Top 20 Places To Go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

If you’re looking for unique and fun places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee or things to do, you’ll be amazed at the exceptional attractions in Gatlinburg.

While it would be fun to list just 10 places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and end with the phrase, “Well, it’s only ‘Ten-I-see.” there are so many fun places to go in Gatlinburg and a whole lot of things or activities to engage in.

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From the Great Smoky Mountains to adrenaline-pumping adventures, Gatlinburg offers diverse activities that cater to every outdoor whim.

Gatlinburg’s Natural Beauty

Of all the things adventurers love about Gatlinburg, its natural beauty stands out sharply, even when compared to other outdoor havens (though the waterfalls in Trinidad may rival it)

Gatlinburg is a mountain resort city known for its 520,000-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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With staggering valleys, cascading waterfalls, towering ancient trees, and abundant wildlife, it is no shock that it is not only the most visited national park in the United States but also a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Gatlinburg is a tourist haven, especially for tourists who love nature and adventure and are looking for wild activities.

From the misty peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains to the bustling streets of downtown, the seamless blend of untamed wilderness and vibrant urbanity is a testament to the town’s unique charm.

What Makes Gatlinburg, Tennessee Special?

Some major things or activities popular in Gatlinburg that we would cover in this article include:

  1. Natural Wonders: In this list of places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, destinations with breathtaking natural beauty like the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Laurel Falls, and Clingmans Dome were prioritized.
  2. Recreational Activities: To get the most fun out of your trip, we included places with diverse, engaging outdoor pursuits, from adrenaline-pumping adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to serene pastimes along the Little Pigeon River.
  3. Scenic Hikes: Of course, exploring the places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, will not be complete without including some scenic hiking spots like the Alum Cave Trail and the Grotto Falls Trail.
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Top 20 Places To Go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Things To Do

Here are the top 20 outdoor destinations and attractions to explore Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Places To Go in Gatlinburg, TennesseeA sunset over the mountains with tall trees and leaves.
Source: lonelyplanet.com

Not much needs to be said about this place. It being one of the most visited parks in the whole country definitely makes it one of the best places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

Every part of this park is truly breathtaking. Still, a major highlight amidst the myriads of natural beauty from misty peaks, lush valleys, and abundant wildlife is its 800 miles of trails for hiking enthusiasts.

Things to do here includes hiking, wildlife viewing, camping, picnicking, and taking scenic drives.

2. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

A flowing creek with foamy waters surrounded by rocks with green growths and tall green trees.
Source: Trip Advisor

Named after a mountain stream, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail winds for six miles and is one of the most fun places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

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Perhaps its most notable feature is its dense forests, revealing historic homesteads and captivating waterfalls like Grotto Falls

There are plenty of spots along the trail to take in the breathtaking views. Be sure to be camera-ready. 

3. Laurel Falls Trail

A waterfall with foamy white waters flowing over brown and black rocks surrounded by wet trees and plants
Source: smokymountains.com

Laural Falls Trail is where all the hiking fun is. 

Apart from the obvious reason, which is the stunning 80-foot waterfall, the hiking experience is said to be one of the most relaxing ones in the state, making it one of the most fun places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

The area is known for opportunities to observe birds, squirrels, and other forest creatures, so keep an eye peeled. 

4. Clingmans Dome

Many trees surrounding the Clingmans Dome under the evening sky.
Source: littlerivertradingco.com

It is one of the highest points in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and offers peaceful, panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. 

The observation tower and surrounding area offer families an educational and awe-inspiring experience.

Isn’t this something you wouldn’t want to miss?

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5. Alum Cave Trail

A cave lit by the afternoon sun light with brown and black rocks.
Source: smokymountains.com

Alum Cave Trail is not just a trail. As a thousand-year-old stunning geological feature that towers high in the sky, this massive arch-like structure is one of the most fun places to go in Gatlinburg. 

It features various exciting trails winding through lush forests and stunning geological formations, providing an adventurous yet beautiful hike for all kinds of adventurers.  

