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6 Tips for an Amazing Trip to Gatlinburg

After working so hard day in and day out, everyone needs a nice vacation. If you seek somewhere calming and peaceful to go and relax and have some fun, somewhere far away from the hustle and bustle of life as we know it, a trip to Gatlinburg is just that. Being one of the most beloved spots in Tennessee, this place is perfect for just about anyone. Whether you’re an adult wanting some downtime, looking for adventure, or if you’ve got kids to entertain, this beautiful place has got you covered. But with lots to do and see, it can be overwhelming to plan it out, especially if you’re in a time crunch. 

That’s why, we’ll be discussing some of the best tips for you to have an amazing trip to Gatlinburg. 

mountains and trees in glacier point

  1. Find the Right Accommodation

Most families have a hard time planning each aspect of their vacation. It usually takes hours of research and comparing different accommodations and their rates to make sure you’re getting a good deal on a spot that’ll meet your needs.

However, there are a few places in Gatlinburg that are ideal for visitors to enjoy the charm of the Great Smoky Mountains as well as the many shops and tourist sites along the Parkway. If you choose to stay in a hotel in Gatlinburg, make sure it’s close to all the places you’d want to visit, and of course, it should be near the famous national park. For example, Bearskin Lodge offers stylish rooms with top-notch facilities at reasonable rates. 

But wherever you decide to stay, remember to book early for the best deals. These places can be super busy in peak season, so you want to avoid last-minute planning.

Related Read: Best Things to Do in Gatlinburg in Summer

  1. Explore The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Let’s be real – if you come to Gatlinburg and you don’t explore The Smoky Mountains, what are you even doing? There’s so much to do there and best of all, it’s free. Yes, there’s no fee for admission into the park, which is surprising, because most parks do charge you for entrance.

Besides that, there’s too much to see that you won’t want to miss. The park is widely known for its different kinds of plant and animal life, the allure of the ancient mountain ranges, with its roots in the Southern Appalachian Mountain culture. 

Rich in history, you don’t want to miss seeing some of the historical sites like The Old Mill or Cataloochee. But the greatest gift the park can give you is time spent in nature with your loved ones. Whether you’re having a picnic, or just soaking all the beauty in – you’ll be sure to make beautiful memories over there.

  1. Admire the Local Art

Gatlinburg has always been a town rich in art and culture, but only recently talented artists have begun to emerge. Because of the rise in talent, many galleries have opened where art enthusiasts can come and admire a selection of paintings, and sculptures, among other beautiful things. The good news is that you won’t have to burn a hole in your pocket if you end up liking something. The artwork is generally more affordable down there.

If you want to see the work of local artists, go to the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Center, which is packed with displays of breathtaking works of art. It’s a bit busy there, so if you’d like a more relaxed vibe, try visiting one of the smaller galleries, such as the Covered Bridge Gallery. It’s a guaranteed good time. 

  1. Ride a Chairlift

We already know that Gatlinburg is full of spectacular views. But what better way to see it all, than from the top? That’s why you need to get on a chairlift and embrace as much of the beauty as you can.

Anakeesta is one of the most popular places for this. Over here you can ride a chondola, a type of enclosed lift, or a chairlift, which seats up to four others. Another option is to go to The Sky Lift, which is the Parkway’s other chairlift.

There are a couple of other options too, including one at Ober Gatlinburg, which also includes a fun little tram ride up. But whichever one you decide to ride, don’t forget to take your cameras with you as you enjoy, because you’ll want to keep these memories forever.

  1. Have Some Pancakes

Everybody needs breakfast, especially on vacation and pancakes just hit the spot. But you probably didn’t know that Gatlinburg is famous for its pancakes. In fact, some pancake houses are probably just as famous as the Smoky Mountains.

Among the most popular of these pancake places is the Pancake Pantry downtown. This place has been up and running for over 50 years, and they’re still set in their old-timey ways. Yes, that means hand-written tickets, and cash payment only. What a wonderful blast from the past.

Start your busy day with a thick stack of buttermilk pancakes – but if you’d rather have something else, don’t worry. They have many other tasty options for you to order. But don’t miss out on a classic Gatlinburg breakfast while you’re there.

  1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

When you’re on vacation with your family, sometimes it can be hard to find one thing that everyone will enjoy, especially when kids are involved. But Ripley’s Aquarium is here to solve all your problems.

Being one of the top attractions for kids, this aquarium offers unique opportunities to get hands-on with a wide range of marine life. Finally, you have a place where you can touch the animals. Over here you can pet a penguin, hang out with a stingray, or even take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn how everything works. It’s fun and educational, all in one.

The aquarium is a little old, and always crowded, causing it to be a little hard to enjoy, especially with tiny screaming toddlers who can’t wait to meet the turtles. Still, many families swear by it and enjoy going year after year with their little ones. 


Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is the kind of place where you can go again and again, and you’ll always have a good time. It’s a town that never disappoints. There’s just so much to do, and so much to see, and sometimes more than one trip is needed to be able to enjoy it all. But whether you’re going for the first time or the seventh, be sure to do the things listed above at least once. You won’t regret them. It’s hard to believe that a small town like Gatlinburg has so much to offer, but trust us, you have to see it to believe it.

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