Best Attractions & Activities in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg is the ideal getaway for couples, families looking for fun things to do, and people in need of equipment and supplies to extend mountain experiences. Select from our list of Gatlinburg’s attractions and activities.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The most well-liked activity in the park is hiking on its 900 miles of trails. In the shade of mixed deciduous and conifer trees, stroll alongside spring-fed waterways. More than 1,400 different types of flowering plants, including as mountain magnolias, wild azaleas, mountain laurels, orchids, and rhododendrons, can be found in the park.

Make sure to pause, look, and listen whenever you go somewhere to fly fish, camp, or have a picnic. You will remember these times spent on a mountain peak or next to a whitewater river for the rest of your days.

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower

The highest peak in Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Clingmans Dome. The Clingmans Dome Viewing Tower, which stands at 6,643 feet, can be reached from downtown in one hour by car. The greatest times to witness views that reach 100 miles across the misty mountains are at sunrise and dusk on clear days.

Drive the Cades Cove Loop Road

For a picturesque ride or bike tour through the pastoral scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, head to Cades Cove Loop Road. The 11-mile trip can take two to four hours, depending on the amount of stops you make and the slow-moving traffic. Plan to arrive early in the morning as there are more than two million visitors each year. Particularly during the autumn leaf season, the line can extend for miles.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, having fun is the main objective of your underwater trip as you are submerged in a marine environment. You are surrounded by enormous exhibits with swimming species of all sizes the entire time you are on your tour. A distinct viewpoint on marine life is presented in Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat Adventure.

Many of the exhibits are interactive. Stepping through a transparent glass tunnel that offers a 360-degree view of sharks and other ocean predators swimming by is one way to do this. You are able to comfortably touch the backs of the three different types of stingrays at the wide, shallow lagoon where they live.


You can spend a few hours or an entire day at the award-winning theme park Anakeesta, which is the Cherokee term for “high ground.” Popular attractions include the 880-foot skybridge and treetop skywalk, which float 50 feet over the 70-acre rainforest. Take your battle to the dueling zipline tour with your companion. Enjoy the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster to a 1,600-foot descent.

Ober Gatlinburg

Ski resort and entertainment park Ober Gatlinburg offers year-round leisure. The complex includes an alpine slide, mini golf, Kiddie Land, a chairlift that takes you to a picturesque overlook in 30 minutes, a skating rink indoors, ski runs, and more. Use the two-mile Aerial Tramway from downtown Gatlinburg to Ober Gatlinburg instead of the winding, steep road up.

Walk the Gatlinburg Strip and Ride the Space Needle

You can see the 407-foot Gatlinburg Space Needle piercing clear skies and starry evenings from any location along the strip. Here, the New Year’s Eve Ball descends as the fireworks display goes off. Visitors are transported to the observation deck via two glass elevators for unmatched views.

Gatlinburg SkyLift and Skybridge

On the Gatlinburg Strip, the famed Skylift is an outdoor chairlift that takes you to the park atop Crockett Mountain. Engineering marvels at Skylift Park will take you high above the breathtaking scenery that surrounds Gatlinburg.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

The beginning of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail can be found by traveling north on Old Cherokee Road from the center of Gatlinburg. As tourists visit the Smoky Mountains, this loop road is one of the most well-traveled routes. Plan to spend hours finishing the 5.5-mile loop because there are trailheads and historical pit stops along the curvy, narrow route.

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