You can find any cozy spot in the forest to get your picnic on! 

6. Hillbilly Golf

A mini-golf courses surrounded by a forest with stones, trees and plants.
Source: smokymountains.com

Hillbilly Golf is one of the best places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a one-of-a-kind mini-golf experience. 

It is set against the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains, and it has two challenging courses filled with the most imaginative and exciting obstacles. 

Hillbilly Golf is primarily a mini-golf facility, so no designated picnic areas are on-site. 

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7. Little Pigeon River

A river with trees to the left side and a road to the right side with stones stacked.
Source: wikipedia.org

Little Pigeon River is one of the coziest places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

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Of course, for a river in Gatlinburg, it has a tranquil ambiance that makes it a wonderful relaxation spot, with opportunities for fishing, tubing, and taking casual strolls while admiring the peaceful water. 

Almost everywhere around the river is a suitable spot to lay your picnic mat, but they also have picnic tables.

8. Anakeesta

A tall building surrounded by intricate roads, other smaller colourful buildings and trees under the afternoon sky with bright clouds and mountains in the background.
Source: gatlinburg.com

Anakeesta is a pretty famous park and also one of the top fun places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

It is a haven of fun and games with thrilling activities like canopy walking and ziplining. You can also enjoy elevated dining at the cliff-top while overlooking the captivating mountain setting.

There are multiple picnic areas within the park.

9. Ober Gatlinburg

Children and Adults riding through a slide surrounded by green grass and tall trees under the afternoon sun.
Source: gatlinburg-attractions.com

In winter, it offers skiing and snowboarding, while summer brings alpine slides, a wildlife encounter, and scenic chairlift rides.

There are a number of designated picnic areas that boast some of the most scenic, beautiful mountain views.

10. The Lodge at Buckberry Creek.

Two chairs facing the forest on an elevated platform under the afternoon sky with visible clouds and mountains in the background.
Source: buckberrylodge.com

The Lodge at Buckberry Creek is just a short drive from Ober Gatlinburg and is one of the best places to stay in Gatlinburg, TN. 

The Lodge provides a serene and upscale retreat with beautifully appointed rooms, top-notch amenities, and easy access to outdoor adventures and downtown Gatlinburg. 

You can set your picnic at any of the various spots and enjoy the mountain views. 

11. Grotto Falls Trail

Tourists are under a waterfall with rocks and clear water in the pond.
Source: smokymountains.com

Grotto Falls Trail, known for its 25-foot waterfall, is one of the most exciting places to go in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

It’s one of the few waterfalls in the park where visitors can walk behind the waterfall

Picnic spots are not so many here, so you should picnic before or after the hike.

12. Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

A rollercoaster winding through tall trees and surrounded by many trees and thick greens.
Source: coaster101.com

The Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster is a thrilling outdoor attraction that combines the excitement of a roller coaster with the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains, emerging as one of the most fun places to go in Gatlinburg. 

The most exciting quality about GMC is the ability to control the speed as you navigate the twists and turns of the coaster. It takes the adrenaline-pumping adventure up a notch! 

There are a few designated areas around the attraction where visitors can relax and enjoy a picnic. 

13. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa

A tree indoors with an indoor pool and a fountain with bright lights and a walking area
Source: westgateresorts.com

The Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and Spa is an exquisite accommodation option in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

The resort offers a perfect blend of luxury and natural beauty. It has a nearby zipline attraction, a mini-golf course, and a retractable glass roof!

The resort itself offers lovely outdoor areas, perfect for a leisurely picnic amidst the serene mountain backdrop. 

14. Greenbrier Area

A park with sitting benches and tables surrounded by trees and dried leaves on the ground.
Source: npplan.com

Greenbrier Area is a perfect location for those seeking a quieter outdoor experience with its wildflower displays and access to the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

There are also several scenic spots with picnic tables.

