Riding Stables

Sugarlands Riding Stables

Sugarlands Riding Stables

Sugarlands Riding Stables offers a sweet experience for riders of all ages and skill levels.

You don’t have to be experienced with horses; in fact, you can saddle up even if you’ve only ever seen horses on TV.

The guides at Sugarlands are top-notch, and they can take you on a gentle, rambling journey through the idyllic countryside without any horseback riding knowledge whatsoever.

There are four tours that you can choose from, and they range from a basic, one-hour walk down a paved nature trail to a four-hour and fifteen-mile adventure through wild woodlands.

The best tour for you will depend on your comfort in the saddle.

Regardless of your skill level, you’ll enjoy incredible views from atop your horse.

The mountains will rise on the horizon; the streams will flow over rocks and cliffs.

You might spot some wildlife through the trees if the weather is right.

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Gatlinburg, drop by the Sugarlands Riding Stables.

Nothing will make you feel like a real Tennessee cowboy more than a horseback ride through Appalachia.

Address: 1409 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

Going for a road trip around Tennessee? Check out our list of things to do in Tennessee!

17. Gatlinburg Farmers Market

The Gatlinburg Farmers Market

The Gatlinburg Farmers Market

Gatlinburg Farmers Market is one of the largest in Tennessee.

Held every weekend from May to October, it’s the place to find organic, locally-grown foodstuffs when you’re in the city.

Are you looking for fresh fruits and veggies to cook your own meals while on vacation?

You can find them at the farmers market.

Do you like to snack on fruits, nuts, cheeses, jams and pickled desserts while shopping for homemade soaps and pillows?

The farmers market can provide.

There are also fun events held at the farmers market.

Enter a raffle; get your face painted; go on a scavenger hunt.

There are all kinds of activities for both kids and adults.

If you’re wondering what to do in Gatlinburg this weekend, check out the Gatlinburg Farmers Market.

Everyone wins when you support local farmers and vendors!

Address: 1222 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

18. Historic Ogle Log Cabin

Historic Ogle Log Cabin

Scott Prokop / Shutterstock

The Historic Ogle Log Cabin was built in the early 1800s by a woman named Martha Jane Huskey Ogle.

Her husband was a traveler from South Carolina who found the eastern Tennessee landscape to be so beautiful that he called it a “paradise,” and he cut and notched a collection of logs in preparation for building a cabin there.

Unfortunately, he died of malaria before he could move his family from South Carolina to Tennessee.

But his wife took the lumber and finished the cabin, and it became the very first settlement in what is now Gatlinburg.

Visitors today can explore the carefully-preserved log cabin and the grounds surrounding it.

There’s a nature trail for hiking or a scenic driving route if you’d prefer to stay behind the wheel.

If you’re a sucker for history, you’ll love the Historic Ogle Log Cabin.

It’s one of the major points of interest of the city, and it will allow you to step back in time and look at the world as a real 19th-century settler.

Thanks to Martha Jane Huskey Ogle for being the first resident of Gatlinburg!

Address: Cherokee Orchard Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

19. Gatlinburg Space Needle

If you can’t get enough of the scenery in Gatlinburg, you won’t want to miss the Gatlinburg Space Needle.

It rises more than 400 feet in the air and provides 360° aerial views of both the city skyline and the mountains looming beyond it, so it’s definitely one of the top 10 things to do in the area.

You’ll start by entering the Gatlinburg Space Needle through the downstairs lobby.

From there, you can hit up arcades, pizza joints, souvenir shops and many other tourist attractions.

When you’re ready to ascend, take the glass elevator to the very top of the observation deck and enjoy the landscapes stretching before you.

You’ll be able to see for miles on a clear day!

The viewfinders are free of charge, too, so you won’t even need to buy a pair of binoculars.

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Gatlinburg, consider the Gatlinburg Space Needle.

It’s a sight for sore eyes, and it’ll give you a vacation experience that you won’t soon forget.

Address: 115 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

20. Anakeesta

Tree bridge at anakeesta in gatinburg

Jason Sanderford / Shutterstock

Anakeesta is a family-friendly theme park located near the Smoky Mountains.

It’s one of our top Gatlinburg attractions because of its convenient location, affordable prices and wide range of events and activities.

For example, if you’re planning a peaceful retreat into the mountains, Anakeesta offers botanical gardens and treetop observation decks.

If you’re a thrillseeker, there are ziplines and a single-rail roller coaster.

If you’re hungry, a smokehouse barbecue joint is right on-site to deliver rib platters and craft beer.

Plan your trip at the right time and you’ll also enjoy special events at Anakeesta.

They build haunted houses for Halloween; they string up elaborate light displays at Christmas.

They want to make sure that their visitors don’t miss a thing even when they’re high in the mountains.

Regardless of the type of vacation that you want to have, Anakeesta is one of the best places to visit in Gatlinburg.

It offers a little something for everyone, so kids, teens and adults can all have fun.

Zip through the trees and see for yourself!

Address: 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

21. Gatlinburg Trail

Gatlinburg Trail

Cucumber Images / Shutterstock

Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Gatlinburg when you visit the Gatlinburg Trail.

It’s close enough to the action that you won’t have to drive for hours to reach it, but it’s far enough that you can breathe fresh air, enjoy scenic views and admire a wealth of stars on a clear night.

Another nice thing about the Gatlinburg Trail is that it allows both dogs and bicycles, so if you want to bring Fido along on a family bike ride, you won’t be breaking any rules.

Tennessee can be fiercely protective of its untouched, unpolluted mountains, but this particular location welcomes your furry friends.

Just remember to clean up after them.

Explore the Gatlinburg Trail if you’re wondering what to do on a beautiful day in the city.

It’ll take you past fields, forests and waterfalls, so there will always be something to admire, and it isn’t that far from downtown Gatlinburg if you don’t have a lot of time to go sightseeing.

It’s the best of both worlds.

22. Hollywood Star Cars Museum

Hollywood Star Cars Museum

Hollywood Star Cars Museum

Get fast and furious with a trip to the Hollywood Star Cars Museum.

It’s one of the coolest things to see in Gatlinburg, and you won’t find anything else like it anywhere else in Tennessee.

Prized vehicles include the Batmobile from Batman Returns, the DeLorean from Back to the Future and the Ecto-1 van from Ghostbusters.

The museum is also home to several vintage cars owned by celebrities like Paul McCartney and the Beach Boys.

There’s a guided tour if you don’t want to miss anything, or you can explore on your own and pose for commemorative photos behind the wheel of your favorite Hollywood vehicle.

Souvenirs are available at the gift shop.

When you step outside, you’ll find the museum conveniently located by several other tourist attractions, so the fun never has to stop.

Visit the Hollywood Star Cars Museum if you’re looking for unique things to do around Gatlinburg.

Car museums are rare enough, but this is one of the only ones in the entire state of Tennessee, so it’s worth checking out while you have the chance.

Address: 914 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

23. Ole Smoky Moonshine

Ole Smoky Moonshine

ehrlif / Shutterstock

You can’t visit Tennessee without trying some authentic Tennessee moonshine!

The good news is that you don’t have to brew your own in a wooden shack with a bag of cornmeal.

You can just visit a distillery like Ole Smoky Moonshine.

Offering tours and tastings, Ole Smoky Moonshine will let you sip on the good stuff as you observe the stills and see how moonshine is actually made.

You can ask questions and take pictures to prove that you were part of this time-honored tradition of the south.

There’s also an on-site bar where you can eat, drink, listen to live music and buy some bottles to take back home with you.

Fun things to do in Gatlinburg are usually family-friendly, but if you’re craving some adult time without the kids, stop by Ole Smoky Moonshine.

You can get buzzed on the best Appalachian alcohol this side of the Smoky Mountains!

Address: 903 Parkway #128, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

24. Nantahala Outdoor Center

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Ammit Jack / Shutterstock

Places like Chattanooga are famous for their proximity to the Tennessee River, but what if you want to go kayaking or canoeing without traveling hundreds of miles to another part of the state?

That’s when you pick up the phone and make a reservation at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Though it offers other activities like camping and ziplining, the Nantahala Outdoor Center is most famous for its whitewater rafting adventures near the outskirts of Gatlinburg.

You can strap in, grab an oar and have the time of your life as you speed down the river.

You don’t have to be an experienced outdoorsman.

In fact, kids as young as three years old are welcome on the rafts.

Trained tour guides will be with you every step of the way.

Schedule a trip to the Nantahala Outdoor Center if you’re in Gatlinburg and looking for cool things to do near the water.

You haven’t truly lived until you’ve gone bouncing down the currents with the wind in your hair and the spray on your face!

Address: 1138 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

25. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

ehrlif / Shutterstock

Located between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is one of the most beautiful observation points in Tennessee.

You can see for miles when you gaze over the cliffs and treetops, and you won’t be able to resist taking deep breaths of crisp, country air.

Getting to the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is just as enjoyable as being there.

You’ll drive through all kinds of natural scenery to reach the observation point at the top, and the mountains will slowly come into view as you rise higher and higher.

By the time that you officially reach the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook, you’ll be in awe of your surroundings.

A mist often hangs over the mountains to give them a picturesque look.

In the autumn, multicolored leaves are scattered everywhere.

If you’re lucky, you might spot bears rumbling in the distance or deer darting through the trees.