15. Sugarlands Visitor Center

The Sugarlands visitor center building with trees surrounding it
Source: Trip Advisor

Sugarlands Visitor Center is the main visitor center for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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It offers informative exhibits, ranger-led programs, and access to numerous hiking trails and multiple designated areas with picnic tables.

16. Cades Cove Loop Road

Tall trees with red leaves and a small house in the middle with a tent on the lawn and an RV.
Source: nps.gov

The Cades Cove Lopp Road provides a scenic drive through a picturesque valley, offering opportunities for wildlife viewing, historic site visits, and access to various hiking trails.

You can make stops on the road at any of the designated picnic areas along the loop road.

17. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

A sky lift over a city with mountains in the background
Source: beartracts.com

Gatlinburg Skylife Park is one of the most intriguing places in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

It has a SkyLift that takes visitors on a scenic ride up Crockett Mountain. It also has a Skydeck that offers a stunning vantage point and the SkyBridge, one of North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridges. 

There are also seating and relaxation areas, allowing you to take in the stunning views.

18. Wild Plum Tea Room

A room with tables and chars set facing a glass wall with views of the surrounding trees and flowers
Source: smokymountains.com

One of Gatlinburg’s interesting attractions is the Wild Plum Tea Room. It offers a unique dining experience combining delicious cuisine and a serene mountain ambiance.

Plum Tea Room is primarily a dining establishment where you can eat gracefully.

19. Andrews Bald Trail

An open field with green grasses and the ocean under red and blue skies
Source: ashevilletrails.com

Andrews Bald Trail is one of Gatlinburg, Tennessee’s most beautiful yet wildly fun places. 

The view from the high-altitude bald is one of the most beautiful views you can enjoy. 

Designated picnic spots are limited, but you can enjoy a nice picnic at the summit while taking in the gorgeous views. 

20. Cataloochee Valley

A blue and white building surrounded by grasses and trees with a horse in front under the afternoon sun.
Source: cataloocheevalleytours.com

Cataloochee Valley is another exciting adventure location and one of the most exciting places in Gatlinburg. 

It’s known for its historic buildings, elk herd, and serene atmosphere, and there are designated picnic areas within the valley.

Tips for Outdoor Exploration in Gatlinburg

  • Weather Considerations: Gatlinburg experiences distinct seasonal variations that heavily impact outdoor activities. Summers are warm and ideal for hiking and water-based activities. 
  • Safety Precautions: To ensure you have a safe exploration, remember to follow all the safety guidelines issued by the destinations, like staying on marked trails, observing animals from a safe distance, and carrying ample water and energy-boosting snacks. 
  • Equipment and Gear: Always make sure to wear the correct hiking gear. Opt for Sturdy, comfortable footwear, weather-appropriate clothing layers, and a backpack for essentials.

Conclusion

Gatlinburg’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with its misty peaks and verdant valleys, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a testament to nature’s grandeur. 

From the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail to Laurel Falls to Clingmans Dome to Alum Cave Trail, these destinations highlight the unique qualities that make Gatlinburg a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

So, let the trails, waterfalls, and scenic views be your guide to a memorable journey as you embrace the natural wonders and create lasting memories! 

And when you are done, Tourist Lookup has more for you. 

1. What is the nice area of Gatlinburg?

One of the nicest areas in Gatlinburg is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is one of the most beautiful areas in the region and offers plenty of outdoor recreation.

2. Is there a lot to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee?

Are you wondering if there are many activities to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee? Yes, there are! From exploring the Great Smoky Mountains to visiting the Alum Cave trail to exploring the Gatlinburg Skylife Park, there are many engaging activities in Gatlinburg.

3. What is Gatlinburg most known for?

The most popular attraction in Gatlinburg is the Great Smoky Mountains, which is over 520,000 acres, a UNESCO world heritage site, and the most visited park in the United States. 

4. What is the popular street in Gatlinburg?

The popular street in Gatlinburg is U.S. Highway 441, also known as the Parkway. This lively and walkable street spans approximately 0.8 miles and is lined with many attractions, shops, and eateries. 

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