Take a drive to Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook if you want to enjoy some of the best views in all of Tennessee.

It’s a mesmerizing place, and it won’t even cost you anything.

That’s right: It’s completely free!

Address: Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

Planning a road trip around Tennessee? Be sure to check out our lists of things to do in Pigeon Forge & things to do in Knoxville!

26. Parrot Mountain and Gardens

Parrot Mountain and Garden of Eden

Parrot Mountain and Garden of Eden

Parrot Mountain and Gardens offers one of the most unique experiences in Tennessee.

Rather than being a typical zoo filled with bird cages, it’s a free-flying sanctuary where hundreds of parrots are allowed to soar, socialize and chat with both visitors and each other.

Take a walk through the picturesque gardens as you observe the birds in their natural habitat.

Learn how to crook your arm so that the parrots will land on you like butterflies.

Stop by the baby bird nursery to pet and feed the tiny hatchlings.

There’s no limit to the fun things that you can do at Parrot Mountain, especially if you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone and fully embrace the one-of-a-kind encounters that you can have there.

Parrots are some of the most intelligent creatures on earth, and this is your chance to interact with them in a positive, meaningful way.

Visit Parrot Mountain if you want a nifty experience during your Gatlinburg vacation.

Located a little north of the city limits, you’ll need to take a drive to get there, but it’s worth the extra gas.

When you’re surrounded on all sides by the colors, noises and catchphrases of hundreds of parrots, you’ll understand why it’s one of the best attractions near the Smoky Mountains.

Address: 1471 McCarter Hollow Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37862, USA

27. Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls

Larry Knupp / Shutterstock

Cataract Falls is one of the best-kept secrets of Gatlinburg.

It’s only a few miles from downtown, but it’s tucked so deeply into the forest that all noise will be muffled by the thick green canopies of the trees.

It’s perfect for dates, hikes, honeymoons and anything else that could use the finishing touch of a beautiful waterfall pouring over the rocks.

Nature is everywhere when you visit this beautiful, tranquil landscape.

The streams will cascade over the rocks; the leaves will crunch underfoot.

It’s one of the best sightseeing spots in Tennessee, and most people don’t even know about it!

Another nice thing about Cataract Falls is that its trail is less than a mile long.

You don’t have to block out an entire weekend to complete it; you can take your time on a leisurely stroll and still be done in time for lunch.

When choosing what to do in a place like Gatlinburg, you have to consider your schedule.

How can you fit in the most attractions in the least amount of time?

With Cataract Falls, you can cross “visit a waterfall” off your vacation itinerary in no time at all, so it’s worth a trip for that reason alone.

Address: Cove Mountain Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

28. Mysterious Mansion

Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg

Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg

If you’re looking for thrills and chills in Gatlinburg, you won’t want to miss the Mysterious Mansion.

It’s one of the oldest and spookiest tourist attractions in Tennessee, and it’ll provide a hair-raising experience for the whole family.

The tour takes place in a real-life Victorian mansion with multiple stories to explore.

Zombies and monsters are around every corner to frighten you; cobwebs are just waiting to get tangled in your hair.

Eerie music will follow you down the haunted corridors as you test your bravery against the night.

Are you afraid of the dark?

Parts of the tour take place in pitch-black conditions; you’ll have to find your way out through sound, smell and touch.

Hopefully, you won’t be lost forever in the maze of secret passageways and trick mirrors.

You don’t have to wait until Halloween to have spooky fun in Gatlinburg.

You can put the Mysterious Mansion on your list when planning your trip for any time of year, and it’ll be just as awesome in April as October.

Count on it.

Address: 424 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

29. CLIMB Works Smoky Mountains

CLIMB Works Smoky Mountains

Mike_O / Shutterstock

It can be hard to say goodbye to Gatlinburg, but if you’re looking for a world-class sendoff, CLIMB Works Smoky Mountains is the way to do it.

You’ll start with an ATV trip to the top of the local mountain.

Once you’re nestled among the ferns and forests of the clifftops, you’ll have your choice of exciting outdoor activities like ziplining or walking across a genuine rope bridge.

No matter what you decide on, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views from hundreds of feet high.

Anyone can walk around the streets of Gatlinburg.

It takes a stronger stomach to plummet down a Gatlinburg mountain while strapped to a zipline.

If you want to say goodbye to the city in an unforgettable way, make a visit to CLIMB Works Smoky Mountains!

Address: 155 Branam Hollow Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA

Start Planning Your Trip To Gatlinburg

There’s a lot more to Gatlinburg than the stuff that you see in brochures.

If you want to have a fun, authentic vacation experience at both major attractions and little-known locales, use this list to start your planning.

The mountains are waiting for you!

1163 Old Cartertown Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 Property for Sale

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